READ OR DIE OVAs

Yomiko Readman is a bespectacled substitute teacher who spends every cent she earns on books. When a weird humanoid riding a buglike monster tries to steal a rare book from her, Yomiko performs some amazing battle moves using pieces of paper as weapons. She’s immediately drafted into the British Library Special Engineering Force, assigned to Operation Manuscript Retrieval. The mutant clones of a demented scientist are stealing rare books from libraries around the world. The resurrected scientist plans to destroy the human race by reconstructing and broadcasting Beethoven’s lost “Death Symphony,” which will compel everyone who hears it to commit suicide: it’s up to Yomiko and her teammates to stop him. This slight, off-the-wall sci-fi adventure boasts handsome designs, polished animation, and skillful direction; it’s a pity the artists weren’t given a better vehicle for their talents.