RDG: Red Data Girl Review

RDG Red Data GirlRed Data Girl (RDG) is nothing more than another adolescent drama in P.A. Works repertoire of productions. Slightly off the mark apart from its past choices, but nonetheless, turns out to be a less than satisfying title suffering under some less skillful implementation and directing that makes it feel else than whole or for matter, entertaining.

Information

Series Name: Red Data Girl
Studio: P.A. Works
Episodes: 12
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance

Review

If anything, a nice way to describe RDG would be a show that is “fundamentally simple and okay at the start, but turns into something absurd and too ambitious by the time it’s over”. Without a doubt, RDG is nothing but simple as it follows a young, shy girl named Izumiko who wishes to be nothing more than normal but happens to be the vessel of a powerful goddess known as the “Himegami”. How can you possibly make that complicated? Well, more complicated than it sounds already? It doesn’t take much by the gist of it…

RDG 2

One major problem RDG has comes from the writing alone, which tries to be too ambitious as it leaps into too many subplots and details within the series. Everything from the schools faction wars to Izumiko’s misfortune with electronics are either too intricate in explanation or not forthcoming enough and either way, do not add anything to the core narrative. With that said, the narrative itself is lost within all these meaningless details and information, and just drag the show down further. In way, the addition of all these details really just hinder and destroy what the story aims to do: show Izumiko come to terms with her power and grow up to become a more confident individual. This can been seen throughout the 12 episode run, but it is just so poorly executed it lacks any meaning to what the shows lends meaning to.  While making the series longer than 12 episodes probably would not helped RDG, the omission of many details would have from something that seems incomplete already.

By token of omission, the narrative does not even seem to be to assure of its self when it comes to some of the finer details like the “Himegami”, that are often gleaned upon and hinted at, but never fully given any consideration. This might be because of RDG’s six volume spanning novels, but the series could done so better letting details like this come through so much smoother than it has others. Given how much the concepts like this one and others are stressed upon, they are usually thrown to the side as unimportant (see episode 9) and more than often, giving details that are less than understandable or interesting more credence. I can understand that is in attempt to make the typical “adolescent growing up” theme more enthralling than it is, but by my lens is obviously a failed attempt. RDG 4

Another core issue with RDG beyond the scope of its directing and writing comes from its characters. Just like the narrative itself, many of the characters are not even present throughout the story (I.E Izumiko’s mother, Yukimasa, etc) or useful that is very difficult to decipher their role. If anything, director Toshiya Shinohara makes these more stand-offish and deceptive than they are or need to be, since everything nearly comes off as incomprehensible. These both good and bad, but mostly bad for the what the narrative has in mind. One of example of an incomprehensible and convoluted character is the Masumi Souda, one of the late bother of the Souda triplets, who more or less acts as one of the stories poorly implemented or detailed sources as conflict just as Ichijō Takayanagi does. Takayanagi is a more suitable antagonistic force, but also, does not bring much to this front with only his cryptic dialogue and laggard actions that don’t really seem to have any malevolent intent. Nothing more than a person wants to be more charismatic and popular than he seems. In the end, everything that is portrayed by the characters really lacks any motivation or sense to say the least from the stand point of directing and writing.

RDG 5

Regardless, where RDG fails in respect to the presentation of story it sort of does redeem itself within its lacking narrative and elsewhere. One of these areas happen to be the animation side that P.A. Works is known for. Working alongside the production from Hanasaku Iroha, Shinohara manages to the captures to the aesthetics of the series quite wonderfully and with Mel Kishida’s artwork as the original template. Featuring both worldly and spiritual, modern and traditional, the interplay of these dichotomous devices add-on nicely to the animation than expected. Granted it doesn’t exactly add anything of specific value, it at least enhances the wonder the show gives off for the first couple of episodes before it becomes normalcy. It surely is one the details that stand out compared to its narrative, but does not exactly help with its haphazard execution.

RDG 3

By comparison, I can at least give P.A.Works and its director due slack, but not enough to consider this title what I hoped or would liked it to be. If you can deal with a meandering story with interesting concepts and narrative material destroy by said narrative full of useless flavor text and less than understandable subplots, RDG has it. Creative by design and content, but also devalued through it, RDG is just another production that could have been so much more if it planned and shows it cares.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Pros: Interesting concept,  beautiful artwork and animation,

Cons: Too many subplots make the story hard to follow, weak writing and poor directing, many important details omitted or not given.

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15 thoughts on “RDG: Red Data Girl Review

  1. Good review! I’ve only just started watching this series and though there are parts of it I do like, I didn’t get a very good first impression of this and I agree with you that, through whatever choices they made, the screenwriters probably didn’t put enough effort in making the story work in animated form. It has potential, though, I’ll give it that.

    • Thanks. I agree that their is a LOT of potential that is in the series, but their does seem to be a lack of effort either because the novel adaption is fairly detailed or they changed some details. I have not read the novels, so can’t judge them harshly without knowing. I did like some aspects of it, but wanted to like the series more than that.

  2. hmm, now i kinda don’t want to watch it anymore, I do love Anime series under Romance and Drama specially the ones that are solely Drama and no comedy. Not a big fan of Fantasy in Romantic Drama but i don’t hate it either. Anyway it looked promising at first but your review saved me time, i’ll proceed to the next anime on my watchlist then ^__^

  3. I haven’t read the light novels for obvious reasons, but I agree that the translation of the original source material to Anime is rather messy… In my review, I mentioned that there are a good amount of details missing which left me scratching my head. Of course, I think the story would have been fleshed out better if there is more episodes and better screenwriters… But oh well, I enjoyed it despite being flawed in terms of the story.

    • I haven’t either, but just making the conjecture that the novels and their length (if used at all) might of played a part in this…in addition to the people working on the project and their method of adaption. It isn’t exactly terrible (or how my review makes it sound), but it could of been sooo much more better than what it was.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever been so mislead by a plot synopsis.

    P.A. Works always draws me in with pretty artwork and animation. Then I actually start paying attention to what’s going on, and everything falls apart. I never learn my lesson.

    • Never rely on the plot synopsis. All a synopsis is just a condensed or shortened outline of what the whole product is supposed to be about, so that isn’t a good method of judgement. I used to that a lot in the past, but it never worked out to my actually expectations.

      Well, this is actually my first disappointment, so I am hoping Nagi no Asu Kara (also directed by the same person) will turn out better as well as that project they have coming this Summer. Think it was called Uchōten Kazoku, which is supposed be a Fantasy/Comedy/Drama or something along those lines…

  5. This is rather a super late comment, isn’t it ? I just watched RDG, and I found the plotline rather wanting. It ‘s fantasy and romance, but both fail in their presentation. Turning a teenager into a goddess is a humungous order, but what being a goddess entails has not been fleshed out. Romance is thinly presented, as well. There’s even a lame attempt to write in a romance genre cliché…. such as that part where the other friend tries to proposition the male MC to make him her ” fake ” fiancé , forcing a rivalry when there’s none. It comes out of the left field, and a totally and non-sensical , random move…. written while there’s chaos all around. Girl, you’re thinking about that now ? Besides, there’s no indication her father is arranging an engagement for her…. the fact is, it’s so obvious her father is even eyeing the male MC for her.
    What’s frustrating about this anime is that the ending is rushed. No further explanations, and no Mom. There’s a teeney hint the mains will be together…. it hints with them holding hands while sitting in the bench. Even that, we can’t be sure. This anime is crying out for a sequel. Its one anime with the most unfinished ending.

    • It’s never too late for anything you make time for. Yeah, there is kinda of a lot of disconcerting, but one thing that I did learn after writing the review is that the novelization seems to wildly different from the anime. Of course, that doesn’t excuse how ill-conceived or planned this was like Izumiko and Miyuki’s relationship, but doubt the romance was even given any serious consideration. I highly doubt it will get a sequel – but I would like someone to do a remake, with only hope it stays more on par with novels.

      • I haven’t read the light novel, that’s the problem.

        Well, Izumiko turning into a goddess has not been planned , either. What the heck s the reason why turning her into a goddess will be the destruction of humanity ? Why is the main guy’s father sooo eager to make her a goddess when he knows it will destroy the world ? And what exactly is her mother’s role in all this ? Perhaps the novel has the details, but I can’t even imagine why the developers didn’t incorporate super important details like that in the anime. It’s head – scratching.

        • I apologize for the really delayed comment.

          I havent either, just speaking based on some information I pulled up. There are a bunch of unexplained (poorly explained) details that don’t necessarily transfer over well into the animation side, but believe someone would probably do a remake before a sequel. Of course, that depends on how much interest it has.

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