February Anime Challenge – Red Data Girl

Our anime challenge this month is Red Data Girl, and we would like to thank our Whatsapp group, we gave them a few choices and Red Data Girl was the clear winner. Red Data girl is an anime adaptation of a series of fantasy novels written by Noriko Ogiwara and illustrated by Ranmaru Kotone. Thus far there has been six volumes in the series.

Red Data Girl tells the story of 15-year old Izumiko Suzuhara, a girl who was raised at the Tamakura shrine, shrine that is part of the Kumano Shrines World Heritage Site. Izumiko has the ability to destroy any electrical device she touches. She is a shy teen-ager with a dream to live in the city so her guardian Yukimasa Sagara suggests that she enrols at Hojo High School in Tokyo where his son Miyuki is also a student. One day while Izumiko is on a middle school field trip, a deity named Himegami appears to her. She learns that she is a yorishiro, a vessel for a kami. She also finds out that because of that Miyuki has been tasked with protecting her.

Week 1 - 04 - 10 February

Episodes to Watch: 1 to 3

It is week one of our Red Data Girl Challenge. The anime is based on the Fantasy writer, Noriko Ogiwara’s novels. She was born in 1959 and became inspired to be a writer since she read C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. She made her debut in 1988 with the publication of her novel (Sorairo Magatama) Dragon Sword and Wind Child, which was followed by Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince and Usubeni Tennyo (Pink Nymph), the novel series also know as the Jade Trilogy. This highly popular historic fantasy trilogy is based on Japanese lore and mythology.

She also wrote Nishi no Yoki Majo (Good Witch of the West Astraea Testament), a more western-styled high fantasy series which consists of eight books. Nishi no Yoki Majo was adapted to a manga by Haruhiko Momokawa and the book was also animated and aired in Japan in 2006. Red Data Girl was first published in 2008 and is, so far, a series of six books.

Our challenge this week is to watch episodes 1 -3, we hope you will enjoy this series with us. Have a super sugoi week, minna!

Week 2 - 11 - 17 February

Episodes to Watch: 4 to 6

The theme for episode 1 is ‘changes’. Izumiko cuts her hair, not just because she starts at her new school, but also in a sense it is a rite of passage, crossing that thin line between a life that is familiar into the unfamiliar. As she leaves the shrine to get to her lift into town, the monks and people are shocked at the change in her hairstyle. But are they shocked because of her hair, or because they realize that the girl is growing up? If you look at this episode deeper, it can be a metaphor for life. How we can grow and change, how our changes affects those around us. This analogy is loosely based on the anime, yes, but it is good to reflect on what we can see in anime on a deeper level. Getting wisdom from anime is entertainment too.

We also see as she is picked up, and find out that her parents can’t make the parent-student conference, her sense of loss, that they will not attend. The cutting of her hair may be a spark of hope. She wants her parents to notice her. If we don’t see someone for a while, we do not experience the changes that life brings in them, thus, we leave them behind or they us. It is a type of abandonment. It is another less pleasant manifestation of life that comes with change. Red Data Girl teaches us life lessons, if we are open to it. And for those of us that just want to watch it without going deeper into the philosophy of it, it is also entertaining on a lighter level. The anime should resonate to many on many levels. Who know what else we will learn as we continue the challenge.

Our challenge this week is to watch episodes 4 – 6, we hope you will enjoy this series with us. Have a super sugoi week, minna!

Week 3 - 18 - 24 February

Episodes to Watch: 7 to 9

Another theme in Red Data Girl is acceptance. Here we have two teenagers that has each had to accept a fate that is bigger than themselves. Miyuki has to accept that it is his fate to guard Izumiko, because she is to become a vessel for something powerful, yet she is also very weak. Izumiko, who is a gentle soul must accept the fact that she has abilities and a fate that people want to exploit.

Miyuki had a taste of just how special Izumiko is when, in episode 2 she is possessed by Himegami for a brief period at the girl’s mother’s house. He must accept that this girl who was to him a weakling, will actually be a force to be reckoned with once she is strong enough to fully become Himegami’s vessel. We also see how Izumiko’s inherent abilities caused her to create Satoru Wamiya, her spirit familiar and just how her inability to accept Miyuki at first caused Wamiya to attack them in episode 3.

We learn from Red Data Girl that both acceptance and rejection has consequences. Either way will bring forth change. A change of heart, a change of quality of life and at some levels things may never be the same. Acceptance is something we all must do at some time in our life. We see how, through change and acceptance, Izumiko and Miyuki grow and we can’t wait to see who they will become.

Our challenge this week is to watch episodes 7 – 9, we hope you will enjoy this series with us. Have a super sugoi week, minna!

Week 4 - 25 February – 03 March

Episodes to Watch: 10 to 12

We enter the last leg of our Red Data Girl challenge and the episodes for this week is episodes 10 – 12. If you like anime with shrines and temples and Japanese lore, then we have a few suggestions.

Inuyasha

Kagome Higurashi resides on the grounds of her family’s hereditary Shinto shrine. There’s this old well within the shrine which transports her back in time to the Sengoku period, where she meets the half-demon Inuyasha. After a few events are set in motion they travel across Japan to seek pieces of the Shikon Jewel before the powerful evil demon Naraku finds all the shards. It is a great anime that deals with a dark story line.

Kamisama Hajimemashita

Kamisama Hajimemashita is a supernatural romance anime about Nanami who, due to circumstances, ends up living in the shrine of the land god when he transfers his powers to her. There she meets the Yokai familiar Tomoe. The story follows Nanami as she learns to be a land god and how she falls in love with Tomoe. It is a perfect anime for those of you that likes Yokai-themed anime.

Kuma Miko

Kuma Miko follows a shrine maiden named Machi, from a rural town, that serves at a Shinto bear shrine. Her guardian is a talking bear named Natsu. She expresses her desire to go to school in the city and Natsu decides to help her to get ready to urban life.