Geneon sent out the preview disc of R.O.D.
the TV a while back, it contained only the first episode. When
I reviewed it,
the main problem I had was that the single episode didn't give you enough
of the show to see where it was going. Happily, Geneon has now delivered
the full retail version of the first disc and the four episodes contained
on it prove that the show is more interesting than I originally thought.
This show starts six years after the OVA series
takes place, but none of the characters from that series appear in the
TV show, (in these first episodes at least,) so you won't be lost if you
haven't seen the earlier episodes. This DVD contains:
- As I wrote in my earlier review, Nenene Sumiregawa is a writer who has
written a series of popular books (or possibly one book… she refers to
her past writings in both the singular and plural forms) but has had a
sever case of writer's block for the past four years. She is traveling
to Hong Kong for a book signing and to promote a movie that is being made
out of one of her books. When she arrives, Nenene is taken to her hotel,
but as she arrives the top floor, where she was to be staying, blows up.
It seems that Nenene was the intended target, and the fact that her plane
was late was the only thing that saved her life. Instead of checking into
another hotel, Nenene's guide, Michele Chan, suggests that she stay with
her and her two sisters, older Maggie, and kid sister Anita. Nenene accepts
and finds out that in addition to being guides the girls also form the
"Three Sisters Detective Agency."
The next day at the signing, another attempt on
Nenene's life is made. This time the assassin, a disgruntled writer who
has a grudge against her for being so famous, shows himself and handcuffs
a bomb to Nenene's wrist. But the three sisters don't sit idly by; they
jump into action. It turns out that they are 'Paper Masters' able to manipulate
paper and use it for any purpose. They easily save Nenene with some flourishing
moves, and the grateful author thanks them before returning to her native
Japan. But everyone assumes that the attacker was working alone, and he
- The three sisters, having traveled to Japan with Nenene at the end of
the first episode, are hired by Nenene's editor be the author's bodyguards
for a while. They accept the job but need a place to stay.
Where better than with the woman they are supposed to be guarding?
So the ladies decide to move in, uninvited, with disastrous results.
Every time they try to do something nice for Nenene, it backfires horribly.
This was a pretty funny episode.
- Nenene goes out to meet her editor, and the sisters realize, too late,
that at least one of them should escort her. They start searching
for her when they run across an area of Tokyo that is heavily populated
by bookstores. The older two sisters are serious bibliophiles,
and are almost overwhelmed by the number to stores. While they go
shopping, Anita continues to track down Nenene. When she finds her, the
author is buying some books and takes them to a building that is literally
filled with publications. It turns out that this is the home of Nenene's
best friend, another avid bibliophile, who disappeared one day years ago.
Nenene's been looking for her ever since.
- Nenene desides that Anita needs to go to school. She's still young,
and noone wants the neighbors talking about a truant child, so she gets
enrolled against her wishes. Once there she makes some good friends
but rubs some of the kids the wrong way too. After school she and
a friend are in the library when a man comes in to look for a book.
He finds it, but is immediately shot. He gives the book to Anita
and tells her to hide it. Anita takes off, but now the assassin is
after her. But the killer didn't realize he was up against a Paper
This was a really good show. One thing I
liked about the series is that it isn't a super-hero show. The plots
don't rely on the Paper Master powers of the three sisters, aside from
the first episode. After that introductory show, they hardly use
or mention their abilities until the end of the four program.
This show also has a very good mix of genres.
There is a good amount of humor, some action, and very good dramatic moments
too. Then there is the mystery of Nenene's lost friend and the mysterious
assassin, which gives the show a larger story arc to hang the other elements
on. A well put together show that grows better with each episode.
This DVD has the original language track in stereo, and somewhat surprising
in 5.1 also. Ususally the Japanese track doesn't get the multi-track
treatment. There is also an English dub in 5.1. I viewed the
disc listening to both 5.1 soundtracks, and I had a slight preference for
the Japanese audio. The main thing I had against the English track
was that Anita, being a young girl, had a high-pitched voice that was whiney
and irritating. The other voices sounded appropriate though. On both
tracks, the rear channels were used to good effect, especially during the
rainstorm in the first episode. While the explosions were not terribly
forceful, they sounded adequate. This was a good sounding DVD.
Being a recent program, the video quality was for this episode was very
good. The full frame video had bright colors and excellent detail. You
could clearly see the steam rising from the morning coffee, and discern
the strands of hair trailing behind the women as they ran. There
was some aliasing in the picture, but not a significant amount. I
was very pleased with the way this show looked.
This DVD had a good amount of extras included. The first thing
I checked out after watching the shows was the commentary track to the
first episode. I usually don't like anime commentaries since the
people commenting usually don't have much to say. They often turn
into either a narration of the show or a party where a bunch of people
cut up and tell some lame jokes. This commentary is different.
The producers and script adapter talk about the show and actually give
some interesting information about the background and history of the show.
They talk about why the show is called R.O.D. the TV for example,
and not Read or Die after the series of novels, or Read or Dream
after the manga series that the show was adapted from. (In case you
are curious, the Japanese producers of the show didn't want to be tied
to either of the existing story lines, but they wanted the name recognition.
So they officially entitled this R.O.D. the TV.) This
is now my favorite commentary track done to an anime series. Producers
of other amine should take note.
There was also a nice image gallery with promotional art and the original
Japanese cover, the trailers to the next episodes, and previews to Texhnolyze,
and Gun Grave.
I found myself really getting into this show. Being a book lover
myself, I could sympathize with Michelle when she saw all the book stores
in Tokyo and suggested that "everyone have some free time....why don't
we meet back here in five hours?" The show has the right amount of
intrigue to make you want to see the next episode, and enough humor and
action to make waiting for the solution to the mysteries enjoyable.
This series looks like it's going to be a fun ride.