The Anime Primer

Capsule Descriptions of Anime: R

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R.O.D The TV   Rail of the Star   RahXephon   Ranma ½   REC   Read or Die   Real Bout High School   Record of Lodoss War   Riding Bean   Rizelmine   Robot Carnival   Rose of Versailles   Roujin-Z   Royal Space Force   Rozen Maiden   Ruin Explorers   Rune Soldier   Rurouni Kenshin


See Read or Die

R.O.D The TV
R.O.D The TV: The Paper Sisters (Maggie, Anita, and Michelle)

Taking place after the events of Read or Die, we follow the three Paper Sisters - the ditzy Michelle, quiet Maggie and brattish Anita - as they take on the job of bodyguards for the surly Nenene Sumiregawa, famous writer and best friend of Yomiko Readman (the lead character in the OVA series, who has mysteriously disappeared). Whilst the Paper Sisters take on various side jobs on behalf of the Dokusensha, the Chinese equivalent of the British Library forces, there are machinations afoot in the background headed by the mysterious Mr. Carpenter that mean the world is at peril once more - and what has happened to Yomiko?

R.O.D The TV is much more laid back than its OVA counterpart, thanks to having much longer to flesh out characters - a wildly convoluted and incredibly gripping plot arc eventually develops at around episode 10 (try very hard to avoid spoiling yourself for it), but before that point is a string of character development episodes interspersed with the occasional action-packed mission - your mileage may vary depending how much you like the leads, who can be fairly cliched and occasionally extremely annoying. The animation occasionally leaves something to be desired (although this has been tightened up for the DVD release) but generally R.O.D is an all-round excellent production.

The series has been released by Geneon in Region 1, and Madman have released the first 2 volumes in Region 4.

[Entry by Andrew Hollingbury]

Rail of the Star

A Japanese family living in Korea experiences the end of WWII, told from the perspective of the young daughter. Supplies and medicine become sparse, simple diseases turn deadly, the occupied Koreans slowly start being rebellious against the Japanese oppressors. When the Russian forces take over North Korea, the Japanese have to flee to the South if they ever want to see Japan again. Despite an interesting historical backdrop, the actual story is slow and boring and is painfully naive in its description of occupied Korea.

Licenced by ADV in North America and the UK.

[Entry by Hanno Mueller]


Ayato Kamina, a Tokyo high school student, witnesses an attack in the sky by a huge floating machine. In the ensuing chaos, he and the mysterious Reika Mishima find their way to an ancient shrine, where Reika awakens the giant, winged robot RahXephon from inside an enormous egg. When Ayato escapes from the shrine by somehow piloting RahXephon, he discovers himself outside the vast dome that encloses Tokyo Jupiter, where strange beings called Murians rule and time is distorted. He is enlisted by Haruka Shitow, a feisty special agent, to help in the fight against the Murians - but what has become of Reika Mishima? Why does Ayato's mother bleed blue blood? What is the purpose of the Mu civilisation? This highly complex series has been compared with Evangelion, but has a less annihilistic feel, although the story is dark and dramatic - Ayato has qualms about piloting the mysterious RahXephon, yet feels he must to protect others. An eclectic score by Ichiko Hashimoto (not Yoko Kanno, who provides the theme tune) adds weight to the scenes, and the production quality is extremely high, with a gripping plot - although some episodes fall into a "mecha-of-the-week" pattern. Available on DVD in North America and the UK from ADV, and in Australia from Madman.

[Entry by Andrew Hollingbury]

R1 official website

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Ranma ½
Ranma ½: Akane, Akane's father, and Ranma

Ranma Saotome is the heir to his family's style of martial arts. Akane Tendo is the heir to her family's martial arts style. Their fathers want to unite the two styles, and what better way (they think) than to have the two heirs marry? But that isn't Ranma's only problem - while he was training in China, he was cursed to become a girl whenever he gets wet. Comedy (often slapstick) from the pen of Rumiko Takahashi. Both the anime and the manga are available from Viz, the anime being their flagship title.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

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The "spirit" of Audrey Hepburn comes back to the screen in the anime adaptation of REC, a delightful romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations of a young couple in modern day Tokyo. Fumihiko Matsumaru, a frustrated designer in an ad agency, meets Aka Onda, an aspiring voice actress, by accident one evening after being stood up by a colleague. The two have an enjoyable time together without really getting to know much about each other before parting. But later that evening, after a fire in a nearby apartment building, Matsumaru again runs into Aka who has lost everything in that fire. Matsumaru brings Aka back to his apartment, where, thanks to their mutual attraction and the stress of the evening, they make love.

The situation at first appears to be truly fortunate for Aka and Matsumaru, because they are both looking for a serious relationship and they like each other. But things start to become complicated right away as it turns out that the voice actress agency that Aka works for does business with the ad agency that Matsumaru works for, and Aka is chosen to be the spokes-model for a new ad campaign that Matsumaru has created. Both Aka and Matsumaru are concerned to avoid the appearance that Aka has been chosen for the position because of her relationship with Matsumaru, so they agree to hide their relationship for the time being.

So the story becomes a classic "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again" romance, with the lead characters being charming and likeable. One of the underlying themes of the story is the way that Aka likes to relate her life to the roles of Audrey Hepburn in romantic comedies such as Breakfast at Tiffany's. Aka realizes that she isn't Audrey Hepburn, nor the characters in Hepburn's movies, but Aka never-the-less feels a kinship with the spirit of the characters in those movies.

The series is done in a very brisk and light-hearted manner. The episodes are short and well-directed, with no wasted time or fillers. The voice acting is first rate and suits the snappy dialog quite well. The animation and music are bright and appropriate for the subject matter. All-in-all, REC is a memorably enjoyable romantic comedy.

[Entry by Dave Baranyi]

Read or Die
Read or Die: Yomiko

Yomiko Readman loves books, so much so that she's almost always found reading one. She also has the power to control any piece of paper she touches (which gives her her codename "The Paper"). When she's sent to retreive a rare book from a scientist who clones historical figures, she and her partners discover a plot that could change the world ...  If you can imagine a James Bond movie with low-key superpowers and a naive, kindhearted hero, you'd probably be imagining something close to this three-OAV series.

Read or Die has been released by Manga Entertainment in North America and the UK.

(There is a sequel series, R.O.D The TV, which is set some years after the OAV series and has a substantially different cast.)

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

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Real Bout High School

Your high school wasn't like this, I guarantee it. The school has a K-Fight system where grudges and challenge matches settle things. At the top of the rankings is Ryoko, a rather busty Kendo Club student. Once she finds an amulet, her life turns upside down. The amulet activates and she finds herself in another dimension, with enemies that are beyond belief. Also of note, the final enemy of the series is William Gates (Bill Gates, duh). Released by TokyoPop in North America.

[Entry by Bill Martin]

Record of Lodoss War

There are now two series called Record of Lodoss War: the original 13 episode OVA and a 27 episode TV series called Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight. The OVA based is on novels which in turn were based on a D&D game with the standard class and race types as the heroes (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Thief, Elf, and Dwarf) and the classic villains of orcs, wizards, and drow elves. Due to time constraints the animators shifted things around a bit which creates some problems with the Heroic Knight series which is set after episode 7 of the OVA but follows the novels far more closely.

Licenced by USMC in North America.

[Entry by Bruce Grubb]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Revolutionary Girl Utena

See Utena

Riding Bean
Riding Bean: Rally, Bean, and passenger

Ace driver Bean Bandit will deliver anything to anywhere in Chicago for the right price, no questions asked. But when he tries to deliver an escaped kidnap victim to her father, he gets framed as the kidnapper! An action story written by Kenichi Sonoda. Available from AnimEigo.

(Please note that this OAV almost qualifies for inclusion in the Anime Hentai Primer, because of one scene that is inappropriate for younger viewers.)

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

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Rikujo Boueitai Mao-chan

See Mao-chan

Risky Safety

See Omishi Magical Theater: Risky Safety

Rizelmine: Rizel and Tomonori

Fifteen year old Tomonori is upset on his way home from school because his young homeroom teacher, who he has a big crush on, has just announced her engagement. But things are only just starting to get bad for Tomonori; because as he steps into the house he finds that he has essentially stepped into a remake of Urusei Yatsura. In the doorway of his house waits 12 year old Rizel, a pink-haired product of a Secret Government Project, who says that she is Tomonori's wife, and has the papers from the Government to prove it. Tomonori is in no mood for this, but Rizel cries tears of nitro-glycerine, so Tomonori soon learns that it is dangerous for Rizel to be sad.

Rizelmine is T&A comedy, with the first half of the series being suggestive rather than explicit because it was on broadcast TV, while the second half is aggressively less conservative because it was on satellite TV. Each episode is half the usual length, so the series goes by breezily, with plenty of brain and eye candy to entertain viewers in the mood for belly laugh humor.

[Entry by Dave Baranyi]

Robot Carnival

A movie, featuring 8 unrelated animated shorts about, some more, some less, robots. Each segment has its unique style and music with only two segments featuring some dialog. The stories cover scary sequences, fast-paced action, dark, comedy and drama. The beautiful, timeless animation is done in a fine and artistic way and successfully keeps the viewer's attention.

Since the segments are so short, providing a synopsis or additional comments would spoil the movie.

VHS and Laserdisc versions were available in 1993. Currently, there is no news if a DVD release will be produced.

[Entry by Gerardo Campos]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Rose of Versailles
Rose of Versailles: Oscar

A historical fantasy based on the manga by Riyoko Ideda, set in France in the years leading up to the French Revolution, and including many real historical figures and events in its story of romance and intrigue. The central character is Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes, a fictional swordswoman who becomes the head of Marie Antoinette's bodyguards. Raised as a man by her father, she initially keeps her own feelings buried beneath a mask of duty and honour. The series portrays Oscar's journey both personal, as she strives to reconcile her upbringing with her own passionate nature, and political, as she ultimately must choose between the good of the country and her lifelong loyalties. Produced as a 40 episode TV series in 1978, the animation may not be up to modern standards, but this is easily compensated for by the beautiful artwork.

[Entry by David Simmons]

DMOZ Open Directory Project


The very near future. A new fully automated healthcare robot, integrated in a sickbed, starts taking way too much care of its senile patient when it takes on the personality of the patient's deceased wife. A silly cyberpunk parody with lots of punches about the generation gap and the lack of interest in the problems of the elderly. Senior citizens hacking into government computers from their daycare facility! Strange humour that may not appeal to everybody, though.

Licenced by CPM in North America, and by Madman in Australia.

[Entry by Hanno Mueller]

Royal Space Force (a.k.a. Wings of Honneamise)
Royal Space Force: Shiro Lhadatt

1987 anime blockbuster of all ages, which never busts anything, including the box office. The first Studio GAINAX feature film, it is a story about the first spaceman of some abstract planet (alternative Earth, because Honneamise is much like Japan, and the Republic resembles the United States very much). That astronaut, Colonel Shirotsugh Lhadatt, is a complete loser all his life, and the staff of Honneamise space program is a bunch of misfits and weirdos led by some space maniac, but somehow they succeeded in their goal, launching the rocket directly from a battlefield, during a war! Despite all said above, it's a kind and heartwarming story, with brilliant graphics and talented direction. And box office? Who cares about it, especially after 1990, when it returned its budget.

Previously available from Manga Video; the licence has expired.

[Entry by Andrew V. Tupkalo]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Rozen Maiden

Made by a splinter group from Madhouse, this show reflects that dedication to quality animation that Madhouse is noted for. A modern fable about a young drop-out who comes in possession of a beautifully crafted living doll that binds him to her, the show presents some of the most accurate slice of contemporary life in Japan that I've seen (including the rise of lacrosse amongst girls, the presence of European-influenced bakeries, and a very honest depiction of the hikkimori phenomenon). Rozen Maiden, while not as erotically charged with sex and death as the gothic/neo-gothic stories that influenced it, does contain a surprising element of burgeoning sexuality.

[Entry by Michael Lo]

Ruin Explorers (a.k.a. Fam and Ihrie)
Ruin Explorers: Ihrie and Fam

Based on the original manga by Kunihiko Tanaka, this is a light-hearted sword & sorcery series. Somewhat reminiscent of Slayers in tone and basic plot, it stands firmly on its own as a great story with characters that you can't help but love, even if some of them are a bit cliche. The animation is very good, although some of the fan-service is a little overdone at times. The series opens with a scene of Fam & Ihrie in the middle of exploring a dungeon, so don't think that you've mistakenly gotten a later volume when you start watching. One of the funniest and cutest aspects of the show is Ihrie's curse - she has a little problem with casting spells. The one real complaint that most people have about the series is that it is too short - four episodes for a total of about two hours viewing time.

Released in North America by ADV.

[Entry by Paul Lepant]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Rune Soldier (a.k.a. Louie the Rune Soldier or Rune Soldier Louie)
Rune Soldier: Louie shows off his magical skills in front of the girls

Three female adventurers (Merrill the thief, Genie the swordswoman, and Melissa the priestess of Mylee, God of Battle) need the help of a magician to explore an old ruin, however the only magician they find that's willing to go is Louie, the adopted son of the head of the Magician's guild. On the trip to the ruins, Louie proves to be more capable of using his fists than his magic and breaks his magic wand when he uses it like a club. This is the start of the many various misadventures of Louie, the Rune Soldier!

Available in R1 from ADV.

[Entry by Bill Martin]

Rumik World

See Fire Tripper, Laughing Target, Maris the Chojo, and Mermaid Forest

Rupan III

See Lupin III

Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin

The adventures of Himura Kenshin and his friends in 1870's Japan, 10 years after the civil war. A former assassin, Kenshin now uses a sakabattou (reverse-bladed sword) so as to protect those he loves while keeping his promise to never kill again. This long series hits its stride during the season long "Kyoto Arc" (eps 28-62), becoming darker and more serious than the previous season.

The OVA, made after the series but set before it, is much darker and more violent than the series itself.

Commercially available through ADV (movie and OVA, as Samurai X) and Anime Works (series)

[Entry by Catherine Johnson]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

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Any images on this page are copyright their respective creators or licencees, and are used under Fair Use (review) provisions of the Copyright Act. All reviews on this page are copyright their respective authors, and are used with permission. The compilation copyright for this page is held by Rob Kelk.

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