Light Novels: R.O.D. Read Or Die

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 7, 2008 in Comic Books |

Light Novels: R.O.D. Read Or Die

Most people know about anime and manga, but a new wave of Japanese popular culture is just starting to hit the United States: the light novel. The light novel (literally “raito noberu” or “ranobe” for short) is similar to a young adult novel in the United States, but it also has a little twist: manga-style illustrations are littered throughout the books. So now that you know what light novels are, here’s one of our Ten Light Novels That You Need To Know:

R.O.D. Read Or Die

Forget the FBI, CIA, Interpol, or any other organization you can think of: the real power in R.O.D. is the British Library. Set in an alternate world where England is still the world’s primary superpower and its external intelligence agency works out of its library, and each agent is a superhuman with a unique ability.

The main character of the original R.O.D. series is Yomiko Readman, codenamed The Paper— because she has the ability to manipulate any paper, meaning she can make a shield that can withstand bullets, a paper airplane she can fly in, a building, a weapon, or anything else out of simple paper.

The novel series, written by Hideyuki Kurata and illustrated by Shutaro Yamada and spanning 11 volumes, follows Yomiko’s adventures as a British Library agent, as does the first Read Or Die anime series, a 3-episode OVA. The manga and TV anime, however, are not adaptations, but spinoffs: titled Read Or Dream, they feature a trio of sisters who work for the library. Both anime versions were released in English by Geneon, and VIZ has been releasing the Read Or Dream manga. The novels remain unlicensed.

Gia Manry is a Portland, OR-based professional writer specializing in pop culture/entertainment writing. Read up on more of her work at or hire her at

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