Read or Die - TV - 14: Paper Leaf Wood

Title:Read or Die - TV
Episode:14: Paper Leaf Wood
Wendy, Carpenter's assistant, drafts a progress report on "Operation Sleeping Books", part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain Recovery Plan. Back in the mid-19th century, "Mr. Gentlemen, the father of the UK", began to show signs of biological aging. Every possible effort was made to prolong his life, including employing traditional Asian remedies. The desperate search for valuable information put Britain in a secret conflict with China. In the 20th century emphasis shifted to attempts to transfer his knowledge to a new body, but no ordinary person could contain it. Therefore, the plan became to use tissue samples from famous geniuses to clone duplicates. However, in 2000 unknown persons raided the Department of Dominant Gene Preservation and made off with around half the samples. 2001 saw the "Great Men Incident" (see the ROD OVAs). The critical questions became who had regenerated the great men (with even greater capabilities than they had displayed in their original lives), and what scientific and paranormal abilities did they have? Dokusensha, an offshoot of a secret society once said to have been the guardian of China's Imperial libraries (including supernatural arts and sorcery), was believed to be responsible. Another important question was whether during the incident the great men had been doing what Dokusensha wanted them to. Anyway, the Gentlemen Regeneration Plan had to start again from scratch. "Plan C", previously considered impossible, became an attractive option--"Skin Print Paper", capable of recording every detail of the human genome, would be used to temporarily record Mr Gentlemen's knowledge, personality and memories until a suitable body was found or created for them to be recombined. In 2002 an "optimal candidate" was conveniently discovered (Wendy doesn't give a name; she's interupted by Junior, who reports he has come from Nenene's place, where he recorded a one word message from her answering machine). During a terrorist attack on the British Library, one of the seven Skin Print Paper books was stolen, along with gene samples, and the event resulted in bad publicity which severely damaged diplomatic relations between the UK and other countries. The UK withdrew from the EU and was expelled from the UN. Things got so bad that the UK declared bankruptcy, and the remaining six books and a key were entrusted to persons selected by Mr. Gentlemen and sent out of the country. Dokusensha learned of this, and upped the pressure on the UK via the UN. Joker negotiated with Dokusensha, trading information on the books for a relaxation of economic sanctions, recognition of UK autonomy, settlement of territorial disputes, etc. Joker's actions were seen as a betrayal by some but were needed to buy time. Dokusensha was working on a project to develop a "perfect language", which made the data Joker supplied them precious, and he earned their trust. He was planning an operation which would be affected by the existence of paper masters. Yomiko "The Paper" Readman had disappeared when the British Library was destroyed, but additional paper masters Michelle, Maggie and Anita had recently come to light. First contact came about by accident when an agent, "J" was at the library at Anita's school to pick up one of the six books. Further investigation revealled the suspicious link between the three sisters and Nenene, a friend of Yomiko. The sisters had at one time been working for Dokusensha, searching for the missing books, but their efforts also "helped us greatly in our efforts to track down the books as well". Wendy concludes the report by saying that as a result of the sinking of Hong Kong, "we've taken back all of Mr. Gentlemen's books that were in their (Dokusensha's) possession", and "more importantly, we've gained a large lead over them in terms of intelligence". Joker reviews the report, and says that the next phase will be to look for "the girl with the glasses"...
Just as I had hoped, this episode largely explains what has been going on up 'til this point, which was becoming increasingly difficult to understand. However, in spite of the massive quantity of information which is suddenly piled upon us, one very important factor is left unexplained--who is this "Mr Gentlemen", the "father of the UK"? Why is it so important that he survive, or at least pass on his wisdom to someone else? Is he some sort of semi-immortal godlike figure who determines whether Britain will enjoy good luck or bad? Since the story starts with him, it's very frustrating that this explanation is left out. Also, what's a "perfect language"? Some sort of literary equivalent to the piece of music that could brainwash people into doing things against their will in the OVAs?

I will surely need to watch this episode at least twice to make sense of it all...

Forbin I had to watch it 3 times with Subs on to figure it out. Note : A lot of this information is only avaliable on the Manga. Such as Gentelman being the reason while the British Empire is so powerful in the past or who 'Donny' from Episode 18 is from.

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