Title: R.O.D. The TV aka Read or Dream
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 1 Sep 2003 – 16 Mar 2004
Synopsis: After her hotel room was found bombed by a rival author, Sumiregawa Nenene employs the help of three bodyguard sisters. The trio, who collectively own their own bodyguard agency, turn out to hold a special gift: the ability to control paper. Astonishingly, Sumiregawa’s estranged friend was the only other known person to hold this power. Intrigued, she decides to follow her newfound companions, oblivious to a threatening organization lurking in the background.
Characters: Absurd, yet presented believably.
Production values: Superb.
Action: Irregular, but high-quality.
Music: Excellent intro and outro; sometimes repetitive.
While R.O.D the TV is based off its older sister OVA entitled Read or Die, the two should be considered distinct and separate entities. While R.O.D. the TV exemplifies certain qualities of the original, the pacing and characters set it apart as an individual being. The members of the “Three Sisters Detective Agency”, Michelle Cheung, Maggie Mui, and Anita King start out as a triplet of anime typecasts – there’s the bratty Anita, the brooding Maggie, and the maternal Michelle. However, throughout the story the bonds that tie the three together are portrayed in a definitively realistic manner. Throughout the over-the-top action and plot twists that appear throughout the anime, the character relationships never seem contrived, and remain surprisingly down to earth.
The production values for this anime were excellent. The animation was fluid and had a very appealing gloss to it. The action scenes were also very original and well choreographed, and felt viscerally right. The music was also good, accentuating the current feel of the anime well. While the background music was slightly repetitive, it wasn’t annoying enough to detract much, and some anime have done far worse.
The major problem that arises, however, is the lack of stability in the plot dynamics. The first episode is adrenaline-filled and fast-paced, however after this the story slows down to a more slice-of-life tone with plenty of character progression, eschewing the plot altogether. In between the leisurely segments, however, are quick bursts of action and violence that disturb the overall atmosphere of the show. If this wasn’t enough, an abrupt jarring change of pace occurs at around the midpoint of the anime. Suddenly, the anime seemed to be trying to make up for lost time. Simultaneously, countless new ideas, discoveries, and twists are all thrown at the audience that inevitably lead to confusion and chaos. Throughout all of this, the “Slice of Life” theme tried to implement itself into the plot, however it felt contrived and unnecessary. I really wanted to like the plot, but found the inconsistency too annoying, and it went from barely visible to evidently aggravating.
The plot holes could have been forgiven had the series come to a definitive closure that would have sealed up all of the confusion and chaos accumulated through the second half of the series. Unfortunately, the anime tried yet again to be too ambitious and the plot ends up overly complex to the point of confusion. It felt as if the anime tried to come back to its roots momentarily at the end, but this led to simply more incongruity. By the time I was done watching the anime, I was frustrated, if not only because I couldn’t see where the anime wanted to take me. Between erratic tranquility and an over-the-top plot, I felt jolted by the end. Watch R.O.D. The TV passively and you’ll be thoroughly entertained. However, beyond the superficial action lies an anime that had amazing potential, but failed to follow through with it.
The Rating: 6
Reviewed by: royal crown