Volume: Complete Series (11 eps.)
Distributor: FUNimation Entertainment
Genres: sci-fi, adventure, mystery
Age Rating: TV-14 (dialogue, violence)
Retail Price: $69.98
Run time: 275 minutes total
Release Date: 07/17/2012
Images: Click to enlarge [all]
Fractale, in a perfect world, is the perfect social order. That is to say, in a world where an obligation to work, socialize, earn money, earn food, and pay taxes is almost entirely absent -- is there anything left for people to actually do? Sure there is: worship. In Fractale, a religious sect casually referred to as "the temple" is turning the gears behind an immense cyber network that offers people health and security only to beseech their full and unequivocal devotion. In Fractale they trust.
This is all well and good, but Clain also happens to be a curious kid who chances sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. Fractale is a science fiction tale that uses the experiences of one unfortunate lad to explore and explain the perils of an all-purpose social utensil. Clain is still a child and doesn't wholly invest a lot into the system, withholding just enough to wonder if his dependency on Fractale precludes him from living a more unvarnished and exciting life. Clain soliloquizes: "It's a little boring, but it's hard to imagine that something better exists."
The presence of Phryne, a priestess to
the temple, prompts plenty of questions.
The story of Fractale evolves as our emerging hero, Clain, encounters each of these narrative arcs. Time and again he's thrown headlong into a conflict that will debate either Fractale's destruction, or its resurgence.
On almost every occasion, he stumbles and weeps, and leaves viewers with more questions than answers. But sometimes, including by the end credits, Clain surprises you and comes out on top, readily acknowledging just how dangerous the truth really is.
As a sci-fi title, Fractale isn't perfect though; sometimes the character drama isn't convincing. There are also times when the internal conflicts driving these characters become muddied as the overarching narrative relies too much on vagueness or indifference, rather than clear-cut resolution. This anime has several layers to it and many of them are left unattended for longer than was likely needed. Fractale is short and engaging. But it goes without saying that the anime's largest detriment is obfuscation. Can one kid really factor that much into the survival of a global, phantom religion?
Clain lives in a blissful future where the inconveniences of social interaction or correspondence have been deferred to all things digital. According to his parents, individual freedoms are "compromised" by interpersonal connections. Clearly, the boy is used to living alone. He's also used to turning to face the ocean every few hours, keeping his eyes open, and listening, trancelike, to the Fractale System's instructions. Fractale holds all human data as it currently exists. The system downloads the "life information" of its users and then adds, removes, or modifies information that is presumed irrelevant or bothersome. But hey, that's life. You turn to face the day star, conduct your "wish," or prayer, complete the download, blink, and go about your business.
The false sense of security Clain had
but a moment ago comes to a roaring halt
when someone unexpected falls into his lap.
One day, Clain encounters a girl (Phryne) on the run from a band of anti-Fractale insurgents (the Granites family). He quickly marvels at the girl's beauty (no doubt curious as to why she's under siege) and endeavors to help her. He manages to save the girl from the assault of a small airship, bringing her back to his cottage to treat her wounds (and figure out what in the heck is going on). In only a matter of minutes, Clain's boring, disconnected, and lonely life gets a much needed and refreshing tweak.