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. Read or Dream was translated into English and distributed in North America by Viz Media from 2006.
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.
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.
Anita King, Michelle Cheung and Maggie Mui run the "Paper Sisters Detective Company" in Hong Kong. They serve a variety of clients, seeking lost books, pets, and even lost authors! Maggie and Michelle's expansive book budget often causes them to be out of money, and when they are not working they argue with Anita about how to maintain the apartment and eat.
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.
- Michelle Cheung
- Michelle is the eldest sister at age 23. She considers herself the group leader, accepting missions and devising tasks for the Paper Sisters to undertake. Being the only legal adult in the family, she is Anita's legal guardian. She is much like Read or Die's Yomiko Readman in that she is naively carefree about many things, and she spends all the money she has, including the house money, to buy every book she comes across. Unlike Yomiko, however, she is very outgoing and talkative. She serves as a strong contrast to her other sisters, being talkative and peppy (unlike shy Maggie) and calm and collected (unlike spitfire Anita). She helps earn the sisters extra money (quickly spent) doing translation work; however, otherwise Michelle is often lazy and needs to be coerced into helping around the house.
- Michelle's paper mastery is focused on the creation of paper projectiles; most often she fires paper arrows with a paper longbow. These arrows are as dangerous, if not more so, as real arrows, and Michelle can also twist them into different shapes to wrap around her targets. Michelle carries an aluminum case full of different kinds of paper for the Sisters to access during combat.
- Maggie Mui
- Maggie is the middle sister, age 19. Michelle describes her as "Big, Strong and Sharp!" She is shy and quiet, preferring to let her sisters speak for the group, although she will speak up if she feels she has something important to say. She, like her sister Michelle, loves books, and little can distract her once she is absorbed in a book. She loves small spaces (despite her large stature, she is often found reading under a table or in a window sill) and tends to have a somewhat depressive nature, often questioning her value to her other two sisters (who will quickly reassure her if they find she is upset). She is the sisters' primary cook. Maggie has very few friends, but does bond with a young blind girl named Faye whom Maggie encourages to get an operation so she can see again.
- In combat, Maggie creates the strongest paper shields, and she can create paper "familiars" or marionettes to attack or defend as she wills. Her most common puppets include a wolf with great attack prowess, a strong golem which lifts heavy things and destroys obstacles, and a giant bird for transport.
- Anita King
- Youngest of the three sisters, 12-year-old Anita is brash and outspoken. She is also the most practical and is forever trying to get Maggie and Michelle to save some money for food. She also collects things with frogs on them, an obsession which is reinforced by her sisters' and other friends' frequent frog gifts to her. Unlike her sisters, she hates books, a dramatic difference from most other papermasters; Michelle says this is because Anita is going through a rebellious phase, though it may also have something to do with how Anita was "created" by Dokusensha, and because of a traumatic experience caused by a fire at the great library caused by Yomiko Readman. In volume 4, a "passing book lover" notes that if Anita truly had no interest in books, she wouldn't even bother to hate them, and notes that books have led her to her sisters and her dearest friends. Anita is good friends with Chihon and Hisami.
- She is best at using paper to cut, able to slice through rocks and steel, and uses paper as a short blade or short-range thrown weapon. Anita is also an agile, skilled martial artist and often uses her paper skills to supplement her impressive physical prowess.
- The sisters meet Chihon when he is seeking a mysterious library to return a book on behalf of his deceased grandfather. He later befriends Anita and helps her on numerous occasions; though they often have arguments they also care for one another. He aspires to be an author.
- Mr. Tsai;
- A bookstore owner, Mr. Tsai aids the sisters many times, especially Anita.
- Lily the Reader Extraordinaire
- This young woman steals rare books, and gets Anita wrapped up in one of her book theft plots, and later tries to kidnap Hisami. Lily is often overly and pushily affectionate towards Anita and Hisami, intimating that she is a pedophile. She keeps a pet panther named "Orion."
- Hisami Hishishii
- Hisami is a 13-year-old author from Japan who befriends the Paper Sisters after they protect her from Lily. Anita and Hisami especially bond, particularly when Anita goes to school with Hisami in Japan. Hisami's classmate Tohru has a crush on her, while Hisami's body language and subtle hints indicate she more likely has a crush on Anita, but this is never spoken aloud.
- Read or Dream (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Read or Die Wiki: an English language wiki designed to cover all aspects of the Read or Die universe