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Anime Recommendation of the Day: Read or Die (OVA)

August 27, 2015

yomiko_buys_books

Awhile ago, I wanted to do a post recommending anime to those who’ve never seen ’em before. But y’know… between laziness and a clouded mind, I couldn’t think up a whole list during that period and promptly dumped the idea. But while looking through a list of anime, I caught sight of a certain title and I’m reminded that THIS, above all other titles, is THE anime recommendation to someone who’s never seen anime before (granted, such people are in relative rare supply these days).

Natch, the title in question is the “Read or Die” OVA.

Before I get into ROD (OVA), let’s talk a bit about some of the criteria I use and why I wouldn’t recommend some shows even if I really love ’em. Like I said, this recommendation is for people who’ve never watched anime before, never gave it a chance or only seen a bit of “shounen crap” and assume that’s representative of the entire medium. Of course, a show I’d recommend would have to be entertaining and maybe even good, but it ought to have a wide appeal as well.

This is why I wouldn’t recommend say, Little Witch Academia, because as awesome as it is, I feel LWA is better for the more seasoned viewer who is TIRED of “DEEP” or gimmicky shows with complex plots and wants something more “pure” in their animation. I mean, go ahead and Google up some reviews of LWA or its sequel, LWA: Enchanted Parade. I assure you, you’ll find some where people criticize LWA for not having complex character development or having too simple a plot or something. Those people simply don’t “get” it and therefore, are not the “optimal” target audience.

Similarly, but on the other end of the spectrum, is Book of Bantorra. It’s pretty much one of my fave series but you’d have to have watched a lot of lackluster or sanitized anime to appreciate how “dirty” this show is.

So, let’s get right into Read or Die (OVA). The (OVA) part is important because there’s also a Read or Die TV series. It consisted of 26 episodes, it was fairly decent, even good, but also absolutely belongs in the “nothing special/magical” category. Besides, the OVA came first.

Released in 2001, RoD (OVA)’s a 3 episode series starring a character named Yomiko Readman, an agent for the British Library and features their efforts to uncover and stop the machinations of a group known as the “I-Jin”. I won’t spoil the plot beyond that in case you’ve genuinely never watched this show before. It’s not that it has a super complex plot but revealing more would require spoiling a few surprises.

Suffice it to say, ROD (OVA) is a fun romp that doesn’t need you to pretend you’re a snob nor are you required to dumb yourself down to enjoy it. It’s like LWA in that it’s a “pure” celebration of simply being an anime. And despite its age, it might even be more relevant today than it was back when it first released, simply because of what’s mainstream nowadays as of this writing.

Also, the soundtrack’s just amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

It’s available both subbed or dubbed. I saw a bit of the dubbed, it seemed okay but I prefer the subbed juuuuust a tad more because of the voice actress’ performance there. Here’s a link to the subbed version:

http://kissanime.com/G/927454?l=http%3a%2f%2fkissanime.com%2fAnime%2fR-O-D-OVA

The link above was generated via some referral thingy, ’cause, why not right? But you can just go straight to kissanime or torre… err, legally acquire it if you prefer.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kenshin permalink
    August 27, 2015 11:51 PM

    This was actually among the first dozen or so anime I ever saw and it’s still one of my all time favorites. Yomiko and Nancy are really great characters, and while the story isn’t overly complex the ending was very well done.

    It’s too bad about the TV series. I was really hyped when I found out it existed, and ended up being pretty disappointed.

    • August 27, 2015 11:55 PM

      Yeah. The TV series was… okay. It just didn’t have the magic… and it butchered some of the characters. To be fair, some of the ideas were in the manga, but just because something from a source material doesn’t mean it’s good. OVA is distilled goodness.

  2. August 30, 2015 7:25 AM

    I saw this a year or two ago and really enjoyed it. Gotta re-watch it sometime.

    I second your recommendation. It really is a great starter anime. With the superhero/espionage theme, characters from various backgrounds and wide range of settings it would feel somewhat familiar to Western audiences, so the cultural differences wouldn’t be quite as jarring. And it’s pretty much the proto-Darker than Black, so they could easily transition into that series afterwards. Like as a comparison point or something. “This RoD thing is great, but DTB is even better!”

    I was also disappointed to learn that they weren’t able to do this gem of an OVA justice with the TV series. I haven’t watched it myself, but pretty much everything I hear about it discourages me from doing that. I guess I’ll get around to it eventually.

    • August 30, 2015 9:01 AM

      I remember thinking the TV series was okay on its own merit. But if you’ve fallen in love with the characters in the OVA, it might disappoint you.

      In this day and age of superhero movies and heck, stuff like the new James Bonds or Kingsmen, ROD seems even more relevant now than back then. Back then, it had appeal because it tackled genres that were otherwise not really touched upon.

    • August 30, 2015 9:03 AM

      Oh, and you only recently saw it? Neat. Glad it holds up then. Hope others will give it a watch.

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