When a young woman literally drops into Clain's life, this future world becomes quite interesting.
What They Say:
While Clain is on his way home from the junk market, he saves a mystifying girl from peril'"but she disappears from his life as quickly as she entered it, leaving only a mysterious pendant behind.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Developed by Hiroki Azuma and Mari Okada with manga, anime and a light novel series being serialized in Da Vinci, Fractale is an eleven episode series produced by A-1 Pictures and Ordet. With A-1 Pictures on something of a streak in the last year or two with the variety of shows they've been involved with and the general quality of them that allows them to stand out both in storytelling and character design, Fractale certainly has some expectations built into it before the first frame even comes on screen. The series gets the added fun of being part of the noitanimA block which has generally had something of an experimental feeling at times with shows that don't quite fit into the norm.
Taking place some time well after the 22nd century in which the world has achieved peace without any war or suffering as most everyone's basic needs are met, we're introduced to a young man named Clain who finds a piece of junk that tells of this future he's now living in from when the Fractale system was introduced that helped pave the way for this. It's an interesting moment as he thinks about how what was once promised as a bright and glorious future has come true. But that only helps to set the background a bit as suddenly a young woman comes flying in from nowhere while being chased by another craft that's shooting at her. Clain can't help but to give chase to see what happens since it's so out of the ordinary while being somewhat mystified by this attractive young woman who launches herself off of her craft in order to escape.
When things settle down a bit, Clain is able to get her back to his place and learn that her name is Phryne. Through her entering the house, we get a bit more of an idea of how things work in this time as Claine asks the strange things that operate as parents there to disappear for awhile. The doppels as they're called come across as holographic projects that help to make sure people are living okay, including giving them doppel animals if they need them as Clain has a dog as well. Phryne's very unnerved at first by how Clain just sends off what she considers his family but she's not all that normal to begin with. She undresses easily in front of him to deal with her wounds and walks around in the same way for awhile as she asks for his help in getting it all taken care of as she starts to wind down.
Clain's life takes a weirder turn when the people who were shooting at Phryne show up at his house later pretending to be an ambulance with a terribly disguise in doing so. It comes at a time when Phryne had just seen a very different side of Clain when he was a baby and wants to see him have that kind of smile and brightness about his life in the present as well. The show takes on a very mellow tone overall as it continues on until it decides to change things up at the end with who is involved and what Phryne is all about. While there's a moment where she may reveal things, as she talks about 'this era' in a way that paints her as someone not of this time, Clain casually mentions he doesn't really care and just likes her from what he knows of her so far. And then everything changes as Phryne disappears and someone decidedly non-Phryne-like appears which may be more suited to the outgoing shows that a lot of fans like but will likely just frustrate and annoy Clain.
With just eleven episodes to this series and it being an original work with some parallel runs in manga and novel form, Fractale has a chance to stand out by being something relatively complete in and of itself with this run. The usual standards are here from A-1 Pictures with solid designs, a potentially fascinating world with a different dynamic to what we know today and characters that up until the last moment offer some real possibilities, Fractale is a series that I'm very keen to see where it will go. Nothing here is a standout must-see moment for me however, but with what the company has done before and with the decidedly different pacing that an original work brings to the table rather than adapting the chapter by chapter must-hook mentality of a manga series, Fractale harkens back to Soranowoto in a way in how we're getting a slow immersion into another world. One that has an interesting mix about it but will require the showrunners to really work to make it sing. All the right elements are here but it's going to take a few episodes to see if they can mix it together and I'm certainly intrigued enough to give them the time.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.