First Impressions: Red Data Girl

Sometimes you gotta bite the bullet and admit the truth: You don’t understand this because you don’t live in Japan.

For those of you new to my little party, First Impressions is a series where I take a look at the first six or so episodes of an anime, or until I feel I have a solid opinion, and talk about where I think the anime is going and what it has to offer. Today’s Random Anime Roulette takes us to an odd place, smack dab in the middle of Japanese mysticism, with a thick lacquer of drama.

 

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Get the Tissue Box ready

In short, if you don’t like to google for your entertainment, prepare to be mighty confused.

After a sweet little opening that feels a little like the opening to an Otome title, we meet Izumiko Suzuhara: 15, mousy, and living at the Tamakura Shrine in the mountains. The timid, sheltered Izumiko has been treated all her life with reverence by the adults surrounding her, something her childhood friend Miyuki Sagara just can’t understand. But when Izumiko proves easily possed by spirits, including a mysterious and powerful spirit his father calls “her majesty,” he suddnely sees that this little girl is capable of more than making all the computers explode. Furthermore, he’s thrown smack dab in the middle when this spirit begs him to not let her become the Himagami, the one thing everyone wants her to be

This is another one of those shows that dares the dubbers to put it in English before dropping the mic and walking out the door. It’s not only loaded with real Japanese locations but makes liberal use of Shinto practices and Japanese myths. The show never stops to explain in full detail any of the jargon, preferring to take the time to unfold the story. As an unapologetically Japanese, the lay person will miss out if they don’t have a full understanding of the source material, and be left with something that seems bizarre and nonsensical.

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So… very… lost…

The heart of the story lies in a slow boil build up, where little things send long chains in motion. We have Izumiko cutting her hair, making her powers go haywire; her guardian brings her friend Miyuki to guard her; Miyuki makes Izumiko want to go to Hojo academy, and so on and so forth. Watching this plot slowly reveal itself it’s a fascinating experience, like watching a painting slowly be lit up from a corner doodle to a wall mural.

When I’m not slowly excavating the plot’s juiciest details, I’m enjoying the awesome atmosphere. The music in this anime is downright jaw-dropping, more so than the last one, drifting between sorrowful string pieces to more traditional Japanese instruments. The director did a fine job of setting some genuinely creepy moments, interspersed with some slightly melodramatic, but sweet ones. The whole anime has an ethereal feel to it: perfect for a show dedicated to ancient spirits and ancient feelings.

Also, this anime is freaking gorgeous

For all of Red Data Girl’s weird moments, I ultimately like the show.  It’s spooky, endearing, and heavily stylistic – three things I always love in my anime. It’s pretty obvious to me that Miyuki and Izumiko are heading in a romantic direction, though I’m less sure of the benevolence of Miyuki’s father.  Still, I imagine it’ll be a fun trip either way.

What did you think of Red Data Girl? Did you love it? Did you have trouble understanding it? Chat with me in the comments below, I love talking to you guys . Don’t forget to like and follow for more content like this.

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