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R.O.D. - Read Or Die

4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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(May 27, 2003)
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Frequently Bought Together

  • R.O.D. - Read Or Die
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Total price: $66.89
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



Yomiko Readman is a bespectacled substitute teacher who spends every cent she earns on books. When a weird humanoid riding a buglike monster tries to steal a rare book from her, Yomiko performs some amazing battle moves using pieces of paper as weapons. She's immediately drafted into the British Library Special Engineering Force, assigned to Operation Manuscript Retrieval. The mutant clones of a demented scientist are stealing rare books from libraries around the world. The resurrected scientist plans to destroy the human race by reconstructing and broadcasting Beethoven's lost "Death Symphony," which will compel everyone who hears it to commit suicide: it's up to Yomiko and her teammates to stop him. This slight, off-the-wall sci-fi adventure boasts handsome designs, polished animation, and skillful direction; it's a pity the artists weren't given a better vehicle for their talents. (Unrated: suitable for ages 14 and older: considerable violence, grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ryan Abraham, Raymond Braun, Brooke Cadorette, Chad Fifer, Crispin Freeman
  • Directors: Amanda Winn Lee, Kouji Masunari
  • Format: Animated, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Manga Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2003
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000096IAJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,904 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "R.O.D. - Read Or Die" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Camp on April 28, 2003
Format: DVD
R.O.D. (READ OR DIE) is quite an imaginative and delightful three-episode Japanese OAV (Original Animated Video) series that deftly mixes sci-fi, adventure, comedy, history and a love of rare books. Made in 2000, it's set against a marvelously detailed background of urban settings like Tokyo, Washington DC, and New York, along with the massive Victorian-style (but secretly high-tech) British Library headquarters, as well as a diverse fleet of retro-style aircraft and seacraft. Overall, it offers the kind of fresh, unpredictable and literate entertainment that caters to the restless tastes of the more discriminating anime fans in America.

The heroine is a 20-something woman named Yomiko Readman, a shy, self-effacing bookworm who is a teacher and obsessive collector of rare books. She traipses about in a long skirt and overcoat, lugging a large briefcase behind her on a wheeled cart everywhere she goes, even when chasing super-villains. She's also a secret agent known as "The Paper" who has the extraordinary power of turning any kind of paper product into a lethal weapon or protective barrier. One of the special thrills of this series is the way this talent is used so often to ingenious effect in the course of the three episodes. When the Library of Congress is attacked and robbed by a famous Japanese inventor cloned back to life, Yomiko is assigned by the British Library to retrieve the stolen books. The enemy is soon revealed to be much wider in scope and encompasses a host of other historical figures brought back to life, including a certain famed composer. World domination is not their aim but something much more sinister.
The plot is rather complex, but never wavers off track as the action moves from Tokyo to D.C.
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Format: DVD
Read or Die is a breath of fresh air amid the anime releases in the United States: it manages to combine high quality on the technical side with interesting, likeable characters and an interesting story. First off, this is obviously a high-budget production: these three episodes (which is the complete Read or Die direct-to-video series) sport character designs which are attractive, animation which is top-notch, and great sound and music. Moreover, Manga, the studio releasing Read or Die in the US did a wonderful authoring job on the DVD, in contrast to some of their releases (e.g., Macross II). On the technical side, Read or Die simply screams quality.
Fortunately, that quality is matched by the quirky, likeable characters and the quirkier plot. The heroine, Yomiko Readman, is a book-obsessed woman with the power to manipulate paper (which is far more interesting than it may sound). She is also a secret agent for the British Library. When cloned historical figures try to steal her newest book purchase and destroy the world, she is assigned to stop them. Yomiko is the most interesting heroine of the last several years of anime releases: she is a woman, not a girl; she is not overly sexualized; she is capable and strong without pride or arrogance.
The only real flaw in Read or Die is that, because it's only 3 episodes long, the weird little plot is somewhat opaque. Moreover, many of the historical figures will not be familiar to a US audience, but this is a quibble, really. The show is not about the villains or their purposes, it is about Yomiko and hers.
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Format: DVD
I am constantly impressed with the level of animation that is coming from overseas. I think it is because they are going places that our native animators are afraid to go. We still see cartoons for children, where overseas they see it as a form of entertainment for both adults and children. Why can't they see that it is a form of cinema that will and can take us to places that live-action never will, and give us characters that no actor could ever conjure up? Who knows? I hope that one day we get there, but until then I can sit on my comfy couch and watch amazing cinema like that of Read or Die.

To begin, this was a fantastic story. I loved the literary references throughout the course of the film. I loved that there was so much to see or do in the story that you never really knew where it was going to go next. This was a very unpredictable story that left so much up to the imagination. It was futuristic, yet somewhat present day. There was a feeling that you were seeing on old novel opened for the first time and remastered for today's generation. It was breathtaking, uncontrollably mesmerizing, and spellbinding to say the least. I mentioned before about the imagination that this film held, well let me say that it flowed like water from this Read or Die. It is hard to explain, but if you watch so much live-action cinema, it is hard to comprehend, but there was more alive in this film than I have seen in any of Spielberg's epics. Keep in mind that I am also relatively new to the Anime genre, and probably am missing some of the better stuff, but for a newbie like myself, Read or Die was perfection in its purest form.
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