Watch this anime or die! Not really, but I still highly recommend it. Read or Die is an anime that should be on just about anybody's must watch list; not because it has anything in particular that stands out about it, but because it has such a high enjoyable to watch factor. This anime has more of a James Bond movie feel to it than anything else, except James Bond is taken out and replaced with Yomiko Readman, a simple girl that has an incredible love for books. She also has the ability to manipulate paper to do just about anything, even shield her from bullets.
The story itself feels like it's taken straight from a James Bond movie. This group of fanatical men from history with incredible powers are bent on killing everyone in the world. For some reason to do this they also need to aquire old books. The only people standing in their way is a secret organization known as the British Libraries and their top agents Yomiko "The Paper" and Nancy "Miss Deep". Yomiko and Nancy develope a friendship during their missions which has a much more meaningful feel to it than the rest of the storyline. There are also a few good twists in this anime that help give a good sense of intrigue.
The fight scenes in this anime are fun to watch. You wouldn't expect Yomiko to put up much of a fight with paper but during the fights she proves more than capable of holding her own. The men they fight against are all crazy villains that make the fights have a slight comical edge to them. Their special abilities also make the fights interesting and exciting to watch. They aren't the best fights you could see in anime but they are definetely enjoyable and better than most.
The soundtrack is basically half James Bond spy type music and half classical type music. Nothing too original but it fits well with the anime. The voice acting is done very well by the Japanese voice actors, especially Yomiko and Nancy's voice actors. I didn't watch the english dub so I don't know about that, but the Japanese voice actors were great.
The characters were easily the best part about this anime. Yomiko is hilarious. Throughout most of the anime she just wants to get her book back and goes to great lengths to get it. When she developes a friendship with Nancy she becomes a steadfast and loyal friend and their friendship has some touching moments to it. Nancy is an interesting character as well with a hidden background. She has the ability to phase through objects much like Shadowcat from X-men. These two are the only ones with any character developement; the rest of the characters are just there to play their small parts of either a crazy villain or Drake who is another member of the spy organization. Even though the villains had short parts they still had some psychotic personalities that made their parts fun to watch.
Despite having a few weaknesses, Read or Die is a lot of fun to watch and I'd recommend it to just about anybody. Fans of James Bond will definetely enjoy it since it has a similar feel/ plotline/ music/ villains as a James Bond movie. The biggest difference being the hero is an one-track minded bookworm instead of a spy.