GME! Anime Fun Time Episode # 13 – Read or Die (2001)


It’s time once again for some anime fun, and on this occasion Tom and I are talking about the 2001 OAV series Read or Die, which is based on a series of light novels and a manga by Hideyuki Kurata. Read or Die is a stylish, action-packed romp in which the super-powered forces of the British Library face off against evil clones of various semi-obscure historical figures bent on world domination. It’s a little bit James Bond, a little bit X-men, and just a teeny-tiny bit steampunk. (No, not the bad steampunk. The good steampunk.) CLICK HERE or on the image above to download our review of the series.

Final Thought:


Reading is fun-damental.



  1. timeliebe says:

    Is there any way to see this online?

    It sounds interesting, but from what you say it’s not easy to purchase….

  2. harshvibes says:

    Lain on blu-ray totally holds up for me; some of the visual design stuff is so freaking good…especially anytime they show like, the family’s kitchen… for some reason.

  3. Yomiko’s shopping spree is in Jimbocho which has over 140 bookshops.

  4. timeliebe says:

    I don’t suppose this is streaming from any legitimate sources?

  5. At this point, probably none Tim. You’ll have to go to the ‘usual place’ like I would (if I care to).

    The only other Studio DEEN work I know of is their involvement in Mamoru Oshii’s “Angel’s Egg”, which wasn’t bad for a theatrical film animation-wise.

    I can under the fervor over the translation of “Nenene” like that. Though I suppose had you came into this without knowing of those light novels themselves, this “Nenene” character must stick out like a sore thumb given her nonexistence within this OVA. Of course that’s the typical Japanese way of getting you to read those books anyway, but we foreigners don’t really have that luxury (unless it’s fan-translated or published legally).

    Not having watched the show at all, this Drake fellow sounds like your typical thick-skinned plot armour kind of guy. I can see why they didn’t kill him off that easily.

    I do sorta wonder where that guy did find Read or DIe on. Anime News Network doesn’t help much other than giving 2004 as a date when it aired on TV somewhere in the US, but not a channel, though it suggested SciFi Channel played it as part of “Ani-Tuesday”. The follow-up TV series was aired on “G4TechTV” when they had an anime block.

  6. timeliebe says:

    Well, that’s disappointing, Chris!

  7. I have to agree to disagree with Paul. I liked this more when I found out about the backstory. If the novels were available in English, I would be all over them.

  8. Daryl Surat says:

    Read or Die may be out of print, but it is not this impossible thing to find: used non-bootleg DVDs can be found for about $10-$15 on average. When people say “there’s no way you can legally watch it” what they really mean is to add the word “instantaneously.” It is

    Everything director Koji Masunari and writer Hideyuki Kurata do together is so frustrating because, with the exception of this Read or Die OAV you can describe their work as “could have been good, should have been good, but is NOT good.” In fact, they just get worse over time: the Read or Die television series (in which Joker, Yomiko, and even lame ol’ Wendy are now EEEEE-VIL…or something, who cares) as well as the film Welcome to the Space Show are both by them, for instance.

    Even this OAV despite being pretty damn spectacular is not as good as I envisioned it to be, but that is more an indictment of how it was initially released than the work itself. The original OAV is actually three episodes, roughly 30 minutes each, whereas the English-language release removes the separate opening and ending credits between episodes to make it seem like it’s a single 90-minute film. The distinction is important, because while the first two episodes came out in rapid succession of one another, it was a little over half a year before we got the conclusion. And there’s a line at the end of episode two, which only now do I know to be a completely meaningless throwaway line, that set my anticipation for the Read or Die finale to an impossibly high “oh man, this is going to be like the last episode of Giant Robo” level: when Mr. Joker steps in and starts briskly issuing commands with authority as “capable leaders” in entertainment often do, he snaps off something to the effect of “call in all of our remaining agents currently off-duty.”

    The 6+ months between that and the last part gave one time to speculate. So there I was, thinking when that last episode comes out we were DEFINITELY going to see a whole army of new agents brought in for this giant assault on the enemy base, which was sure to be guarded by its own army of powered-up historical clones. That is not what happens. Watching all three episodes at once would save newer viewers from setting themselves up for disappointment, but in the early 2000s that interim was used to dig deeper and realize, like Paul, that this OAV really is “the only good Read or Die” and everything else just drops the ball. The people responsible for the anime did a Read or Die manga, which is legally available in English courtesy of Viz Media, and it is garbage.

    Anyway. There may be problems with Read or Die overall, but there is to be no hating on Drake Anderson, the Solid Snake of this universe.

  9. Daryl Surat says:

    “It is another matter entirely if you want to watch this in high-definition” is the remainder of that sentence fragment.

  10. Eric says:

    Read or Die aired on Adult Swim as a random Saturday night movie at midnight which is why I assume so many people are familiar with it. It actually was fairly hyped up leading up to the premiere on Adult Swim as well.

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