Two lives can be too much for one person to handle. People in the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and China who have reinvented themselves in an online game risk their real lives to save their virtual world.
Synopsis:In the virtual world reincarNation, which is similar to Second Life, the “residents” are running wild with little or no law and order. A manga-style avatar with a penchant for pranks, Tomodachi Taiko - who in real life is a nerdy Chinese schoolgirl called Yanyu living in Shenzhen (and a brilliant hacker) - gets banned from reincarNation after distributing a pirated new blockbuster movie to the residents and causing the studio to sue reincarNation. Tomodachi has also antagonized the shopkeepers he stole the movie from, a pair of Russian thugs called Boris and Ivan, who aren’t much different from their real-life alter egos.
A closet gay man doing a boring office job in South Dakota, Floyd Harmon, is addicted to reincarNation and has reinvented himself online as the openly gay and very popular virtual real estate developer Lorenzo Masters. Lorenzo falls in love with reincarNation celebrity singer Django, who is about to perform a big concert at an entertainment center built by Montreal-based media conglomerate Blank.com. Django is actually Sebastian de Vannier, one of Blank’s top executives. In real life Floyd has to help his mother deal with his father’s Alzheimer’s, but he is so immersed in the virtual world that he is jeopardizing his job and family.
Blank is determined to buy reincarNation from its British creator, Mark Johnson, winning residents and shareholders over with the lavish events it hosts. Mark is extremely intelligent, witty and sarcastic, and is also a paraplegic due to a motorcycle accident. His physical limitations were the motivation that made him focus all his attentions on an alternative reality. When he appears as an avatar in reincarNation it’s usually in an absurd disguise, as a banana or as Stalin. He enjoys being the mysterious god-like power behind the world. Sebastian and another Blank executive called Ava surprise Mark by coming to the reincarNation headquarters in London and trying to pressure him to sell his company to them. Mark doesn’t know that Sebastian is also Django.
Sebastian is egotistical, ruthlessly ambitious, and determined to keep his online dalliances in the virtual world. He doesn’t want his homosexual leanings to get in the way of his relationship with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Django recruits Lorenzo to inform on reincarNation residents for him, and Lorenzo agrees because Floyd needs money to pay his father’s medical bills after an accident.
Astrid Anderson, a young, idealistic Australian woman, attacks a Japanese whaling ship in Antarctica with a paintball gun, disrupting the hunt and enraging the crew. She and two other activists are captured, taken to Japan and put on trial. Thanks to diplomatic efforts their prison sentence is reduced to a year’s house arrest and they are escorted back to Australia.
Seeking some form of escape and a way to continue her activism, Astrid joins reincarNation and turns herself into a dingo avatar who joins the subversive Furries. Astrid becomes a leader of spectacular protests against Blank within reincarNation, which culminate in blowing up whole regions of the virtual world with nuclear bombs. She starts taking her role so seriously that she feels more comfortable wearing a dingo costume while she’s on the computer.
Tomodachi persuades Mark to let him stay in reincarNation if he helps Mark by sabotaging Django’s concert, which he does. Django is completely humiliated on stage in front of thousands of residents when his avatar body morphs uncontrollably into embarrassing shapes. But when Django finds out through Lorenzo that Mark himself was behind the sabotage, reincarNation’s shareholders are appalled and agree to sell to Blank.
Blank subjects reincarNation to a clean-up in an attempt to rid the world of illicit activities and brand it with its corporate image. Some residents approve of the changes because they’ve been harassed by other residents or had virtual money stolen in the lawless atmosphere that Mark encouraged.
Floyd’s father dies, and he feels free to take action. He discovers that Django is Sebastian and flies to Montreal to meet him, hoping that they will have a real-life love affair. Meanwhile Sebastian has hired the real-life alter egos of the Russian thugs to get the real-world Tomodachi out of the way, except that the thugs kidnap Yanyu’s father by mistake, not realizing that Tomodachi is actually a girl. Yanyu meets Mark online as Tomodachi and admits to Mark that she is a girl and that she needs help because her father has been kidnapped. Mark makes a public appeal for the kidnappers to release Yanyu’s father, explaining that he had nothing to do with the events in reincarNation.
Floyd and Sebastian have a violent confrontation when Sebastian rejects Floyd, and Floyd is seriously injured. Sebastian is arrested, and then has to admit that he hired the thugs when he hears Mark’s announcement that the wrong person has been kidnapped. Yanyu’s father manages to grab a knife and kill the drunken thugs.
Floyd goes home and admits to his mother that he is gay, and she accepts him. Mark plans to start a new internet project in partnership with Yanyu. When Astrid is released from house arrest she climbs the Sydney Harbor Bridge and meets a good-looking guy at the top who is also interested in politics.