Characters from the Read or Die
Voiced by: Rieko Miura (JP), Kimberly Yates (EN, OVA), Helena Taylor (EN, ROD the TV)
Yomiko, codenamed "The Paper" by the British Library, is a half-Japanese and half-British bookworm and able to telekinetically manipulate paper objects into many useful products.Appears in
: all incarnationsnote
Tropes associated with Yomiko:
- Accent Adaptation: A rather strange variant in the dub. In the OVA, she speaks in a regular tone with no accent despite being British. In the TV series, this was rectified and she suddenly gains one. Can be rather jarring for anyone who watches both dubs back to back.
- All Loving Heroine
- Badass Adorable: "Please give me my book back."
- Badass Bookworm: Again, "Please give me my book back."
- Badass Longcoat: She wears a large overcoat whose pockets are stuffed full of assorted reading materials. It looks harmless at first glance, until you remember that her abilities as a Paper Master make it the equivalent of Neo's trenchcoat full of guns.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Off work, a nice teacher with a love of books. On the job, one of the more deadly agents around.
- And God help you and all your kin should you manage to genuinely enrage her.
- Blush Sticker
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's extremely eccentric but her quirks are tolerated because of her undeniable talent.
- Buxom Is Better: One the students on Yomiko's class noticed (manga). And Nenene, too (manga). Her measurements are 86-59-87 (34-23-34 in inches).
- Christmas Cake: She's 25 in the OVA, 30 by the time of ROD the TV.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Not as bad as Wendy though she can be distracted easily.
- Dork Knight
- Fantastic Arousal: She gets sexually aroused by especially rare and valuable books (she reads, touches and even smells them to get a full experience).
- Hot Librarian
- I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: The reaction she usually provokes in fans of both sexes.
- Limited Wardrobe: More than any of the other characters. Apparently always wears the same blouse, vest, skirt, and baggy, pocket-lined trench coat, even to sleep.
- Meganekko: Considered in some corners to be Queen of the Meganekko.
- Nerds Are Sexy
- Nice Girl
- Paper Master: The Trope Namer.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When she found out, that the British Library took away the baby of Nancy and made a modified clone-minion from of her dead lover, she torched the British Library, SHE, WHO LOVES BOOKS TO A SEXUAL DEGREE!! (OVA)
- Red Baron: Codename: The Paper. Gee, British Library didn't put much thought into this one, did they?
- Wide-Eyed Idealist
Nancy is an agent for the British Library who works alongside Yomiko. She possesses the ability to phase through solid objects at will. She is also an I-Jin, a clone of historical superspy Mata Hari.Appears in:
OVA, TV series.
Tropes associated with Nancy:
- Action Mom: Mother to Junior in the TV series. However, the British Library took him away from her.
- Cultural Translation: In the original Japanese, she complains she doesn't like her codename because it isn't cute. In the dub, she complains she doesn't like her codename because it makes her sound like a porn star.
- Cloning Blues
- Intangible Woman: Her superpower.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The second clone of her develops this and ironically forms an attachment to Yomiko just as the first did.
- Mirror Match: Fights the "evil" clone of her in the OVA.
- The Mole
- Red Baron: Codename: Miss Deep (which she doesn't care for as she feels it sounds like a Stripper's name).
- Redemption Equals Death: The first Nancy stays behind on the rocket with Ikkyu both as penance to her deception to Yomiko and to be with her lover (despite all the crap he did). The Nancy seen at the end of the OVA and TV Series is the second clone that tried to kill her.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ikkyu clones another Nancy and tries to kill the original when he realizes she developed an attachment to Yomiko.
Voiced by: Masami Iwasaki (JP), Lee Everest (EN, TV)
Drake is an American soldier assigned to work with Yomiko and Nancy. Unlike those two, however, he has no special powers, instead relying on his weapons training to see him through tough situations. Little is known about him outside of his line of work, other than the fact that he has a young daughter named Maggie (no relation to Maggie Mui).Appears in:
OVA, TV series
- Badass Normal: He's fought Paper Masters and lived to tell the tale.
- Born Unlucky: According to himself.
- Combat Pragmatist: A big part of his Badass Normal-itude.
- Consummate Professional
- Eagle Land: Flavour 1 - He's gruff and unapproachable, but he's loyal to a fault, and a thoroughly decent human being underneath it all.
- Good Is Not Nice: He's a very scary man if you don't know him. If you do you know he's really just a big grouchy teddy-bear.
- Papa Wolf: A family man, loves his daughter. She his reason for helping Yomiko against Joker in the TV series.
- Phenotype Stereotype: Blonde, blue-eyed, built like a slab of pure muscle.
- Unfazed Everyman: The only operative who doesn't have any powers and bemoans the fact he has to work with and against those that do.
Joseph Carpenter (Joker)
Joseph Carpenter (a.k.a. "Joker") is Yomiko and Nancy's boss, and head of the British Library Special Operations Division.Appears in:
OVA, Read or Die
manga, TV series
Voiced by: Mika Sakenobe (JP), Siobhan Flynn (EN, TV)
Wendy is Joker's young assistant. Originally doing secretarial work for him, she later moves up to his right-hand woman during the events of the TV series.Appears in:
' OVA, Read or Die
manga, TV series
The Paper Sisters (Michelle Cheung/Chan, Maggie Mui, and Anita King)
Voiced by (Anita): Chiwa Saito (JP), Rachel Hirschfield (EN)
Voiced by (Michelle): Shoko Kikuchi (JP), Hunter Mackenzie Austin (EN)
Voiced by (Maggie): Hiromi Hirata (JP), Sarah Lahti (EN)
A trio of siblings from Hong Kong who, like Yomiko, are Paper Masters. Anita, the youngest one, does not possess the same love of books that Michelle and Maggie do. In fact, she hates them.Appear in: Read or Dream
manga, TV series
- Badass Bookworm: Michelle and Maggie.
- Book Burning: Anita's first memory and childhood trauma seems to be in some way connected with book burning, creating unconsciously a dislike to books. It's reveled later that it's the British Library burning as she happened to be there when it happened which traumatized her. However it turns out Dokusensha messing with her DNA had more of a hand in her dislike of books, the book burning incident just happened to be a stroke of bad timing. By the end of the series, she eventually overcome this and became a bibliophile like her sisters.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Anita.
- Buxom Is Better: Maggie about Michelle's "knockers" in a weird-ass magic book-induced fit of madness.
- The Ditz: Michelle.
- Fight Off the Kryptonite: They use some giant sheets of paper to disrupt incapacitating sound waves, allowing them to snipe the guy controlling them.
- Flipping the Bird: Nenene told them all to be quiet and not disturb her work and hinted at the alternative with a thumb-slashes-the-throat gesture. Anita told her to fuck herself with the middle finger, but was pinnned down by Michelle, so that Anita wouldn't provoke Nenene any longer.
- Lethal Chef: Michelle, off-screen, according to the other three sisters.
- Marshmallow Hell: Anita was once introduced to a faceful of Michelle's rather big "marshmallows", after they heard a horror story about a vengeful spirit, that drowned someone's third child.
- Maggie dived into Anita's currently non-existing "marshmallows" after hearing a horror story about a kid going missing in a print shop, dying there and coming back as a ghost a the comic book.
- Misblamed: When the truth comes out about the Library incident, Anita blames Yomiko for her trauma. But as she learns more about her origins, she does come to realize that Dokusensha and the British Library is more at fault for her condition.
- Paper Master
- Perpetual Poverty: The three are always in the red as Michelle and Maggie tend to buy more books then provisions. Anita has to constantly reign them back so they won't be completely broke.
- Personality Powers: Despite all three sisters using paper, each uses a preferred combat for it. Anita mostly fashions her papers into handheld weapons for close range combat. Michelle is mostly a longer range fighter fashioning her papers into a bow and arrow. And Maggie turns her paper into animal familiars, a mixture of both long and short range combat.
- Anita is considered the Attacker, Maggie the Defender, and Michelle as the Support. Likewise, Anita is argumentative and attacks everyone, Maggie is withdrawn and defensive, and Michelle is nurturing and supportive.
- Pretty Freeloaders: In Nenene's apartment.
- Pretty in Mink: Michelle sometimes wears a fur-trimmed coat in winter.
- Self-Harm: A very harmless one: If Michelle makes a mistake, she gives herself a slight pinch in the cheek.
- Symbol Swearing: Anita does this, when an visitor of her Lost Books Service opens a door against her face.
- Talking in Your Sleep: Michelle doesn't exactly talk in her sleep, but makes meows in her sleep (and some indeterminate babbling in the Japanese original).
- The Quiet One: Maggie.
- Secret Project Refugee Family: In the TV series they're experimental by products part of Dokusensha to create their own paper masters.
- Shorttank: Anita. She's not very sensitive about her height, but she does have a shorter fuse than Michelle and Maggie.
- Shout-Out Theme Naming: Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh and Anita Mui starred in the Hong Kong action film Heroic Trio.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Anita loves her milk (probably, cause she wants Michelle's bust size).
- Weaksauce Weakness: They can't control wet paper, so the bad guys often neutralize them with glorified squirt guns.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Anita despite being the youngest is probably the most mature of the three. Having to keep the other two from blowing their budget on books.
Nenene is a young, world-renowned author under the protection of the Paper Masters (Yomiko in the manga series, and then Michelle, Maggie and Anita in the TV series).Appears in: Read or Die
manga, TV series
- Badass Normal: Her older version in the TV series is hardly afraid of anything and she won't let anyone talk down to her.
- Chekhov's Gun: Her novel which she has been writing through the series. Also counts as a Shaggy Dog Story as at the beginning she's been suffering writer's block but slowly managed to make the novel over time.
- Damsel in Distress: Kidnapped three times in the TV series (once at the beginning of the series by deranged fans, again by Dokushensha and again by British Library)
- Meganekko: She keeps and wears a pair of Yomiko's glasses as a memento.
- Most Writers Are Writers
- Older and Wiser: TV series.
- Sacred First Kiss: Averted. In the manga she gives her first kiss (rather forcefully) to a surprised Yomiko (who she didn't even know at that point) because she needed some inspiration for a love scene she was writing. Compared to finishing the book, her first kiss wasn't that important to her.
- Teen Genius: Manga
Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga (JP), Jessica D. Stone (EN)
Junior (sometimes known as "Agent J") is a kid agent of the British Library sent to retrieve books for Joker
. He is the son of Nancy and Ikkyu from the OVA, and contains the same "phasing" abilities as his mother.Appears in:
Linho first appeared as Nenene's fan and public promoter, he turns out to be a Dokushensha agent who want to make use of Nenene's writings
. Though he didn't lie when he said he liked her work.Appears in:
- Eyes Always Shut
- Redemption Equals Death: He chose to distract the Dokushensha in their Collapsing Lair to let Nenene and others escape.
- The Mole
- Smoking Is Cool: Subverted in his case, he's actually trying to quit and is seen biting on a pen to cope. Ironically enough Nenene had brought him a new lighter as a birthday present by this point.
- One Last Smoke: After his true nature is reveal but he helps save Nenene and get mortally wounded. He spends his last moment smoking a cigerette.
A pigeon that delivers the Paper Sisters their missions Later revealed to be Lee's pet. After he dies, he starts following around the sisters.
Appears in: TV series
Voiced by: Taeko Kawata (JP), Megan Harvey (EN)
Hisami is a soft-spoken elementary school student and book lover, and one of Anita's classmates and closest friends.Appears in: Read or Dream
manga, TV series
Voiced by: Yukari Tamura (JP), J-Ray Hochfield (EN)
Another of Anita's classmate. She has an elder sister, Haruhi who she likes to brags about and likes to offer her sister's books for free in her class.Appears in:
- Alpha Bitch: Can really be mean...
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes
- Genre Savvy
- Large Ham: She really goes OTT when talking about her big sister's novels
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure sounds like an annoying class bully at first, but she just want to become friends with Anita, and she really didn't mind when Anita accidentally knocked her out over the head with a ball during a volleyball game.
Voiced by: Reiko Takagi (JP), Steven Bendik (EN)
A boy from Anita's class, he often argues with her and appears to have some feelings for Hisami.Appears in: Read or Dream
manga, TV series
A Dokushensha agent who often seen followed by Sonny. He gives the paper sisters missions from the Dokushensha.Appears in:
A Dokushensha agent usually escorting Mr Kim and handing the payment to the paper sisters. Quoted to be the most powerful paper master seen by Nenene.Appears in:
Founder of the British Library, a reality warper of enormous power.Appears in:
- Department of Redundancy Department: He's often referred to as "Mister Gentleman."
- Death Seeker: Possibly, considering Joker was using him as an excuse for his plans. When some of Junior's power is put in him, Junior tells Joker "he [Gentleman] want him to have something" and shocked him with some kind of power which left Joker catatonic for the reminder of the finale.
- The Man Behind the Man: Throughout history.
- Pieces of God: His body was divided into 5 books.
- Reality Warper
Yomiko's lover and mentor, and previous holder of the codename "The Paper"
- Posthumous Character: Already dead by the start of all the adaptations, but is an important part of Yomiko's backstory in the novels and manga.