Director: Toshiya Shinohara, Series Composition: Michiko Yokote
Voice Actors: Saori Hayami, Kouki Uchiyama, Jun Fukuyama, Kaito Ishikawa, Rie Kugimiya, Akira Ishida, Kazuhiko Inoue
Studio: P.A. Works
My last First Impression for Spring 2013 post rambles on about my one supernatural mystery anime of the season which is based on a series of light novels by Noriko Ogiwara. I reported about this for AUKN over Christmas in 2011 and was rather intrigued by the use of Shinto mythology.
The story starts at Tamakura shrine deep in the Kumano Mountains. It is a sacred and beautiful place and a World Heritage site in real life.
Who resides at this peaceful place? Izumiko Suzuhara, a 15-year-old girl who has been raised at the shrine for nearly all of her life.
Her father works in America while her mother, who she has not seen in many years, is somewhere in Tokyo. She is under the care of her grandparents who work at the shrine, and her guardian Yukimasa Sagara, a man who is close to her mother. Izumiko is something of an oddity at school due to the sheltered nature of her life which has left her behind modern styles and technology. She is also the focal point of spiritual energy.
She is on the verge of a momentous change since she will be leaving her small town to attend Houjou Academy in Tokyo, a place where students from all over Japan and the world at large with supernatural abilities have gathered so they can be tested for their powers and then whittled down so that the person with the greatest power can be given special privileges.
What supernatural ability does Izumiko have?
Like her mother, she is a shrine maiden who has the ability to be the spirit vessel for an ancient goddess with great power.
Her guardian Yukimasa Sagara has placed his son Miyuki as her servant.
Miyuki is not too happy about this. Miyuki hates his father and doesn’t want to listen to his orders. He isn’t too fond of Izumiko who he views as too weak.
However during a supernatural encounter on a school trip a mysterious entity known as a Himegami reveals to Miyuki the true potential of Izumiko. She will be the last representative (yorishiro) of the Himegami goddess and he will be a guardian (yamabushi).
Because of this shared fate and the importance Izumiko now has the two become close and so they stick together as they meet the new students at Houjou Academy, some of whom are determined to come top of class and get the privileges given to those with the most power.
In a season full of action, drama, and comedy I was hoping for something different, something along the lines of Another, a series that took its time and allowed me to indulge in watching some world building. Red Data Girl is definitely similar because it is a slow-burn tale placing the supernatural in a realistic arena. Six episodes in and there is a mounting supernatural atmosphere with a central mystery that is slowly unravelling. Nothing I find scary, just sinister and it is thanks to the anime being atmospheric and its use of Shinto Mythology which means that it has some new, unfamiliar ground where everything is a surprise.