Reviews of Yesteryear: Read or Die

The story isn’t too complex. An organisation dedicated to protecting rare books sends operatives to America in order to investigate an attack on the Library of Congress and the destruction of the Whitehouse. They quickly learn that the attack was carried out by super powered clones of historical figures who are trying to get a rare book owned by one of the organisation’s operatives, Yomiko Readman. As opposed to their original theory that Canadians had done it in a reenactment of 1812. It is every bit as awesome as it sounds. The story is very imaginative and it has lots of twists and turns that keep things interesting. Kurata Hideyuki took full advantage of the limited length by making every single event important to the story, making the whole story very tight and fast-paced without making it feel rushed or incomplete. The story is also accompanied by an underlying theme of reading that never feels obtrusive or like it’s being shoved in your face, proving that these kinds of themes don’t have to be sanctimonious, annoying or thrown to the side in some “Sonic Says” style segment.

The characters are three dimensional and very well fleshed out. I especially like Yomiko’s character, although that could be partially because she’s one of the few characters who has a larger personal library than I do, which tells me I need more books. I’m joking, she’s just a really well developed character. She kicks ass and has awesome moments, but she’s also very human and vulnerable, which makes her a very relatable character. Nancy and Drake are also very well written characters. My one problem with this aspect of the series is that the antagonist is a little two dimensional, but even he has several interesting aspects to his character.

The art is very nice. The fight scenes are very creative and flow very well. The character designs fit the characters perfectly. The backgrounds are nice and detailed. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the studio responsible for Maria Sama ga Miteru and Samurai Deeper Kyo.

The voice work is very well done and the sound fits the epicness set by the rest of the aspects in the OVA. Neya Michiko and Miura Rieko both do exceptionally well. I kind of wonder why Miura doesn’t have more voice acting credits aside from just Yomiko, but I’m sure she has her reasons. She probably did the role as a side project between her career as a singer and her career as a model. 

The relationship dynamic between Nancy and Yomiko is extremely homoerotic. They never do anything explicit, but I’m giving them a yuri factor of 7/10 for subtext so blatant it’s almost canon.

My final rating for R.O.D. the OVA is a 10/10. It’s as close to perfection as it could possibly be. If you’re a fan of Witch Hunter Robin or Le Chevalier Deon you’ll probably enjoy this thoroughly. The action is solid, the story is well constructed and it has a pretty high cute factor too. It’s the perfect super spy narrative. 

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