Read or Die OVA was a great time. While it wasn’t the best anime OVA ever made it still was one of the most enjoyable and fun anime OVAs I have ever seen from this medium. So when I decided to hold my out of print Read Or Die TV DVD UK boxset I was pretty cautious about because before I even watched it I asked people opinions about Read Or Die TV and what I got was pretty divided. On one camp you had people who absolutely loved it and they thought it was better than the OVA while the other camp didn’t like it all that much as it’s very inferior to the OVA that barely had any charm. So after reading people opinions of Read Or Die TV I decided to watch it. 26 episodes later and I safely say that Read Or Die TV is an amazing squeal as it everything that was great in the ova and made it better to a point where it became now one of my favourite anime squeals period.
Taking place 5 years after the five years after the “I-Jin” incident Yomiko Readman has supposedly gone missing. Nenene Sumiregawa, Yomiko former student and best friend hasn’t written a book ever since her disappearance. This has led to her becoming lonely and frustrated that her sensei (Yomiko) 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. During her trip in Hong Knog she meets the three paper sisters named Michelle, Maggie and Anita 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 and from there Nenene enlists their help in looking for her missing best friend Yomiko.
I really liked the story for Read or Die TV. Compared to the story in the OVA series where it was pretty meh the TV series is much stronger in the story department as it not only fixes many of the story issues that I had with the OVAs but it manages to make the story more intriguing to the viewer especially in the second half where the show starts to dive into pretty dark topics and themes which I won’t mention due to spoilers.
The show is once again is well paced as it keeps the viewer interested of what is happening whatever it’s a slice of life school stuff with Anita to the more serious action with Yumiko and the Paper Sisters. Speaking of the slice of life school stuff the first half of Read or Die was excellent because not only it well written as it but it does a great job at developing key characters like Anita.
The second half of Read or Die TV goes backs to it’s OVA roots where there is more action, however, the story is much better executed and intriguing this time around as it’s becomes far more complex and intriguing however I will admit there were certain moments in the show I was not a fan off because it seemed that the story tried to be more epic than it should be.
Overall despite that small nitpick I had with the second half the story of Read Or Die TV is great and well executed.
When it comes to the characters in Read Or Die I thought they were pretty great and fun for the most part.
Before I talk about the Paper Sisters am going to go the talk about other characters first because I have a quite a bit to say about them.
First, we have Nenene who is easily my favourite new character in the series. Despite her not having any power to speak off she’s doesn’t let anyone persuade her choices that she makes even if jealous writers threating her with bombs or agency trying to brainwash her amazing will is way too strong to be taken down because she simply never wants to give up being the person that she is. It is a very strong characteristic that I really adore especially for female chararters and it makes me sad that we don’t that strong characteristic all that much in modern anime. Outside of her strong will, she is a well-written chararter who gets a lot of chararter development thanks to Yumiko and The Paper Sisters. Overall amazing character and she’s was my main highlight for the series for me.
Yomiko is still great as ever and like with the OVA she is still an aboustly joy to watch.
The same can apply for the other returning characters from the OVA series
Finally, let’s talk about arguably the weakest characters in the show the Paper Sisters or more specifically Maggie and Michelle. I honestly thought they were pretty meh overall. Now aren’t bad characters by any means and they do have some great moments but as characters, they didn’t develop that much as characters. Not to mention at times they can be pretty annoying in some cases for me. However, I will give them this despite them not being as memorable compared to the others they chararter interactions were pretty well done and at times very funny.
They aren’t bad chararters but they were not all that memorable compared to the rest of the chararters especially Anita and Nenene.
Anita, on the other hand, is a great character and easily the most developed character from not only this series but the franchise as a whole. Sure she can be bratty at times but outside of her brattiness, she’s actually the best-written chararters even more than Yomiko. Her chararter development in the series was great and very impactful where not only her bonds very well with other chararters but she grows as a chararters. She is the second main highlight for Read or Die TV for me outside of Nenene’s strong will and I really love her as a character.
As for the rest of the characters, I thought they were pretty good and enjoyable for what they were.
Overall the chararters, for the most part, were awesome, likeable and well developed. It was easily the best thing about this series.
Visually Read or Die TV is pretty great. While it may not as amazing as the OVA series it’s still a one of the better-looking anime from the early 2000s. The characters designs are great and applying to the eye. The animation is smooth and constant. All the fight scenes in the show are very engaging to watch.
Overall the visuals of Read or Die were great.
Like with the OVA series the soundtrack is brilliant. The soundtrack still has that great James bond feel it and am glad they didn’t change the soundtrack at all. The one thing I really liked is how they carried over half of the music from the OVA to this series. When I heard that iconic Read or Die from the ova in this show it made me feel so nostalgic and hyped.
The opening theme while not as amazing as the ova is still a great opening theme that perfectly captures the tone and setting of the series.
The first ending theme Moments in the Sun by Kazami with Home Grown is an amazing ending theme that closes off each episode of the first half perfectly. Not to mention is very catchy.
The second ending theme is good but not as memorable as the first ending theme.
Now for sub vs dub
Like with the OVA series I only have seen dub version of Read or Die TV The dub for Read or Die TV is awesome as voice actors did an amazing job at portraying the respective character roles.
My favourite performances in the dub were Rachel Hirschfeld as Anita and Tricia Dickson as Nenene. Overall a fantastic English Dub that shouldn’t be missed.
I love Read or Die the TV. Yes, the show had it’s few shortcomings but those shortcomings did not completely ruin the experience as the show was an amazing and well-written ride from start to finish. The story was awesome and intriguing, the characters, for the most part, were excellent and well developed, the visuals while not as amazing as the OVA it was still great for what it was and the soundtrack is kickass.
Read or Die TV took everything that I loved about the OVA and expanded to new heights and because of that, I consider this show along with the ova series a hidden anime classic that I will forever love.
Final Score 9/10.