RDG: Red Data Girl
Izumiko Suzuhara is a 15-year-old girl who had 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 take an immediate disliking to each other, but after Miyuki learns of his duty as a guardian Yamabushi of Izumiko, their relationship gradually changes.
- The first we see of RDG are several panning shots over the mountainous Japanese countryside. At the story’s beginning, Izumiko is seen cutting her braids, giving her the look we’ve seen in the promotional artwork and giving her some semblance to Nako and Sawa, although this is strictly from a superficial sense.
- Izumiko is seen here with her friends. She wears red-rimmed glasses that were given to her by her mother. At the beginning of the series she is very timid and shy, and doesn’t like to share her desires or opinions with others. Izumiko avoids using electronic equipment: they malfunction in her presence for no apparent reason.
- This is the first anime post I’m doing from the 1080p resolution. Previously, all of my posts came from a 1024 by 768 screen: while far smaller in terms of area, it gave me a convenient means of copying images over from my Picasa albums, since the 1024 by 768 resolution meant my browser would load images with a width of 640 pixels by default. I once tried to edit my website from a machine with the 1280 by 1024 resolution, but the images ended up being the wrong width, leading me to become a little pensive about website editing from a 1080p screen.
- Fortunately, Picasa allows for images to be copied at a width of 640 pixels using a built-in URL. Paired with WordPress’ ability to insert images from URLs, we can control the image widths precisely. While this comes at a cost to efficiency (it takes longer to do it this way), it does preserve the formatting on the blog. Stepping back from this tangent, we return to RDG, where we see what happens when Izumiko is asked to wield a computer. She is subject to a terrifying experience and somehow contacts her father.
- Moments later, all the computers in the lab go out. I guess their micro wasn’t pro enough, and stuff, right?
- Yukimasa Sagara is Miyuki’s father. Bearing an appearance (and at a superficial level, mannerisms) similar to Lockon Stratos of Gundam 00, he escorts Miyuki back to their mountain shrine to meet Miyuki for the first time.
- I’m not sure whether this is the case, but these scenes appear to happen between the initial helicopter ride and Izumiko’s meeting with Miyuki. The MRI scans are inconclusive, reflecting on how supernatural factors can not easily be detected or addressed by any craft that we in the scientific community possess.
- Miyuki is the son of Yukimasa and also a monk in training. When he is first introduced, he acts cruelly to Izumiko, questioning how she could possibly act as a vessel for the goddess. However seeing her powers and learning more about her he began to soften up towards her. Even after Yukimasa gave him the chance to go back home, he decided to stay with Izumiko and protect her. After moving to Tokyo together Izumiko and Miyuki grow closer, but Miyuki doesn’t believe he can truly protect Izumiko since he is weak and can’t even take care of himself. Miyuki has a very strained relationship with his father, whom he hates. At first when Miyuki refuses to serve Izumiko, Yukimasa took him into the woods and beat him into submission. Yukimasa often calls Miyuki unworthy of serving Izumiko and belittles him every chance he gets.
- The story is already quite complex and intriguing, despite things being only one episode in. The screenshots here do not capture some of the more stunning visuals in RDG, which depict the mountainous areas, school halls and other locales in great detail. Compared Tari Tari, RDG has lower colour saturation for the most part, to set aside scenes in the real world from the supernatural world.
- One episode in, and RDG is already shaping up to be a worthwhile series. In my Spring 2013 preview, I noted that I would definitely follow RDG, along with a handful of other series. However, as I was completing an honours thesis and my undergraduate degree, I found myself falling far behind on anime. I will aim to catch up, although I am not certain whether I will be able to do so before the summer anime begin, between research and convocation.
RDG: Red Data Girl is named after the Red Data List, a set of volumes documenting the world’s endangered species. For brevity, I will refer to the series as RDG; this series presents itself as a highly intriguing supernatural story, interspersed with coming-of-age elements, such as transferring schools. While this element has been done to death elsewhere, the unique setting gives RDG a significant advantage in holding my interest. Even in the first episode alone, Miyuki is shown to have a long history with Izumiko, and the supernatural details extend far beyond what the viewers are presented with. Thus, I was left with great anticipation for a story with supernatural elements; this is something that I rarely seek in anime. Whereas previously, my interests lie within science fiction and slice-of-life, RDG has succeeded in capturing my interest in the role of the himegami (lit. princess god), as well as its significance in their world. With interesting characters in Izumiko and Miyuki, as well as brilliant graphics (one does not need to look further than the subtle details to realise this is a production from P.A. Works), this is one anime I will be following closely this season.