Read Or Dream Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Matthew Alexander
Review Date: Monday, January 08, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2006



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Story by: Hideyuki Kurata / Art by: Ran Ayanaga
Translated by:JN Productions
Adapted by:

What They Say
Michelle is a romantic daydreamer and hardcore book collector. Maggie is a soft-spoken bookworm who always gets mistaken for a boy. Anita is an athletic tomboy who doesn't have time for reading. Together, they're the Paper Sisters, three very different siblings united by a strange power--the ability to control paper in any way they desire! And from their Hong Kong detective agency, they solve any and all cases involving books!

In this volume, the sisters check out books from a secret library, use the power of literature to save the planet from an alien attack, and finally organize their massive book collection. There's never a dull moment at Paper Sisters Detective Company!

The Review
Packaging:
All three Paper Sisters are on the front cover with a dark green background. The book's title and volume number centered at the top. Maggie and Michelle are holding books while Anita wields a sheet of paper. The back cover has a picture of Anita along with both a series and volume synopsis. The print quality for this book is great from start to finish, although the six or so color pages from the original release are not included with this VIZ release. Extras include an interview with Kurata, Ayanaga, and Shutaro Yamada, the artist from the R.O.D. manga series. There is also a bonus fantasy store with the Paper Sisters.

Artwork:
Ayanaga's art style is clean and playful, with very square and rather uninspired panel layout. There is a medium amount of background detail and the characters sometimes appear stiff. Character design should be familiar to anyone who watched the R.O.D. TV series, with the exception that Ayanaga uses less detail in the character's eyes. The artist does do a good job displaying each character's personality; Maggie's cool demeanor, Michelle's perkiness, and Anita's flash temper.

Text/SFX:
The text reads well, but there are places where a word is missing. Other than those problem spots, the read was quite enjoyable. The SFX are translated and overlain, so the original Japanese SFX are completely absent.

Contents: (Caution ahead! Spoilers may jump out at anytime)
Michelle, Maggie, and Anita are sisters with the ability to control paper, and together they have formed the Paper Sisters Detective Company. Their company stays in business by conducting translations, looking for rare books, and locating lost animals.

The chapters in this volume are good and not so good. In one enjoyable story, Anita meets a boy who needs help returning a book to the library for a dead friend. The problem is, this library doesn't exist. Anita hates books and thinks the idea is silly, but Maggie and Michelle agree to help the boy. In the process, the Paper Sisters discover a magical library that only appears once every ten years. While inside the library the boy and Anita discover the bond people can share by loving the same books. Will this soften Anita's aggression towards books?

In a rather bad story, Anita brings home an alien that wants to destroy the world. The Paper Sisters are no physical match for the alien. However, if they can give the alien a book that shows the good side of humanity, the alien will leave Earth alone. By this point you should be asking yourself where the hell this story came from. I felt it was incredibly out of place.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the emotional story where Maggie meets a little girl suffering from a rare disease. The disease has progressed long enough to cause the little girl to lose her sight, but with time, she will lose more motor skills before eventually dying. To keep the little girl from tearing up her books, Maggie agrees to keep the girl company by reading to her. Eventually the girl's mother tells Maggie that her daughter has a chance at survival if she goes through with a complicated surgery. Unfortunately, the little girl is so afraid of dying she refuses to consider the operation. Will Maggie be able to convince her new friend to bravely take her chances with the surgery?

Comments
More R.O.D. from Viz. This time, Kurata takes the reader back to the world of paper masters through the adventures of the Paper Sisters. This first volume is episodic and completely unrelated to the R.O.D. TV series, but it is too early to determine whether there will be an underlying story running through the next three volumes. However, I am disappointed with how little action and actual paper manipulation takes place in this volume. Overall, this volume was okay. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it, but I'm afraid fans of the R.O.D. TV series will mostly be disappointed with this first volume.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1-4215-0510-X
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left