Read Or Die TV Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Read Or Die / R.O.D.

Read Or Die TV Vol. #6

By Bryan Morton     July 11, 2006
Release Date: June 19, 2006

Read Or Die TV Vol. #6
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Twisted Fate! A devastated Anita returns to her school seeking consolation and help from old friends, but Mr Carpenter's impact upon the world has left scars that will haunt Anita forever. With no place to turn to, Anita makes a pact with The Paper to stop Mr Carpenter and save what's left of her life - a life that he seems to know better than she does!

Episodes Comprise
21 - DOD - Dream or Die
22 - Seize
23 - Lie to Me

The Review!
No rowing of boats, but it does appear that life is just a dream for Maggie, Michelle and Anita " at least according to Mr Carpenter, who may be down but certainly isn't out in this latest instalment of ROD the TV.

Audio is provided in three versions - 5.1 and 2.0 Japanese language tracks, and a 5.1 English track. I listened primarily to the Japanese 5.1 track. Audio is extremely clear and makes a lot of use of the front channels to provide depth and direction to both dialog and effects. Music comes across particularly well, although the rear channels don't get as much use as they could have. There were no obvious audio glitches.

Presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame format, the video continues to be of very high quality. Great use is made of backgrounds and vibrant colours to produce a disc that just looks great. Subtitles use a yellow-on-black font and are clear and readable. Two tracks are provided - one full translation, and a songs & signs track for dub watchers. There were no apparent problems either with the transfer or the subtitles.

No packaging was provided with our review copy.

The main menu is a simple static screen, as before using an open book as its main theme. Yomiko features on one 'page', while the other page has options for Play, Episodes, Extras and Setup. The show's theme tune plays throughout. The Episode menu has a static screenshot for each episode (there's no option to select individual scenes), the Setup menu is plain text against a line-art background, while the book theme continues onto the Extras menu, which features a line-art image of Yomiko.

Along with the usual clean closing credits, art gallery and promotional spots, there's another episode commentary, this time for episode 21, from ADR director Taliesin Jaffe and some of the English voice actors.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
It's back to school for Anita, and making friends all over again " not only do some of her old classmates not seem to recognise her, some of them are noticeably different from how they were before Carpenter's plan was put into action. She's also back to living in Nenene's apartment, although with her and her sisters missing presumed dead, it's a lonely existence - and one that's not entirely what it appears, as she finds out when Wendy pays her a visit. Things aren't going much better for Yomiko, who's haunting the alleyways of Jinbo-cho. After following a familiar cat she finds the owner of one of her favourite bookstores, living in the sewers with what's left of his stock. He has a simple request: take back Jinbo-cho from Carpenter's men. That's easier said than done - to do it, she'll need help from the one person who really doesn't want to see her: Anita.

Anita's high-school days were almost the highlight of the earlier part of the series, but this time around while on the surface things are normal, there's a definite feeling that something's not quite right. That's pretty much the feeling Anita has herself, but it's only when Wendy appears and offers an explanation that it becomes clear what's going on, and to what level the British Library seems to be able to manipulate people. For Anita, this episode provides a chance for her to opt out of the battle and go back to what could be a happier life, but she's not prepared to let Wendy & Carpenter have their own way. For Yomiko, the decision to go up against the Library again seems much simpler " there's no way she would ever allow her beloved bookstores to become a thing of the past " but the process of both girls realising what's going on and deciding separately that they can't sit by and let it happen is in some ways quite emotional, even if it's no real surprise.

While Anita and Yomiko are putting their differences to one side, Drake, Junior, Michelle and Nancy are holed up in a run-down cottage, unaware that Carpenter's forces are aware of their location and are on their way. Drake's suspicious of Junior, Junior's acting strangely, Nancy's wishing none of this was happening to her, so the cottage isn't exactly a happy place to be - but no sooner does the US military arrive than Yomiko and Anita arrive with a high-value hostage, hoping to buy them some time. Unfortunately, that gives the ever-resourceful Wendy time to plan a counterattack, and more than one person can play the hostage game

While Wendy's working on her hostage release plan, the gang end up besieged in the cottage, and with nothing better to do there's plenty of time for talking and revelations " particularly about Paper Masters, their origins, and how Michelle, Maggie and Anita came to be a "family". The backstory of those three was always a little suspect " if Paper Masters were such a rarity, what would the chances be of three of them coming together purely by chance? " so the steady string of "earth-shattering" revelations about them that come throughout episode 23 isn't as surprising as it's perhaps intended to be. I also didn't think that the girls' reactions to what they'd learnt about themselves was "right" " Anita in particular reacts badly to what she hears, but I couldn't help but think that if they never knew the details of each other's pasts anyway and had no say in what had happened to them, then what difference would it make to learn of them now? Or perhaps I'm suffering from being an insensitive male.

By then end of the volume, Yomiko and the others are in an even worse position than they were at the beginning, which is quite an achievement, while Carpenter has further consolidated his control of events and is moving his plan on to the next stage, and it's difficult to see how the good guys will be able to turn things around. If there's one thing ROD has proven itself good at, though, it's being surprising.

In Summary:
This volume serves up some good dramatic moments and more than a few dilemmas for the main characters to deal with, while keeping the revelations about past events and future plans coming. There's definitely no question that it's compelling viewing, but in some places peoples' reactions to those revelations didn't quite feel right to me, and that does spoil the impact a little. Overall, though, ROD the TV continues to be a series that I'd definitely recommend seeing.

Japanese Language 5.1 & 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Japanese Previews 21-23,Episode 21 Commentary

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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