Read or Die TV Episode 1

Read or Die TV

"...And the Paper Fluttered Down"

I was lucky enough to have seen a panel at AnimeExpo two years ago with the creators of the Read or Die OAV series. One thing that struck me, other than their exuberant insanity, was how typically male-minded they were. They spoke at some length about the various female characters' bust sizes, and how they seemed to grow throughout the series. I got the feeling that their original vision (crazy, over-the-top action anime, with this unique book-loving female heroine), was sort of co-opted by horny, lustful adolescent desire.

It certainly seems to show in this first episode of the TV series, where many of the shots are framed with the express intent of being fanservicey. This is in addition to the other more normal fanservice.

Of course, that just means that not much changed. Which is true about many of the other parts of the show. Much of Taku Iwasaki's music is reused (two or three tracks in this one episode), and the art style is similar (but not nearly as high in production values). We've got our paper-users, though the ways they use paper are exponentially more insane then Yomiko did in the OAV. Somehow, creating a huge bird out of paper to take over control of a plane seems more far-fetched than a weird steampunk flying suit. Call me crazy.

The sheer insanity of what the paper sisters do is so reality-stretching, that it makes it extremely hard to take the show seriously (which at times it really seems like you're supposed to). After all, let's face it, we're talking about guys who want to kill authors who are being defended by "biblio-maniacs" who can make things out of paper (shields, swords, parachutes, etc.). Somehow, and I haven't quite put my finger on it, the TV show is not selling the premise as well as the OAVs. Maybe it just needs a few more episodes.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 11:29 PM | Comments (2)

Read or Die TV Episode 2

Read or Die TV

"Hopeless People Unite!"

I think I've nailed what makes the TV series (so far) less appealing to me than the OAV series. In the OAV series, it was all about style. Nancy fighting, the slick animation, everything. In the TV series, style is ditched for a lot more, straight-up, over-the-top action.

That's just a basic level complaint. So far, after watching two episodes of this show, I'm turned off by the fact that the four main characters (paper sisters and Nenene), are just not very likable. The paper sisters are so stupidly clueless (and bumbling), that I really can't sympathize with them. I do sympathize with Nenene, but she's well-portrayed as an annoying celebrity. That's cool, but I still don't like her.

I hope someone can explain to me exactly what the red/pink color ovals underneath the eyes is supposed to indicate. It'll probably increase my appreciation of this show at least tenfold.

Storywise, this episode is kinda light on plot, just trying to be funny with the paper sisters' inability to do anything right, and generally annoy Nenene. It's only a little funny, and it's honestly painful to see how useless they are.

More action!

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 11:04 PM | Comments (7)

Read or Die TV Episode 3

Read or Die TV

"Let's Meet at Jinbouchou"

Instead of feeling fuzzy and nostalgic with all the references to the ROD OAV series, watching this episode made me feel nothing but pain.

This episode seemed to try to establish two things: 1. the sisters are crazy about books, and 2. Nenene misses Yomiko, a lot.

Unfortunately, this is all stuff we already knew, and didn't really need a whole episode dedicated to further explanation. Like I've mentioned before, the cast of characters are all so obliviously stupid (with the exception of Nenene), that it makes watching their antics teeth-grittingly terrible. They act like vapid, brainless women, and do things that so defy logic it requires about two more leaps of faith than it takes to believe a bunch of girls could manipulate paper to create enormous paper constructs.

On top of that, the art style and animation can sometimes be a little spotty. One of the weird things (compared to most anime art design) is that the girls are very hippy (referring to their hips), and seem to have waists at lower points than most anime character designs. Because of this, when they walk around (and this is accenuated by the poor animation), it looks like they're just falling forward in a somewhat controlled fashion. It doesn't help that many of the girls usually lurch around, or otherwise propel themselves in an awkward fashion.

Hopefully some plot can come to take my mind off how annoying some of the other parts of the show are. I enjoyed the music cues from the OAV, at least.

Rating: D+

Posted by Kei at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

Read or Die TV Episode 4

Read or Die TV

"Medium One Course"

There's a definite mood to this episode.

Sleepy.

Lots of lounging around, half-dozing. Oh, and most of the lines are delivered sloooowly.

I was reading in the most recent issue of NewType, that J.C. Staff was extremely proud of the fact they were able to keep the OAV's production values in a long television show. I'm not really sure if I agree with them about that. While the show does have very good values for a television show, it doesn't really come close to the polish of a three episode series. Also, I feel like (so far), J.C. Staff has completely missed the point on R.O.D. I've never read the manga or the novels, so maybe it was the OAV that was totally off the ball. The TV sort of covers similar ground, but without all the slick animation and visuals--the style--that really made the original show.

So, Nenene goes off in search of Yomiko (presumably she received some sort of hint as to where she went off to), which leaves the Paper sisters to get involved in some weird business with Joker (from the OAV) and the Royal British Library. Not much overall plot has been explained at this point, other than that Nenene is looking for Yomiko, who went missing. I'm getting bored of the day-to-day life stuff, so I hope that Joker's introduction means that this show can get under way.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:03 PM | Comments (2)

Read or Die TV Episode 5

Read or Die TV

"They Shout"

This episode seemed like it'd be a great opportunity for the sisters to show off their paper mastery, maybe some good action scenes. The stylish action scenes were one of the selling points of the first series, so it wouldn't seem to be expecting too much.

My expectations turned out to be wrong, though, as this episode had very little action, though it did make creative use of the girls' paper abilities.

I really liked Anita's little paper holsters, as well as the other sisters' various paper equipment.

Unfortunately, this was also a pretty boring episode. It wasn't the lack of action, though, it was just the entire package. Most of it happens at night, which meant darker, muted colors, then you have some slow pacing along with relatively nonexistant, atmospheric music. All in all, I felt like I was sleepwalking through the episode.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 11:28 PM | Comments (3)