Review: Fractale

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Anime: Fractale
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
Number of Episodes: 11
Length per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes

Fractale, Fractale, Fractale. Oh boy, I don’t even know where to begin. A lot of people in the anime community have been keeping their eyes on this show, since the director, Yamakan, said he’d retire if it failed. Even though he’s revoked all of that already, everyone was still curious about the show.

So I guess now the question is: was it a good move for him to revoke that claim?

NOTE: THERE ARE SOME MINOR SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. I TALK ABOUT THEM IN ORDER TO MAKE POINTS ABOUT THE PLOT ITSELF. I HAVE REFRAINED FROM MENTIONING ANY MAJOR SPOILERS.


It’s somewhat hard to talk about the plot of Fractale without really spoiling anything. It’s mainly about a boy named Clain, who meets a girl named Phryne, who leaves him with a brooch before she disappears. It turns out the brooch has a girl inside it named Nessa, except she isn’t actually a girl, she’s a Doppel. It’s never fully explained what a Doppel is, but for the most part they seem to be holograms. Nessa is special though because she can actually touch people.
Then people who don’t like the Fractale system, which is kind of like a god that watches over everyone and maintains their health and stuff, kidnap Clain and Nessa. The rest of the story revolves around them hanging out with the resistance.

It’s actually a lot more simple than I make it sound.

 

I covered the plot quickly so I could get straight to the review bit, because I have quite a few things to say about Fractale.

First off, this show is all over the place. I don’t mean literally, I mean directing-wise. It’s almost like the show can’t decide what genre it wants to be.

First it’s a comedy:

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Episode 2

Then it’s SERIOUS BUSINESS AND GUNS:

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Episode 3

Then it was back to being a comedy with a terribly animated dance party:

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Episode 5

Then it goes back to SERIOUS BUSINESS AND BETRAYAL:

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Episode 6

This isn’t good writing. This is “HEY I’VE GOT A BUNCH OF COOL IDEAS, LETS JUST THROW THEM ALL TOGETHER AND HOPE IT’S COHERENT.” The plot itself is coherent, sure, but the genre isn’t. You can’t just switch genres willy-nilly. It’s bad writing.

Take for example, Madoka Magica. The reason that show is a much larger success and far more interesting is because, while it does switch genres, it only does it once. It gives you a happy and fluffy world, and then slowly brings it further and further into the darkness. Switching genres is a one-way trip.

Perhaps I should be more specific. Comedy and grimdark are two genres that cannot be switched back and forth. They’re polar opposites. Maybe you could pull off dark comedy with it, but a dance party is about as dark as a newborn kitten.

 

The plot also suffers from other problems. Take for example this scene from the last episode:snap6

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Uhm, excuse me, but that was fucking stupid. “It was no surprise the elders could not solve the problem.” How are you SO sure of that? You read a random book that told you the correct age. I THINK SOMEONE HAD TO HAVE WRITTEN THAT BOOK AT ONE POINT. So that means someone else did in fact know. Maybe they just didn’t want to tell you because you’re a creepy pedophile.

Also, age? Age? That’s the big surprise? The huge, monumental reason all of their plans were being thwarted, were because you mistook her AGE? Excuse me while I go pound my face against a wall.

Now in case you’re yelling at the screen at this point, “No! The buildup was for the reason they mistook her age,” allow me to point out why this can’t possibly be the case.snap9

Now, for those of you who live under a rock, he was implying rape. However, that can’t actually be the case. If you remember a scene from a previous episode, this happens,snap10

…What, is he checking if it rebuilt itself?

I’ll break it down in case there are some of you who still don’t follow (apparently the scriptwriter for this show is one of them). When you rape or have sex with a girl, her hymen breaks. Now, the device above is for checking her vagina; specifically, whether her hymen is intact. However, we know after the last episode that her hymen SHOULDN’T be intact.

That means he’s checking to see if it rebuilt itself.

He couldn’t have raped her after this point, because we know where Phyrne is for pretty much every moment after this scene. That means the deed happened beforehand. If you still think MAYBE it happened after this somehow, think again. In a previous episode when Phyrne gets attacked, she has a weird mental breakdown when it looks like the guy is about to rape her. That means she had ALREADY been raped at that point.

I repeat, he was checking to see if her hymen rebuilt itself.

I can just imagine the scriptwriter at work, “Hey, guys, does sex destroy hymens, or make them?” “…Are you serious?” “Uhm… of course not! I was just kidding! Well, I’m pretty sure it makes them, so I’ll just go with that.

 

I am ragging on the show a bit much, so I guess I should say something I liked about the show.snap11

Nessa was awesome. She was also voiced by Kana Hanazawa.

…Yeah. Best part of the show.

 

Overall though, as much as I like to point out all of the logical flaws in Fractale, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. It was certainly a fun ride, and except for maybe after the first episode, I was always eager to see what would happen next.

In the end, Fractale is just one of those shows where you should turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. The problem is, Fractale shouldn’t be one of those shows.

RATING: 7 out of 10.

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4 Comments on “Review: Fractale”

  1. Marina says:

    hahaha, I love your rant on the confusion about Phryne’s purity. Midway through the show, I was fully convinced she was a virgin, albeit it a slightly sexually-knowledgeable virgin. Even at the city where she almost gets raped by the gender-confused Fractale-user, I still thought her a virgin. I mean, as a girl, I’m sure I would’ve reacted in a similar manner if some creepy guy like that was coming onto me…though I’m sure I would’ve then reacted in quite a violent self-defense manner after the shock. But the end…the end….I had no idea what to think. Is she a virgin, or isn’t she? She must not be with what this dude is saying…. Ack, I pretty confused and irritated with the whole father/Phryne connection.

    I agree that the comedy and darkness might have worked together if instead of jumping back and forth haphazardly, the show had instead shown a gradual move from comedy into the darkness that was the fight with Fractale.

    • Riyoga says:

      Yeah, it made me think the guy was lying. But then Phyrne wasn’t denying it so I don’t even know anymore.

      At one point I actually started taking bets with friends on what genre an episode would be before watching it. It was actually pretty fun.

  2. Son Gohan says:

    Sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily imply penetration. Oral sex and anal sex leave the hymen intact but that’s still rape!

    • Riyoga says:

      Fair enough, but then why did they need to check it? If that were the “traumatic experience” then it wouldn’t matter whether her hymen was intact or not.


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