Yuri Manga: ROD – Read or Dream, Manga Volume 2

December 7th, 2004

Welcome to another unique, unresolvable timeline brought to you by the ROD team!

Once upon a time, there was a manga called Read or Die, aka ROD. It told the story of clumsy, slightly psychotic, paper master Yomiko Readman. In the manga, Yomiko encountered young prodigy and author, Sumiregawa Nenene. The manga told of their adventures, and gave us glimpses into Yomiko’s other existence as an agent for the British Library, where she was known as “The Paper.”

At the same time, there was (and still is) a separate continuity, contained in the ROD novels, about Yomiko, Nancy Makihara – aka Miss Deep, Yomiko’s predecessor Donny, occasionally Nenene, and a host of other characters. (I have looked at several of these novels, and to be honest, they look about as wretched as the original ROD manga.)

Then came ROD the anime. This three-episode OVA was a third continuity, one with Miss Deep, and a completely different Yomiko – who was now utterly competent and not very clumsy at all. The OVA detailed Yomiko’s adventures as “The Paper” and included none of the character baggage she had picked up in the manga or novels. No Nenene, no Donny, no emotional attachments, until Nancy shows up and steal her heart.

Then came ROD The TV anime, which somehow mangaed to pull all of the above into a pretty amazingly tight whole, AND introduce the Three Paper Sisters Detective Agency members, Michelle, Maggie and Anita.

Well, don’t get too comfortable with this unified theory of ROD because the Read or Dream manga, which is the story of the three sisters, exists in yet *another* continuity. Trust me – there’s no WAY they’re gonna be able to integrate this timeline. You just have to take it as it comes.

In the Read or Dream manga, as opposed to the Read or Die manga, we are entertained with the amusing antics of the three paper sisters, as they bumble their way through various adventures and jobs, being barely competent until that crucial last moment when they go all cool and paper master-y on us. To avoid repetition, you can re-read my review of Volume 1 here.

Volume 2 of Read or Dream is amusing, but not deep. Maggie and Michelle go overseas, leaving Anita home alone. Anita takes a job – against her sisters’ advice, of course, and heads out to assist a young woman with locating a family treasure. Lo and behold! the woman is not who or what she appeared to be. In fact, she is Lilith, an infamous book thief. To “thank” Anita for helping her locate and obtain the book, she kisses Anita and heads out. (Lilith will later prove that this is a genuine loli fetish, as you will see when I review the next volume.)

In a second story, Anita heads out to recover the book from Lilith. She tracks the woman down to her apartment. Anita learns that Lilith has a companion in crime – a black panther named Orion. Anita manages to get the book back, but not before a fight and, in the end, Lilith and Orion are last seen leaping out of the window to escape.

In the rest of the chapters, we re-encounter a young boy, Chi-Hon, who befriended the sisters in the first volume. Chi-Hon and Anita spend the night on a line, waiting to get books signed by a famous author. As you can imagine, Anita is thrilled.

Later, that same author. Yun-Fa, hires the three sisters to track down an author that used to inspire him, but who has not published lately. This story was quite good, actually. We learn that the older author is actually a woman, who stopped writing about the time the Yun-Fa debuted. It’s a goopy story, but quite sweet.

Volume 2, like Volume 1, comes with a two-sided color mini-poster inside. Three sisters fanservice on one side, cool and business like on the other. This seems to be par for the series.

There’s less overt Yuri in Volume 2 than in Vol. 1, but there’s Lilith, who will be back, with her “thing” for girls.

Ratings:

Story – 8
Characters – 8
Art – 8
Yuri – 5

Overall – 8

This manga takes place in Hong Kong, and focuses completely on Maggie, Michelle and Anita. No Nenene, no Yomiko and no sign of either. This series has its own timeline, and own continuity. Characters from earlier volumes will keep returning – and some suprise characters make an appearance in future volumes – but not in the way that you would expect. Approach the Read or Dream manga as if it is a completely separate series (which it is,) and you’ll be fine!

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