Fractale Episode 5
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! Shows from the Winter 2011 Season that received a “thumbs-up” review after the first, second and third episodes now advance to the fourth round. For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Fractale is an 11-episode weekly television series aired from January to March 2011 as part of Fuji TV’s noitaminA time-slot, an original story directed by Yutaka Yamamoto, developed by Hiroki Azuma and Mari Okada. Clain lives in a futuristic utopia world known as Fractale, and one day he comes across a mysterious priestess on the run named Phryne. After she disappears, Clain searches after her, with only Nessa, a computer-generated ‘doppel’ that emerges from a pendant she leaves in his care, to guide him. Along the way, he learns the secrets about the Fractale system, and that it may not be the utopia he imagined.
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ep. tl;dr review: Clain settles in part of the ship’s crew as childish Nessa reappears; Character-heavy episode that doesn’t really build much character.
Episode Summary: Clain has to earn his keep on the floating airship by doing odd jobs as some of the crew are reluctant to begrudge his participation. Nessa is nowhere to be found, and Phryne believes is is because she is jealous that she has returned to Clain. The airship suddenly becomes unresponsive, and Clain determines it is because Nessa is “playing” with them. In a game of hide and seek, Clain finds Nessa, and she makes her peace with Phryne.
My Impressions: Having very recently watched X’amd: Lost Memories, I cannot forgive the similarities between Akiyuki and Clain with respect to being picked up by a mysterious airship full of rebels, where he has to earn his keep as the lowest on the totem pole. For that matter, I recall a very similar set-up with Eureka 7 as well. How many other anime shows have this very specific anime trope?
Not a whole lot plot-wise happens in this episode, as it seems to be mostly a character-building exercise between Clain and Phryne (mostly). But if this was primarily to help us understand the characters better, it didn’t really do much in that direction. Clain still seems to be the hapless, wimpy male lead that is mostly fumbling through the show rather than leading it. Nessa remains as clueless and child-like as before, not realizing her potentially destructive behavior. As for Phryne…I still can’t puzzle her out, seemingly avoiding easy categorization, other than I find her strangely disagreeable and annoying. The secondary characters remain secondary, except for Enri who has gone from being an annoying brat thrown in for comic relief to the one character I actually find the most refreshing for her bluntness.
Perhaps most frustrating is that at the halfway point we still know achingly little about the true nature of the Fractale world, other than it is woefully broken and failing. Even when Phryne attempted to explain some of her role in the whole mess to Clain, that was interrupted. All we seem to learn is that the programs have been patched and re-patched and patched over again hundreds of times over generations, dating back to the pre-Fractale era. Although I still don’t understand why Fractale System Failing == Bad, other than because they say so. I really hope there’s more “meat” in the next episode.
For more information:
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (April 7), Episode 2 (May 16), Episode 3 (June 23), Episode 4 (July 16)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- Watch full episodes online: on Funimation
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “I was probably subconsciously expecting a bit more out of this episode after the one-week break, so it came off a bit uneventful in the grand scheme of things….I can’t shake the feeling that the story has dumbed down to the Monastery versus Lost Millennium. Having two sides pitted against one another wasn’t really what I was expecting from this series, since it seems to simplify what could have been a lot more intricate than that. ” – Random Curiosity
- “This whole episode seemed like a filler to me, though it is essential that they have Nessa back. Aside from getting Nessa back, though, their little terrorist crew and the show in general hasn’t made any progress. No key revelations, no forwarding of the plot, no action. It’s back to the slow pace of the first few episodes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but personally, I’d love to know more, if just a little, about anything.” – Sekijitsu
- “Either ways, as an episode to flesh out the characters, this episode did a decent job at it. I do think it could have been done better with regards to the rest of the cast, with their “development” summing up to silly dancing moments and loincloth swapping. However, considering how this series is very short, I’m glad the show is focusing in on the main characters. Grade: 3.7.5.” – Emory Anime Club
- “Compared to the two previous episodes, this episode slowed things down again and nothing really important happens. The relationship between Phryne, Nessa, and the Fractale system is still as much of a mystery as ever.” – A Product of Wasted Time
Coming up next (not necessarily in this order): Hourou Musuko Episode 5, Yumekui Merry Episode 5, Gosick Episode 5, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Episode 5, Level E Episode 5, Broken Blade Episode 5, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute Episode 14, Digimon Xros Wars Episode 31, Seibu Tetsudou Ekiin Tako-chan Episode 1, Highschool of the Dead OVA, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt OVA, Detective Conan OVA 11, Kung Fu Cooking Girls Episode 1, Appleseed XIII Episode 1, Asobi ni Iku yo OVA, K-On Season 2 Episode 27, Fate Stay/Night TV Reproduction Episode 1, Pokemon Ranger of Light Episode 1, Hetalia Paint It White, Je t’Aime, Karigurashi no Arrietty, Out of Sight, Naruto Shippuuden Lost Tower, Kaichou was Maid-sama Episode 27, Senkou no Night Raid Special, Skiki Episode 21.5