This last volume of Read or Dream reads like a “Who’s Who” of the R.O.D. universe…well, this version of the universe, that is. I’ll be doing this in two parts, because there’s a lot to tell, Yuri and otherwise, and because I’m pressed for time.
Because I cannot help myself, let me remind you that the various R.O.D.-verse are as follows:
1) Read or Die – Novels in which Yomiko and a youthful Nenene have adventures and Yomiko falls in love with her mentor/sempai/predecessor, Donny.
2) ROD – Read or Die – A three-episode OVA in which Yomiko meets, falls for, and loses Nancy Makuhara, aka Miss Deep. Strong Yuri component and a great soundtrack.
3) ROD – 4-volume manga set in which Yomiko meets a youthful Nenene, and embarks upon adventures mostly having to do with her quest to find Donny. These have been licensed and should be appearing sometime in 2006 in English. Unfortunately for us, they are not terribly good, or Yuri.
4) ROD the TV – A 26-episode TV series in which Yomiko, Nenene, now adult, Nancy AND three new Paper Masters all fight off evil and save the day. Last year this series made my Top Ten List because it was simply excellent. Lots of Yuri, lots of action, good music, great plot and fantastic, characters.
As with the TV series, the protagonist of the Read or Die manga is Anita. In this version, there does not appear to be a Nenene, and the famous author the three sisters have been protecting is Hishiishi Hisami, aka Hisa-chan.
In the first chapter of this volume, Hisa-chan is suffering from a crisis. Her books are popular, but girls her age and older dismiss them as being for children. She desperately wants to write a more adult story, but completely jams up when she realizes that she has no idea what it is like to kiss someone. Michelle steps in by directing a scene between Anita, dressed as a schoolboy, and Hisa-chan. They get *very* close to kissing, after pages of painful Yuri service buildup, when Hisa’s manager puts a stop to it all.
Chapter 25 begins with an irate manager letting the three sisters know exactly how much she dislikes them, but as Hisa seems to like them, they’ve been brought to Japan to watch over her. But Hisa’s a little down, because she’s still blocked. Anita takes her out on a date to cheer her up: the usual amusement park and fast food later, Hisa’s feeling better. But as they pass a book store, some girls diss Hisa’s book and she gets blue all over again. Anita starts to defend Hisa, who embraces her from behind and tells Anita that it’s okay, she has to learn to make her books more real on her own. But they go off hand in hand, and we’re convinced that this Yuri feeling isn’t just service.
The next chapter starts with more Yuri silliness, as Anita learns that Hisa has received a love letter! She’s obsessed with it, and jealous, but isn’t sure how to handle it. Anita decides to find the “criminal”. After a while, Anita asks Hisa about the letter and Hisa says that it’s not good – their both girls after all and…Anita is forced to admit that she didn’t write it and she, um, didn’t mean that. Shocked, embarrassed (and a bit disappointed, we think) Hisa faints. Anita scoops her up and brings her to the doctor’s office, where she learns that some nasty guy who is always rude to everyone is the love letter writer!
Anita brings the letter to the manager’s attention in the next chapter. She proceeds to throw a fit, because the last thing in the world she wants is Hisa’s genius being upset by a guy. Manager-san calls on some thugs who intimidate the kid who sent the letter…only it wasn’t him. Of course, if you’ve watched the TV series, you know who the letter-writer is, Hisa’s friend for forever, the bratty kid whose name escapes me. But he comes up and finds Anita, leads her to the library where Hisa is sitting with an upperclassman and looking a little besotted. Both Anita and brat are bummed by this. Later walking home with Hisa, Anita learns that she’s anxious about a book signing the upperclassman wanted her to do at the school festival. They hold hands and go home together.
Next chapter, Hisa finds the fortitude to go through with the book signing at the school festival – and, it turns out that the upperclassman wasn’t hitting on Anita at all – he pretty much just wanted her to sign a book for his kid sister who admires her. Phew. But the kid who *does* like Hisa, confesses…and she tells him that she’s sorry, but… Hisa goes off to find Anita and asks her to dance at the fire.
Yay, happy Yuri ending for Hisa and Anita. ^_^