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Case Number 05859: Small Claims Court

Buy R.O.D. The TV, Volumes Two And Three at Amazon

R.O.D. The TV, Volumes Two And Three

R.O.D. The TV: The Undercover Student (Volume 2)
2003 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
R.O.D. The TV: The Past (Volume 3)
2003 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Released by Geneon
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky (Retired) // December 23rd, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Mike Pinsky wishes his students were as avid readers as the Paper Sisters are. The giggling and the superpowers, though, he could do without.

The Charge

"Nothing good comes out of reading books."—Anita

The Case

There are so many anime series that never live up to their potential. A show might have a strong premise, or interesting characters, or even (most rarely) both, but after a great opening, it plods along for episode after episode, looking to stretch out to that standard 26, before finally wrapping things up, probably in an overblown two-parter. The truth is, that when I set out to follow the adventures of the Paper Sisters, having enjoyed both the original Read or Die OAV series and the first volume of R.O.D. the TV, I expected the show to run out of steam quickly. I thought to myself that creator Hideyuki Kurata's admission that the television series was inspired by McG's less-than-inspired, ADHD-influenced Charlie's Angels movies did not bode well for such a playfully literate premise. Would a series so devoted to the magic of books end up wallowing in cheesecake and silliness?

Volumes Two and Three of R.O.D. the TV provide a forceful answer. As we pick up from Volume One, novelist Nenene Sumiregawa struggles with her writer's block, while the Paper Sisters—Maggie, Michelle, and Anita—track down rare books for the enigmatic Dokusensha group and its sinister flunkies. In Episode Five, Romania provides the backdrop for a battle against a Bond-type villain with a dangerous acoustic weapon. In Episode Seven, the sisters get trapped in a noir nightmare where Michelle disappears and Maggie is arrested for murder. The remaining episodes focus on Anita's adventures in school, as she makes new friends. While these episodes look like padding, they turn out to be crucial to the intertwining subplots of the show, as we discover multiple teams of adversaries vying for the same collection of lost books.

Volume Three (titled "The Past") finally starts to pull the threads of Read or Die and R.O.D. the TV together. The mystery of Yomiko Readman's disappearance four years ago turns out to be crucial to the larger story arc of the series. Why is Yomiko's former teammate Drake working against Dokusensha in the hunt for the Book of Forlorn Love? And whose side is Junior really on?

If you have been waiting all this time for the real fireworks, your patience will be rewarded in this third volume. Budget considerations forced Aniplex, the production company behind the series, to pace out the action sequences with character building episodes. But when there is action, as in Episodes Nine and Twelve, it comes with plenty of suspense and manages to advance the increasingly intricate plot.

In between the battles, we get a very sentimental Christmas episode detailing how the three unrelated Paper Sisters met (pay attention, since this story provides pivotal clues for later revelations in the series), followed by an even more sentimental episode in which the sisters prepare to move back to Hong Kong and Anita must say goodbye to her best friend. The show always thrives on strong character interaction, especially between the Paper Sisters, and while we still know little of the ultimate motives of the villains, the brooding Junior promises to develop into quite an interesting character of his own. Who knows how long anybody will be around, however, since Episode Twelve offers a stunning doublecross that turns the show in an entirely new direction.

Each volume of R.O.D. the TV includes a commentary track for one episode on that disc. The track for Volume Two (played over Episode Five) features voice director Taliesin Jaffe and the three actresses who play the Paper Sisters for the English dub (which like many Geneon productions is actually quite good). There is a lot of giggling and general silliness on this one. Producer Jonathan Klein joins Jaffe for Episode Twelve to discuss how the English translation process is handled. And in their case, that process is handled quite respectfully. Fortunately, the American production team benefited from close cooperation with the original Japanese crew.

Nearing its midpoint, R.O.D. the TV has established itself as an intelligently written and suspenseful series. The show seems to improve with each new volume, increasing in story complexity without sacrificing character development. If it all pays off in the end, R.O.D. the TV could be one of the more satisfying shows in recent years. So bring on more volumes, Geneon.

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Genre

• Anime

Scales of Justice, R.O.D. The TV: The Undercover Student (Volume 2)

Judgment: 89

Perp Profile, R.O.D. The TV: The Undercover Student (Volume 2)

Studio: Geneon
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, R.O.D. The TV: The Undercover Student (Volume 2)

• Audio Commentary Tracks Featuring the U.S. Production Team
• Episode Previews
• Art Gallery

Scales of Justice, R.O.D. The TV: The Past (Volume 3)

Judgment: 89

Perp Profile, R.O.D. The TV: The Past (Volume 3)

Studio: Geneon
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, R.O.D. The TV: The Past (Volume 3)

• Audio Commentary Tracks Featuring the U.S. Production Team
• Episode Previews
• Art Gallery

Accomplices

• None








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