RDG: Red Data Girl Overall Review
Animation Company: P.A. Works
Trailers: PV 1
A modern fantasy based on Japanese Shinto legends. Suzuhara Izumiko is a 15-year-old girl, who has been raised and protected in a shrine deep in the Kumano mountains. She is quite shy and destroys all the electric devices she touches. When she begins to think about going out of the mountains and moving to the city, her guardian Sagara Yukimasa recommends her to enter a high school in Tokyo and forces his son Miyuki to serve Izumiko for life. Miyuki and Izumiko repel each other but their relationship begins to change when a terrifying accident occurs on the school excursion. Izumiko learns her fate as the last representative (yorishiro) of a Himegami goddess and Miyuki learns of his duty as a guardian Yamabushi of Izumiko. – MAL
I have mixed feelings about the story itself mostly because of how badly my bias had clouded by judgment. On top of that, the finale was extremely underwhelming as I expected so much more, and most importantly- a better closure. It felt incredibly incomplete to the point that the only way I could think of this show redeeming itself is having a second season to give us the answers that need to be answered and give us some more background on some of the characters that I can’t help but be wary of. However the core of the story was definitely interesting, which is why I think it’s important that we fans get the chance (especially for those who will never be able to turn to the light novels to read and find out for themselves) to what has yet to be told.
One of the major problems with this series is the flow. I don’t know what P.A. Works was thinking, but it was so choppy and at times were inconsistent. Worst of all, they threw in these tidbit scenes that had no significance to the plot whatsoever (and not to mention, forgettable). Frankly it was a waste of time and I found them to be unnecessary to even show in the first place. If there was actual importance behind the scene, sure- I’m okay with that- but most of the time… it wasn’t.
So because of the lack of closure, feeling incomplete and many unanswered questions I am grading this a six. Admittedly, I have considered rating this category as a five, but I am giving it an extra point because the plot was intriguing which what made me a hardcore fan of the series so early on.
Characters & Development: 7/10
Again I am concerned about how bias I was about the characters except for Miyuki and Izumiko. I wasn’t a particularly fond of Izumiko’s family whatsoever because of having kept her in the dark. Be it for the reasons to get her to gradually accept fate as the Himegami, it still turned me off therefore I had a bad opinion on them. Yukimasa never grew on me because I always despised the way he would ‘push’ Miyuki, and the way he treated him. And of course with the lack of closure and knowing there is probably still a lot of the story to tell, I remain skeptical and wary of him. If he turned out to be a red-herring the entire time, then I clearly fell into the trap. The Souda triplets were an interesting bunch, but I found Manatsu’s character to be very confusing, as it was difficult for me to pin-point whether he is actually their sibling or just a powerful spirit summoned by Mayura and Manatsu and granting their greatest wish.
Finally Izumiko and Miyuki. The two of them being the main of course had the best and most consistent character development. A lot of people in the beginning (or more accurately, the very first episode) felt Izumiko was letting people walk all over her and wasn’t making any attempts to do anything about her. But that isn’t the case. Izumiko has always desired to become independent, to be a bit more courageous and live her life as a normal girl. Throughout the show Izumiko continuously had a consistent, and positive character growth that made you feel proud of her.
On the other hand, Miyuki’s character growth had more to do with his attitude and his outlook on life and others. While he too desired to live a normal life and reject the duty that his father had forced him into (as Izumiko’s manservant). In the beginning he had a very bitter and harsh attitude and would constantly put Izumiko down for how pathetic she is- admittedly, he was quite a bully. However after having been by Izumiko’s side in Tokyo and witnessing firsthand her daily life struggles being abnormal and coming to realize that there is actually something that she is afraid of, he gradually softens up, but remains tough on her when needed to.
Animation Quality: 9/10
This is P.A. Works, of course the animation is going to be breathtaking and spectacular- especially for the background scenery. There were some bits of flaws in the animation, but come on- it was nothing compared to some of the other shows I watched this season. So they deserve a 9 by maintaining the consistent quality all around. Actually I really can’t wait to watch it on blue-ray if Funimation release the DVD/BD combo set (Funimation did license RDG for streaming, so I do expect them to have a physical release at some point or another).
Original Soundtrack.: 9/10
I absolutely loved, the OST because it was absolutely stunning. I cannot wait to get my hands on it! The OP song was okay, definitely not a favorite or anything I’ll be listening to anytime soon on my ipod, but the ED song was lovely.
Overall Score: 6.5/10
While early on I did become a major fan of this show to the point I would happily re-watch the episodes from the beginning on a weekly basis, with the underwhelming wrap up and realizing how bias I was about many of the characters, I have mixed feelings about the overall score. I believe that in order to make up for the lack of closure, is to eventually give us a second season- especially when I feel there is a whole lot more to the story that remains untold. I am giving RDG: Red Data Girl a 6.5, which is lower than I had anticipated early on since I saw so much potential and I was really looking forward to seeing how things unfolded. That being said, in the end I did set myself up for disappointment with my wild imaginations fueled by the potential and my bias opinions towards some of the characters.
Oh and of course… THAT OPENING IS FREAKING MISLEADING. IT’S LIKE UTAPRI 1000% ALL OVER AGAIN. Honestly I would advise against watching it because one, many of you will think you just spoiled yourself (which is in fact not the case… for most part anyways) and two, THEY ARE ONLY SETTING YOU UP FOR DISAPPOINTMENT. DO NOT TRUST THE GOD DAMN OPENINGS (and I need to seriously remember my own advice).
Recommendation: Yes, but try going into this show with relatively moderate expectations.
Despite the underwhelming ending, RDG: Red Data Girl is still one of my few favorite titles from the Spring 2013 Season. All I can say is don’t hold any expectations for major action… or romance for that matter and better yet- if you have a wild imagination like myself, try to keep that at bay or else you will wound up disappointed like me.