R.O.D. The TV Series
Volume 3 - The Past

Starring (voice): Chiwa Saito, Hiromi Hirata and Shoko Kikuci
RRP: £19.99
MVD 2079
Certificate: 15
Available 17 October 2005

Three girls use magic and mayhem to forward their weird detective work. They specialise in jobs involving lost or stolen books. Weirdness and fun usually follows our trio of bibliophiles...

Being the third in the series of discs for this show it covers episodes nine to twelve. Rather than rehash the background material its best you check out my review of Volume Two. The show is unique.

Episode nine, Heart of Darkness, is both slow and strangely sensual. The trio, once more, are given an assignment by the podgy Dokusensha - to retrieve a hidden key from a spring pool. A good excuse for some skinny dipping apparently, though any problem here is more a reflection on UK moirés than the Japanese. However things do not go as planned as they confront a paper master. Okay, I'll admit I've always found ROD to be an odd show. I think it was because I was brought up on Marvel comics, where people had powers that could bring about Armageddon, so the idea that someone can manipulate paper is kind of weird. Just how many hours would you have to stand there to die of paper cuts? The episode is a little bland for this show, which usually, happily plumbs the depths of weirdness.

Moving on we have episode ten, Christmas Carol. Bit of a rehash here, as Nenene Sumiregawa is invited to an awards banquet. Apparently Japanese awards are full of over young females who look like they have a Mars bar inserted in somewhere unspeakable outside Sidcup. During the party Nenene Sumiregawa is berated by a bitch with an attitude for not producing more work (it's enough to put you off writing). Luckily she is rescued by a man who seems unable to open his eyes. Unfortunately, Nenene Sumiregawa appears to think that her novels have the powers to change humanity and when she pronounces that she will be writing another novel she brings the house down (I rarely get vague interest from my cat). In the post party fugue the girls reminisce how they met over a copy of Story of a Giraffe with a Shrunken Neck, now there's a book I'd love to read, although the paper master she meets sounds disturbingly like Michael Jackson. The episode is like watching Disney on acid.

In Goodbye Japan, Sumiregawa, is sent back to Tokyo. It's a time of goodbyes for the girls. Anita's class throw a going away party. This is quite a despondent episode, with loss and leaving being the major themes. Things seem to be going well until the girls reach Tokyo only to be ambushed by sub Ghost in the Shell troopers. Are the girls under threat or is this another great opportunity?

Last episode on the disc is Twilight of the Papers. Lee turns out to be the villain of the piece, he works for Dokusensha. They want Sumiregawa to write another book under the threat to being terminated (now there's a harsh editor). At this point my suspension of disbelief and my grasp on reality seemed to be slipping away at the same time. I felt like the sixties were catching up with me - and I wasn't even there. Of course the other girls will rescue her, after all we're only half way through the season. I loved the dove that turns up with cigarettes in it mouth, Now there's a species worth keeping.

Look, I'm not saying that the show is either good or bad, its so "out there" that your either going to love it or you'll just stare at it wondering what the hell is going on. But if you've bought into the series so far you're going to want this. I'm not sure that I could recommend that anyone start collecting the series from this point. Start with the first DVD and work your way up, but don't watch this show under the influence of anything, the bouncing breasts will just make you go blind and the plots will mess with your mind.

Charles Packer

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