Read or Dream is a manga written by Hideyuki Kurata and drawn by Ran Ayanaga. It was published in Japan in four trade paperback volumes by Shueisha in 2002. The full title is R.O.D - Read or Dream - We are Paper Sisters Detective Company.
The "Paper Sisters Detective Company" consists of three young women who live in Hong Kong: Anita King, Michelle Cheung and Maggie Mui (they are not blood relations, but treat each other like sisters). Maggie, Michelle, and Anita are papermasters, meaning they can telekinetically manipulate paper to do anything they want, such as creating bulletproof shields and razor sharp swords. Their detective agency, which specializes in finding lost books (though they are often asked to find missing pet and do bodyguard duty as well), serves as the source of most of their adventures. Read or Dream is written in a largely episodic format; each trade paperback volume contains approximately 9 chapters which are often separate adventures. However, the manga contains several recurring characters and does have a few overarching storylines. In addition to the main comic, each paperback features a "Yomi-Oh!" or "Reader King" commentary by the author and other contributors, and a "bonus story" called "Cleaning Up Demons with Anita the Cleaner."
Some consider Read or Dream to be a sequel to the Read or Die manga, which is about another papermaster, Yomiko Readman. Both series are written by the same author. However, while this series has some similarities to Read or Die, they introduce an entirely new cast, and there is a greater focus on character and domestic life with less action. The two series are set in the same continuity, however, as there are appearances by Read or Die's Yomiko Readman and the corporation Dokusensha.
The anime R.O.D the TV brings together for the first time the characters from both Read or Die and Read or Dream. The story of the anime begins in the Hong Kong, introducing Anita King, Michelle Cheung, and Maggie Mui to one of Read or Die's main characters, author Nenene Sumiregawa (more characters from both manga and the Read or Die OVA eventually appear). Read or Dream's comedic elements, episodic nature, and focus on the relationships between the three sisters are integrated into R.O.D the TV, particularly in the earlier part of the series (while the later, darker, more action-oriented episodes pull more from the ambience of the Read or Die manga). The "R.O.D" in the title of the TV series refers to the initials in the titles of both manga .
Note that although R.O.D the TV uses the main characters from Read or Dream, the two series exist in different canons; particularly, the sisters' back histories, especially Anita's, are changed, and the characters meet Hisami Hishishii in a very different way.
Read or Dream was translated into English and distributed in North America by Viz Media in 2006-2007.
In volume 1, the Paper Sisters help fix a romance by finding a lost book, find the Shangri-la of libraries, convince an alien not to destroy the world, help a girl with a serious illness find the courage to undergo a risky treatment, and battle the greatest horror of all horrors: cleaning their own apartment.
Volume 2 finds Anita on her own trying to help a client, only to discover that the client is a thief known as "Lily the Book Lover Extraordinaire" and Anita must fight her to get back what the thief has stolen; in another chapter, the sisters tell each other ghost stories, and in the final set of chapters, the Detective Company helps an author Yun Fat track down his favorite writer from his childhood.
In volume 3, Maggie finds a book which divides her psyche into 24 different personalities, and Michelle and Anita need to find a way to restore her; in another story, the Sisters argue about how to earn more money, and later, after they become successful, Michelle puts on too much weight, so her sisters try to force her to diet. Anita gets sick and Maggie takes care of her. Finally, Lily returns to threaten young Japanese author Hisami Hishishii, but fortunately Hisami has the Paper Sisters to protect her.
In the final volume, the Paper Sisters are brought to Japan to do more bodyguard work for Hisami, but end up first trying to "stage" a pretend first kiss for Hisami (with Anita as the unwilling "actor" playing Hisami's crush), and later, under her editor's instructions, try to protect Hisami from would-be suitors. The next story flashes back to how the Paper Sisters met: Dokusensha agents Maggie and Michelle were hired to help the company's genetic lab creation, Anita, to bring forth her powers. When Dokusensha tries to take Anita back, Maggie and Michelle take on Dokusensha's Hong Kong branch by themselves to rescue her from the evil corporation. The comic then returns to the present as several supporting characters' arcs are wrapped up, and Anita gets advice on the meaning of loving books from a mysterious spectacle-wearing bibliophile.
The "bonus story," a brief work of fiction written in short "chapters" at the end of each volume, casts the three main characters in a light-hearted fairy-tale-like escape. In it, "Michelle the Fairy" tasks Anita, a young chimney sweep with "cleaning the soul" of the vicious and miserly "Evil Magic Maggie."
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