Anime Spotlight: Red Data Girl

Red Data Girl is based on a series of fantasy novels by Noriko Ogiwara. The anime was produced by P.A. Works and directed by Toshiya Shinohara. The 12 episodes of the series aired on Japanese television from March 16-June 1, 2013. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution license for Red Data Girl.

The main character of Red Data Girl is a 15-year-old girl named Izumiko Suzuhara. She has been raised at the Takamura Shrine because her parents are gone a lot due to their work. Izumiko is a shy and plain-looking girl, but she wants to start making more of her own decisions and to try living in the city instead of at the shrine. For some unknown reason, Izumiko manages to destroy any electrical device that she comes in contact with.

One day at school, Izumi decides she wants to try to use a computer herself, instead of having one of her friends doing the online work for her. Izumiko finds herself immersed in liquid and can suddenly contact her father through a videoconference on the computer she’s using. When the conversation ends, all the computers in the lab shut down and no longer work.

At just that moment, family friend Yukimasa Sagara appears in a helicopter, and asks to see Izumiko. After Yukimasa takes her home, Izumiko runs into Yukimasa’s son, Miyuki. Izumiko starts to pick up that there’s more to her than she realizes, because Yukimasa and Miyuki refer to her as a “himegami,” and that they are both servants to her. Yukimasa also makes Miyuki transfer into Izumiko’s school in order to be around her and protect her. Miyuki is resentful and acts coldly toward Izumiko, but after a situation involving their classmate Satoru Wamiya, Miyuki slowly begins warming up to her.

Izumiko and Miyuki later transfer into Hojo High School in Tokyo, where they meet siblings named Mayura and Manatsu, as well as top student Ichijo Takayanagi. Both Izumiko and Miyuki learn that there’s more going on at Hojo High than meets the eye. Izumiko struggles with trying to hide the fact that she’s a vessel for a himegami that could potentially be possessed at any time.

After watching the first episode, I thought that there was an interesting story that was being set up, but that it was a little slow to get going. When I moved on to episode two, I saw that the pacing began to pick up, and that the series started to become more interesting. The first episode has spends enough time establishing the characters and the basic premise that there’s not a lot of time for any real action to take place. But the quality of the animation helps to offset some of the slow pacing of the story, and this helps to keep the viewer interested in what they’re seeing.

As I continued watching the series, it was interesting to see how the storytelling evolved. The first three episodes ultimately focus on building the relationship between Izumiko and Miyuki. Then, the focus shifts to Izumiko and Miyuki as they’re starting out at Hojo High School and begin learning various truths behind the school and some of their schoolmates. Izumiko also deals with trying to hide that she’s the vessel for a himegami, as well as the fact that it appears that the himegami’s powers are trying to awaken in her and the repercussions that this could have.

We also get some episodes that show character development for Mayura and Manatsu, which could sometimes become rather intense. During these episodes, I tended to feel bad for Manatsu. But there’s an interesting bond that the siblings share, which helps to make them compelling characters. In fact, most of the main characters are very well developed and are compelling in their own way. These characters helped to keep the story interesting and made me want to come back and watch more.

The last few episodes ultimately deal with the school rivalry that’s taking place between Mayura and Ichijo. These episodes really built up to the climax of the story, and I found myself riveted by what I was seeing. The story was so interesting that I just wanted to keep on going in order to find out what would happen next.

Overall, Red Data Girl is a well-done series that’s enjoyable to watch. It’s an anime that should appeal to viewers who like supernatural anime that features teenage characters, as well as to people who appreciate compelling stories and characters.

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