Red Data Girl
Miyuki Sagara is a monk-in-training who has known Izumiko Suzuhara since they were both children, and has a sacred mission to prevent Izumiko's other personality, the world-destroying Hime-Gami, from ever emerging. But there are lots of opportunities for that sort of thing to occur- and other things, nearly as bad- when you're attending a school for the spiritually talented.
Our heroine here, Izumiko, is a timid girl in braids and glasses, and would be pretty boring if it weren't for a few interesting capabilities she has- she can cause electronic devices to malfunction; she has "imaginary friends" that other people can see; and she can spot Shikigami disguised as humans a mile away. As the synopsis notes, she's also afflicted with a rather badly-adjusted alternate personality.
Since her dad Daisei and her mom Yukariko can't be around much to deal with her minor quirks, they've appointed some people to watch over her, in particular a fellow named Yukimasa Sagara (who says he's 33, but looks about a decade younger), and in even more particular Yukimasa's son Miyuki, who's Izumiko's age. Miyuki is not what I'd call the most sensitive and caring person toward Izumiko- in a flashback to when they were children, we see him physically abusing her, and when he encounters her this time his first words are to declare her a "hick" in front of everyone and insist that he despises her. You kind of have to read between the lines to find any reasons to like Miyuki at this stage, but I thought it might be that he sees Izumiko as a sheltered, pampered princess (or just resents having to be her "minder"), but as time goes on his feelings do change, perhaps partly because he begins to realize that "sheltered" may be more like "imprisoned" in her case, and that she's now struggling to make her own decisions instead of just meekly accepting the program her parents and their proxies have laid out for her.
In any event, whether by her design or by a final acquiescence to her parents, she ends up (after three mostly uneventful episodes) at Houjou Academy, which is supposed to be a school for kids with paranormal abilities, though if it provides formal instruction in developing those abilities, or even just coping with them, I must have missed it. (Hogwarts- or even the Alice Academy- this ain't.) Still, some of the students themselves are VERY interested in the magical abilities of their peers- especially Ichijou Takayanagi, who Miyuki (also enrolled at Houjou, to keep an eye on Izumiko) can't stand, apparently because Takayanagi is also a handsome fellow AND more competent and powerful than Miyuki. Takayanagi senses there's something fascinating about Izumiko, though it might be better for all (including HIM) if he didn't inquire too closely about that.
We also have Izumiko's roommate Mayura Souda and her brother, or brothers (depending on what criteria you use to count him or them.) These siblings' feelings toward each other created most of the actual drama (and pathos) the show has (including some grim thoughts about death), though I'm STILL not sure exactly how the situation with the cave arose in Episode 8.
The series has some other great moments. Hime-Gami pops up (or perhaps it's more correct to say she pops out) at a fairly unexpected place in the story, and has some equally unexpected things to tell Miyuki. The ending was lively, and held some more surprises (including the occurrence of some well-deserved payback.)
BUT- there are long stretches of the show where little happens. (I mentioned the first three episodes; there were several other places where I found my attention wavering as well.) Izumiko still often has problems with lack of assertiveness even toward the end of the series. (She should really learn some things from her alter-ego.) There are pieces of the plot that don't really seem to fit together too well. Music, too, is a mixed bag. The opening theme, "Small Worldrop", is completely unmemorable, though the closer, "Yokan", is charming- VERY Japanese, with a sweet, sweet melody. The art is competent, but I would have liked Izumiko's character design a lot more if they'd made her look more distinctive- and a little more mature.
The box quotes from Anime News Network are "absolutely stunning" and "one of the year's best series." My feelings about the show run a little cooler than that, though it definitely does have its moments. Three stars. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Suicide is (kind of) brought up, and Hime-Gami turns out to have some rather randy inclinations. No actual sexuality, nudity, or fanservice, though. Some violence, especially toward Miyuki late in the show. Older teens and up.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Red Data Girl © 2013 Noriko Ogiwara/ Kadokawa Shoten/ Team RDG
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