Little is known about Drake's life. He's American, although it's not known if he actually lives in the United States. He is an ex-serviceman, according to some Japanese sources a former member of the "Special Forces." This is probably a reference to the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets), though this is not certain. At the time of the ROD OVA, Drake is 35 years old--a bit on the old side for a combat soldier. He has a young daughter named Maggie (no relation to Maggie Mui) and is separated from her mother. He takes jobs so that he can pay for child support and buy Maggie presents.
Drake's features are decidedly Caucasian and American. His build is tall and muscular, though he seems to be getting a little chubby around the middle. He has blond hair, tied in a short ponytail.
Drake is often seen in combat gear. He wears a green undershirt, grey shirt, a black vest and baggy black pants; the latter two items have large pockets that allow Drake to store things such as communication devices and weapons. He also wears a green toque on his head, which doubles as some sort of storage: at one point Drake removes a scope from under it to get a cybermap of his surroundings.
Very occasionally, Drake wears ordinary civilian dress. He does not wear such clothes well. His suit appears to be too big for him. When relaxing off duty, he wears a military-style tank top.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Unlike his partners The Paper and Miss Deep, Drake has no superpowers. His function is to provide mission support for his "powered" partners. Drake is, however, very familiar with firearms and other weapons, and he employs a wide variety of them. In the OVA, Drake uses an M16 with a scope attachment (which he lends to Miss Deep), a Heckler and Koch PSP automatic pistol, an automatic grenade launcher, a Barrett .50 calibre sniping rifle, hand grenades, and a shotgun (possibly a Winchester M1897). In the ROD manga, he employs an M79 grenade launcher, and he uses smoke grenades and explosives in the ROD TV series. He also knows how to use a submarine's weapons systems.
Drake uses hand-to-hand combat in the manga and OVA, and he is clearly very tough and resilient. He survives blows to the head, helicopter crashes, a slashed arm, and falls from great heights, while still remaining combat effective.
Aside from his skill with weapons and his physical toughness, Drake also has an excellent mental approach to combat. He is focused and concentrates on the mission at hand (though he suffers at least one serious lapse). He does not allow his emotions to affect his performance.
SPOILER WARNING: Information after this point may spoil the OAV/OVA, TV series and/or manga.
Drake's Role in RODEdit
Little of Drake's role in the ROD novels is known so far, but he does appear in several volumes. Together with Miss Deep, he organizes and leads a British Library strike team in an assault on Dokusensha's headquarters in Beijing.
Drake plays a significant role in the ROD manga. He joins Yomiko and Wendy in their efforts to discover and contain a secret underground library. In the climax of the story, Drake sides with Yomiko, Wendy, and Nenene against Joker, and is ultimately rewarded with a job as Nenene's bodyguard.
Drake is the first of Yomiko's partners that the viewers meet in the OVA - first doing pottery with little old ladies, then meeting Yomiko's helicopter in Washington. By his reaction to her, it appears that they've worked several missions together - and he doesn't like it.
In the first and second episodes Drake stands in the background to the female protaganists. Without any superpowers himself, Drake provides support, whether launching torpedoes from beached submarines or paper airplanes from office buildings.
Drake's role is more prominent in the third episode. He and Yomiko both sneak into the I-jin's base of operations and are temporarily separated. Drake stops the rocket from taking off, killing Stephen Wilcox and Jean-Henri Fabre at the same time. But Ikkyu still manages to launch, leaving Drake behind on Earth.
Drake first appears in the TV series in episode 9. He is a bodyguard to Alice Alice Arquette, a former British Library worker. The Paper Sisters and Nenene are immediately suspicious of him, since he knows how to fight paper users.
Drake reappears in episode 16, rescuing Yomiko, Nancy, the Paper Sisters and Nenene from Wendy. He was hired by the owner of Toto Books to guard them, and delivers a message to Yomiko: "I'm sorry I broke my promise." Drake stays with the group as they fight the British Library, and plays an important role in the final climax.
Character and PersonalityEdit
At first glance, Drake appears to be a typical commando/mercenary of the Stallone or Bruce Willis type. In fact, Drake is a much deeper and more complex character. Mercenary though he is, Drake does not enjoy violence for its own sake; he admits that he does not like to use deadly force except when absolutely required. Drake also loves Japan and its culture and landscape. When we first see him in the OVA, he is taking a class in traditional Japanese pot-making. When he reports to Joker in the ROD manga, he explains that he was slightly delayed because he was enjoying the sights of the Japanese countryside. He is often seen reading in quiet moments, though his taste in literature is so far unknown.
Despite his gruff exterior, Drake is at bottom a romantic and chivalrous man. He is very fond of women, but often seems to have trouble getting along with them. He is divorced or separated, and Alice Alice Arquette teases him about the fact that he has to pay child support. Drake squirms under her jibes, but he is later enraged when she is killed while under his escort.
Drake's chivalrous nature is most evident in his relations with Yomiko. He finds her frustrating and childish at times, but he always sides with her against her enemies--even when those enemies are Drake's own paymasters. In the TV series, Drake admits that he has come to admire Yomiko deeply.
Drake's attitude towards sex is contradictory. He has a bit of a prudish streak, and is shocked when Alice disrobes in front of him. On the other hand, he is at first extremely attracted by Miss Deep; when he first sees her, he says that his "lucky day" has come. Later on, however, he and Miss Deep have some sharp verbal exchanges and Drake is evidently depressed by the fact that Miss Deep takes a greater interest in Yomiko than she does in him.
Although he is separated and living apart from his daughter Maggie, she is clearly the most important person in the world for him and he does everything he can for her. She plainly loves him, and indeed children are generally drawn to Drake. Anita and Junior both gravitate towards him in the TV series.
Drake is a blunt-spoken realist. When one character in the ROD manga asks if Drake is wearing combat gear because he is playing a wargame, Drake replies that "war is not a game." Drake also has a sense of humor about both the world and himself. When the plot of the ROD TV becomes more convoluted, he remarks that things "keep gettin' weirder." In the ROD manga, he self-deprecatingly describes himself as "a wimp."
Sources and LinksEdit
This article is based on the ROD manga, viewings of the ROD OVA and TV series, and information and discussions found at http://www.readordie.org http://www.dreamsoftwilight.co.uk http://cupped-expressions.net/rod http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.O.D_READ_OR_DIE_YOMIKO_READMAN_%22THE_PAPER%22 http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/anime/000212414.cfm