Year: March 16, 2013 – June 1, 2013 | Directed by: Toshiya Shinohara
Episodes: 12 | Written by: Michiko Yokote | Based on the novels by Noriko Ogiwara
Studio: P.A. Works | Roundup Rating: A
What an incredible journey to the world of the Japanese supernatural and fantasy. Thanks to Red Data Girl, Noriko Ogiwara and PA Works for making it all possible. Yes, we're done. Just three months after its NicoNico airing and we've finally reached the conclusion. But I think it's too short considering the amount of literary resources that PA Works could based their anime on. They could instead give this series a 2 cour, for which it richly deserves in my opinion.
I've never been to Japan. I have no idea about Shinto, their culture on supernatural and magic, so it's basically a tough job making sense or tying together all those strange but beautiful concepts together. Since I've always been fascinated in the realm of the fantastic I couldn't complain much and had in fact find this whole RDG experience quite educational.
My favorite part of course is the relationship between Miyuki and Izumiko. What they have is not something ordinary in anime. Their relationship is not based on a mere physical attraction; they have a growing friendship, a slowly but surely understanding of one another's characteristics, including their own faults and weaknesses. In the end, the main couple found the strength to change by being there at each other's side. Although we've never really get to see a fix resolution to their relationship, like a full blown confession, but if you can read between the lines (with Miyuki's "You have to tell me that you need me...and I won't be your manservant") then you can determine frankly that there is a desire for something beyond friendship.
PA Works did a fantastic job with the animation, especially with the landscapes. They were able to transport us to a Japan that we've never been before. The shrines and the mountains of Nara this time around. I would also commend their effort for inserting real life historical stories within the story -- maybe it's already there in the book, but I like how it was amalgamated in the anime -- it added a convincing fluidity to its supernatural tone. And the use of Shinto legends and terminologies helped as well to make the story more unique. I was also floored by the visual effects and the character designs, from episode one right down to the ending they delivered the goods, just goes to show that this is Kadokawa Shoten's 65 year anniversary project. Another plus points for Red Data Girl is the music, both for the OP and ED and its overall soundtrack. This series is one a kind and its music also gave the same appeal. I know it's too early to say, but I think I have to give "Yokan" the best ED song for 2013. This song reminds me why I love "Ue o Muite". It is simple, tranquil and it shoot straight into your heart even though the lyrics is in a foreign language. The same goes for its soundtrack that gives off a pure cultural vibe that reminds me of Monks and Shrines; for example, the song in Izumiko's dance where you can hear the use of Japanese indigenous musical instruments in the background.
The only setback (and comment) I'm writing in so far is the compression of the novels into a one cour series. I could say this over and over again, but there is so much to flesh out from Ogiwara's books. I feel sorry that this anime, especially the school festival arc is so thinly interpreted to a haste. Because of that, opinions about this series is pretty much divided between like and dislike. But in spite of its shortcomings I am one of those viewers who really loved and enjoyed this anime, and granted if this novel is translated into English -- if that's what it takes for me to understand everything I missed out on -- I would read them in a heartbeat.