Read Or Die!

April 23, 2010

I was originally going to wait for ep 1 of Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei to get subbed before posting anything, because nothing has happened outside of anime that warrants posting about. But then I noticed that 10 days have passed since my last post, and no comments had been left in that time. Which is downright cheeky considering the number of comments I leave on other people’s blogs… wait, no I don’t. I’ve left one comment on one blog that’s either slow to be accepted or has been binned entirely. I should probably make more of an effort.

However, forcing people to read my blog seems like an easier method. With my 1337 banana dancing assassin skills, I could begin eliminating those who refuse to make time for my riveting tales of gardening and expos and pub quizzes! Using jellyfish stings… and stinging nettle stings! 👿

Or I could just talk about the titular anime series.

So, Read or Die. I am currently watching the TV series, which is a sequel to the original OVA. Now when I was relatively new to anime, still relying on DVDs as my main source, this OVA was ever present in the anime sections at HMV and Virgin Megastore (R.I.P), and so naturally became one of the first series I watched. While I wouldn’t have called it the ‘best anime ever’ even back then when I had far less to compare it to, I feel it deserves a mention for having a plot that’s obscure even by anime standards!

Seriously, where else (besides the manga) will you find a character like Yomiko Readman: a clumsy glasses-wearing obsessive bibliophile/substitute teacher/secret agent codenamed ‘Za Paper’, who possesses the ability to bend any and all paper to her will so long as it is in contact with her body? Doesn’t sound like a particularly great power, does it? Well, she can make it into bulletproof shields, blades capable of dealing lethal paper cuts, or even make a paper airplane big enough to ride. Fair enough, but why does she need these powers? What sort of evil maniacs does she have to face in her quest to fight ‘book-related terrorism’ and claim rare literary works in the name of the British Library? Try this guy. Or rather, his evil clone. One of many evil clones of famous historical figures, seemingly obsessed with doing bad things.

The TV series is set 5 years later, focusing on a new set of characters with similar powers to Yomiko (though not as impressive, individually). With far more episodes to play with, it certainly has a better balance of action, plot and character development than the OVA, and I’d rate it higher for that. However, it is fairly episodic up until the midpoint when the plot really kicks off, so I can’t go into much detail for fear of spoilers. And I’ve not seen the last few eps either, so I don’t know whether the ending’s any good. Anyway, while the OVA isn’t ‘essential’ to the understanding of the TV series, it’s definitely recommended if you want more backstory to the events.

To conclude, I think that Read or Die and especially the TV sequel are worth watching if you want something completely different. Action, mystery, drama, and some of the weirdest superpowers you’ll find outside of One Piece! That’s assuming the ending is satisfactory… But that’s all for now, check back soon for the thoughts on Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei that I promised, along with a few other minor updates regarding my thoughts on the spring series.

Seriously, do come back for that. I’ll be watching you. 👿