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David Hines [userpic]

Read or Die

October 24th, 2004 (11:58 pm)

So, last night my roommate Nick and I stayed up and watched "Read or Die" on the Cartoon Network.

Um. Wow.

If books are supposed to be an escape into the fantastic, Yomiko Readman (English language voice by Kimberly Yates) has it backwards. She lives an incredible life as a secret agent with superpowers, but spends most of her time buried under a mountain of books. The bibliophile's posterchild, she's so enraptured in her reading that she's oblivious to everything around her: bustling pedestrians, speeding cars, and a 20-foot giant grasshopper hopping through traffic. When the oversized insect steals a precious book out of her hands, however, Readman's powers come into play. She becomes, simply, The Paper.

As her codename suggests, Readman commands power over all things paper. She can shape loose pieces into an impenetrable shield, throw them like daggers, even fashion a parachute. In an anime world dominated by giant robots, gun-slinging mavericks, and sword-wielding demon killers, The Paper makes for the most delightful, if not unlikely, of superheroes: a young woman whose library card is one of her greatest weapons.


If you are on my friendslist, or I am on yours, you need to see this. thete1, buggery, I'm lookin' at you. Because it's really brilliant and delightful, an anime that has something for everyone: superpowers and bookworms, hot babes and stoic males, an evil clone of Jean-Henri Fabre, and some of the most exciting and innovative action sequences I've seen in ages.

Oh, and did I mention the utterly adorable lesbian crush?

What works best for me is that I just loved the main character. More than that: I intensely identified with her. I'll never be a secret agent, and I've given up on ever getting superpowers, but I can sure as hell identify with someone who compulsively races from store to store buying books, and then is so deep in reading that she completely fails to notice a horrific car accident and a giant grasshopper. Because, well, that's me.

There's a fansite and an LJ community, should you be inclined.

Comments

Posted by: mystavash (mystavash)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 06:55 am (UTC)

Is that what Read or Die is about. ^.^ I thought it was just more Egrish. Maybe I'll download and watch some of it...don't know about the lesbian crush though. ;p

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 08:37 am (UTC)

The above refers to the OVA. Haven't seen the TV series (which followed it) or the manga (which preceded it).

Posted by: mystavash (mystavash)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 10:54 am (UTC)

Ah, that makes sense. I was about to say, the TV seems to be completely different. OVA came before? Hmm. Maybe later. 3 in the morning and I'm writing lesson plans. ^.^;;

Posted by: the Jack (buggery)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 05:10 pm (UTC)
knock boots Daria/Jane femslash!

As it happens, David, Te and I also stayed up Saturday night to watch Read or Die... I fell asleep on her couch, but had my VCR at home taping Adult Swim, so I'll watch it... as soon as possible. Te went on enthusiastically if somewhat incoherently about it, so I gather she did indeed enjoy it.

Are they going to run it Saturday nights now in place of Wolf's Rain or Cowboy Bebop, the series I mean, or was the film a one-time thing?

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 11:21 pm (UTC)

I think it was a one-time thing. Apparently the TV series has different characters...

Posted by: mystavash (mystavash)
Posted at: October 26th, 2004 07:03 am (UTC)

It's like a continuation of sorts... It starts with Nenene, who was Yomiko's real life friend, but hasn't seen her in four years. You see a few references to her in the very beginning of the OVA, but you'd have to be quick to catch them. ^.^ Nenene gets involved with 3 other paper users, and so on and so forth. Many of the previous characters also debut.

Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 09:45 pm (UTC)

I've been in love with read or die since I stumbled upon it in manga form years ago. It rocks. Agent Paper is a goddess, and damned cute.

And the lesbian crush... fan fic bait. Doshinji bait. You HAVE to read some of the Doshinji for that series. Its SOOOOO cute.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: October 25th, 2004 11:22 pm (UTC)
pointy teeth

Y'know, I actually went looking for Doshinji, and, um. Well, of the ones I found, "cute" isn't the word I would use.

Posted by: mystavash (mystavash)
Posted at: October 26th, 2004 05:57 am (UTC)

*you* and doushinji? Hahahaha! にあわん!

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