a.k.a. Read or Dream
Sumiregawa Nenene is a Japanese writer who hasn’t written a novel in four years. After traveling to Hong Kong to promote her previous book and a movie based on it, her hotel room is mysteriously bombed before she has a chance to check in. Michelle Cheung, Maggie Mui and Anita King, otherwise known as the Three Sisters Detective Agency, are hired to be Nenene’s bodyguards. When the bomber shows up at an autograph session the next day, the three sisters reveal that they’re paper users when they dispatch the culprit with ease. Nenene is astonished to see their powers because there’s only one other person, who disappeared four years ago, who possessed the same power: Yomiko Readman.
summary by Eek
Highs: Charming and strong characters; few but very sweet action scenes; great theme songs
Lows: Farfetched latter half; erratic art and animation; some recycled background music
Read or Die: the TV is the sequel to Read or Die, but I use the term “sequel” lightly. They contain many of the same characters and organizations, but the former has a new cast of protagonists and a very different atmosphere. These new elements help this anime to be incredibly addictive and fun-filled.
For the first half, characters are the main focus, and their personalities are just so attractive. From the soft-spoken Maggie to the headstrong Nenene (seiyuu Yukino Satsuki does a superb job), it’s impossible to not eventually fall in love with them. And when the focus expands, you’ll find yourself rooting for them and the additional cast as they kick a lot of butt. Speaking of kicking butt, fight scenes are few and far between, but however infrequent they may be, they’re always just so mesmerizing. In addition, the theme songs are icing on the cake. R.O.D has a very James-Bondish feel to it, much like Read or Die‘s opening, but the two ending songs, Moments in the Sun and Confidence, are two J-Pop pieces that are so beautiful you’ll be smiling and tapping your foot to the beat.
Read or Die: the TV and its predecessor have a parallel that isn’t good: story. The original was faulted by having so much happen in so little time, but this series’ shortcoming comes in the form of a second half that is just a bit too hard to swallow. The first half really has no consistent plot but is wisely used to develop the main characters; the second half takes up a plot that’s incredibly ambitious but so improbable. And coming from the makers of Read or Die, I didn’t expect to find such fluctuating art and animation. It isn’t difficult to spot numerous moments where characters are drawn incompletely or off model. I’ve yet to complain about Iwasaki Taku’s great music and I’m not about to begin now, but I believe it was a mistake to throw in some music from this series’ forerunner.
You’ll get off of this roller coaster of an anime with a smile. Read or Die: the TV could’ve been better, but it didn’t try to live up to its predecessor. Instead, it went off on its own and showed that sequels don’t need to be like their predecessors to be more than satisfying.
Read or Die: the TV can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.