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Characters / Read or Die

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Characters from the Read or Die anime/manga metaseries.

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Major Characters

     Yomiko Readman 

Voiced by: Rieko Miura (JP), Kimberly Yates (EN, OVA), Helena Taylor (EN, R.O.D 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.
  • Badass Bookworm: Her extraordinary power stems directly from her love of books.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: Harming books in any kind of fashion. It's enough to actually wield her powers much more focused.
  • 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.
  • Bookworm: The trope picture, even. If you haven't guessed she utterly loves books.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's extremely eccentric but her quirks are tolerated because of her undeniable talent.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Half-Japanese and half-British.
  • 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).
  • Cute Bookworm: Her outright giddiness over books qualifies her, and she spends thousands per week on books.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Not as bad as Wendy though she can be distracted easily.
  • Geeky Turn-On: She gets sexually aroused by especially rare and valuable books (she reads, touches and even smells them to get a full experience).
  • 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.

     Nancy Makuhari 

Voiced by: Michiko Neya (JP), Amanda Winn-Lee (EN, OVA), Carrie Savage (EN, TV series)
Nancy is an agent for the British Library who works alongside Yomiko. She possesses the ability to phase through solid objects at will.

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: She is an I-Jin, a clone of historical spy Mata Hari.
  • Intangibility: She has a special ability to pass through objects.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     Drake Anderson 

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: Manga, OVA, TV series

  • Badass Normal: He's fought Paper Masters and lived to tell the tale.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The guy doesn't skirt around in a fight. If he sees an opening, he'll take it and try to end the battle as soon as possible. Considering alot of his opponent are superhumans, it makes sense.
  • 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 is 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) 

Voiced by: Hozumi Goda (JP), JB Blanc (EN, TV), Crispin Freeman (EN, OVA)
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

  • Big Bad: Of the TV series and the manga
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: In episode 16 of the TV series, he pulls out a gold-plated handgun.
  • Evil Brit: British and later shown to be very despicable.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: On the outset, especially when in command of an operation. But truthfully he's nothing but a megalomaniac.
  • Smug Snake: The man just oozes smugness in every scene he's end.
  • The Starscream: In the manga, he was always scheming to usurp the Gentleman's position.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Between the OVA, where he's on the side of the good guys, and the TV series, the death of Gentleman shifts Joker into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, working toward what he sees as Gentleman's dream by means ranging from ethically dubious to outright evil. Then again the manga pretty much showed he was flat out evil to begin with. So this may not have come as a surprise.
  • Take Over the World: His ultimate goal in the TV Series is to have the British Library rule over the world. He claims this is the will of the Gentleman, but Junior last words to him indicate he was acting under his own devices.

     Wendy Earhart 

Voiced by: Mika Sakenobe (JP), Siobhan Flynn (EN, TV)
Wendy is Joker's young assistant.

Appears in: OVA, Read or Die manga, TV series

  • Cute Clumsy Girl: In spades in the OVA. She got rid of this persona though in the TV series.
  • Dark Action Girl: Becomes a rather effective agent in the TV series and later shoots Yomiko in the arm.

     The Paper Sisters
A trio of siblings from Hong Kong who, like Yomiko, are Paper Masters.

Appear in: Read or Dream manga, TV series

General tropes

  • Badass Bookworm: Michelle and Maggie are powerful Paper Masters and they love books. Anita, on the other hand...
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Michelle is the blonde, Maggie is the brunette and Anita is the redhead.
  • Dressed in Layers: More often then not, the clothes they wear are actually overlays made of paper. They do have skin tight body suits on under them. So they're not completely naked.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: They use some giant sheets of paper to disrupt incapacitating sound waves, allowing them to snipe the guy controlling them.
  • 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.
  • Not Blood Related: Despite their title, they're not biological sisters. They just met each other at an abandoned church one Christmas and, having no where else to go and no where to turn to, decided to become a family together.
  • Paper Master: It's in their title. All three are able to control paper, though are more specialized in their uses for them. (See Personality Powers).
  • 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: Practically, and rather rudely, forced their way into living in Nenene's apartment despite being given a spare one by Lee during their stay in Tokyo. Unlike most examples, Nenene put her foot down and nearly threw them out after a failed attempt at bribing her into letting them stay. But when she saw they had replaced her TV they broke, she relented, with some rules of course. Helps that the girls do at least try to pay their way.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: In the TV series they're experimental by products part of Dokusensha to create their own paper masters.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh and Anita Mui starred in the Hong Kong action film Heroic Trio.
  • Sibling Team: Despite not being blood related, they consider themselves as sisters.
  • Town Girls: Michelle is the Femme, Maggie is the Neither and Anita is the Butch.
  • True Companions: They aren't sisters by blood but they definitely love each other as such.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: They can't control wet paper, so the bad guys often neutralize them with glorified squirt guns.

Michelle Cheung/Chan

Voiced by: Shoko Kikuchi (JP), Hunter Mackenzie Austin (EN)

The eldest sister. She is responsible for acquiring jobs for the detective agency, which include translation work, lost book and person finding, and bodyguard duty.

  • Cuteness Proximity: Michelle is drawn to Anita's friends Hisami and Junior.
  • The Ditz: Very focused combat wise, but in other aspect she's not exactly the brightest bulb.

Maggie Mui

Voiced by: Hiromi Hirata (JP), Sarah Lahti (EN)

The middle sister. She is the tallest of the three and is shown to love dark and confined spaces such as a small closet or even underneath a table.

  • Adorkable: She's adorably awkward.
  • Bifauxnen: She looks like a pretty boy due to her height, short hair, tendency to wear masculine clothing and husky voice.

Anita King

Voiced by: Chiwa Saito (JP), Rachel Hirschfield (EN)

The youngest sister. She does not possess the same love of books that Michelle and Maggie do. In fact, she hates them.

  • Artificial Human: Anita was created by the British Library as an experiment to see if a Paper Master who didn't love books could exist.
  • 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: Despite trying to keep her sisters in line, she's still a kid and can dip into this from time to time. Needless say, Nenene and she don't get along at first.
  • Compulsory School Age
  • Cry Cute: Given her personality and attitude, she rare gets emotional enough to cry. But when she does....
  • Cute Bruiser: Unlike her sisters, she's not afraid to get in close to fight. In fact, of the Paper Masters, she's the only one that does prefer close combat.
  • 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 further.
  • Handy Feet: She can use her feet to grasp things and manipulate paper.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She is bratty, brash and outspoken, but she really does care about those close to her.
  • 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.
  • Odango Hair: She has two bun covers on either side of her head when she puts on her Chinese combat outfit.
  • Shorttank: She's not very sensitive about her height, but she does have a shorter fuse than Michelle and Maggie.
  • Ninja: Not officially but she more or less qualifies, with her reflexes, stealth skill, hyper awareness, fighting style, and most of all her using paper like shuriken.
  • Panty Shot: Several times, mainly when she's in her school uniform.
  • Symbol Swearing: Anita does this when a visitor of her Lost Books Service opens a door against her face.
  • Teeth Clinched Teamwork: With Yomiko once it's known that she was the cause of the British Libaray burning incident. However when their friends are kidnapped and Yomiko is the only one left, she begrudgingly decides to team with her.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Anita loves her milk (probably, cause she wants Michelle's bust size).
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Her paper powers never manifested until Yomiko's terrorist attack on the British Library.
  • 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."
  • Wise Beyond Her 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 Sumiregawa 

Voiced by: Satsuki Yukino (JP), Tricia Dickson (EN, TV)
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. Though the sacrfice is for the greater good and provides Yomiko and the Paper Sisters some much needed ammo in the final battle.
  • 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)
  • The Ghost: Aside from a note left behind for Yomiko at the start of the first episode, she's completely absent from the OVA despite playing a major role in every other adaptation involving Yomiko.
  • Meganekko: She keeps and wears a pair of Yomiko's glasses as a memento.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Has taken up writing as a profession and has some trouble trying to write a follow her to her first novel.
  • Older and Wiser: In the manga, she's a teenager and a big fan of Yomikos. In the TV series, she's in her late 20s and slightly more seasoned.
  • 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: Is considered as such in the 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.

Appears in: TV series

  • Rei Ayanami Expy: Rather emotionless and reserved. It was intentional to make him more complacent for their plans.
  • Tyke Bomb: Was taken from Nancy to be "experimented" on and groomed to be the new host of the Gentleman.

Supporting Cast

     Lee Linho 

Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki (JP), Patrick Seitz (EN)

Linho first appeared as Nenene's fan and public promoter. Though he didn't lie when he said he liked her work.

Appears in: TV series

  • Eyes Always Shut: Never opens his eyes through his appearances.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He chose to distract the Dokushensha in their Collapsing Lair to let Nenene and others escape.
  • The Mole: He turns out to be a Dokushensha agent who want to make use of Nenene's writings.
  • 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.
  • Oral Fixation: He's trying to quit smoking and is seen biting on a pen to cope.

     John Woo 

A pigeon that delivers the Paper Sisters their missions.

Appears in: TV series

  • Cool Pet: Is one toward Lee. He later because one to the girls.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: Whenever Dokushensha has a mission for the sisters. They send John Woo to deliver the message.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's John Woo-san (Or Sir in the dub). Anyone who doesn't address him as such, he gives a sharp peck to the noggin.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Obviously named after the famous Hong Kong action director.

     Hisami Hisaishi 

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

     Natsume Nishizono 

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: TV series

  • Large Ham: She really goes OTT when talking about her big sister's novels.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: 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.

     Tohru Okahara 

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

     Mr. Kim 
A Dokushensha agent who often seen followed by Sonny. He gives the paper sisters missions from the Dokushensha.

Appears in: TV series

     Sonny Wong 
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: TV series

  • Artificial Human: Implied, given that Dokushensa were working to make their own Paper Masters...
  • Kick the Dog: Kills Alice, a client of Drake's, after Drake surrenders and specifically asks him not to harm her for no other reason just because..
  • Made of Iron: The man is quite tough. Even with all the sisters working together, they can't scratch him and he can counter all the paper powers they throw at him. He only dies due to unexpectedly getting caught up in an a flood of ink as Dokushensha is destroyed.
  • Taking You with Me: Tries to do this to Maggie, but fails.

     The Gentleman 
Founder of the British Library, a reality warper of enormous power.

Appears in: All incarnations

  • Ambiguous Situation: Was he really behind the plans of the TV show in which he wanted to used Junior as his vessel and take over the world or was it Joker just claiming as such for his own ambitions? The series never really answers.
  • 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 "[Gentleman] wants him to have something" and shocked him with some kind of power which left Joker catatonic for the reminder of the finale.

     Donny Nakajima 
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.

Alternative Title(s): ROD The TV


Example of: