David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

Read or Die

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.

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