OP Sequence

OP: 「ハリネズミ」 (Harinezumi) by AZUMA HITOMI
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「出会い」 (Deai)

After director Yamamoto Yutaka made a big fuss about putting his career on the line with this original anime project, the start of Fractale may come off a whimper to most. For me, the immersion into a fantasy world and the visual introduction to what I’ve read about has me looking forward to what’s in store, with the only real disappointment being that the series doesn’t look anything like the promotional art. Instead, the style is very reminiscent of A-1 Pictures’ work in Sora no Woto and Kannagi, the latter of which “Yamakan’s” studio Ordet assisted in the co-production of. It’s definitely a far cry from the unique artwork that I was looking forward to seeing in motion, and raises some questions as to why the characters themselves look so different. The most obvious case is shrine maiden Phryne’s (Tsuda Minami) hair and eye colors that have been changed from purple to brown and green respectively — something that caught my eye immediately in the promo videos. Of course, hair and eye colors are of minor concern when the characters designs themselves have been “anime-ized” to what some people may refer to as their “moe” counterparts. To put it bluntly, I like the style they decided to go with, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat disappointed when I found out the series doesn’t look as unique as it was made out to be. On the plus side, the animation itself is pretty fluid, the cinematics are impressive, and the characters have a lot of “life” to them. It’s very Studio Ghibli-like, which I gather a lot of people will be reminded of.

Moving beyond the obvious visual changes, the fairly uneventful opening and ending sequences also caught my attention. While I’m a firm believer of the statement that you should never judge a book by its cover, I feel that an original series can really benefit from having flashy ones to showcase what it has to offer and to further heighten viewer anticipation. To me, something like that wouldn’t faze me one way or another for the series in question, though I can see how many potential viewers who have hopped on the bandwagon in the past month are already thinking of getting off. I hate to say it, but the success of a series does ride on people with such fickle attitudes to a certain degree, so it’d be a shame if the lack of a strong first impression ends up losing a portion of them. I gather expectations came in really high for some people after the statement that Yamakan made, so perhaps dug himself into this hole by he raising the bar too high. I still say it’s far too early to make an accurate judgement, especially when this was a purely introductory episode that established the premise before ending off with the arrival of our other main character, the mysterious “Doppel” Nessa (Hanazawa Kana) who came forth from Phryne’s pendant. There’s really no need to throw anyone under the bus. Not yet anyway.

Where the production doesn’t leave much doubt is the story, focusing on a carefree boy named Clain (Kobayashi Yuu) and the world’s Fractale System, a supercomputer network that interfaces with humans directly, has turned the world into an easygoing paradise. As if implicitly trained from playing role playing games, I was suspicious of this seemingly perfect system right away, particularly when all that’s needed to fuel it is data from everyone’s “life log” and them staring off into the distance at a bright light without blinking for a daily “prayer”. While it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s truly going on, it’s probably safe to say that something is up and that the appeal of the story will be Clain’s adventure to find out what that is and why the system is breaking down. The whole ancient yet advanced technology that everyone uses but no one understands anymore plot device may be overused by now, whether in Final Fantasy or even the aforementioned Sora no Woto, but the search for answers is something that I’m almost always captivated by. In a fantasy world where the possibilities are endless, it’s hard to anticipate what’s going to happen, yet a lot of fun for that very reason when the story starts dropping hints here and there.

Ultimately, that’s the selling point for me in this original series, which works well in conjunction with the “Doppel” avatars that have become a way of life, allowing parents such as Clain’s to raise their children remotely. There’s also the mystery behind Phryne (i.e. is she from the future?) and questions surrounding why Enri (Iguchi Yuka) and her two goons are after her to get things rolling. From a story standpoint, my interest is as piqued as ever, so this first episode was far from a disappointment for me. At only eleven episodes long, I’m just hoping that this series will have at least a plot twist or two planned. If they’re depicted well, it may just be the thing to turn this series to a masterpiece like Yamakan’s envisioning. If not, it will probably end up being mediocre and quickly forgotten. The only way to find out is to watch, which you can safely bet that I’ll be doing.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Down By The Salley Gardens」 by AZUMA HITOMI
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼


    1. Mimicking is the highest form of flattery
      Setting (heavily hinted to be Ireland!) is for once not in Japan, and while dealing with early teens characters, not a school.
      Also very good incarnation of the idea that sufficently advanced tech is magic-like.

  1. Too bad about changing hair colors… imho Phryne would look better with blue hair, not brown, now she is plain to be sincere… Damn… I was so happy, when I see the preview scan with so beautiful art and now I’m disappointed ( Ghibli art is not bad, but… )

  2. Not only look like a Ghibli work, but also came with Nadia’s starting villanous trio of fools.

    Change of art hurt the whole expectation this series had, and as a whole, this first chapter felt rather rushed.

  3. Gah, I gotta say I hated the opening. I get the pun (haha, Yamamoto-san) but I hate hate hate fractal patterns. Uuugh.

    Aaaanyways, I really loved this episode. I kept getting movie vibes (yes, yes, Studio Ghibli, but there’s gonna be like sixty of these sort of comments….) and the simple character colors and beautiful backgrounds really mixed well. The Doppels kind of freaked me out. . . but on the plus side we have a classic mysterious girl and another snobby-yet-omigodLOVE rich girl looking for her, and that’s always a good combination.

    Hm, I wrote a lot. Anyways, looking forwards to this! Is it me or are a lot of the shows this season less than 13 episodes?

  4. I found this first episode very confusing, but I still wanna keep watching :3
    I agree with you on everything you’ve said in your post, from the ghibli-esque feeling to the uneventful opening-sequence

  5. That OP had me trippin! lol
    Has lots of potential. I hope this goes into the right direction. I’ve loved all of Yamamoto’s works, so i’m expecting either some crazy stuff or a very laid back adventure

  6. I thought the OP was epic, but from there on I was thoroughly underwhelmed but the whole episode. The highlights for me after the OP were Clain’s reactions to Phryne’s modesty (or lack thereof) and Enri and company’s utter stupidity. Fortunately there are enough plot mysteries to keep me interested in the next episode.

  7. Man. That was nice and relaxing. I kinda like the rustic feel fusion with futuristic technology. One complaint I have though, which Kiiragi touched on, is that PURPLE HAIR is 10 GAZILLION TIMES cooler than GINGER HAIR!!!

  8. I don’t like the opening very much at the moment but you never know it might grow on me as the series continues.
    Asides from that I really liked this introductory episode. I like the studio Ghibli feel. I might do a whole marathon once everything airs and think of it as a movie instead lol xP

  9. The first episode was actually really good. The OP and ED may be uneventful just to capture that movie-esque feel. Plus the funny moments were actually really funny :P.

    And regarding Phryne’s hair and eyes, who knows? They’ll probably change later on in the series, and the commercials depicted her having brown hair anyways.

  10. the opening is the kind that gives me an overwhelming migraine with leads to an urge to vomit. WHYYYY do you have to do this yamamoto??

    and contrary to everyone else’s opinions, i absolutely adored the episode =D the moving scenery, the strange doppels and the stranger fractale system… although i still think i was sold on the animation

  11. Ih ave no idea what was going on, the world was creepy and weird yet has a quirky charm to it, the characters are likable, yet I still have no idea what was going on or going to happen.

    But damn, I liked it. I loved both the OPENING and Ending songs as well, Psychedelia and Traditional Folk songs…wow. I agree, very Ghibli-like.

    Gaze of Providece
  12. It has its potential. Everything looks nice though and the design, rather than looking moe, looks very old which is a plus for me. The story itself is very intriguing and makes me think its from the same universe as Sora no Woto. Sign me up for episode 2!

  13. First impression: Miyazaki on TV. The opening was a slow-going non-event. Then, with a big bang, a mysterious girl fell from the sky. The world view is critical of techno-crazed, de-humanized culture… There are elements of the Miyazaki style all over the places. It remains to be seen how much original elements will emerge later on.

  14. Oh man, was I exited about the art style!!! This is a big let-down. The promo art was gorgeous, I was really hoping it would be the same/very similar in animation… guess not… oh well…

    Gia V.
  15. i felt that i seen an old animation in this anime.

    For me things arent clear yet but for some reason i feel that their is science in here which will really make me watch.
    I wish i have a doppel(though i have one)

  16. This episode reminded me of Laputa/Castle in the Sky so much. As soon as he was riding his bike and the mysterious girl was being chased; it felt just like Miyazaki. I was wondering throughout the episode though if something ‘original’ would pop-up though. :/ It was too much like Miyazaki- especially since he wasn’t working on it. XD

    My other complaint is with the soundtrack. I don’t know if it was just me, but it felt like all of the scenes had music that did not match at all. Like, when the song was playing in the beginning and then the background music for the chase scene started to play, it just didn’t feel right. Same with when they were in the church. It made things feel all over the place.

    Other than that, I hope this gets better.

    Irational Promise
  17. Boring as hell. The Manga was definitely more fun to read than this first episode. If they don’t increase the pacing in the coming episodes, Yamamoto will deserve what’s coming to him 😉

  18. This looks interesting, aside from the opening sequence which I’m sure has given somebody somewhere in the world a epileptic seizure.

    The rest of the visuals and atmosphere though is great, reminds me of Miyazaki and especially Laputa/Castle in the Sky. Everything is very fresh and mysterious at this point and I’ll be watching to see how the story develops.

    Ninja Penguin
  19. I found this extremely boring… especially after being subjected to 4 or more “strong female lead, bumbling male fool” shows already this season. I was hoping this would be a gem in an otherwise lackluster season, but I’m not impressed at all. I’ll watch episode 2 when it airs, but I’m not holding out much hope.

  20. All though not the strongest first episode, I’m still very interested and eager to see what comes next.
    Ghibli references aside, I do enjoy the relative playfulness and carefree nature this show exhibits. It has an air of mystery and a sense of impending adventure. Fractale certainly has potential, for now I’m pleased with what has been shown and hope it only gets better.

  21. I just don’t like the whole idea how their society explain that even if one don’t work they still receive a steady income. I call that BS, if that is really true then the human race would have been extinct by now, Human being are born competitive, if ppl don’t compete then u have lazy ppl and hardwoking ppl, but afterwhile the hardworking ppl get fed up why they should work hard when lazy ppl just sit on their ass and stil get an income, sooner or later everyone will be lazy and the world will just stop.

    1. Your forgotten, Before Humanity invented “Money”, how they survived until then?
      Sure, Lazy peeps get Free stuff. And Workers get pissed. But if all get the same stuff. Will there be envy in the first place? But then where comes the Food? Who plant the Seed, how made food of Plants/Animals/Fruits? How create the “Electric” what we need today? Our world without “Electric Power Current”. But stop, how survived your Grandparents, before the “Electric” got invented? We just forgotten to life without it… Perhaps thats the Story here..

    The main protagonist is sooo screwed up from the manga version. He appears so much younger and less skilled than his manga counterpart. The VA totally doesn’t feel right for the part. I was expecting someone more stoic and loner-ish. Also, he was suppose to be the one to tamper with the flying blimp thing not Phryne.
    I don’t know whether there was a novel before the manga or how the story originated, but I’m going off the manga as canon right now.

  23. I must admit, I am one of those people who weren’t left with a very strong first impression. (And I wasn’t even aware of this “big fuss” being made. I went into this not really knowing what to expect.) In fact, out of all the premieres I watched the other day, this one was definitely the weakest. However, I kind of get the feeling that the premiere is more like a prologue, simply setting things up, with the following episodes being the “real” content. (Although I suppose that’s not much of an excuse for a weak intro…) However, as you’ve pointed out, the only way to find out is to keep watching, which I certainly plan to do. Hopefully, my guess is more or less accurate. I’ll stick with it ’til the end either way, though, to be sure.

  24. Hearing the remark Yamamoto made, I was expecting some great things. It certainly didn’t live up to the hype, but I won’t say I didn’t enjoy the episode. It was a bit slow at first, but I liked what I saw. I enjoyed Phryne’s personality, and the setting was fairly interesting. Not the best first episode, but hopefully the episodes coming up will bring a nice plot.

  25. Wonder if anyone’s already demanding: “YAMAKAN RESIGN NOW!” Like the fickle sports team fan whenever their team loses for only the first match of the season. XD

    The whole ancient yet advanced technology that everyone uses but no one understands anymore plot device may be overused by now, whether in Final Fantasy or even the aforementioned Sora no Woto, but the search for answers is something that I’m almost always captivated by.

    Rather than Final Fantasy, it is Star Wars that more or less defined this trope of “Used Future”. The Ghibli-style animation certainly helps ease the immersion a bit.

    Phryne sounds like a time traveller from a timeline where the Fractale system has seemingly collapsed and human society went back to its frugal ways once again.

    While I know Kobayashi Yuu is more than capable of doing young boys, I’m too used to her voicing wacko-girls of late that I’m gonna need time to get used to hearing her in a male role once again. lol

    OTOH, it’s always a welcome to hear Hanazawa Kana yet again (even for only 1 second this episode). This must be the umpteenth time she’s worked with Yamakan.

    Kinny Riddle
  26. I really have no idea what to think about this 1st episode. The artistry was very well done and story is interesting but the entire episode just felt weird to me… guess it didn’t help that the flight scenes just screamed nausicaa. Moribito had ghibli-like art but it felt like its own anime but all i get from this is ghibli ripoff. The main character’s VA also seems off to me which makes him sound awkward at times. Idk, I guess i did like it and will definitely keep watching, but this ep really did just feel weird.

  27. Changing Phryne’s hair color to brown was a letdown 🙁

    Aside from that, the whole episode didn’t disappoint me at all. The Fractale system threw so many questions into my mind, enough to keep me watching throughout the series. The scenery is quite nostalgic. It gave me quite a chuckle, from the goofiness of those trio and Phryne barging in Clain’s room naked(WTF?).

  28. Fractale was one of my favourites, from just reading the description from the Cart Driver, but after the first episode I am really sure, that Fractale is one of the best anime this season – or at least one of those who have the most potential awesomeness. I hope the hold the ghibli-like style. The whole first Episode was like Ghibli in TV-form.

  29. The explainations sound a bit like that Bruce Willis show on using replacement bodies + Matrix. The embedded portion of the Fractale system does sound suspicious. “Eating together = family” plus other small hints seem to point to human relationships being distant. A social commentary?

    Zaku Fan
  30. Uh,

    1. The OP make me sick. Please change it, these Colors is to much for me…
    2. Um, the Story is unique. Respect
    3. It really gives me Studio Ghibli vibes
    4. i keep look some Episodes, it got me focus

  31. I just got done watching “Laputa: Castle in the Sky” for the first time…so funny you mentioned studio-ghibli. I was kinda in the mood for a show like this and all that hype never made it’s way to me. So basicly, I have no idea why people would hate this opening xP.

  32. Clain reminded me much of Eureka Seven’s Renton. Childish leads have zero appeal towards me..=_=”
    I never finished watching Eureka. What’s with all the alienoids shaped like pots and pans? (walking refrigerators in Paprika anyone?)
    Music was so-so. I have to admit I’m disappointed..

  33. In my case rather than being a disappointment, it was the other way around. I wasn’t expecting it to be this “good”, seeing the ‘crappy’ art and all. I mean hey, take a better look… you can’t even compare the drawing to the new animes coming out. But after watching it, I was actually surprised that the art fitted the story well.

    One thing for sure, this anime’s is bookmarked 🙂

    The Story You Don't Know
  34. To me, the best first episode this season, outside of maybe Hourou Musuko. An original idea, good animation, and a laid back atmosphere… it’s incredibly refreshing, and I’m looking forward to the rest.

  35. Wow, this new anime’s got me on my toes! What a cliff-hanger. I want to know more of how those Doctoles’ work, and why did a girl materialize from the stone?

    The data drug part really gave me a good laugh too.

    Excited for the next episode!

  36. In terms of art seems priceless (and hi-tech as well, putting 3D aside). I just hope that in terms of plot seems acceptable, and character development as well. Now on the commercial note, i really can figure out how this will move the market, not that i care… but hope it will, i mean… for the series sake.

    Still i think that for the first episode is beautiful.


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