R.O.D Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 232
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0248-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

R.O.D Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     April 25, 2006
Release Date: March 01, 2006

R.O.D Vol.#01
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Writer: Kideyuki Kurata / Artist: Shutaro Yamada
Translated by:Steve Ballati
Adapted by:

What They Say
Not Your Average Bookworm
Yomiko Readman's love for literature goes far beyond any run-of-the-mill bookworm's! In fact, she has a supernatural ability to manipulate paper in the most amazing ways. From turning a tiny scrap into a lethal throwing dagger to making a single sheet hard enough to block bullets, she's only limited by her imagination. She uses her phenomenal power to seek out legendary books containing secret information that, in the wrong hands, could be dangerous. Backed by a Special Operations Division in England, Yomiko has her hands full battling evildoers, saving the world, and trying to find time to curl up with a good book.

Mr. Woo's Woes
Yomiko is called in to use her special talents to recover a rare book that was stolen from the library 20 years ago. Her commander, a mysterious gentleman simply known as "Joker," has set up a deal to buy the book from the very man who stole it--the slippery Mr. Woo. When accused of the crime, Woo retaliates by attacking Joker but finds himself foiled by the paper-wielding Yomiko. But he's a slippery fella and has a trick or two of his own up his sleeve. Will it be enough to defeat the likes of the determined Ms. Readman?

The Review
Viz uses the original Japanese cover for this volume with Yomiko wearing her glasses and trademark business dress suit with long coat, she is carrying a book in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. Since Yomiko can use the paper as an offensive or defensive weapon at a moments notice and of course she can never go very long without reading a book. This cover really captures her character. The overall print reproduction for this volume is very clean and crisp throughout the book, except for the second and third page before the Table of Contents. Page two is a picture of Nenene and Joker along with a few other secondary characters and the other page is a picture of Yomiko by herself. It looks like both pictures were originally in color and Viz's printing of them in black and white came out pretty dark, but other than this the rest of the book is very nicely done.

R.O.D. has received three different formats, which means Yomiko has been characterized by three different artists for each project; the OVA, graphic novel and novel. Therefore one of my favorite extras is a letter from the author of the graphic novel and a page with three pictures of Yomiko drawn by all three artists and lined up side-by-side so the reader can see how each artist has put his own personal touch on Yomiko's design. There is also a congratulations page with a picture of Yomiko and Nenene drawn by Taruka, the illustrator for the R.O.D. novel and lastly a page with six 'congratulatory postcards' drawn by staff members of the R.O.D. anime.

I have to admit that as a big fan of the OVA and TV series I was a little thrown off by Yamada's character design for Yomiko on the cover of volume one. But after reading a few pages of this book I was pulled right in and instantly became a fan of Yamada's designs and the energy his art displays. He demonstrates a great skill in depicting action scenes with a cinematic feel to them and does an excellent job shading his illustrations. R.O.D. has great backgrounds, beautiful women, and a lot of action, not to mention some fanservice when Yomiko does some cosplaying. I also can't forget to mention my enjoyment of the design for the very cute young, high-energy Nenene.

The translation reads well but there are a couple of speed bumps where a word of dialogue is missing and it forces me to question what I had just read and makes me reread it for verification. The SFX are translated and overlain. It seemed to really invade the art on many occasions, almost like the SFX was competing for space with the art in the panel. But without seeing an untranslated copy I can't say it is any fault of Viz, it is quite likely that Viz made the English translation overlay look very similar to the way the original Japanese SFX appeared.

Contents: (Caution ahead! Spoilers may jump out at anytime)
Yomiko Readman, everyone's favorite paper master bibliophile is back for new adventures and she's sexier than ever. In Yomiko's spare time she is a substitute teacher, but her official job is the 'The Paper', a special agent for the British Library Special Operations Division. She uses her skills as a paper master to control and manipulate paper into different shapes and has the ability to give the paper super strength and intense sharpness. This allows her to create weapons of any shape or use paper to create shields to protect her from everything like bullets to explosions. As The Paper, Yomiko's prowess allows her to complete assignments, like retrieving extremely rare books from criminals and the black market. It's important for the British Library to retrieve these books because they may contain powers or information that could be very dangerous if they were to fall into the wrong hands.

This volume opens with Yomiko helping her boss, Mr. Joker, execute a mission to retrieve a stolen rare book. During the mission we are quickly exposed to Yomiko's powers and shown why she has earned the codename The Paper. Once the job for the British Library is completed, Yomiko switches to her day job as a substitute teacher in Japan. It just so happens she's beginning a new job at the high school attended by the book writing phenom, Nenene Sumiregawa, who published her first book at 13. Yomiko is a huge fan and desperately wants Nenene's autograph, but their introduction becomes a wild ride when a crazed fan tries to kidnap Nenene. Yomiko is eventually able to steer Nenene to safety but only until the kidnappers heavy hitter Fire Inc., a voluptuous pyromaniac, appears. Fire Inc. seems delighted at the opportunity to face an opponent as powerful as Yomiko, especially when she believes her use of fire is invincible against Yomiko's paper weaponry.

Pyrotechnic paper flinging battles ensue as Yomiko tries to rescue Nenene from her insane kidnapper. Can paper really defeat fire? Will Yomiko ever get her autograph from Nenene? What does Nenene's kidnapper plan on doing with her? You're just going to have to read this exciting volume to find out.

For the R.O.D. graphic novel, artist Shutaro Yamada has designed Yomiko's character a bit more sexy. Yomiko still has the same paper manipulating powers and almost unhealthy love for books, but she's not as bedraggled as she often appeared in the OVA and her glasses have less of the solid frame, adding to her sexy librarian-look. However, she is around the same age in this volume as she was in the OVA storyline so the time frame for both media is comparable. I appreciate this comparison because I always wondered what happened during the time between the OVA and the TV series, as well as how Yomiko and Nenene first met. In fact, fans of the TV series should really like the graphic novels boisterous high school version of Nenene.

In addition, this book has a flash back of Yomiko's missing boyfriend Donnie, who was the British Library's paper master before Yomiko. Donnie's disappearance has always been a mystery and only briefly touched upon during the anime, but it looks like we may get to learn more about the kind of person he was and what happened to him in this manga series. Personally, I'm very curious to see what kind of man could tempt Yomiko away from books long enough for her to fall in love with something not made of papyrus.

I'm dying to get a look at the next volume and I can definitely recommend this title to any fans of the R.O.D. anime or anyone new to the R.O.D. universe, as long as they enjoy sexy girls and exciting action mixed with comedy.


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