R.O.D Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 8.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0257-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

R.O.D Vol. #02

By Matthew Alexander     May 18, 2006
Release Date: May 16, 2006

R.O.D Vol.#02
© 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.

Ancient Chinese Secrets ¨ ¨

Yomiko's shopping trip to the London Book Fair is cut short by a mysterious note she receives from Donnie Nakajima, her former boyfriend and the paper-master who preceded her. Then, her next assignment takes her to the Manshu Academy to find an underground library that contains the ancient wisdom of Chinese masters. But strange things are afoot! Can Yomiko find the hidden library and fulfill her mission? And are commander Joker's intentions not what they seem?

The Review
Viz continues to make use of the original cover for this volume. Yomiko is standing in front of a gigantic book wearing her trademark apparel. The only thing I can't quite figure out is what she's doing with her right arm, which is bent at a rather strange angle. The title is the same except of the color of the 'Keep Out' tape criss-crossing the picture, which is red on the cover of volume one and yellow on the cover of volume two. The overall print reproduction remains strong for this series with well-aligned panels and dialogue, as well as solid blacks. Since there were a lot of pages with solid black gutters and panels shaded almost entirely black, this helped tremendously.

Extras included a picture of Yomiko and Nenene reading a book, a Table of Contents, a short out of context story about Yomiko and a little girl, and a Q&A session with the creators of the R.O.D. OVA.

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 receives a strange letter from her old boyfriend Donnie, asking her to accept a mission the British Library will soon be assigning her. Donnie is the last person she expects to hear from but then Joker orders her on a mission that corresponds to the information in Donnies letter. Yomiko's mission is to infiltrate an elite, secluded Manshu Academy, and locate the secret library somewhere on campus.

Once Yomiko reaches the academy she finds herself at odds with half the student body and all of the school's administrators. The school is divided into A-level and B-level students. Aside from better classrooms, the A-level students have a variety of special powers including the ability to manipulate cloth as a weapon. Why is the faculty encouraging the separation of the two different levels of students and aggravating the situation by pitting them against one another?

But before Yomiko can try and make any headway on her mission, or promote peace among the students, Donnie appears out of nowhere and throws her emotions into disarray. Even though Yomiko has had some time to think about what she will do when she meets her old boyfriend again, she seems unable to keep control of her feelings and her responsibilities. To make matters worse for Yomiko, she finds herself questioning everything in her life after Donnie reveals what he believes is the true intentions of the British Library. It seems like everything from Donnie, to the British Library, to her responsibilities as a teacher might be too much for Yomiko to deal with as the story seems to spiral down a darker path.

Is Donnie here to rekindle his love with Yomiko, or is he going to use her to get something he wants? Are his accusations about the British Library true? Who should Yomiko believe?

After the first volume I expected R.O.D. would be a light-hearted adventure series but by the end of volume two, there seems to be a darker side rearing its' head. The way this volume ended and the flashback of what caused Donnie's disappearance was unexpected. Personally, I wanted more explanation of the Donnie situation mostly because the way it was depicted left me wondering why and how it actually happened. Another thing that did not sit well with me was the way some events just happened with little or no explanation.

While I was a little disappointed with parts of this volume, I'm still enjoying the art and curious to see where the story is going. I just hope the storytelling of events and situations tightens up a bit.


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