The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

R.O.D. The TV

Title: R.O.D. The TV aka Read or Dream
Genre: Action
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 1 Sep 2003 – 16 Mar 2004

Synopsis: When Sumiregawa Nenene, a Japanese writer suffering from writer’s block, travels to Hong Kong to promote a movie based on her hit novel, she meets the “paper sisters” Maggie, Michelle and Anita. To her surprise, the three girls are all capable of a skill called “paper magic”, something Nenene has only seen in one person before, the legendary Yomiko “The Paper” Readman. Could there be a hidden connection between her former best friend and the three weird girls?

The Highlights
Plot: Nice continuation of Read or Die; plot twists galore.
Characters: Quirky and interesting.
Animation: Beautiful and clean.
Drama: Climaxes into illogical larger-than-life scheme.
Premise: Incoherent with some aspects of Read or Die.
Logic: Plot holes galore.

Is it a sequel? Is it a spinoff? It’s neither – it is R.O.D. The TV, based on the Read or Dream manga series, and it’s quite a ride. The story starts out with apparently no connection to the Read or Die OVAs except for Sumiregawa Nenene knowing Yomiko, and for almost the entire first half, it doesn’t reveal any more. Surprisingly, this is a good thing – the characters are able to develop a life of their own, and especially the three weird “paper sisters” with their different personalities are something to quickly grow fond of. When the story finally links to the events of Read or Die, the actual transition is very well executed too – there’s a stunning two-parter episode which represents the best qualities of the series and bends the story with another great plot twist.

Of course, it really helps that the animation is top-notch and very pleasant to look at. The artwork itself is maybe a little simple when compared to the OVAs, but then again, this series was produced with only a TV budget. All the characters are well-designed (if sometimes a LITTLE on the busty side), and the backgrounds are highly detailed. J.C. Staff didn’t cast any of the major roles with the same seiyuu as in Read or Die, but the voice acting is hardly inferior to that of the OVAs.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the plot after the first half. While still twisting along nicely, it also starts do get increasingly illogical and over-the-top. Some of the earlier events you thought you could relate to what you knew from Read or Die are made impossible by later relevations, and even worse is the development of the main story into a larger-than-life scheme worthy of a Marvel supervillain. What started out like Charlie’s Angels ends like X-Men; it keeps getting bigger and bigger and doesn’t stop at national monuments getting sold to foreign powers and foreign soldiers harrassing Japanese civilians while nobody gives a damn. School children are brainwashed just for the sake of showing how ruthless the opposition can be if they want to. Logical explanations: none.

Aside from the plot holes, there’s also a minor technical detail that annoys me: While the music of R.O.D. The TV is actually quite good, large parts of it were taken directly from the OVA soundtrack. The intro and two ending themes are original, but at least the greatest part of the other music was reused. Laziness on the composer’s part or J.C. Staff saving money? In any case, not acceptable.

All in all, R.O.D. The TV is a nice little action series with strong characters that does a good job of picking up the loose ends of Read or Die. Unfortunately, it ties these ends to a weather balloon that goes up so high that it loses sight of the original premise. Had the plot stuck to its roots (and featured maybe a little fewer holes), this series could have been magnificent.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Taleweaver

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