Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
The story takes place on an island, where a "Fractale System" is beginning to collapse. One day, Clain finds an injured girl called Phryne under a cliff. She disappears leaving a pendant. Clain sets out for a journey with the girl-shaped avatar Nessa to look for Phryne and discovers the secret of the Fractale System.
In the future, humans no longer interact with each other but instead use Doppels to do that for them. They all live in luxury and a peaceful life. Anyone could live with anyone and they could go wherever they want to go. It's all thanks to the Fractale system which is like a computer program/religion that connects everyone, everywhere. It makes life easier and comfortable, you could get whatever you want with it. The only catch is all those things can only be seen and you cannot feel any physical contact. Sure, people still have children but there's no point in staying with them if you could go wherever and whenever you please anywhere. That's the world where our protagonist Clain is living, kind of lonely isn't it until one day he met a beautiful but strange girl who is being chased and he nursed her until her health is better. For the first time, our Clain was able to experience having a real person as a companion. After that girl disappeared and left him an item where a very lively girl sprang out, Clain becomes entangled with the mysteries of the Fractale system. He even met a group that saw the Fractale system differently that all it do is enslave the minds of people and that instead of giving people their freedom, it restricts their ability to become human.
That might sound interesting right? Yes, I would say that also when I watched the first few episodes of this series 'cause honestly this series started out with a LOT of potential in becoming one of the best shows last winter but all those potential have been wasted. I'll give a point for the setting but I deducted a lot since it was not fully utilized. It was like they touch up on it in the first few episodes but then forgets it entirely the next. I honestly don't know what this series wants for itself, does it want to be sci-fi that has over the top adventure or does it want to be brutal and bloody or does it want to be cryptic….ack I don't know and its making my head hurt. Everything was fine when they were introducing stuff but when they began with the explanations in the last few episodes all it did is confuse me and that made things hard to swallow that I just can't accept those half assed explanations. Sheeez!! What in the world happened in the end, the fractale system is still intact and that made me feel that the entire series is moot. Where is the world/life changing event that this series promised????
The only character I like in this series is Nessa and its mainly because of her smile and antics not because of how her character developed. The characters doesn't interact much that we were not able to get to know them and there's little to no character background. They tried to correct that at the last few eps of the series but sadly its too late and with Phryne's stubborn attitude, the suppose to be touching scene at the last episodes just felt empty. A lot of people got introduced and a whole lot also died and also in a pointless manner. The antagonist on the other hand, they don't really felt like bad guys they felt more like a nuisance and then pooof….they died also pointlessly.
Another thing that pissed me off is how this series disregard the gorgeous original character design that they used in advertising this for a more moe looking characters and ghibli wanna be design and animation. Honestly what's the point of changing the hair colors of the characters when having both Nessa and Phryne have violet hair made more sense in the future episodes. A comparison is present below (courtesy of Sankaku Complex)
Don’t you find the original art more appealing? I just love Phryne & Nessa’s original character design.
Thankfully that's my only rant in the animation department since besides the character design, everything else is an eye candy. The rich background of the grassy plains, city and even the virtual environment of fractale system is really lovely.
The OP song "Harinezumi (ハリネズミ)" by Azuma Hitomi is a nice song that sounds magical and yet futuristic and thankfully its not your typical j-pop. The ED song "Down By The Salley Gardens" by Azuma Hitomi really fits as an ending song since it feels really relaxing and is like a lullaby. I really barely noticed the bgm playing in the background and when I re- watched an episode of Fractale I noticed that most of the scenes doesn’t contain any bgm but there are some effects for like the moving grass and sea water bumping against the coast. I found that fitting and somehow reflects the loneliness that this series presented in its first few eps. The bgm are present but it is played only during the climax of an episode. The bgm is actually nice to the ears with an orchestra playing which added more fantasy feel with the series and somehow get you the feeling that your watching a movie.
I honestly enjoyed this series in the first few eps and add the fact that the animation and entire feel of the series is movie quality(even if I’m pissed with the character design) and has a Ghibli feel to it, this series is awesome. Though as the series became more action oriented in the end and even revealed some confusing revelations, all I could do is scratch my head and ask, “What just happened?”. I think the series is still worth watching but you have to adjust your expectations or else you’ll end up disappointed like me since I expect this to be like one of those movies by Hayao Miyazaki but in the end it didn’t even reach that level.
I won’t suggest this to anyone unless your out of show to watch since there are a LOT of shows that are more worthy of your time.
Overall: 7/10 (Low Priority Watch)