So the world is now peaceful and everybody is happy. And the lead is this kid obsessed with relic technology. And he meets this cute girl who is chased around by… rebels? Who want to free mankind from this utopia? And religion is evil? What’s with the genki loli? Hey, why does all that remind me of something and why do I don’t give a damn?
Fractale is heavy as lead on themes but light as a feather in presentation, which is why it never manages to become anything above sweet or cute. It also uses themes that can easily be found in other anime, where the same thing was done in a much more captivating way. It also created a blend that to the most part plays as a mediocre children’s adventure or a light ecchi comedy that again leave you almost indifferent if you are versed into better handled shows. Down to it, it is a bad mix of various good ideas.
Let’s start with the technicals and say that the visuals are very good as a whole, despite lacking identity and finesse. A-1 Pictures is a good studio when it comes to production values but otherwise hasn’t made a single great show. Although there are many who probably love this and Ano Hana, it is still too far away from excusing their overall weakness to have proper storyboarders or not to be stoned to death for making the dreadful Trinity Soul and the horribly boring Fairy tail.
Let’s move to the direction, which is done by Yamamoto Yutaka. So this guy has directed super famous and high seller titles, such as Suzumiya Haruhi and Lucky Star. Then all of a sudden has a change of hearts and wants to make “a serious and deep anime that will not be just fan service”. And as you can tell, he failed miserably because THIS MESS was the best he could come up with. The guy is simply good only at making storyless moe shows and tried to play it intelligent and artistic by creating something outside his field of expertise. Sorry man, you suck at being intelligent and artistic, go back to your moe softporns where you know what the devil you are doing.
Enough with that; let’s now focus on all the things that catches your eye while watching this… show.
The first thing that strikes as bad is the intro and ending themes. They are so damn generic and with almost nothing to look at. They are there for a reason you know; to get you into the mood and then hook you for the next episode. These here are freaking blunt to the point of skipping. Although I know some people who loved them for being relevant to the story (fractale and depiction of innocence) that still doesn’t make them interesting or that artistic to care.
The second is the main character Clain. He is a freaking harem lead archetype! He keeps bumping on pretty half-naked girls, he gets hit and blamed and he acts all spineless and scared. That sort of archetype is blunt to the point you don’t give a rat’s ass about. Supposed he is representing the average pampered kid out there so we can easily identify with him or something. He is still boring as hell and I mostly wanted to smack him that feel compassion or excitement over his quest to find out the truth about the world.
The third is Nessa’a haircolour. It is red while all the promotional posters have them purple. What kind of last-moment change is that? It’s like the animators didn’t even know what they were doing five minutes before starting to paint.
The fourth is the story exposition that just can’t remain steady for 5 minutes and thus constantly not allowing you to get into the mood of the show. At one moment it is a harem, then it is an adventure, then it is some sort of thriller, then it is a drama, then it is harem again. And never all of the above at once but one at a time. What a terrible handling of the plot! You end up not caring about any one of its various sub-plots.
The fifth problem is its unoriginality. Anyone who has seen a few dozen sci-fi or children’s adventures will most likely keep making comparisons to this anime; and chances are he will find Fractale as lukewarm compared to them. For example, at points it will remind you of the Matrix movies but it’s nowhere near as good. At others it will feel like Neon Genesis and again hardly as good. Everything feels like laundry from various people… and the clothes have washed out colors. Thus it doesn’t look good.
The sixth is the actual ending, which tried to be mysterious and serious but it otherwise looks as nothing but a perfect eroge harem ending yet again. It leaves you with the worst final impressions.
In other words, it is a show with a plot you can’t enjoy much, a cast you will find mediocre at best, and a story you have already seen elsewhere in a better way. Super fail all the way.
The Matrix trilogy
And now for some non-fractal numbers:
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 1/2 (not high budget but decent)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (nice pasture sceneries and weird high-tech gizmos)
Animation 2/2 (lively)
Visual Effects 1/2 (average)
SOUND SECTION: 5/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (nice but not great)
Music Themes 1/4 (boring)
Sound Effects 2/3 (nice I guess)
STORY SECTION: 6/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting themes)
Pacing 1/2 (keeps jumping from interesting to boring)
Complexity 1/2 (rich context but easy going presentation)
Plausibility 1/2 (handled poorly but everything is excused)
Conclusion 1/2 (there is one but it’s generic and harem-like)
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (generic)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic)
Development 1/2 (generic)
Catharsis 1/2 (generic)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none; it’s a weak rehash)
Rewatchability 0/3 (nothing to gain by watching it again)
Memorability 1/4 (too reminiscent of other better shows)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Art 1/1 (looks nice)
Sound 0/2 (sounds boring)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but terrible handling)
Characters 0/4 (they are all harem garbage)
I like my anime with good handling and without freaking harem leads. NoitaminA has descended to mediocrity with this title. Not a good thing for the anime industry…