The Granites have almost made their escape but they're not entirely out of the woods yet.
What They Say:
A glitch in the Granites' getaway ship has them stumped'"but Clain uses his hacking skills to reveal a mischievous doppel that can't resist a game of hide-and-seek!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the events of the previous episode, the escape by the Granites has been moving along and they're just entering a dead zone where they'll be even harder to track. For Clain, it's a dangerous situation since he's not really needed there and it's made pretty clear to him from the start that he's about as useful as an appendix. His choice is to just do things as he's told, which includes cleaning toilets to perfection or he can use the parachute and just jump out and figure out what to do from there. His life has certainly gone off the rails considerably since the opening episode and it only seems to be getting worse.
The first half of the episode is fairly relaxed as Clain adjusts to the earning of his keep on the ship and the way people gather together for meals and the like. Having lived alone for so long with just the doppels, it's definitely a different experience for him. Phryne on the other hand keeps from everyone but she's finding her ways to keep busy and that helps the two of them reconnect a bit. She's still very hard to pin down as she comes across as almost completely different each time we see her. Very warm and friendly in the opening episode and then cold and distant the next time. Now she's thawing a bit with Clain as the two are in a tough spot but are both on the outside in similar ways to the Granites.
Where the episode wants to focus its time is with Nessa herself, as the doppel has decided to cause a bit of a problem on the ship by messing with its systems. This gives Clain a chance to shine since he's got a lot of familiarity with the various systems that keep the ship going and it helps to make him useful. There's skepticism at first over what Clain reveals may be happening, but as it progresses they realize that he's essentially right and they all work together. It's fairly straightforward and there aren't any surprises to be had, but it's a cute bit as the supporting cast on the ship get a chance to be fairly human with some light and silly moments as well as some genuine concern about what's going on. But beyond that, it rings a bit hollow because it is so straightforward and doesn't really change much of anything except the perceptions that people on the ship have about Clain.
Considering the length of the series, Fractale has what is in essence a throw away episode where the only thing that really happens is cementing Clain and the others on board the ship as a part of the group. There are plenty of nice moments to it, including the whole undergarments thing with Clain, but there doesn't feel like there was a whole lot here. It's an episode that survives on the fact that it lets you get to know the characters a little bit better and we see things like Phryne starting to thaw a bit. Yet it left me feeling like it should have been dealt with better, and quicker, rather than this kind of languid approach to it all. Clain continues to be a likable character overall, and I'm intrigued by the ideas of this world that's here, but it's spending its time elsewhere and in fairly uninteresting ways.
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.