R.O.D The TV is the sequel to the Read or DieOVA. This 26-episode series focuses on the Paper Sisters Maggie, Michelle and Anita, three young women who have paper-manipulation abilities. Although older sisters Maggie and Michelle are fanatical bibliophiles, Shorttank Anita paradoxically hates books. The three work together as detectives and independent agents in Hong Kong until the day Nenene Sumiregawa, an author who Maggie and Michelle are fans of, comes to the island for a book signing. The three are hired as her chaperones and drivers, but become her bodyguards as well when her life is threatened. After Nenene returns to Japan she enlists their help in looking for her missing friend Yomiko.The rather strange title of the show refers to its fusion of the Read or DieOVA and the cast from Read or Dream, a manga centered around three sisters with powers similar to Yomiko's. Adding to the confusion were both animated adaptations being somewhat different in tone from their respective manga. Regardless its proved to be an interesting blend of both series that worked out particularly well.The Read or Dream manga (which the Paper Sisters come from) is available in the States for the curious.Has a character sheet.
Alternate Continuity: The Read Or Die novels, the Read Or Die manga, the Read Or Dream manga and the TV adaption (consisting of the Read or DieOVA and this series) are all separate continuities, but borrow key concepts and characters from each other.
Brainwash Residue: Anita becomes a bookworm like her sisters after she gets a part of The Gentleman's memories. Take note, Anita used to hate books. But this may simply be her Papermaster nature finally overcoming her PTSD.
Darker and Edgier: The series is notably darker than both the over the top superheroics of the Read or Die manga, and the whimsical friendly nature of the Read or Dream manga. On the other hand, it's not half as bloody as the OVA, though it does do away with most of the 1960s spy gadgetry.
Determinator: Would you believe it's the villain this time? When Yomiko has him cornered, Joker makes a speech about how no matter what the heroes do, he or his survivors will pick up and begin their plan again, and that nothing they can do can crush the ideals they believe in. It's a downright inspiring speech, the type that normally gets reserved for the hero. It is also a pack of lies, he was informed minutes earlier by an underling that they could not try again if they failed. His response was simply "Well we better not fail then"
Michelle: "Ah! So cute! Hey, do you want to be my little sister?" Junior: "I'm... a boy..."
Egopolis: Britain (or at least the British Library) really thinks too highly of themselves in this universe. So much so that they revert everything back to a 19-century version of the world they ruled, when the British Empire was at its peak of power.
Expy: Alice Alice Arquet bears more than a passing resemblance to Lara Croft, both in terms of physical appearance and in terms of character backstories (Daughters of British aristocrats who indulge in adventure archaeology)
Face-Heel Turn: Joker, Wendy and the entire British Library (sans Yomiko and Nancy) undergo one in-between the OVA and the TV series.
Faceless Goons: Dokusensha operatives wears something that resembles Highly-Visible Ninja outfits, while British Library agents wears hats and sunglasses to cover their faces.
Intangible Man: Nancy has the ability to phase her body through just about anything: walls, doors, machinery — even flesh and blood. Junior also possesses this power until he phases through his own body to remove a homing device implanted in his chest cavity.
Instrumentality: The British Library's ultimate plan is to transmit the power of their god, the Gentleman, and rewrite the minds of everyone on Earth.
Kick the Dog: Joker kicks many many dogs over the course of the series, but it culminates with burning the photograph of Yomiko and Nenene that Yomiko's been pining over for the past five episodes. He then tells her she will be happier when she is brainwashed. Wendy, who goes from clumsy cutie in the OVA to a cold individual in the TV series, is even worse. Notable examples being burning books right in front of Yomiko, rubbing salt in Anita's emotional wounds after she thinks she lost her sisters, and telling Junior she never really cared about him outside of being a tool. Sunny Wong killing Alice Alice Arquet after she and Drake surrender is quite a blunt indication of the fact that the Dokusensha are not nice people.
Large Ham: Nishizone Natsume, who seems to take every possible opportunity to tell the world about her sister's novels.
Limp and Livid: Non-angry example when Maggie is forbidden from visiting bookstores when visiting a town full of them. Apparently it takes all she has to resist the lure.
Man Child: Michelle and Yomiko. Nancy too, though this has less to do about her personality quirks and more to do with brain damage and amnesia.
Meaningful Echo: In early episodes, Michelle only calls for a "Three Sisters Vote" so that she and like-minded Maggie can get their way instead of Anita. Halfway into the series, though, she calls for a vote on whether or not to risk their lives to rescue Nenene. This time it is unanimous.
Meganekko: Yomiko Readman is widely considered the Queen of All Meganekkos. Nenene Sumiregawa is not too bad herself, but has a completely different personality from the stereotype.
Mecha-Mooks: Some of the defenses in the Dokusensha base.
Nerds Are Sexy: And so is Yomiko. Michelle, Maggie and Nenene surely qualify too. ROD loves its nerds.
Nipple and Dimed: Archaeologist Alice Arquette also gets butt-arse-nekkid to get some artifact without getting her clothes wet.
No Koreans In Japan: "Mr. Kim" is a Korean name, but he looks and acts more stereotypically Chinese than Korean. It may well be a pseudonym especially since he seems to be involved on the shifty side of two very shifty organizations.
No Place for Me There: Joker and Wendy believe that they will be rewritten in a way that punishes them in the Gentleman's new world.
Odango Hair: When the girls change clothing, Anita has a Chinese-styled top plus this, despite having the shortest hair. Word of God is that those 'odango' are actually empty.
The Other Darrin: The TV series has an entirely different English dub cast than the OAV (save for Wendy Tomson/Tricia Dickson, who goes from playing Wendy in the OAV to Nenene in the TV series), which was not too jarring for the most part, except that Yomiko went from having a very American accent to having a very English accent (according to the DVD commentary, this is because the Japanese creators specifically asked Geneon to give Yomiko an English accent since she is supposed to be half-British).
Our Vampires Are Different: Dr. Weber. Really, though he certainly has all the appearances of a vampire, he does not seem to possess any kind of extraordinary abilities.
108: Room 108 in the Dokusensha base, where they conduct their brainwashing experiments.
Rubber Face: Michelle sometimes does this to herself (one cheek only) after being told off for doing something silly. Anita gets it a lot from various characters, and Yomiko says that getting Rubber Faced helps when she is anxious. She's genuinely surprised when it does not work that way on Anita.
Scary Shiny Glasses: Nenene gets these when she gets angry (i.e. quite often). Yomiko's glasses also go shiny a lot, but in her case it usually signifies emotional trauma.
Shout-Out: There's a few shout outs to Hong Kong action films in reference to the Paper Sisters: Anita, Maggie, and Michelle are named for the famous actresses Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung, and Michelle Yeoh (also known as Michelle Khan), who starred together in the Heroic Trio, a film about three superheroines from Hong Kong. They also name their white pigeon John Woo, in reference to the symbolic white doves that frequently appear in the director's films. Additionally for shout outs, the titles for the vast majority of the soundtrack are references to various works of literature, and a number of episodes are also named for famous stories:
"The Right Stuff"
"In a Grove" (Akutagawa's short story, the basis for the movie Rashomon)
Soul Jar: While The Gentleman's books don't strictly speaking contain his entire soul (his personality was simply too vast to be contained), they still contain vital pieces of it.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Action cliffhangers with the girls in peril, leading into the rather chipper end theme.
Steam Punk: Much of the British Library. They appear to use 19th-century era cell phones (probably just retro-style modern technology).
The Stinger: At the very end of the series, we again see the statue of Mary and Jesus in the church where the sisters met. It has their initials carved into it: "MAM". Which means no matter how much of their memories were written by Dokusensha, that part actually happened.
Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted. When Anita comes to rescue Nenene from the Dokusensha, the two of them spend some time talking. In the meanwhile, Lee takes the opportunity to pick up his gun and sneak up behind Anita. Fortunately, this is when he chooses to do a Heel-Face Turn.
Technical Pacifist: In series — all of them, even the most of antagonists. Not quite so in OVA.
Villains Never Lie: Joker averts with this one. We see a scene where a flunky tells him that they only have one chance to make their plan work. A few minutes later, he is straight-facedly telling the heroes that even if they were to somehow fail today, they would just redo everything tomorrow, and the day after that, etc.
Waif-Fu: Anita is very strong, capable of stunning a "vampire" by throwing a book into his face and breaking his nose from 20 feet away without using her paper powers. She can knock out grown men three times her size; and her fighting style was developed by animators via "observing monkeys and the Chinese Royal Acrobats."
Was It All a Lie?: When Nenene asks Lee whether he really did want to read her new book. He says that it was a lie, but later admits that it was not.
Weaksauce Weakness: One of the only specific weaknesses between true Paper Masters like Yomiko and Paper Users like the sisters is the latter makes objects that fall apart if they are damp or disrupted by sound waves. Except when they do not...
It could be that they can make paper resistant to such if they create their constructs expecting them to be exposed to fire, sound or water. That would explain how the sisters could make a boat out of paper that doesn't immediately fall apart when in other situations their paper stops working when suddenly soaked.
Younger Than They Look: Junior. Chronologically, he is only 6 years old, but due to accelerated aging, he appears to be about 12. This is probably also technically true for his I-Jin mother Nancy.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Wham Episode (see below) begins as a fairly formulaic episode about Anita saying goodbye to her friends before she moves back to Hong Kong, culminating in a sweet moment between herself and Hisa. Time for the credits, right? Right?