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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » R.O.D. The TV Series - The Paper Sisters (Vol. 1)
R.O.D. The TV Series - The Paper Sisters (Vol. 1)
Geneon // Unrated // June 29, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted July 9, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Show:

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:

Episode 1 - 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 wasn't.

Episode 2 - 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.

Episode 3 - 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.

Episode 4 - 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 Master.

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.

The DVD:


Audio:

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.

Video:

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.

Extras:

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, Gad Guard, and Gun Grave.

Final Thoughts:

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.
 

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