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 Post subject: Platonic Chain
PostPosted: February 24th, 2011, 8:13 pm 
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Joined: May 13th, 2007, 7:57 am
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Location: Trier, Germany
Platonic Chain is a CG animation with 25 six-minute episodes.

According to the intro of the episodes the plot is set in a parallel universe very much like our own, just a few technological leaps ahead. The story pretty much centers around Hitomi, Rika, and Kanae, and how they deal with their world by means of their technological possibilities.
15yos Hitomi and Rika are best friends, although they are very different. Rika is a very selfish person, she looks and acts like your typical Shibuya girl, she changes her boyfriends like other people change their underwear, but she always sticks to a principle: His name must be Ken'ichi.
Hitomi sticks more to the standard concerning her looks and language, but on every other behalf she is a normal teenager.
Kanae joins the duo later after meeting Hitomi more or less by coincidence.

Hitomi finds out about a website called "Platonic Chain", and despite what you might think it's not a match-making site of a more or less dubious sort. In 2002 the author thought up what we today might call a sort of perverted Wikileaks - "perverted" in a completely nonsexual sense. From this website you can dig up any information. ANY INFORMATION. Not just the workings of the ruling class and governmental cover-ups. This is not Higashi no Eden, this is not about changing or ruling the world, the girls have very much more mundane uses in mind - and by staying on the ground, so to speak, this series gives us a direct warning to take care of what data we offer about ourselves on the web, and how much the data cloud actually might know about us with and without our active cooperation.
You enter someone's mail adress or phone number and you get a profile gathered from all sorts of sources. Like "lives alone, likes this, dislikes that, is best at..." and so on.
Or you meet someone on the street and you both wonder whether you've met before - what you do is compare the data of your smartphones on Platonic Chain, which will show you where and how you moved across the landscape, and if your paths cross at a certain point in time all you have to do is check the data from surveillance cameras which will show whether you only passed by or actually talked to each other.
Or suppose you're looking for a certain type of person, for whatever purposes - you enter a profile of character traits and appearance, go to a busy spot in the city, and when such a person enters a certain radius around you his/her phone rings and you can make contact if you like.
Or imagine one day you receive an email in which someone states he/she was madly in love with you and had found out your contact data by configuring the system in a way that surveillance devices would send an alarm whenever someone was spotted wearing that kind of brand watch that you have and then comparing your face to online profiles.

That's friggin' scary!
And apart from a small sci-fi margin it's already reality!
If you use a smartphone it will look for a transmitter/antenna tower or check for e-mails, say, every 10 minutes. Which means that every ten minutes you give away your exact position, whether you take a walk, whether you're driving in a car or riding a train. Information that you give away via Twitter or Facebook will then show what you were doing in the places recorded by the system. The phone keeps track of your contacts, friends, family, and business partners, secret lovers and co-conspirators.

According to German law such data may be collected for six months, and a German politician of the Green Party in fact sued the German Telekom to hand over the data concerning his own person to him - which he then published to show how far we have come, all in the name of fighting crime and terrorism.
See this website.
It's in German, but by pressing the red "Play" button on the left and navigating the map you will easily see and understand how about 75 % of his whereabouts on the globe over the course of six months can be followed exactly, what travels he made, (where he was doing what can be concluded from his public Twitter and Facebook data), and at what time he usually walks along what road to go home or to work.

In my opinion Platonic Chain is a scary vision - it's just too bad that reality has caught up, and that it's in fact not a vision anymore. All that's missing is public access to the data via some website like Platonic Chain, and surveillance cameras with clear sound recording. (Well, and the playthings like "I wanna meet a girl who looks so and so, who's between this and that age, and who shares my hobbies.")

As for the technical parts... I do not need to repeat that I am no friend of CG. But I guess it was chosen to stress the hip future-like atmosphere of the "parallel world" they depicted. So I find the character design very unsatisfying, and animation even worse. The music is inconspicuous, but at least the voice acting is solid.

Overall, due to the contents, I have rated the series "good" on ANN, but I have to say that out of the 25 episodes (that is actually 24 episodes plus a web-special) there are only five, at best six, episodes that are really good. The others are either repetitions of what was already said, paraphrasings of facts already given, or simply unnecessary stuff. And yet it made an impression.


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