I finished watching the Anime series “Fractale” yesterday. That spelling still seems weird to me, but oh well. Regardless, I say that I enjoyed it a lot.
Fractale - A1 Pictures / Ordet
There is a lot of subtext and many messages in this anime. They are fairly obvious to spot, I think. There’s the religious aspect, the technological aspect and the human aspect.
As for the Religion, it ties closely with the technological one. The religious part of the story seems to reflect a lot of the brutality that once sees in the history of real religion. Like the thousands of Nessa/Phryne clones being created and destroyed to find the key, this reminds me sort of the way that Herod killed kids to find Jesus. Similarly, N/P chose to give their lives to save humanity in the end, much as Jesus did.
The technological prediction for the future, where everyone has a chip in their brain, seems pretty in-line with a lot of other people’s predictions. And we are already seeing the start of people becoming more interested in their own lives rather than those around them. Wether or not this will result in people getting “doppels” to do their living for them remains to be seen. Something interesting was the lack of brand competition. The only OS we see if FractalOS, and it’s various incarnations through time. Clain has various historical tech pieces, but the actual computer everyone is connected to is a single one, there is no competition. This seems indicative of stagnation, which is never good.
The human aspect also carries important messages, the main one being that family is good and sticking together is beneficial for life. This can easily be seen in the way LM communities and their insistence of being on time for eating and other social events. And yet, I can’t help but think that when people are using doppels to do this for them, the people on the receiving end might not be able to tell the difference. If computers wee able to process and function as humans, would this be so bad? The issue of course is when you have doppels interacting with themselves, which is pretty much a “sound the falling tree makes when there’s no one around to hear it” problem.
I really enjoyed the music score for this anime. The opening is a quite electro-rock-techno genre piece. These things I like. And this contrasts very well with the sort of Irish folk music that is used in the end credits and as a base for a lot of the general “scenery” background music. As for the “Day Star” song, which is arguable my favourite part of the score, It works brilliantly. While initially sounding a bit like a bad translation, it both sounds very catchy, upbeat and a bit religious, but also very child-like. The kind of song anyone could enjoy, but that would primarily be sung by a kid.
The odd thing about this particular anime is that, while short, it did a very good job at putting the story across. I think that it would have worked just as well as two movies. The animation itself seems to be of near-movie quality, as I don’t recall any noticeable animation errors. And the way they animated the CG “Fractals” was very, uhh, psychedelic(?). Regardless, it worked very well to portray a computer matrix that is essentially a child.
As for the voicing, I can only go per the english dub. In my opinion, the voices were well chosen and are recorded well. Comparing the faces to the voices used doesn’t give cause for any concern. So imagine my surprise once I found that Clain was voiced by a woman. I know that this happens very often, but it’s still surprising. There is a noticeable difference in the way “thinking voices” are mixed, which is good, because at times in the past I have had trouble differentiating between them.
Some of the characters are enjoyable. Some are thought-provoking. Others are downright creepy. The main characters, Clain, Phryne and Nessa are generally enjoyable to watch. Clain and Phryne take the brunt of the emotional issues, but Nessa does get a fair share. Nessa, the upbeat character, does a good job at preventing the entire series from becoming a depressing mess. Supporting roles of Erin and the LM Crew are nice and familial, adding to the series-wide message of Family being important.
The way that the other LM characters work is good, but Dias and his crew are rather morally dubious. Their intentions are good, but very brutal. Kind of like the army and some rebel factions in real life. The high priestess is quite sad, and chooses to inflict this emotional pain on everyone she comes across. A fairly human reaction to have. Barrot, the priest, is one of those creepy savillian ones. He raises Phryne as closely as one would a daughter, then wants to marry her or something? And he keeps basically molesting her and liking her face (that’s not a type) and weird things like that.
So yeah, a very nice varied structure of characters.But I am curious about the photographer going after clain. Was that his dad? I feel like it was implied, but I’m not sure.
I felt that this anime managed to get a good funny:serious ratio. As for the kind of adult humour often seen in anime, it doesn’t go totally overboard on the sex jokes beyond the mis-branding of Clain as a pervert. Given the age of the main character, this kind of theme does play a large part in the story, however. The initial interaction between the various LM (Lost Millennium) crew and Nessa is very entertaining. In particular the silly childish jokes in the first “Hide and Seek” game Nessa plays on the ship’s computer.
But the comedy doesn’t detract from the story. It all helps to show that a person, independent of the Fractal OS, can still have a full, if not fuller, life.
- Story: 9/10
- Acting: 10/10 [kind of hard to review when it's animated]
- Execution: 8/10
- Bonus: +1 for computers
- This Series: 28/35
Relevant links: Wikipedia /r/Anime Fractale wiki