Izumiko Suzuhara is a shy, submissive, dull-looking girl that has been sheltered from the outside world for most of her life. As a child, she was restricted to a remote temple on a forested mountain. She used to be bullied by a boy named Miyuki Sagara and has difficulty socializing with people at school. Things start to change when Izumiko decides to make an effort to become a normal girl while at the same time trying to suppress the powers of a goddess awakening within her.
Red Data Girl is a 12-episode series produced by P.A. Works and directed by Toshiya Shinohara. It aired during the spring season of 2013.
The story of Red Data Girl is really two major plots running in parallel. On the one hand, it’s about a closed-off girl that is beginning to open up to the world and experience what it’s like to be a normal teenager. On the other hand, it’s about the battle over control of a goddess that has the power to destroy humanity. Izumiko, being the vessel of the goddess is deeply intertwined in both plots, but so are many of the other characters. Miyuki Sagara, the boy that used to pick on her, is forced to become her guardian and escort before starting to fall for her charms. Mayura Souda, Izumiko’s roommate in high school, is in a battle over being the most popular person at the school but also protects Izumiko from harm. Every main character essentially lives two lives thanks to the two parallel plots.
While the story sounds intriguing, Red Data Girl left me lost and confused even though everything was explained clearly. This was largely due to poor direction and execution. A lot of the narratives explained the complexities of the relationships between the characters and why there was always someone after Izumiko’s powers, but at the end of each story arc you’re left with a big “so what?” For example, towards the end of the series, a popularity contest develops between Mayura and another boy with Izumiko unexpectedly coming up from behind. Does it really matter if neither Izumiko nor Mayura are named the most popular person in school? As far as I could tell, it would just mean that someone else would be recognized as the most powerful being in the world without much backlash for the other characters other than disappointment.
In terms of animation quality, P.A. Works has again shown off the beautiful scenes that they can create. The characters were all very detailed and rarely had any distorted faces or bodies. Many of the scenes took place in forests, showing off how detailed P.A. Works’ animators can get. My favourite scenes in terms of animation though were the ones showing the night sky filled with stars. I think P.A. Works really out-did themselves this time.
As with Izumiko, Red Data Girl seems shy and dull, making the story come across as awkward. There is some beauty in it thanks to the animation studio, but it’s hard to enjoy the series when you’re either left wondering what is going on or asking yourself what the whole point of the anime is.