In the not-too-distant future, cell phones play an even larger role in everyday life. In Shibuya, word is going around about a site on the network where you can search for anything just by using your cell phone. Platonic Chain, or the “Goddess of the Net”, will tell you everything from what diet you should be on to the person who would be your perfect match. Three teenage girls, Hitomi, Rika and Kanae, begin using Platonic Chain to find information, friends and love.
summary by Madoka
Platonic Chain is a clearly unique anime with a short episode length and 3D computer animation in place of the traditional television series. A string of vignettes rather than a story with a full plot, this series shows signs of intelligence as it takes a look at one possible future, but the episodes are too short to get any attachment to the characters or the story.
The animation is both a curse and a blessing. While the backgrounds show a detailed and realistic Tokyo, the characters move clumsily and show little emotion in their faces. When one of the main characters laughs, for example, her mouth barely turns up at the edges. Shock and surprise are also poorly expressed. The voice actors perform their roles well, but their emotions are not completely reflected in the ineffective character animation.
With the actual episode length under five minutes, there is very little time to become fully acquainted with the main characters. In fact, I had a hard time remembering their names. As the girls traverse the streets of Shibuya, an assortment of minor characters are also introduced, some of whom seem important. They never make a reappearance, however, and most of the episodes end up as quick scenes that share only the common thread of people using Platonic Chain to find the information they need.
These condensed episodes do, however, have the time to explore the idea of a society almost completely dependent on cell phones and networked information. This series offers a different take on the concept of “Big Brother” that seems plausible and relevant to viewers in this day and age. It’s a shame that more time wasn’t provided to develop a cohesive story with full characters.
I didn’t want to do an entire new review for this series, but did want to share a few thoughts. First, I agree with the complaint on the shortness of the episodes. That might NOT have been an issue. The quick, punchy vignettes COULD have worked if they were all working together. I had the feeling at one point that the whole thing was going to come together in a breathtaking, unexpected denouement — but no.
Second, the series itself, and even Madoka’s review, seem almost quaint now, more than a dozen years on. In fact, it is almost what would be called a “period piece”. The fact is, the “Platonic Chain” concept seems entirely too realistic, as is the world where people are “chained” to their phones (see what I did there?) virtually 24/7. Madoka says, “… the idea of a society almost completely dependent on cell phones and networked information,”but we don’t really have to imagine it, do we?
Bottom line: if I was doing a proper review, I would probably grade it somewhat higher than Madoka. And I do recommend it, partly for the story, but mostly for the interesting vision of a future which we have nearly accomplished.
Platonic Chain can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.