In R.O.D., Volume 10, Yomiko is sent by Joker to a fancy girl’s school to…something. She’s enrolled as a student, the main point of which is to get her in a school uniform. I gather this because it is mentioned about 8750 times that she is wearing a school uniform. At the school she finds a veritable book heaven. Books are everywhere, *all* the clubs are about reading and writing. Her roommate Kaku Izumi’s name refers to writing, as Yomiko’s does to reading. They become best friends.
There are a few disturbing things about the school – all the teachers are named Haga and they look identical. And while books are revered, romance novels, light novels and other light reading are forbidden. This means there are no books by Sumiregawa Nenene in the school. Heaven turns to hell instantly for Yomiko. But Izumi has one of Nenene’s books in their room. Phew!
Yomiko learns of the “Read Fight,” during which two girls read a book and are quizzed on small points of detail until one fails to answer correctly. Yomiko dominates Read Fight, utterly destroying the barely-in-existence-sanity of the champion, Mitsusei Utsuo. Mitsusei is also the chief dog and enforcer of the Student Council President, Kuniya Kino-sama, thus making their names two of the most tortured puns ever. (Kino Kuniya is easy enough to figure out, if you’re familiar with the Japanese bookstore chain Kinokuniya. Remembering that “mitsu” can also be read “san” and the character used for “Utsuo” is also “do”, instead of Mitsusei Utsuo, one gets Sanseido, another large Japanese bookstore chain.)
Kino-sama as Student Council president is beautiful, charismatic (we are repeatedly told) and prone to vomiting up blood.
With Izumi’s backing (who turns out to have a secret – she was the former Vice President) Yomiko runs for Council President and, after corruption in the count is uncovered, wins. As President, Yomiko gets the key to the secret book room, fights off multiple Haga-senseis and retrieves whatever Joker sent her there for. The end.
Aside from clone teachers and a Student Council President that vomited up blood, what made this volume particularly hard to read was the intrusive presence of the author, who not only made aside comments to us, and talked at Yomiko within the narration, he actually inserts himself randomly in two places. The first is an utterly pathetic aside in which he tells us he’s at Anime Expo 2004 in his room working, watching girls playing volleyball outside his window. Later there is a second scene in which he gets a text message on his phone.
These, and oh, the fact that two volumes ago the story was left hanging, unresolved, made this a particularly irksome read. ^_^
Art – 4 I think it’s getting worse
Story – 7 It might have been okay as the second book of the series.
Characters – 7
Yuri – 0
Service – Other than the frenetic repetition of “Yomiko in school uniform!” – 1
Overall – I can’t even….
Do you remember the Monty Python album named Contractual Obligation? This book had that title written all over it.