Officially, the Fractale Production Committee explicitly doesn't want me to watch this anime as a non-Japanese, non-French citizen - something that leaves me tempted to simply never speak of it again and adhere to their wishes so that I can sleep soundly in the knowledge that their short-sighted lack of business sense has had its natural, debilitating effect on their product internationally. On the other hand, that anime fan in me wants to continue to watch and discuss this series just like any other. What's a guy to do? I shall leave that decision in your hands via the comments on this entry.
For now though, onward to episode two, and despite the disappearance of Phryne (who seems to be missing outright, and she isn't the only thing of import to have vanished either it seems) Clain soon finds himself with a new handful to concern himself with - a decidedly energetic and equally crazy girl named Nessa. Is she a Doppel? This seems likely to be the case, apart from the face that Clain can physically touch her - a most un-Doppel like property.
Thus, much of the first half of this episode is spent with Nessa running amok and exploring her surroundings, causing chaos along the way until Clain has final had enough of her and leaves her with the town's security people to deal with... not a moment too soon either, as he finds himself quizzed by the shady trio (and the girl of that group's big brother) about his knowledge of Phryne. Having free himself from their questioning, the episode takes a bit of a different tact, tapping in to Clain's loneliness and effectively casting aspersions upon a world where everyone is connected virtually while simultaneously living alone and selfishly, using Doppels as a slim veneer of human contact. Hmm, it's almost like they're referring to the Internet and modern communications culture... anyhow, come the end of the episode Clain and Nessa are re-united, although this looks set to be just the start of their troubles and adventures.
As my synopsis probably suggests, this was very much an episode of two halves - the first was played almost purely for comedy thanks to its focus on Nessa (voiced by Kana Hanazawa being as adorable as ever), before suddenly placing its philosophical cap upon its head to ponder a world without direct, personal and physical communications. To be honest these two halves to the episode sit together rather incongruously - I didn't dislike either portion, but they didn't "glue together" all that effectively, instead feeling more like Hiroki Azuma pillaging his conjectured otaku "database" for a while before penning a quick thesis on Internet culture as it pertains to modern youth.
Aside from that obvious disconnect, I still enjoyed the episode as a whole, and if it can succeed in blending these two currently disparate elements together then it might well be on to something - if nothing else, it still has enough class and intellect to be very much a noitaminA series, even if it's one that its production team really doesn't want me to watch. People who make art forms then deliberately limit their viewing to a select few? Now that would make an interesting question for Fractale to pose...