Read or Die is a three-episode OVA about the adventures of Yomiko Readman — an eccentric (and very cute) bibliomaniac, part-time substitute teacher, and super-powered agent for the British Library's secret intelligence division. Yomiko (code-named "The Paper" by the British Library) possesses what can best be called elemental paper powers, which allows her to manipulate paper in practically every way thinkable (e.g. she can stop bullets by holding a notecard in their path). She also has an insatiable addiction to reading, and she feeds it by spending thousands of dollars a week on books. Yomiko is an odd combination of giggling innocent schoolgirl-ish woman (one gets the distinct impression most of the time that her mental age and, er, general level of life experience are those of a twelve-year-old) and stone cold killer.Set in an alternate late 21st-century Earth with rare and mostly hidden superhumans, Read or Die tells of Yomiko's efforts along with a pair of compatriots to oppose a mysterious group of supervillains calling themselves "I-jin" ("Geniuses"). Strangely resembling notable figures from history, the I-jin want (among other things) a book once owned by Beethoven that Yomiko has recently purchased, within which lies the key to an evil plan with world-wide consequences. The result is a globe-trotting rollercoaster ride of action, friendship, betrayal, wild plot twists, and a small leavening of sly humor. Do not miss the highlight of the first episode, an aerial dogfight over the Manhattan skyline between a steam-powered glider and a giant paper airplane, punctuated by Yomiko's plaintive cries of "Please give me back my book!" There are other things not to miss, as well, but even mentioning them would be a spoiler!Originally a book series and then a manga. The OVA follows some of the characterization introduced in the first manga chapters, but then drastically becomes an Alternate Continuity.The first episode (made in the year 2000) clearly shows the World Trade Center in New York, with one scene actually set on the roof of one of the towers; those who have a sensitive disposition about the events of 9/11 may want to avoid it for that reason, but other than that, this is a must-have show. The show's superheroes are far more Western in concept than sentai — atypical for a Japanese production — but the writers and producers are clearly comfortable with the idiom and make it work very well.Read Or Die became quite popular, which led its creators to followed the OVA up with a 26-episode TV series titled ROD the TV (ROD TV or R.O.D. the TV Series in the West), which itself became quite popular. ROD The TV has a separate page; this page is for the OVA.A new manga series began in 2012; "R.O.D. Rehabilitation", set in a Darker and Edgier Alternate Universe, features a different Yomiko who lives in a world where the printed word has been declared obsolete and the few bibliophiles left in said world work to create a rebel city-state.There is a (unfortunately stalled) community project to translate the original novels here.Do Not Confuse With Mate or Die.
Read Or Die contains examples of the following tropes: