Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995 and works in and around the anime industry.
ROD the TV Vol. 4
Read or Die volume 4 is probably it's best showing yet. With characters from the OAV starting to make an appearance, including a certain bespectacled book-nut, we're finally starting to find out just what has been going on in the 5 years since we were treated to arguably the best OAV of the decade.
This volume ties up a lot of loose ends from the previous plot-arc, with the first episode concluding the fight inside the Dokusensha building, with cataclysmic effects on Hong Kong, and some interesting help from an unexpected party.
The next episode is narrated by Wendy Earheart, the PA of the erudite Mr Joker. Her narrative explains the reason for the furious book-hunt of preceeding volumes, of Great Britain's plight and Joker's attempts to save the nation. Interestingly it paints Joker as a hero, in stark contrast to the following volume, where much is hinted at by our favourite bookworm.
What makes the volume so intriguing is the way in which everything is open to interpretation. Clearly, the British Library was once fuelled by a strong sense of justice, but that appears to have been perverted into a struggle for survival in a vicious world. Main characters are referenced but not seen on screen, and as an appetiser for coming events, it certainly hits the spot.
With so much coming together on this disc, it's hard to find fault. The animation is good (though never reaching the height's of its OAV predecessor of course) and the English dub is surprisingly good, though it did take a while to get used to certain British accents. There are a number of subtle vocal performances on this disc, and it gains an extra point for that.
ROD: the TV has come of age, and I can't wait for the next volume.
Old faces make a massive difference, and the series just moved into 5th gear. Great stuff!