I enjoyed Fractale less than the first episode led me to believe I would

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.

I should just quit watching everything that’s not on noitamina

But that would be unfair, I suppose. But c’mon, noitamina had Ayakashi, Mononoke, Moyashimon, Kuuchuu Buranko, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Eden of the East, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei, and Kuragehime. That’s a good track record of shows I’ve enjoyed. Other noitamina shows may have been great, but I haven’t seen them, so I can’t comment. That means, however, that I’ve never disliked a noitamina show (although I’ve enjoyed certain of the above shows quite a bit more than others)

I’m not going to go ahead and write extensively about what I liked about these shows, since I’m not introspective or smart enough to pinpoint why I like what I like, but Hourou Musuko and Fractale are probably my favourite shows this season. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika or whatever it’s called is also looking pretty good and has succeeded in keeping my attention for the first two episodes with its bizarre artwork and cutesy magical girl protagonist, but outside of that, the only other show that I haven’t dropped yet is Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne, but I may drop it anyway, since I haven’t seen the second episode yet. The first one didn’t have much of any newness to add to the wincest paradigm and barely kept my interest. Everything else is rubbish/boring like Infinite Stratos and Beelzebub or has value only as fap anime, such as 95% of Freezing. If it’s not in either one of those categories, then I either haven’t seen it yet or I concluded it was garbage and dropped it before even watching a single episode.

I may drop Level E and Dragon Crisis, but I will at least wait until I watch the second episodes of these series. Level E had a couple good laughs though, at least.

But everything about Hourou Musuko seemed nice. Cute, meek protagonist, cute shota friend of protagonist with best teddy bear evar, beautiful watercolorish artwork, great character designs and voice acting as well as remarkably fluid animation that makes the viewer feel like he or she is watching real people move about, rather than cartoon characters on a screen. All wonderful. Very gentle treatment of the subject matter, which I can’t really comment on seeing as I don’t read manga or light novels, so I’m experiencing this story for the first time.

As for Fractale, to employ an overused method of succinctly summarizing one’s reactions, at first I was like “wtf?”, then I was like “lol”, then I was like “Fractale FTW!” and then at the end of the first episode I was like “wtf?” again.

Again bearing in mind that I choose which anime to watch based on how much I like the image on the AniDB page for the show, rather than on any knowledge of content matter, all I knew about the show before watching it was that it took place in some kind of futuristic setting. I certainly didn’t think it would take place back in the Old Country! The protagonist, despite his smart lederhosen-inspired getup, lives in what the viewer must be meant to take for none other than the hilly landscapes of Éire.

After establishing that we’re in rural Ireland, the protagonist, Clain, sets off on his bicycle to go to some kind of yard sale, accompanied by his best friend, who appears to be a bottle of Coca-Cola.

There’s a lot to like here, such as Clain’s parents who look like they came right out of that Catherine video game,

And AIRSHIPS! Anything that reminds me of Skies of Arcadia or Final Fantasy IX gets bonus points on my scorecard:

Finally, to put the icing on the metaphorical cake, the final element in the winning combination that is Fractale: rubbing a medicinal salve on a mysterious bishoujo’s back who fell from the sky whilst riding a flying machine,

Don't know if want...

Yes, want...



The credit ending sequence gives us another glimpse of that beautiful Irish scenery:

I don’t want to speak too soon, since for all I know the remaining episodes may consist of Vanna White and Fabio as Lear and Cordelia, respectively, but these are the types of shows which, were they to see BD release, would certainly end up on my shelf if I also won the lottery beforehand. It’s not that I don’t have respect for IP; it’s that I only have respect for IP that I like.