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Read or Die

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Read or Die

Read or Die
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General Information
Type Anime
Created by Koji Masunari
Years on Air 2001
Episodes 3

Japanese Title: リード・オア・ダイ


Airdate: May 23, 2001


Plot

The first episode begins with a cold open, set in Washington DC, where the White House has been evacuated. The samurai Gennai Hiraga appears on top of the White House and annihilates it using a mysterious power. Later in the episode, it is revealed that the US Library of Congress has been attacked, although this is not actually shown.

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Yomiko Readman gets her hands on an ultra-rare German first edition book, "die Unsterbliche Liebe" (or "The Immortal Beloved"). The book is dusty and dirty, but has sheet music handwritten in its pages, in the margins and on the blank pages in the back and front. Almost immediately she is attacked by a superhuman-like clone of Jean Henri Fabre riding a giant mecha grasshopper. He tries to steal her book, but she fights back and wins, exhibiting a superhuman ability to manipulate paper. A man in a suit walks up to her moments later, asking "The Paper" to accompany him. We learn that Yomiko is an agent of the British Library special operations division, a group tasked to locating and protecting rare books worldwide.

A Library team, consisting of Yomiko and American operative Drake Anderson, is sent to investigate the attack at the US Library of Congress. Upon arriving, Drake and Yomiko meet fellow agent Nancy Makuhari (a.k.a. "Miss Deep"), who also turns out to have been sent by Joker to investigate. Yomiko and Nancy are assigned to work together, and various comic moments occur throughout the series as personality clashes occur between Nancy's suave, femme fatale character and Yomiko's extreme bibliomania and her meek, childlike demeanor. During the investigation, the three Library agents foil another attempt to steal the book, this one perpetrated by a clone of Otto Lilienthal.

In London, Joker and the British Library staff uncovers evidence that someone has created various super-powered clones (or "I-Jin") of famous historical figures. The I-Jin, led by a clone of Ikkyu Soujun, are trying to steal the sheet music in Yomiko's book to reconstruct Ludwig van Beethoven's supposedly lost "Death Symphony," which causes anyone who hears it to commit suicide. The symphony figures in a plot to eliminate most of humankind, which Ikkyu sees as foolish, selfish and generally unworthy of life.

The Library team discovers that the I-Jin have built a rocket which, when launched, will play the supposed "Death Symphony" over worldwide radio frequencies. A fleet of US Navy ships are ordered to destroy the base, which is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but the warships are sunk by the base's weapons. Nancy is revealed to be a double agent, and escapes to the I-Jin Base. Yomiko becomes bent on finding her, even though she turned on the Library Team, but she is taken hostage herself by none other than Nancy, revealing that she is an I-Jin clone of Mata Hari. Yomiko is imprisoned in a machine room within the I-Jin base, but when Ikkyu asks her to join the I-Jin, she refuses. Ikkyu reveals his plans to Yomiko, and then seemingly kills Nancy before her eyes. As Yomiko watches in horror, another Nancy steps out of the shadows and kisses Ikkyu passionately. The lovers depart, leaving Yomiko to die in the rapidly flooding room.

As Yomiko struggles to free herself from Ikkyu's trap and Drake battles the I-Jin versions of Fabre and Hiraga, Ikkyu's Nancy is confronted by the Library's Nancy, who survived Ikkyu's attack. The clones fight each other, ending with one Nancy floating faceup in the water at the bottom of the launch platform. The rocket launches with Yomiko, Ikkyu and the surviving Nancy aboard. As Beethoven is about to play the Death Symphony, Ikkyu gloats over his Nancy's defeat of the Library's Nancy, but she suddenly turns on him and kills him. When he dies, she reveals that she was able to pose as her clone by switching her gun from her left hand to her right. Yomiko destroys the strings of the organ as British and American forces seize the I-Jin fortress. Yomiko plans to evacuate them both from the rocket using her book as a parachute, but at the last second Nancy does not jump, preferring to stay behind on the rocket (as she says to the dead Ikkyu, "You were a cold, heartless bastard... but even you don't deserve to die alone."). The OVA ends with Yomiko visiting Nancy's "little sister" in a secure nursing facility. She has lost most of her memory due to brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, and asks Yomiko to tell her about her "older sister."



R.O.D -THE TV

R.O.D -THE TV
TvSeries
General Information
Type Anime
Created by Koji Masunari
Years on Air 2003-2004
Episodes 26

Japanese Title: アール・オー・ディー ザ・ティーヴィー


Plot

The series begins in 2006, five years after the "I-Jin" incident detailed in the Read or Die OVA. Yomiko Readman (a.k.a. "The Paper", agent of British Library Task Force) has supposedly gone missing, and Nenene Sumiregawa, her former student and best friend, is still in Tokyo after her parents moved to the United States. Nenene has not written a book since Yomiko disappeared, as she has become lonely and frustrated that her sensei has never read her last book, and she feels she can't write again until she hears Yomiko's reaction to the book, so Nenene often disappears for long periods of time searching for Yomiko, and has been periodically doing so ever since her "disappearance".

During a trip to Hong Kong, Nenene meets the three sisters, Michelle, Maggie and Anita (from the Read or Dream manga), who are supposed to take care of her during her visit. However, the hotel at which Nenene is supposed to stay at is bombed, and at a press conference Nenene is briefly held hostage by a jealous rival in her industry. The three sisters end up becoming her bodyguards and join her back to Tokyo.

Each sister has paper manipulation skills similar to Yomiko, although less powerful and more focused in scope. After the initial action-filled adventure, the first several episodes take on the feel of an odd-couple comedy which focuses on tension between Nenene and the sisters, who move into her apartment and mooch off her, all while dealing with various crazies and psychos in their everyday lives. The sisters also perform odd jobs as agents of the Dokusensha (ostensibly a Chinese publishing company, but more like an Illuminati-type organization focusing on the collection of rare and powerful documents). This eventually puts them and Nenene in direct conflict with the British Library and the protagonists of Read of Die (Dokusensha is established as the British Library's rival in the Read or Die manga).

Events grow more serious as the series progresses as atrocities are committed by both sides, thrusting the main characters into the middle of a conflict between literary superpowers, the British Library and Dokusensha, who are both trying to collect ancient artifacts (books, of course) to control the entire world and even rewrite history. After a horrific collision between the two superpowers, Nenene and the Paper Sisters set out to find the missing Yomiko to learn the truth about the conflict and save the world from literary terrorism.


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