The first episode of Red Data Girl gave just enough info to go on. We meet Izumiko and deduce a few basic facts: she’s a soft-spoken girl, she has an overprotective family, and she’s not very good with electronics. Her parents have left her to the care of the housekeeper, the driver, and her grandfather and neither her mother nor her father could be bothered to attend her parent-teacher conference at school. She has a couple of close friends, but she gets picked on at school, both by the boys and the girls. Her family is well-off, yet she doesn’t know how to use the computer, nor does she have a working mobile.
In this restrictive environment, Izumiko has very few things under her direct control. So one day, she decides to cut her bangs, not realizing that this simple act would cause such a big fuss. It’s such a small thing that in normal circumstances would have gone unnoticed, yet in this scenario, it was a crucial step in asserting her autonomy and her adulthood. It’s a baby step, but for her, it’s an act of rebellion. It’s her enforcing her own choice on her own body, regardless of the consequences.
Izumiko is interesting since she’s rebelling for the right to look and to be normal. She doesn’t want to be treated with kid gloves — it’s almost like she wants to be the nail that’s hammered down. She wants to look like her classmates, she wants to go to the local high school and not the special Tokyo school that her parents are insisting would be perfect for her. Eventually, she gets one of her wishes granted: she will be allowed to attend the local school only if Miyuki attends it as well.
Miyuki is the son of Yukimusa Sagura, a family friend. Miyuki and Izumiko are childhood friends, though Miyuki has a history of bullying Izumiko when they were younger. Like Izumiko, Miyuki is going through his own turbulent adolescent phase. While he may act polite and well-mannered in company, he is pretty much the typical teenage jerk. It doesn’t help with a father who continually patronizes him, calling him a punk while rubbing his head. Like Izumiko, Miyuki doesn’t have control over his life — Yukimasa makes his decisions for him, and if Miyuki refuses, well, his father knows of other ways to convince him. Even though they don’t realize it, Miyuki and Izumiko really are more similar than they’d like.
I feel this is a theme that is consistent among the series by P.A. Works. They love showing the push-and-pull between adolescents and adults, with one group insisting on knowing more than the other. There are more questions left unanswered from this first episode, many of them relating to Izumiko’s position as the mysterious Hime-gami and how this legacy affects their lives and their future. I’m definitely looking forward to watching more.