R.O.D. The TV Series
Volume 4 - The Turning Point

Starring (voice): Chiwa Saito, Hiromi Hirata and Shoko Kikuci
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 16 January 2006

Three Papermasters, Michelle, Maggie and Anita, take a job as the bodyguard to a Japanese writer, Nenene. In their spare time they take on private jobs from the Dokusensha organisation recovering lost books. But things are not always as they seem..

This is the fourth volume of the wacky R.O.D. TV series, covering episodes thirteen to sixteen. The animation is up to its usual high standards with a vibrant pallet evident throughout the episodes.

The disc opens with Twilight of the Papers II, in which the girls are in the middle of rescuing Nenene from the evil clutches of Dokusensha. Whilst the episode is extremely atmospheric, it's a bit of a strange choice as an opening episode to a new disc as essentially it does little than finish off the story from episode twelve. On its own it makes very little sense. Having said that the orchestral score lends an atmospheric ambience not often found on television anime. This episode also has a commentary track, featuring a number of the English vocal actors, which whilst it's amusing has little to do with the episode itself.

Episode fourteen, Paper Leaf World, is the real kicker. Having gone through a number of adventures you get the feeling that the makers suddenly thought that they needed to get on with the overall story arc. We therefore find ourselves in the company of Joker's secretary, who throughout the episode recaps the main back story. It would appear that the United Kingdom, once a great power, has fallen on had times; its greatest leader has been imprinted on seven books for the day that he can be brought back to life. Of course, this is where we find out that the books that the girls have been recovering for Dokusensha are the very same books that have the great leader's mind imprint. The power struggle has now tipped in favour of the British Library, a great centre of espionage, apparently.

With the release of this episode the series moves away from stand alone stories to its main arc. With Hong Kong in ruins and the Dokusesha's headquarters destroyed, the girls are now inextricably caught up with the British libraries efforts to resurrect its dead leader.

The next episode, In the Grey Light of the Abyss, finds the girls back in Japan, but things are not how they left them. The flat has been trashed and the girls are wanted by the police as terrorists, after their involvement in the sinking of Hong Kong. Anita goes all weird and starts having visions of books being burnt. The girls go in search of the Book of the all Seeing Eye, the last that the British Museum needs to complete the resurrection; the trail leads them to an old friend that they haven't seen for five years.

Fahrenheit 451 is a bit of a give away as it's the temperature that paper burns at, which will answer the question of what was happening to all the disappearing books in Japan. The girls have found their long lost friend, but this is only a prelude to more disaster.

Apart from the commentary in the first episode the only extras are an Art Gallery and the usual collection of trailers.

Charles Packer

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