Taking a moment to salute the animators for the moe. In the words of Mortal Combat, “EXCELLENT.”
You have to pay attention if you want to watch Fractale because there’s a lot of information in the details.
Take the temple in an uproar over Phyrne running away. They say “Phyrne-sama” over and over again. The suffix “-sama” is a very respectful honorific used for someone of importance. We already knew Phyrne was special, I mean who can pull off wearing bloomers at her age, but the honorific definitely ranks her as a person of special privilege.
The subversive nature of the Fractale System is summed up in the statement by the Archpriestess who confidently says, “She cannot go anywhere. Everything is connected.” We already know the people, temple, police and medical care is directly connected to the System from E01. Here we learn just how much control the temple holds over the system and through it, the people. She think’s Phyrne can’t hide from her except that’s not true. There are pockets where Fractale doesn’t reach like the church ruins in E01. Foreshadowing!
I’d totally believe Phyrne ran to get away from the Archpriestess. She looks benevolent but her smile gives away her sinister nature. If a cobra could smile, I’m sure that’s the smile it’d wear as it spread its hood to strike its prey. She’s got schemes cooking in her noggin. Maybe if Phyrne didn’t take “the key of the world” there’d only be punishment waiting for her instead of severe punishment. Just saying.
On the surface, the empty town Nessa walks thru shows people have abandoned the need for centralized locations that was once necessary for work, living, and commerce but what it really symbolizes is loneliness. Something Clain feels acutely but denies. People don’t connect in meaningful ways anymore. They’re consumed by satisfying their own wants since their needs is covered by Fractale.
Clain says people opt to live in RVs because they don’t want to be tied down and so “they can easily move whenever a star falls.” Almost didn’t catch that. The falling star is a part of Fractale going down. The implication is huge. The Fractale System is falling apart.
The irony is these people who prize they’re freedom are slaves to the Fractale system. Altering their lifestyle, living in RVs, so they can always stay connected to it. Nessa astutely comments, “They’re all lost, aren’t they?” She compares them to lost sheep who can’t find their way home. It’s more like they forgot what it means.
A lot about Doppels is revealed through Clain’s interaction with Nessa. They are not tactile (only illegal means can make them tactile) and cannot touch other Doppels. The true nature of Doopels is revealed by Enri’s brother (“… Doppels take care of everything that’s troublesome for you.”) and Clain (“I don’t have my own doppel. I somehow didn’t like the idea that there is another me.”).
I thought they were just digital fronts through which people interacted with each other like Clain’s parents but that’s not the case at all. Doppels are independent, digital clones of humans. His parents did not raise Clain, their Doppels raise him. Freakish. Somehow it makes me think of the movie Body Snatchers. You can argue this a technological breakthrough, freeing parents from the burden of raising children with, in essence, clones of themselves but the Doppels can’t hug a child. Human contact is a basic necessity for normal developmental growth.
Nessa is an unusual Doppel because she’s tactile and can touch other Doppels. Mysteriously, she remains tangible only if the person “likes” her. She makes a huge deal over the fact Clain can touch her. She also displays the ability to manipulate/disrupt digital information and electronics.
Since meeting Phyrne, Clain is harassed by Enri and her goons. This episode we meet her brother. Their exchange mainly shows there are people who don’t embrace the Fractale System. Clain also a little too honest. He accidentally tells them Nessa was left behind by Phyrne.
I thought it was Phyrne who would push him out of his comfort zone but it was Nessa who ultimately makes him question his well manicured life.
Notice the moment he considers her an enemy, he closes himself off to her and passes through her as consequence. As capricious and fickle as she is, Nessa comprehends Clain is overwhelmed by her presence and stays at the police station to give him space. He doesn’t realize this and is left alone with his thoughts in his suddenly too big, one room house.
He finally admitts his loneliness and the importance of companionship. Right on cue, Nessa appears and the two happily reunite. Home is not a building, home is the bonds between people.