FRACTALE – 02
In its second episode, Fractale still hasn’t given off an adventure feel like the series was made out to be, but the sudden appearance of Nessa and her cheerful, innocent, and curious personality made some strides towards it by disrupting Clain’s easygoing lifestyle. With her introduction, the character interactions have picked up a fair bit, making Clain’s impending journey with Nessa something I don’t mind waiting another episode for. While the premiere was arguably slow and didn’t really help “sell” the series, I for one loved the attention on Phryne and the mysterious air surrounding her flashy arrival. In a similar fashion, Nessa added to those questions as a Doppel that Clain can physically interact with under certain conditions. Thus far, it’s been hinted that he can do so when he wants her around, and can’t when he doesn’t.
More so than physical interactions, Head Priestess Moeran’s (Shimamoto Sumi) allusion to Nessa being the “key to the world” that Phryne stole served as some nice foreshadowing of things to come. By world, I assume she’s referring to the Fractale System, which for whatever reason is managed by clergymen. The involvement of religion always raises immediate suspicions, so on top of Nessa’s role in all this and the fact she knows the same prayer song, I’m leaning towards Moeran and her yet to be introduced husband/Fractale System researcher Barrot as the ones who will be doing a lot of explaining on why the system’s breaking down. In relation, Enri and her newly introduced brother Sunda (Asanum Shintarou) seem to have their own take on what’s going on, or at least that’s what their search for Phryne (and now Nessa) suggests. There’s a fair bit going on amidst the lighthearted humor, and while I’m purposely avoiding thinking too much about the hints this early on, I am enjoying how they’re slowly building up anticipation on where the story goes from here.
My personal highlight was undoubtedly Nessa’s bubbly personality, though I like how that spurred on some development in Clain and uncovered his longing to have someone to spend his uneventful days with. Overshadowed were all the lush backdrops seen in this episode, that added to the overall immersion into this fantasy world. I really liked some subtle touches as well, namely the 3D winding road and focus on the environment, in addition to the contrasting lighting in various scenes. Do they make this feel like an adventure? Not yet, but they do give the impression of a vast world with many secrets that’s begging to be explored. Hopefully the adventure officially kicks off next time, now that Enri’s hauled off Clain and Nessa in her airship.
* In case you haven’t heard, the producers have asked FUNimation to stop its simulcast of FRACTALE indefinitely until they can stop piracy of it. That’s an unlikely if not impossible proposition in this day and age, so it’ll be interesting to see if FUNimation will be streaming any more episodes. Apparently the French business model works is okay, and features the series in 1080p too.