Sci-Fi Nerd: Commentary, reflection and accolades from a fan’s point of view on all things sci-fi and fantasy.
When evil Clones attempt to kill most of humanity using a lost Beethoven symphony. Its Agent Paper to the rescue in this delightful animated spy-fi adventure.
Yomiko Readman has a special ability to manipulate paper into anything she wants or needs. This may not sound like much, but its an ability that gives her more power that it might seem. When she is attacked in the beginning of this film by an evil clone riding a giant mecha grasshopper she defeats him easily with this ability.
Yomiko is part of the British Library special operations division, a group tasked to locating and protecting rare books worldwide. This organization is led by her superior known only as Joker, who assigns her tasks, and who she reports to. As an agent she is known as The Paper because of her special talents with the stuff. She can not only form it into any shape simply by willing it, she can make it as strong as steel to protect herself from gunfire, as well as just about anything else she wants, including paper planes or other devices she can use to travel. In this film she is part of a Library team, consisting of Yomiko and American operative Drake Anderson, who is more conventional in his abilities as a top-notch commando.
As we learn more about the troublesome clones in the film we learn that someone has created various super-powered clones (or “I-Jin”) of famous historical figures. The I-Jin, led by a clone of Ikkyu Soujun, are trying to steal the sheet music in Yomiko’s book to reconstruct Ludwig van Beethoven’s supposedly lost “Death Symphony,” which causes anyone who hears it to commit suicide. The symphony figures in a plot to eliminate most of humankind, which Ikkyu sees as foolish, selfish and generally unworthy of life.
During this part of the narrative, Drake and Yomiko meet fellow agent Nancy Makuhari (a.k.a. “Miss Deep”), who also turns out to have been sent by Joker to investigate. Soujon has an evil plan to build a rocket to broadcast this music over worldwide radio frequencies to carry out his evil plan. When the secret base’s location is discovered in the south Pacific ocean, and after a naval fleet is destroyed by the base’s weapons, Yomiko, Makuhari and Drake are dispatched to prevent the launch of this sinister rocket with its deadly cargo.
After arriving at the base, Nancy is revealed to be a double agent, and escapes. Yomiko becomes bent on finding her, even though she turned on the Library Team, but she is taken hostage herself by none other than Nancy, revealing that she is an I-Jin clone of Mata Hari.
The story ends with a climactic conclusion abroad the rocket after it is launched with Yomiko successfully completing her mission just in time. This really is a top-notch, fun, spy-fi, adventure story with plenty of action and all the thrills and excitement you would expect from a James Bond movie, beautifully rendered with excellent character designs, artwork and animation. It remains one of my favorite anime to this day. There is also a Read Or Die television series featuring three sisters with the same abilities as Yomiko that is also very good and worth checking out.