Worth A Look: R.O.D.

Read Or Die. A title after my own heart.

This is an animated series about three sisters. Two of them love to read and can barely bring themselves to do anything else. Walking down a precint full of bookshops is almost fatal to do them: They have to keep buying books - and it's not as if they've got a lot of money. The third sister, who is younger and still a girl, professes to hate reading. It doesn't matter. The upside of their reading compulsion is that they are paper masters. They can turn paper into weapons and shields and monsters that can carry them high and far and even across the sea.

An author, who has been suffering from writers block for some years, meets them and does not seem terribly surprised at their powers. It turns out that this series is actually a sequel to a manga series about the author and her friend, who has since disappeared but who was also a paper master.

Although on the whole I liked this series, I have to mention some reservations. Although I liked much of it, especially the whole idea of the paper masters and their compulsion to read, some of the episodes were not so good. Indeed, one of the episodes is entirely exposition is one of the most boring things I've ever seen of anything. Plus, it turns out not to make any sense to the story that we see unfolding. Then, the final episodes continue long after there really seems to be anything worth saying.

The problem is this, and I felt it was brought about the writers possibly writing on the fly and not realy knowing what the story arc was going to be while they had to keep the episodes coming: The adventure part of it concerns an ancient British man, or being, or something not clarified, known as Mr Gentleman, who is now aging and must be saved. Why? We never know. Why he's so important to Britain we never learn. This causes a big hole in the story because the motivation of the bad guys just doesn't make sense. He is dying so someone else must be taken over and given his spirit, or knowledge, or personality - But why?

Eventually it seems that the bad guys are chasing the writer because the writer can use Mr Gentleman's knowlege to rewrite the world - or I may have misinterpreted that. It's hard to be sure.

So, there is a lot that I enjoyed about this story, enough that I kept wanting to know what would happen to the characters - and believe me there are other series out there that I can't warm to at all no matter how often I try to give them a second chance. So, R.O.D. is flawed, but worth a look even if you might have to fast forward through some bits. Oh, and sometimes the emphasis on the size of the women's breasts got irritating.

So, enjoy but expect some flaws.