AX 2002: Read or Die Panel

posted on by George Phillips
A panel dedicated to the hit 3-part OVA series... and it's not even released in the USA yet!

Read or Die, the 3-part OVA series by Hideyuki Kurata, is one of the most popular titles amongst fans.. and it hasn't received a commercial release yet! In fact, Anime Expo invited three staff members who worked on the Read or Die OVA series. Masashi Ishihama (Character Designer), Koji Masunari (Director), and Hideyuki Kurata himself.

Although filled with the living dead, giant insects, and other supernatural beings, Read or Die takes place in a "normal" world, perhaps only one or two years ago. In fact, in the original novels, Steven King makes a brief appearance.

When asked about the decision to use a library, Kurata said he likes books, so he wanted a character who likes books. Since Read or Die is basically an action film, he felt it would be even more interesting to base it in a bastion of silence and peace, like a library. Once a library was decided on, it's only a short hop to a librarian for a heroine. Yomiko's glasses bear a passing resemblance to Kurata's, but he insists it's completely coincidental.

Yomiko's paper skills are incredible, and are based on traditional Buddhist philosophy. Paper talismans, covered in writing, offered the hope of protection, good luck and good fortune. Instead of flinging talismans, however, Yomiko tosses paper.

Sadly, there are no plans to translate the novels at the moment. However, Kurata did not rule out the possibility that they might receive a translation in the future. The differences between the novels and the Read or Die manga are minimal -- both were written at about the same time. The anime diverges somewhat. As director Masunari said, for anime you need to "Always add movement, always add action".

There are already plans to create a follow up series, with lots of new characters and villians. Although specifics couldn't be discussed, Kurata hinted that it might have something to do with China. "Of course", a research trip would be necessary, Kurata joked.

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