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Fractale
Fractale
Fractale
Anime Review

If someone were to ask for a quick summary of Fractale, my answer would be "What is your definition of quick, and do you have a century or two?" And the fact that my abridged summary of this show would be so long is astounding, because the entirety of the series only consists of 11 half hour episodes. Yet in these few glimpses into the surprisingly deep world Fractale presents to us, we encounter an array of themes and concepts that would make an English teacher's head spin. The series makes one think deeply about the future of our world. The ideas of creating a true utopia, our increasing dependency of technology, the ideals of family, the loss of innocence, the loss of free thought, the extremism of religions, brainwashing, loneliness, family ties, murder, war, deception, greed, false loyalty, and murder.

Yes, I did say "murder" twice. Fractale is a dark, adult show. The box art and the light introduction may fool you, but it will churn out bloodshed and destruction, along with many other unpleasant sights and revelations. It's not even the violence that's disconcerting about this anime series. It's the intense and dramatic change it undergoes from being surprisingly tame to an incredibly dark, bloody dystopia that becomes a direct look into the vicious reality of human nature. There are many moments of calm, comedy, and happiness, but don't get too comfortable with that. The world that Fractale portrays is very volatile and dangerous. Fractale is no show for the sheltered or sensitive. But I digress.

Fractale Before getting to the entropy of the plot, the premise of Fractale is pretty simple. About a thousand years in the future, society has become comfortable under the guidance of an ancient (21st Century) technology. The technology, known as "Fractale", creates a web of data for all people to share, essentially the operating system of the entire planet. The technology is now so advanced that it can create holograms of cities and "avatars" (Known as "dopples"). But this incredible technology had also hurt the humans as much as it had advanced them. The majority of the human race is entirely dependent on the continued function of Fractale's systems and satellites. But the Fractale system is entirely safe and secure. Well... if your idea of being secure is satellites continually falling from the sky and deteriorating the system sector by sector. The system is indeed falling apart and is in need of restoration by a mysterious means.

But this is easier said than done. Fractale is not under the unanimous agreement of the entire human race. There are people who will die to protect it, and others who will die to ensure its destruction. These opposing factions take the form of the TEMPLE, the extremely religious organization that maintains an authoritarian rule over the human race and complete control over the Fractale technology, and the clans of "The Lost Millenium", a loosely associated group of rebels intent on freeing humanity from the clutches of Fractale. And that's the general premise, not accounting for the miles down the rabbit hole still left to be experienced.

Fractale But we open up to calm and innocent beginnings. This is the story of a boy named Clain. A boy who has the simple enjoyment of collecting vintage electronics, using vintage electronics, and general things that have to do with vintage electronics. As you can imagine, he lives a simple, isolated life. His only company is the two "Dopples" (Avatars) of his parents. But as is the case with most simple lives in animes, Clain soon gets involved in proceedings that he could have never even imagined. It all begins on a lazy afternoon where Clain happens to be out on a cliffside road in the right place at the right time. Suddenly, right over his head, he witnesses a chase between a mysterious girl and a group of three pursuers. Clain watches her fall into the ocean and immediately goes to find her and take her home to heal.

But the mysterious girl continues to be mysterious, and she slips away in the night, leaving Clain with only a mysterious amulet with mysterious archaic data on it. Clain, being sufficiently mystified, decides to investigate the amulet, and from here on out his world will never be the same. Why? Upon analyzing the data on the amulet, he releases it. The data took the form of a young girl named Nessa. And this girl is half the key to the fate of Fractale. The mystery girl, Phryne, is the completing half. And poor Clain becomes entrapped in the conflict to save or destroy Fractale, as its true nature is revealed.

Yes, the premise becomes increasingly chaotic and reveals quite slowly, yet that is the beauty of the show. The show has incredible amounts of depth. Many anime take the cliched struggle of good and evil and prolong it over countless episodes attempting to create immersion and depth. However, Fractale completely unbalances the common balance of good and evil. There is nothing so clearly defined in this anime. You must honestly judge everyone yourself, if you even need to. All the characters are imperfect. And this is exclusively because all the characters are human. Humans will naturally fight and kill, but in the same time they will love and bond.

Fractale That is the reason, if for nothing else, why it's worth sitting down for a few hours. The wackiness of the writing is balanced by the believability of the people who you see on the screen; it may be the one case where characters feel so incredibly real that you really do 'connect' with them. There are no virtuous heroes. There are no magical powers where people "believe in themselves" and "unlock their hidden potentials". These characters are put through the moral shredder. They fight. They kill, all to protect their ideals, their way of life, and (most importantly) the ones they love. I actually find it ironic that a show about the loss of humanity portrays raw human nature so well.

The bottom line is, Fractale provides interesting and raw material for you to enjoy and interpret your own way. Some may be put off by the strange directions and sometimes random occurrences. The writing can be incredibly sporadic. From trivial things (like talking about underwear for absolutely no reason) to events that have no circumstance or explanation, and serve simply to advance the plot in some completely different direction. My personal gripe is that it seemed like they tried to fit so much content into so few episodes, really cutting down on the potential for some of the story arcs (Episode 7 is the worst offender. Opening up tons of new story, then abruptly ending it, then all of a sudden having a character come out doing something that wasn't explained and doing something extremely important to the plot, then entirely disappearing without explaining a single thing! Completely infuriating!).

But in the long run, I believe everyone will be satisfied with these eleven episodes of a really unique show. It has some great art, great animation, awesome dialogue, and generally memorable characters. Yes it's a bit dark for some, but if you're willing to deal with violence and adult issues, you'll also find that Fractale also has some whimsy and character that will make you smile and laugh. So if you're ready for a wild and memorable ride, find yourself a copy of Fractale and sit down for a fun six hours of some spectacular anime.

Reviewed by Neil Sveri, September 2012

Below: Scenes from Fractale .

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale

a screen capture from Fractale



Fractale

Fractale Website Links:


Fractale Manga Official Website (Japanese)

Fractale (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Fractale (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Wikipedia entry for Fractale


Below: Promotional illustrations for Fractale .

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