On June 17, 2014, anime publisher FUNimation Entertainment releases “Red Data Girl” on DVD, and they provided us with the opportunity to check out this endearing series, based on the novels by Noriko Ogiwara.
“Red Data Girl” follows the journey of Izumiko Suzuhara, a young girl raised in a remote shrine in the mountains, who burns out any electrical device she tries to use. Izumiko’s reserved nature has caused her to be more like a shadow as far as her classmates are concerned, and now that she is in her final year before beginning high school, she is determined to have a fresh start and break away from her old routines.
Her family also has some ideas about high school, and Izumiko initially fights them on the idea of attending Hojo Academy in Tokyo, instead planning to attend a local school. That changes however when Miyuki, a childhood friend and the son of one of Izumiko’s father’s associates, arrives to look after her. Miyuki is upset at having to move and watch over someone he believes isn’t worth wasting time on, but he enrolls in Izumiko’s school and the two get to know one another.
On a school trip to Tokyo, Miyuki and Izumiko find themselves in a strange situation, when Izumiko becomes terrified of something she believes is following her. Not long after running into Miyuki’s father though, the two learn why Izumiko must be protected, she is to become the vessel for a goddess, and that being now has the ability to take over Izumiko’s body temporarily.
Following the events in Tokyo and a confrontation with an otherworldly being back home, Izumiko and Miyuki begin to trust one another a little, and Izumiko decides that she will attend Hojo, alongside Miyuki. When Izumiko arrives at Hojo, she learns that the school isn’t normal, it is home to many children gifted with spiritual abilities, all of which seem to be out to get one another.
The story of “Red Data Girl” isn’t completely original, but Izumiko is such a sweet character that it is hard to stop watching. She has such a shy demeanor that all of her interactions with her classmates offer some nice lighthearted comedy. Along the way, Izumiko does start to open up and her development as a character is fun to watch. It is especially nice to see her stand up to Miyuki, who starts off with such a horrible attitude towards her that it is difficult to believe that he would change and care for Izumiko as much as he does by the end.
A nice surprise about “Red Data Girl”, is that the series not only offered a good story, but there was also some action to look forward to. With so many students that possess special abilities the series just had to have a few battles to help break up the drama of the story.
Visually, “Red Data Girl” had a beautiful look, the animation was detailed, smooth and the picture quality was vivid. The overall look of the series was interesting, the characters had designs that are exactly what you would expect from a shojo series, yet it also gives the impression of what you might see from a more action-oriented anime.
As far as the voice options go, I was pleased with both. The Japanese cast and the English cast matched up very well with their characters and I would think that either option would be acceptable. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read, remained on screen for a fair length of time and the translations had good flow.
Included as on-disc extras are the textless opening and closing, a U.S. trailer and trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases. Also included is commentary for episodes 2 and 7.
“Red Data Girl” was one of the better anime series that I’ve watched this year. The story didn’t feel very original, but thanks to some lovable characters, Izumiko was one of the cutest characters in recent memory, and a little bit of action, the anime is a pleasantly entertaining viewing experience.
Red Data Girl
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: 300 minutes
Number of Episodes: 12
Number of Discs: 2 DVDs
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-14
Release Date: June 17, 2014
(A review copy of “Red Data Girl” was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)