Lurkers' Retreat
Manga Entertainment
Dual language

Cert  15


Read or Die

One of Manga Entertainment's newest entries into the UK market in 2003 is Read or Die, subtitled "Yomiko Readman - the Paper". Strange that I, a card carrying Brit and voracious book person have never heard of "UK Library Special Operations" but that is effectively who Yomiko works for. She isn't called "The Paper" for nothing, either. In fact, the first time we see her, following a little preview of what we are in for when the US Library of Congress is attacked, she is sleeping under a pile of books. She has to dig her phone out of a pile of books. She finds her money in a book, her walls are lined with books and her first mission that fateful morning was to go buy more of the things!

The story gets going when it appears that Yomiko's latest acquisition, a German edition of an old classic with some odd annotations, is stolen by a guy riding an oversized bug. We then find out that The Paper can do more with dried pulp than just read it! The attempted theft is part of a plot to destroy humanity, but Yomiko just wants the book back!

In the process of this story, we are introduced to a whole plethora of bad guys seemingly resurrected from stem cells (oh ho! This reminds me of a rather nasty episode of South Park I saw recently, but I'm not getting involved!) We also meet some of her colleagues; the Joker (don't worry, it isn't how it sounds!) Ms. Deep aka Nancy and Mr. Gentleman (who thinks of these names?!?)

Packaging is good, though I'm a little puzzled why Manga insist on putting the thing in a clam case, then putting that in a cardboard sleeve! Unlike some of the recent DVD releases, this is a dual language release, the subs are good and there are plenty of interesting extras too. Looks suspiciously like the whole thing was taken from the US master, possibly the reason why some of the other recent Manga releases of titles they previously released here as dub only have remained that way (e.g. Detonator Orgun, Bubblegum Crash)

In my opinion, this is probably one of the best new titles that Manga has released in quite a while, certainly better than many of the VHS releases it made during its post GitS days when it spent so much time purging its reject bin. Certainly this will appeal to action lovers who were into titles such as Cowboy Bebop. Makes you proud to be British!!!

[5 stars]

Review by Chika, 09-Sep-2003

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