RDG: Red Data Girl

Title:RDG: Red Data Girl
RDG レッドデータガール
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - P.A. Works
The story is about a 15 year old girl named Izumiko Suzuhara. She was born and raised at Tamakura Shrine, and always destroys any electrical device she touches. She decides to try living in the city, and enrolls in Hōjō High School in Tokyo. With her are her guardians son and Izumiko's childhood friend Miyuki Sagara. While she's there, an entity called "Himegami" appears. She learns she something called a "kami" a vessel for a shinto spirit, while Miyuki is a "yamabushi", a warrior meant to protect the "kami."
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

New Spring 2013 series to premiere on April 3, 2013.
Animated by P.A. Works
"姫神" = "himegami" is the combination of "姫" = "hime" (princess, young lady) and "神" = "kami" (god), i. e. "goddess"; "山伏" = "yamabushi" means "mountain priest, itinerant Buddhist monk".
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 10 8 9 7 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:2696#1552]
(Rent-/ Watch+)

Wasted potential and disappointment are the two biggest things I have to wave around in my thoughts of Red Data Girl considering it was a title I was anticipating heavily for the Spring 2013 season. The premise itself was promising enough in its first couple episodes when Izumiko is revealed to be a medium for a kami sharing her body and Miyuki tasked with being her guardian. There was a good amount of mystery and suspense being built up over what Izumiko was and any spirits that she and Miyuki come across. However once the two settle at the Hojo High School by the fourth episode, things slowly start to drop in quality for the series.

The biggest problem that comes up with Red Data Girl is that it tries cramming too much content to cover for its 12-episode run. It's apparent as episodes progress that Hojo functions as a school that revolve around students involved with spirits and other occult elements. Yet other than focus on Mayura and a few other characters, we don't learn much else over the reasons surrounding the organization of the school and its history. Mayura eludes to a rivalry she has with Takayanagi, yet the nature of the rivalry is unclear and not much is fleshed out about Takayanagi beyond having sinister motives that are revealed later in the series. It's hinted that Izumiko's connection to the kami has influential government figures keeping tabs on her condition, yet this never gets focus to a great extent. Some themes that would seem decent to explore such as discrimination/ control of spirits and conversing with spirits as an escape due to feeling like an outsider get limited focus and aren't explored to a great extent for the most part.

The series also has some sloppy narrative moments where it will transition to another scene without providing detail as to how events led to that point. There's also the lack of a conclusive ending as things with the kami in Izumiko's body have yet to be resolved. About the only praise I can give when events transition over to Hojo are the focus on Mayura and her brothers during the middle of the series that provide some more depth on their characters.

The plotting issues are a shame as the presentation for Red Data Girl is quite excellent for a TV anime with gorgeous scenery shots full of detail and vivid colors, character designs being just as detailed, and having fluid movement from characters as they move about onscreen. While animation isn't the prominent element of the series, Red Data Girl does have its impressive animated sequences at points such as Miyuki's battles with different spirits, moving about in spiritual areas and large numbers of spirits moving about.

While one of the better animated titles of the season on a visual basis and having a premise that seems interesting on paper, Red Data Girl had too much it appeared to be trying to cram into its 12-episode run that detracted from the main focus on Izumiko's link to the kami and her growing relationship with Miyuki to a good extent. This, combined with its moments of sloppy narrative and lack of a conclusive ending, make it perhaps my biggest disappointment of the year thus far.

Last updated Saturday, June 08 2013. Created Saturday, June 08 2013.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2696#628]
(Three episodes watched):

Well, basically besides Izumiko's background, everything in the synopsis above was still news to me after watching episode one. She managed to screw up a bunch of computers, but there was no revelation that she "always destroys any electrical device she touches". This reluctance to reveal anything more than the absolute minimum needed to keep me from turning the TV off was why I felt distinctly ungratified at the end of the episode. All sorts of questions leapt to mind: How is Izumiko an 'endangered species'? Does she belong to some species besides Homo Sapiens? Why is her hair so important? Why does she seem to sink underwater at one point? What happened to the computers? What's a 'Himegami'? Why is this important? What is at stake? Basically, too many questions and too few answers. This girl has odd powers, but if virtually nothing is going to be revealed to me, why should I care? I did feel sorry for her, what with her being a shy girl who is largely ignored by her peers. I guess I will watch another episode, and see if the trend towards withholding facts from me continues, or if that was just a feature of the opening one.

Unfortunately, after three episodes there has yet to be much of an answer to any of the questions which occurred to me during episode one. I'm not all that thrilled by magic and the occult either, so any show of that sort which would interest me would have to be a truly outstanding one, and I'm not seeing that happening here. When I find that I can't remember much about what happened in the previous episode, that's a pretty good sign that the storytelling here isn't engaging me a whole lot. I have better things to do with my precious time than wait and see if RDG comes around and becomes more interesting later on.

Last updated Monday, May 13 2013. Created Wednesday, April 17 2013.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Series Web Site http://rdg-anime.jp/

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