Mimi: Noitamina series are known for being very experimental, artistic, and creative. They have a certain air about them that makes them feel special. Now and then, a show pops up that doesn’t quite feel like it belongs in the family, the most recent example of this being Fractale. Noitamina rarely produces an adventure shounen series, so this was both unexpected and interesting. What we got is certainly a creative anime that looks pretty, but unfortunately, it winds up being so flawed that it greatly disappoints.
In the futuristic world of Fractale, people depend on the “Fractale System” to live, which is like getting sucked into virtual reality—they forget what’s real, and the rich just party around in fake, beautiful cities. They’re equipped with Fractale Terminals that monitor their health, and they navigate the world using holographic avatars called Doppels. The main issue is that the system is breaking down and people are starting to lose faith, which is the perfect opportunity for rebels to fight against the system. If this isn’t an awesome premise, then I don’t know what is. Fractale sorta feels like the younger brother of Last Exile, as it also has airship battles, a religious enemy, a girl with a mysterious power, and stunning visuals. Pretty cool so far, right?
The problem, however, lies within the execution of the story and annoying characters. Most of it focuses on developing the generic male-lead, Clain, who is constantly embarrassed around girls and being labeled a pervert. It doesn’t help that a couple of goons closely resembling Team Rocket, a moe girl, and a whiny brat bug the heck out of him either. Some of the episodes are rather slow and don’t advance the plot directly, resulting in a rushed ending that throws a bunch of nonsensical ideas together and makes some characters feel utterly pointless. In a nutshell, Fractale is 70% Clain and 30% plot. I don’t have anything against character-driven series, but the fact that Clain and his friendships take up so much attention, and the best part of the show is the premise, the potential feels somewhat wasted here. I would have liked to see Fractale focus just as much on the plot, villains, and traveling, or at least kill the redundant pervert jokes.
Adventure series like this really don’t seem to suit Noitamina. The only thing that is consistently good about Fractale is the beautiful artwork. But despite its most creative aspects (which earned all the points), it just pales in comparison to the other Noitamina series I’ve seen that are better executed. Overall, Noitamina has received its lowest ratings ever this season, which I am a little surprised by (I thought people hated House of Five Leaves and Tatami Galaxy the most). Not even the beautiful tale of Wandering Son could keep it afloat this time. But hey, it has some very promising shows coming up next: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, AnoHana, Usagi Drop, and No. 6. Alex wants to blog the first two, so I guess that I’ll be taking over summer season. >:3
Mimi’s Score: 7 Meeps out of 10 (Good)
Recommendations: Last Exile, Eureka 7, and Xam’d. I enjoyed these much more than Fractale, but what they have in common are: Adventure, futuristic technology, flying ships, a girl with a mysterious power, and a high school-aged male protagonist.