I got this on a whim, having seen the listing on the new releases screen at Amazon. I mean, with a title like Read Or Die you have to take a look. This anime is not a bad investment, either.
The story revolves around The Paper - A young, bookish female librarian-agent working for a secret organisation housed under the British Museum (or British Library, possibly. The building looks more like the museum). A group of dastardly super-villains have nicked off with a copy of Beethoven's Immortal Beloved book and intend to use it for no good. The Paper must use all her skills and inginuity to defeat these cloned and resurected characters from history and literature. You see, The Paper is not named in such a strange way for no reason. She has the ability to get paper to do anything she wants, and over the course of the three episodes on the DVD (The complete series) she utilises it as deadly darts, ropes and a gigantic plane among other things. She teams up with a couple of other folks - A guy who acts a bit like Solid Snake and a lass by the name of Miss Deep who will most likely suffer from lower back trouble later in life due to her tight corset and astonishing dumplings. Miss Deep has quite a cool skill in that she can "phase" her body and move through objects.
The villains are also cool - These range from a character based on "Monkey", a guy riding a giant grasshopper, a steam-driven jet pilot and a guy who controls electricity. The technology is nicely steam-punk throughout, and builds up through a series of encounters to quite a nice ending.
The animation is excellent - There are plenty of nice little touches, as you'd expect from the director of Blood, even if there is a little too much emphasis on Miss Deep's boobs' jiggling about a la Dead Or Alive. Occasionaly the characters move a little strangely against the background, but it doesn't distract from the action.
The DVD is nice too. Presenting the three episodes in 4:3 format (which I guess is the original) with english and Japanese 2:0 and 5:1 sound, plus subtitles if you need them. Oh, a word about the subs. These are yellow with a slight black border around them - On my player from time to time they blended into the background a little too much and were hard to read. No matter, though, as the story moves so fast you'll pick it up. The Japanese language track is superb, and the English track tries hard, but just doesn't quite make it. The disk features a number of extras, such as trailers and interviews, and the menus are done nicely and in keeping with the theme of books.....
Overall, go for it - This is a fun, if not overly deep, bit of Anime, and I for one hope they make another in the series!