Posted by psgels on 1 April 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Fractale




Noitamina is an excellent time-slot that is about to enter its seventh year now. Throughout all the series that it showed, I can only name two series that I really consider to be worse than Fractale: Library Wars and Jyu Oh Sei. Fractale is an enjoyable adventure-series. But it SO has no idea what it’s doing.

The thing with this show is that it completely lacks any sort of vision. It advertises itself with the “unique” Fractale-system: a system where people are separated and lost the need for physical touch. It’s a fascinating setting, so of course this show doesn’t bother to spend any time at all on what SHOULD HAVE BEEN the central theme of this show.

Instead we get a generic adventure plot surrounding a bunch of annoying teenagers that sometimes from out of nowhere receives a huge mood whiplash into dark plot turn of events. At any point where this show introduces a new interesting concept or idea, you can bet your hat that it’ll only get abandoned quickly, in favour of its main cast, and BY GOD are they annoying. Especially Clain suffers from the “bad main character”-syndrome with his whining, but also the rest of the cast doesn’t really get their full chance to shine in this series.

The solve salvation of this series is that it did have an excellent team of writers and animators on board. The animation is consistently excellent, especially for TV-standards. There are really few still frames, if any. And as annoying and short-sighted as the characters sometimes are, the consistent animation does give them a unique dynamic. This show is also great at building up tension, telling climaxes and making its graphics, music and storytelling all come together in one whole. Especially episode 7 is an amazing example of this.

This show knows how to tell a story. It just completely fails at deciding what story it wants to tell and so we have to sit through episodes at a time of nothing happening, only to rush through other actually good and interesting parts. This show doesn’t fit 11 episodes. Heck, I doubt whether 26 episodes would have been enough for all of the ideas that it just skims over. At the end, it’s just another adventure. It’s quite an enjoyable adventure, but don’t expect much more.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Nice sense of adventure in terms of the small picture. In terms of the big picture though… not so much.
Characters: 7/10 – Decent characterization, but the characters themselves are really, really annoying.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Excellent vibrant animation.
Setting: 7/10 – Had potential. It just never uses it.

Suggestions:
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Shangri-La
Popolocrois Story 1998

12 Responses

  1. qwerty says:

    You really have to wonder at the process that made the original Phryne the basis for the Fractale system. The project would have had scientists, doctors and all sorts of people who should have seen things.

    “Lets see… we have a 16 year old girl with the mental state of a 10 year old… her records show her growing up as a normal girl so this behavior is likely due to some sort of recent trauma… she seems to get somewhat depressed and retract mentally whenever we mention her father… well lets hook her up to the super computer already.”

  2. thomas says:

    Spot on review, I gave it a 7. Was thinking about a 6 but I did really dig the universe they created. Didn’t really like any of the characters (apart from maybe Dias) because they were so 1 dimensional.

  3. Marina says:

    I was trying to think of how to describe the reason behind the failures of this show, but you succeed in doing so quite well. Focusing on the shallow characters was indeed the problem with this show. I have no problem with characterization at all, but the way in which they did it was pretty terrible. We saw no growth in the characters, no depth to their beliefs and feelings.

    And yet I also gave it a medium-high rating of 7 because of all the great ideas it had…yet never delivered on.

  4. Firechick says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t list Mysterious Cities of Gold as a recommendation. That’s an adventure series, right?

  5. Aw, I liked Library Wars and Jyu-Oh-Sei but I have to agree, Fractale just didn’t work in the end. There were plenty of things brought up in the last episode that should’ve been explained earlier and in the end, the main three characters don’t actually make any big descisions and instead just do what other people had planned which makes the story a bit of a waste honestly. Guess this makes the first noitaminA show I’ve seen that I didn’t like too.

  6. Tan-Tan says:

    Mainly mad at the fact Phyrne and Nessa don’t have purple hair.

  7. I’m of the same idea. There were a lot of interesting ideas tossed around in the show that never got fleshed out, leaving me a bit disappointed because it was obvious that Fractale could have been a lot more than it was. I would have loved to have seen how the Fractale corporation became a religion over the course of 1,000 years, or why Clain’s dad was living out in the middle of nowhere, and hadn’t invited Clain to come with him, or a number of other things, but the show never went there. It would have been great if the series was 24 episodes or so, giving it the opportunity to go into all of these things in greater detail.

  8. The Story You Don't Know says:

    Well, maybe if they made it into a 24 episode anime they would have been able to elaborate the Fractale universe. I guess this is what you get for squeezing in a very vast story into an 11 episode anime. I still LOVE Fractale though they could have at least ended it with more BANG!

  9. mds says:

    worst noitaminA series ever! At least Toshokan Sensou ‘s world is more developed,and it has better characters too (not annoying TEENs I mean)
    It’s time for retire for Yamakan,finally.

    never seen Jyu Oh Sei,though.

  10. thomas says:

    They might’ve tried squeezing a very fast story in 11 episodes, but it still feels like they wasted about 3 on them.

  11. Anon says:

    I was really hyped about this show after watching the first episode. It was the most promising show of the season but it all came to nothing. Even Infinite Stratos, which I wanted to drop on two separate occasions, ended up better overall.

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  • wicked
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 07:26 PM)
    Fire dragon arc! Fire dragon dies in the 5th episode
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.

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