Red Data Girl – 03

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I still see some warning signs, but Red Data Girl continues to command my interest after three episodes.

There are certainly times where my views diverge from mass opinion when it comes to anime, and it’s beginning to look as if RDG may be one of them.  Considering the amount of consternation I’ve seen in the early reactions, I was frankly pretty worried coming into this episode.  But the show is still working for me. My biggest worry is still that this is too big a story to fit into one cour, and we’re already seeing some side-effects of that in the unnaturally rapid character development.  But in terms of having a compelling premise and executing it, for my money the series is of to a pretty good start.

To confront it immediately, is Miyuki’s conversion unrealistically complete?  Yes and no.  I look at his character as someone who’s major issues weren’t with Izumiko, but with his father (and apparently with good reason).  He’s an adolescent, and since he wasn’t really able to take his frustrations out on Yukimasa he peevishly took them out on Izumiko.  Not only was she handy, but also conveniently symbolic of everything Miyuki was angry about – having no control over his life, his father’s domineering nature, and a system that’s based on heredity rather than merit (and we see subtle signs in this episode that Miyuki is still troubled by this aspect of Izumiko).

Seen through that lens, I don’t think Miyuki’s change in attitude is a major problem.  Should it have happened over five or six episodes instead of three?  Yes, in an ideal world – which with only one cour to work with, P.A. Works isn’t living in.  Especially when you consider the fact that they had a near-death experience in Tokyo (or so it seemed) to bond over, plus the age-old thing teens have always united over – a shared anger at an adult – I think it’s believable that Miyuki would accept his responsibility and suck it up.  Your mileage may vary.

Whatever any of us may think of that, we are where we are – and in this new phase of the story Miyuki and Izumiko are allies.  That, in fact, presents quite a problem with Wamiya.  It was obvious from the beginning that something was off there (and I don’t just mean KugiRie trying to voice a middle-school boy) but I was surprised by just how off it was, and how quickly the shit hit the fan.  Turns out Wamiya is actually a God, perhaps a familiar of the God of the Mountain (for Yamabushi, that means everything) given form after aeons of formless existence by Izumiko’s desire for friends.  And he’s not too happy to see her change her views on Miyuki, who she originally said she hated.  Looked at from Wamiya’s perspective it’s easy to see why he’d be pissed off – he was willed into existence by Izumiko, and now she’s had a change of heart?

I think the final scenes between Wamiya, Izumiko and Miyuki are quite enlightening in many ways.  I think the word I would use to describe Wamiya here is “capricious” – and that’s the way Kami are genrally portrayed in anime such as this one.  For him, the lives of humans are a trifle, a blink of an eye – and thus of little consequence if snuffed out.  Izumiko shows that she does have some steel when cornered, standing up to Wamiya and trying to show him the illogic of his thinking – if he was created to make Izumiko happy, how can that be accomplished by killing her, as he threatens to do by wiping out the Shrine with lightning?  And Miyuki, clearly, is nowhere near ready to face a God – “I haven’t been trained on that yet!” is his only answer when Nonomura-san calls on his to try and exorcise Wamiya.

I’m not sure what Wamiya meant by asking Izumiko to do a Kagura dance in order to “release Wamiya Satoru” but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts we haven’t seen the last of him.  It seems we’ve pretty much reached the end of the prologue at this point, as both Miyuki and Izumiko – for their own reasons – decide that the only way they can move forward is to follow their fathers’ wishes.  The story skips ahead six months to Houjou Academy in Tokyo (though clearly not Central Tokyo) where Izumiko has joined Miyuki, and we’re introduced to her roommate Souda Mayura (Yonezawa Madoka).  It’s all happening very quickly, I can’t deny that, and that remains by biggest worry going forward.  Hopefully Shinohara Toshiya being such a vastly experienced director will pay dividends for Red Data Girl, because it’s going to be a challenge to keep the story coherent and grounded if it continues to advance at this pace.  If he can do that, I think the potential is there for something quite excellent.

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  1. l

    Ref: Turns out Wamiya is actually a God
    Ah, makes sense now, seeing how autistic he seemed the first 2 eps.

    Hope this series gives you more joy then it gave me, Enzo. I'll read your reviews on it and check out the screencaps once in a while though I won't be commenting after this, since it'd be rude).

  2. R

    Episode 3 is still quite interesting although, like you said, I find the character development a bit rapid. I mean in the last episode Miyuki had more courage in dealing with adverse situation even though he had no idea what he was dealing with — he didn't show a doubt in himself. In this episode, he bailed out. On the other hand, our timid protagonist who was all shaking in the last episode became calm under life-threatening situation and was able to rationalize things with Wamiya. Other than that, everything else seems to progress well, and I am interested to learn more about the story.

  3. i

    RDG is a good story on paper. It has a few boring cliches and overall none of the characters feel larger than life but that's fine too.

    But I think the biggest problem is how it is being told and the pace. We're being shown a lot about the supposed Himegami but none of it sticks in my head and as a result plot points don't appear as interesting as they should.

    The pacing is even worse. After watching the most impressive pace a story can be told in with Shin Sekai Yori using the anime medium, RDG seems seriously weak in the department and with nothing supremely interesting to grasp on to these three episodes I can see why the masses don't care for it.

    I've noticed that all PA Works animes have massive pacing issues (Another aside) or have no pace at all because they're slice of life. With RDG I can see both problems: It feels like Tari Tari but is being told in the rushed pace of Angel Beats' last few episodes.

    I seriously think that PA need to fire whoever has been doing story composition for them these last few years and get someone from Kyoani or Madhouse to show them how it's done. I seriously do because this is why PA works can never make a great show, just shows dragged to above average by their flaws.

  4. w

    I quite like this anime so far–I especially liked the fact that the main female lead got tougher and managed to stand up to Wamiya. After the 3-episode litmus test, I'm willing to give it a few more episodes. The mysterious "black shadows" are a bit cliched, and the "missing mother" concept is also nothing new. But I don't have any problems with the pacing–I'd rather see the characters change fast than to see them not change at all. 🙂

  5. G

    I'm liking this series as well. Gonna stick around and see what happens next.

  6. H

    I'm still watching the TV airings, and that's what I'll stick with even though I want to see more. There's something about PA Works shows that just appeals to me, and this is no exception. Where others don't like the pacing of the shows, I think they work just fine.

    I certainly wasn't expecting Wamiya to go yandere (a description I don't use lightly, but he was obviously ready to murder people, including Izumiko), but as you say, the life of a human is but a trifle to a god. I do wonder if that would get him in trouble with the goddess that's planning to possess Izumiko, but we don't need to worry about that.

    The other thing I thought interesting was Izumiko's description of what it was like to be possessed, and the information that most people don't even remember anything. What kind of life is that, if you were forced to basically stand by and lose yourself and watch 'you' do things that you can't do anything about?

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