Although my knees are still shaking from the grandiosity and sexiness that is Utena, I figured I couldn’t dilly dally forever. The best thing to do to get yourself back into your typical rut after watching something that revolutionizes (no pun intended) your life like Utena is not to sit and ponder your navel, as you may be inclined to do, but rather, sally forth into something productive, like watching more TV. So that’s what I did.
Some time ago, when I watched the first episode of Fractale I noted that it seemed pretty watchable, or something to that effect. Well, as it transpired, I ended up stalling on the show until just now. I stayed current for only about two or three episodes until I got distracted by exams or another show or Clippy the paperclip or something. I watched the rest of the series today and was a bit disappointed. I thought it was going to be nice slice of life story. The first episode really sent me back to the first time I watched Yokhama Kaidashi Kikou many years ago, reviving a warm, moist, squishy feeling in my chest.
But no, that suishiness was all a lie, a nefarious plot to lure in people like me who don’t read plot synopses before watching shows. This show just had to turn out to be one of those things where the fate of the world hangs in the balance and there’s guns and killing and fighting. I hate strife. What’s with all the strife in anime these days? If the Fractale system had been working properly then everyone could have remained in that blissfully dull haze they were in and the show could have just remained at that nice, easygoing pace of the first episode that so misled me.
Many viewers would be familiar with the story from the manga because they’re not illiterate like me. If they were, they’d have known that the viewer basically ends up rooting for a group of fucking terrorists. Clein complains about that repeatedly, but in the end, he’s a terrorist too. I liked him in the beginning, but eventually, I couldn’t keep rooting for him. Phryne is likable enough, I suppose, but she’s a pretty flat character. I suppose that can’t be helped with her role as the “body” half of the “key”. If she’s nothing more than an empty shell then maybe I should be happy she’s lacking in depth; maybe I’d be disappointed or feel that it was too jarring if her character were more developed. I doubt that though. I think it would make the show more captivating. She’s certainly nice to look at though. Nobody can deny that that helps make more tolerable a boring character about whom the best you can muster up are lukewarm feelings.
I suppose it’s my fault, as usual, for watching a show without knowing anything about it beforehand. This is the modern day equivalent of channel surfing and watching whatever happens to be on blindly. When I was a kid I’d sometimes choose a random number and tune to the TV station that matched or was closest to that number if there was no exact match. If that’s the level of refinement I have when it comes to determining which media to inhale, then it serves me right for being frequently disappointed.
The best part of the show is the music, particularly the Irish vibe of the music for those shots of landscapes, like the rolling hills and grass being blown in the breeze. Best of all is the Yeats song that serves as the closing theme. It is misleading though; that song just reinforces the initial impression I got from the first episode that this would be a nice, calm, battle-free slice of life anime.