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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fractale Complete Series Review

Fractale - The Complete Series (Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Good Morning, Mom and Dad.... aaahhhhhhh what the hell are you? You.. Your ... WHAT ARE YOU GUYS! Oh, somethings not right in this parable of the future, just a few seconds into Fractale and you know the future is f*cked. Going in, I knew Fractale was suppose take place in the future, but I was waiting for the defining moment of, oh it's run by apes or aliens are now are government, but Fractale just punched me in the stomach and said "Time to guzzle down future sauce!" Why are my Mom and Dad weird alien monsters?

Coming back from guzzling down future sauce and no that doesn't happen, you find out that those horrible creatures lurking before you are just Clain's parent's avatars. Clain is the main character of this tale and through him you learn that the world in now basically covered in the internet or The Matrix and everyone knows it and likes it. Well, not everyone. Your in something called the Fractale system which basically takes care of all informational and entertainment needs, a strange , but not impossible idea of the future. Your basically fitted it since birth and it doesn't just have control over audio and visual experiences, in some cases you can feel, and a program was shown powerful enough to hurt someone.

You get benefits with Fractale, like I explained having the ability to summon the Internet at anytime and having an avatar called dopple, short for doppelganger to do things for you. Huge problems also mount up like families are no longer together. Humans seem to live apart and the family unit has suffered. Since people can communicate through dopples all over the Fracatle system, people no longer feel the need to share each others company in real life. Problems over coverage occur also, you see Fractale is failing, it's centuries old and when a portion of it's satellites or hover balloon system falls entire towns go away. The problem is that town might not have existed in the first place. You see Fractale creates a lie of visuals so structures might not even be where there appear, but people have lived like this for centuries and many are no longer self-resilient. Some people whose towns have been cut off have become wandering nomads looking for Fractale connectivity. It's all a really good look at our culture and it's dependence on the Internet.

Going back to how the young blond-haired, blue-eyed, Aryan like stereo-typical Clain is going about his life when of course, a girl shows up. This throws his nerd obsession of collecting old technology on the back burner as the mysterious Phyrne enters his life, escaping what appears to be the blues brothers and a little blond-haired girl in a steam punk air ship. After talking for a little bit with this cute nun girl, the two hideout at his place, followed by the strange trio.  I'd like to add that the trio after them looks remarkably like the Grandis Gang from Nadia of the Blue Water, a classic anime from Gainax. It looks like the animators just plucked them out of that anime and into this series.

So Phyrne ditches Clain, but leaves a pendant. Clain has to check it out and see if it has some hidden message on it. "Hello!" is yelled out by the 10 year-old girl now standing on his desk. He doesn't have a clue as to what has happened. His parents who also spotted Phyrne entering Clain's house the night before have started to wonder why there son has so many girls coming over. Nessa, the red-haired girl with pig tails is a constant ball of energy and the doppel of Phyrne. She shows she is more powerful than a regular doppel, by nearly destroying the nearby trailer park town.

At this point in the series you've noticed how beautiful the series can get, with visuals on par with early Gainax cartoons and Ghibli movies. Voice acting for the dub had some great choices as Nessa's voice perfectly captures that of a 10 year-old with god like power over electronics. Phyrne is more authoritative and withdrawn, while Clain is that of a young boy outside for the first time and constantly moaning about problems, mostly girl related.

This first part of the series is a much lighter tone as the series goes on. One episode involving someones death and the truth behind the Fractale system sets up a darker tone. It doesn't move slowly into that tone. I frankly thing it moved too fast, but the series is only 11 episodes.

You get a mix of some great light-hearted episodes of a steam punk future with some great jokes. There's nothing quite like Nessa interacting with a future toilet and annoying that cute blond haired girl. Nessa just going around bugging people is fun to watch. This is suddenly ripped away by awful truths and some very bitter moments. An example would be the Fractale network covering a whole in the floor, there's still a whole there so, watch out. There's another later story where it turns out people's avatars don't have to be there same sex. There's just some horrific stuff with cloning and getting rid of unwanted clones that'll be a tear jerker.

Overall, Fractale the series is a great shot at current sci-fi. Making fun of what current technology can become with a cast of main characters you'll be invested in. Its got steam-punk visuals and some fun jibes at culture of the Internet.

The few problems I had were that some episodes or parts of episodes went nowhere or weren't needed. The bad guys in this were kind of generic, like the same creepy pedophile or weirdo who licks people who you know is going to get it from other animes. Why lick people , it's just messed up, but I guess that's why there the bad guys. There's also a crew you get to know, but you don't fall in love with in fewer than 10 or 9 episodes. I didn't even remember some of them until reminded in the end.

Strangely enough the box art gets Nessa's and Phryne's hair colors wrong, maybe there using some early art or something, but it's just odd to see them both with purple hair for no reason. It's like you bought a cheap version from China Town with coloring errors. I might ask Funimation about it.

Copy provided by publisher for reviewing purposes