This is what I’ve been waiting for in Fractale. The futuristic city full of hedonistic and artificial entites. The stimulating lights and inviting noises attracting lifeless bodies. A seemingly limitless world where one can freely pursue, nay, fulfill any goal, any desire, any dream. And yet all of that is simply data. Data which is not real and yet, it is their life.
Ah, I’ve been waiting for this. The people, the settings, the exploration, and the understanding. This is Fractale.
Let’s begin with the doppels who reside in the pleasure metropolis, Xanadu. Meegan, the busty and tempting sculptor and Collin, a doppel designer himself, are the two main doppels seen in this virtual urban world. Meegan, with her over-sexualized avatar and hedonistic lifestyle, represents a life of excess only obtainable through a fully functional Fractale system. In such a system, a doppel can have breasts as massive as one desires, partake in the use of the almost certainly illegal data drugs, and have an effortless occupation of sculpting, only limited by one’s imagination. Whatever Meegan dreams, Meegan can achieve in this world. But the catch is that real money is needed for Meegan to continue this perfect virtual lifestyle. Still, this is the perfect virtual life for the one who designed Meegan, so the monetary cost is a worthwhile investment.
Collin, on the other hand, represents a different entity. His knowledge of doppels allowed him to detect some of the novel attributes of our adorable avatar. Upon realizing that she is no ordinary doppel, Collin captures Nessa solely for greed. In a sense, you could say Collin is greedier than Meegan, after all, Meegan did show Clain around and inform him about the unconscious metropolis. Collin’s actions were for his own benefits, even to the point where he’d return Clain and Nessa to the Temple without giving any credit to Meegan, who already is desperate for money. While Meegan exists for pleasure, Collin exists for greed. They both compliment each other as prime examples of the soulless bodies who wander the virtual paradise of Xanadu and solely depend on the Fractale system for a life worth living.
Another fantastic aspect of this episode was the perfect city, Xanadu, and all its glory. The metropolis was a skeleton of physical structures, dressed and decorated with data to create an illusion for the doppels to call ‘home’. And while the doppels could freely interact with the virtual data displayed to them, to Clain it was an empty world where he could not touch. But it looked exciting and exhilarating. But in reality, it was as empty as the bodies wandering the light drenched streets. In fact, it’s strange to think that the only human walking this lonely city was Clain. Composed of towering buildings, never to be filled with any living body, the city of Xanadu, while perfect to doppels, would be nothing to those who rejected the Fractale system. To think, the Fractale system produced a complete world, full of bodies and buildings, all comprised of data, which encompasses the entire lives of many real humans.
Clain was able to explore the city, seeing all the virtual data displayed before him but only physically interacting with the skeleton of the city that belonged in the real world. At the end of the episode, Clain realized that Xanadu is similar to the real world for Nessa. Both are worlds where one cannot interact with materials or the environment but rather, only the humans with those worlds. Clain got to experience some of the problems that Nessa faces, such as not being able to touch the objects that lay before his eyes. It’s similar to how Nessa is unable to interact with material in the real world or experience the indefinable sense of taste. And it was this experience that helped bring Clain closer to Nessa, finally being able to understand what this doppel was experiencing. This sense of development between the two, through Clain understanding Nessa’s hardships, really augments the story in this episode, instead of just dazzling me with my expectations for a futuristic city of bliss and selfishness. It was Fractale system and its use of data that helped bring these two characters closer together.
There were also things going on in the real world, too. Phryne and Enri spent the episode searching for the missing members of their crew and stumbled upon a nomadic tribe of humans, separate from the world of the Fractale system and Lost Millennium. Set in a picturesque backdrop (really, what environment isn’t picturesque in Fractale?), Phryne and Enri experience another societies culture and way of living. It wasn’t until Phryne mocked one of the member’s artistic talents that the group’s true colors emerged and they were revealed to be the inhabitants of Xanadu, living as nomads as a front to hide their alternative lifestyles. So, it’s interesting to immediately see the counterparts of Xanadu’s doppels. The contrast between their virtual home and their physical locations is striking, and with my strong focus on settings from this episode, I can’t help but notice that the inhabitants are accepting a soulless world with no real substance and no real labor, yet they stay together as a community of humans in the real world. But I’m only guessing that they still have some attachment to the real world because their bodies exist in it. And if they could convert their real bodies to data, I’m sure they would.
Nevertheless, we were able to able to explore and partially understand a new society of people living in the world. They have their own world, their own doppels, their own lifestyles, and their own dependence on the Fractale system, separate from each group we’ve seen before. It’s interesting to see the effect that data can have on all these different individuals.
This episode satisfied all my frustration and dejection with Fractale. However, I can’t help but feel that none of the remaining episodes will be able to live up to this episode’s level. This was the floodgate episode. It had everything I was hoping for in Fractale when I began learning about the series many moons ago. There was the futuristic metropolis with its people, the sense of understanding the Fractale system more, discovering more about the real world around them, and the character development through experiences through the Fractale system. It seemed a little detected from the 6th episode with Clain and Nessa flying in their personal airship, but I don’t care. The overall episode was spectacular and it disconnect from the earlier and more disappointing episodes only helps this episode’s standing. It also has Clain and Nessa flying in their own personal airship. How awesome is that?
Well, enough of my beaming. With the upcoming episodes seemingly revolving around the Temple, Phryne, and Nessa, I can only hope to learn more about the mystifying and thrilling Fractale system. I think the more we learn about it, the more satisfied I will be with the series.