Fifteen-year-old Izumiko Suzuhara just wants to be a normal girl, but that is easier said than done. Raised in a shrine deep in the mountains, she grew up extremely sheltered and painfully shy. She also has the unfortunate tendency to destroy any electronic device simply by touching it.
Despite this, she still wants to try and change her life. To mark her determination to follow through on this transformation, Izumiko begins by cutting her bangs, which shocks both her classmates and protectors. And that's only the start! Her guardian, Yukimasa Sagara, forces his son, Miyuki, to come to the mountain shrine and become Izumiko's lifelong servant and protector. Too bad Izumiko and Miyuki cannot stand each other. They have known each other since they were children, and Miyuki bullied her terribly. He simply does not understand what is so special about Izumiko. His father calls Izumiko a goddess, but that cannot be true…can it? Will Izumiko and Miyuki work past their differences? Is she actually a literal goddess? Find out in RDG: Red Data Girl!
Stories aren't always about narratives. Sometimes, we can discover more ideas by ourselves if we put our efforts through. And of course, discovery comes from experiences. For a certain shy and dull looking (I think she's cute though) girl according to her peers, she's about to experience some whole new changes in her life.
Her name is Izumiko Suzuhara, the Red Data Girl.
RDG: Red Data Girl is an anime series adapted from the light novel of the same name written by Noriko Ogiwara (The Good Witch of the West). Her talent of writing involves in the field of fantasy and supernatural so expect some of those
themes from RDG. Otherwise, P.A. Works handles the production of the series. They are known for their usages of serene visuals and clearly does not disappoint; at least in the art department. However, the experiences I got out of this series is not exactly enthralling or exciting. In fact, it was something quite different.
In essence, this series is like a fantasy but takes place in modern times. The time period it takes place seems to be normal and likely perspective to our very own 21st century without high tech gadgets or space cars. Rather, it is a normal and typical school life setting in a modern civilization of development. Suzuhara Izumiko is the main female protagonist in this and she's always been shy. Even from the first episode, it's easy to pick out from the fact that she has a hard time socializing with others or being part of a group. It's not too surprising though by her nature considering the fact that she has been raised in the mountains. Or rather, Suzuhara has been associated with the Tamakura Shrine and along with her miko outfit, we can consider her to be a shrine maiden.
The series spells out some confusion and mystery. For example, Suzuhara seems to have a strange power that lies dominant in her and these powers are let out when she is near technology. This is proven when electronic gadgets she comes in contact with results in destruction. Additionally, her glasses when removed seems to gave her visions of the supernatural, or otherworldly beings. From an initial standpoint, it's hard to tell anything by how these powers came to be. For one thing, we know that it's some sort of ability and very likely has a connection with Suzuhara's origins. It spells out mystery and the viewers' curiousity may peak from some of these aspects; at least I know I did. Regardless of her strange abilties though, Suzuhara enrolls to Hōjō High School in Tokyo where her life becomes more normal. At least, that's what she originally hoped.
Then on the opposite of the globe is Miyuki Sagara. This guy is essentially introduced as a prick. His attitude is literally a bully by the way he talks to Suzuhara and behaves around her. For whatever reason, Miyuki seems Suzuhara as a nuisance and more so because he is assigned to be her protector. Luckily though, their relationship seems to get better and possibly even go on the road of romance. It's at least not in the friend zone section but the two definitely has some engaging moments. These moments are captured by their dialogues and some development, especially after a certain event that reveals an even deeper secret of Suzuhara.
The secrets in this series also reveals some other aspects with the character cast. Take example, Mayura Sōda who is known as a cherry girl with friendly demeanor. However, she has more secrets and particularly gets caught in a rivalry among the school grounds. Among other factors, perhaps the biggest secret revolves again with Suzuhara. We learn that there's a supernatural vessel within her. It could be something related to a divinity or a goddess. We don't know too much about it but it has connections with her origins and the mysterious powers that she possesses. Unfortunately for her, she knows little about her origins herself or those powers. She does have a knight in shining armor though. But even so, Suzuhara still can't live the normal life a young teenage girl. With the ability to destroy electronic devices through an unintentional or intentional touch, she won't ever be able to use iphones, listen to ipods, or watching anime on a computer like most people. Damn, shame.
Among other factors, there's the serene like atmosphere that is constantly present in the show. The mountain atmosphere gives off a fresh scent of the settings and brings out a sense of realism in Tokyo that makes you feel right at home. The way some of the structures are designed as well to fit within the traditional Japanese ways. Needless to say, it presents its Shinto themes in the right direction. After all, Shinto is considered a spirituality and in Tokyo, there are many practices that establishes connections between them. In RDG, we can see some of the way the characters are dressed, the monuments, the festivals, the clear mountains, and shrines that are all over the place. The school itself is traditional and consists more of the modern atmosphere rather than anything too out of place.
Unfortunately, the show is hard to grasp and connect together. There's a lot of confusion among the characters and what's there. The plot itself is also a bit loose and I find it dull at various occasions. The Shinto atmosphere might also not fit well for target audiences. In fact, RDG is more the type of the show where we have to expect the pace to start off slow, flow smoothly, and hopefully wrap up in a tolerable way. However, I find the pacing to be a bit intolerable. At many occasions, I find that the plot itself to be just too dull. It tries to present its story with a mythical narrative that plays along influences of the Japanese culture. At the same time, the way it executes it is not so exciting. Unless of course you're really interested in the Asian culture along with Japanese traditions, Red Data Girl may not be for you. However, there are instances though that I find the series to be interesting. The title character Suzuhara keeps her innocent outlook and seems to be on the side of a 'coming of age' drama. She is the 'miko' and host of a powerful divinity.
But for some things to care, there are the visuals. P.A Works handles the production of this series and the artwork gives a definition of beauty. As mentioned before, the artwork aesthetics gives the details to the surrounding atmosphere as well as the nature of the series. There's the mountain, the shrines, the outfits, and even spirits to match traditional Japanese ethnics. Of course, Suzuhara herself is drawn as a plain girl with the nerdy glasses and braids to match her statue. For one, I am pleased that P.A. Works is involved in this as it gave me a nostologia of Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari; at least in terms of visuals.
As for the soundtrack, the series maintains a balanced rhythm. It's nothing too special to take notice of as most of the time, the OST remains smooth and light. There's no intense beats or rock. Rather, there's this linear pace of natural sound. The OP song "Small worldrop" by Annabel is sung with a smooth voice and at the same time shows some possible foreshadowing. Then, there are the ED songs that plays off the traditional themes again. In the song itself, we can see that Suzuhara is walking as in a possible reference to her development in a modern coming of age/fantasy story.
Ultimately, I'd say this series is a gamble to watch. Some people may like the serene backgrounds along with the spiritual vibe that gives off while watching the show. Then of course, there are others who may be bored out of their lives of trying to figure out what is going on. Then, there are the folks who watches the show to pass time. It's a tough gamble but I hope it'll play well for you. Now, phew that was a lot of data to absorb, or rather info.
I'm supposed to be studying right now but whatever.
Okay, unlike the majority of the reviews, I actually liked Red Data Girl. It's surprising 'cause I'm easily influenced by the reviews here on MAL. Before I watch an anime or read a manga, I always check MAL and read the reviews so as to see if it the said anime/manga is worth it.
But before I read the reviews on RDG, I watched a few episodes of it. And well, I really liked it. I think the best factor that got me hooked into the anime was the art (and maybe Miyuki /shot xD) and also the
theme. I always loved Japan and since the theme was about Japanese culture, I got myself interested.
Then around the middle of the anime, I got confused. (Yes, just like all of you who watched) Everything was going too fast and nobody was explaining things at all. So, just in case I wasn't the only one, I checked the MAL reviews on this anime. I wasn't surprised to see negative reviews everywhere. All complaining about the same thing I was complaining about. I was a bit discouraged to watch after reading all of the reviews, but when the next episode came out, I still watched it and even finished. :D
Sure there were so many unanswered questions but I think the anime was good enough. Although, it should've had more episodes so they could've at least explained some stuff.
Okay, let's talk about the characters now.
I really liked Miyuki's character development. (And I also really like Miyuki X3) He started of as the lean and mean bully who seemed to hate the world so much he'd rather jump of a cliff. But around the end of the anime, he started to warm up to Suzuhara. (*squeals*) xD
The other characters were okay, but nothing out of the ordinary. Suzuhara was the typical shy girl who struggles to become stronger in the end. Mayura, Manatsu and Masumi were cute, but again, they weren't very interesting. (Masumi got my attention a little bit tho. HE WAS SO CUTE IN THE END)
Music was good. I'm not good with critiquing sounds lol but I really liked the bg music and also the music when Suzuhara dances. :3
Okay so overall, I really liked RDG and if you're into Japanese culture, fantasy and the likes, then this is the anime for you. ;)
But if you're an impatient person and if you don't like getting confused, then I don't think you'll like this anime at all.
RDG: Red Data Girl: Too Much Data And Not Enough Storage
I have to say that this might be the first time I'm genuinely disappointed with a P.A. Works anime. After creating some wildly successful series like Angel Beats and Another, I had reason to believe that P.A. Works could be developing into a strong production company. Unfortunately, I have to chalk RDG up as a dud in their repertoire. I thought with the plot that this series had, it had to the potential to be really good but fell flat in the two biggest aspects...it's story and it's characters.
The biggest problem with this series is
it tried to tackle way too many sub-plots with not nearly enough episodes to work with. It causes some extremely choppy pacing as well as several unresolved plot points. I found it's "ending" to be rather ironic since I was feeling the same way Miyuki was when I completed this series. For all the sub-plots going on in this series, it sure did find a way to bore me to sleep. Going back to the limited episodes, this series seemed to set itself up for a sequel and that could be the reason for unresolved plot points. However, I still feel P.A. Works left too many open. This series didn't have the closure it should've had, even for a series that would plan on continuing.
I found the characters to be another huge weakness to this series. Their actions and lack of development left a lot to be desired. Still, I do believe the lack of character development does span from this series trying to introduce a ton of sub-plots. Really, the best way I can describe it is that this series suffered from an identity crisis. It couldn't decide if it wanted to be a plot-driven story or a character-driven story and as a result, it ended up being neither. I found it difficult to get invested in Izumiko and her "plot" because it was so damn confusing. It seemed like even the writers were having difficulty trying to figure it out. That's not to say it wasn't "good" because I found some aspects of it to be interesting. However, its progression and explanation is so choppy and so poorly explained that it strongly detracted from the overall quality of this series. Miyuki was one character I really got a bit of a laugh at because there was one episode later on in the series where I called him a male tsundere. You just don't see that in anime very often. I can't say it really did anything for the series, because the development between him and Izumiko was so hacked that I just couldn't become invested in their relationship (if you can even call it that). For the most part, the characters are fairly forgettable. I can't say there is one memorable character at all in this series. Maybe Masumi, but even that's a stretch.
While I did find the story and the characters to be big weaknesses, there were some things the series did rather well. I really loved the artwork as well as it's traditional Japanese themes. The one thing I'll give P.A. Works is that they are very good with their animation and artistic design. While I did rip this series for having so many sub-plots, that's not to say it didn't have good ones. I did think the main plot was interesting albeit confusing, but it just seemed so rushed and choppy due to having so many sub-plots. I did find the sub-plot revolving around Masumi to be interesting as well as the one behind Wamiya. The sub-plots in themselves were "good" but suffered from choppy pacing and lack of strong progression due to having way too much going on in way too little amount of time. The atmosphere for this series was REALLY good and was what had me coming back week-after-week.
All-in-all, it's such a shame to see this series fall flat. P.A. Works is one of my favorite smaller animation companies and they've produced some really good anime in the past. However, much like it's most popular series (Angel Beats), this needed to be 24-26 episodes in the worst way. It had a good plot and good sub-plots, but it was so overly ambitious with how much this series tried to accomplish. It didn't have a smooth-flowing narrative and that in itself, caused some VERY underdeveloped characters. That's not to say I didn't enjoy watching this series because I did. It's just that after it was all said and done, it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I knew P.A. Works had something good going with this series but got overambitious with it. They tried to make it bigger and deeper than it had to be. It needed more of a focus on it's main plot and developing its main characters with that plot. It's extremely sad that I thought the Souda siblings got more development than the series' lead characters. I would only recommend this series to those with an interest in ancient Japanese traditions and lore. I found those aspects to be pretty good for this series. However, if you're looking for an anime with an excellent story and well-developed characters, it just simply doesn't have it and I'd say give this a pass if this is what you're looking for. Even if you're looking for a good romance series, this series is poorly advertised in that regard and doesn't have a good romance in the least. In the end, I feel its time P.A. Works really starts putting more of a focus on making bigger anime series because the 12 episode format is just not quite getting it done anymore, especially when it came to RDG: Red Data Girl.
This was a series I really wanted to like and that I had high hopes for, but that ultimately fell flat. The story starts out clear enough (Izumiko is to be the new vessel for the Himegami, a mysterious and powerful goddess that could destroy the world, and Miyuki is her reluctant protector… together they must find a way to overcome their differences and figure out the mystery of the Himegami, etc.), but then descends into a mire of seemingly irrelevant side stories and confusing plot points involving clingy triplets, a sick horse, school festivals, student rankings, traditional dancing, and something called
the “World Heritage”.
I found that the series had quite a lot of exposition – only it was all about things that were seemingly extraneous to the main story and often longwinded, such as the relationship between the triplets, or the reason why Mayura is so focused on beating Takayanagi. Episode 9 had the most informative exposition about the origins of the Himegami, but even so, there was really not enough action to really give substance to it all. With so little of the main plot is actually explained, and a lot of poor pacing, I was left wondering what the point of it all was.
As for the characters, they felt mostly static the entire time, with the exception of Izumiko, who at least actually made some visible effort to change herself. Miyuki seems to have some development in his feelings towards Izumiko, especially in the last 3 episodes, with his growing concern about her, but he’s mostly petulant, and it’s not quite enough to get me to care at all. I can’t say that I felt much attachment to any one in this anime, which is disappointing since there was a lot of potential in the first 2 episodes.
The one area in which this anime shines, however, is in the visuals. The backgrounds are really lovely, and the dance sequences and depictions of Izumiko’s kimonos look beautiful. Character design was good but not outstanding. Unfortunately, visuals alone are not enough to carry a series.
In the end, the show does pick up just slightly around episode 9, but the ending is inconclusive and dissatisfying – probably a byproduct of having too much source material (6 novels!) and not enough episodes to really develop the world or the characters. The ending is left open and nothing is resolved, suggesting the possibility of a second season. I liked the premise, but this series really needed to have more than 12 episodes dedicated to telling the entire story in a cohesive and comprehensive way, instead of cramming everything into one season with hopes of resolving the confused narrative if a second season was green lit.
Final impressions: Started out with a lot of potential, mired by a host of side stories in the middle, and ends with its head just barely above water.
Verdict: Source-material syndrome combined with an ailment in pacing.
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