I finished R.O.D., after watching the OVA first and then plowing through the TV series. Overall, it was a really entertaining little romp, with some genuinely unique ideas. And the series as a whole had an artistic streak that emerged from time to time, resulting in many iconic visuals.
More screenshots below the fold, and some mildly spoileresque observations.
Michelle, Maggie, and Nenene. Maggie was by far my favorite character.
Maggie, surrounded by books as usual. The visual clutter of books all over the place was a recurring, and by the end, familiar theme. It makes sense that paper users would want a lot of it around, but the obsession with books was another thing entirely. Near the end they do allude to having speed reading ability.
The otaku dream girl? Throughout the series, Sumiregawa Nenene reminded me of Reki from Haibane Renmei, actually – not the morose part, but rather the flash of temper part. (and significantly more.. ahem.. rounded out). Nenene has an attitude and is fearless. This makes her a great match with Anita,and their interaction was by far the best inter-character chemistry to watch and enjoy.
Nenene’s interaction with the other sisters was also fun. Here, she’s forcing Maggie to carry her to breakfast. I love that grin.
And here’s Nenene taking charge of the Sister’s Meeting. Anita gets outvoted here:
Anita’s half of the bed. She hates books (odd for a paper user, at least until we learn her backstory) and loves frogs. She really, really loves frogs.
And here’s Michelle’s side.
and Maggie? she loves to make a nest.
The plot of ROD in my opinion was nothing more than a vehicle for letting us hang out with the characters. By far the best moments of the series were when the characters were interacting in normal life. I could easily have enjoyed a pure sitcom-esque series with Anita going to school, the travails of Nenene writing her book and dealing with the freeloaders, and the occasional mysterious mission for Dokusensha.
As far as vehicles go, though, the plot was certainly unique. The British Library involved in a plot to restore the British Empire? OK, I guess, why not. The whole plot device of “Mr. Gentleman” made absolutely no sense to me, neither did the weird reference to The Ancients that was used for one episode and then discarded. Watching the OVA first was a huge help, I must say – without it I’m not sure a lot of the events in eth second half would have had as much significance (esp Nancy, who would have been an utter waste of screen time otherwise). But the central idea of “paper users” is so cool that I can forgive everything, especially when you see this:
Yomiko was indeed the Master. That’s why she was The Paper. Granted, Maggie’s flying bird thing was cool, but Yomiko had way more style.
I’d rate the first ten episodes or so as very high rewatch, for the group dynamics alone. These four women in particular really were the soul of the show.