「地下の秘密」 (Chika no Himitsu)
“The Underground Secret”

I never noticed Phryne and Nessa had the same eye color, so I didn’t realize it had any significance until it was spelled out for us. In the concept art for their character designs, they both had the same purplish hair too, which I really wish made it into the anime. Not only do they look better with purple hair and eyes, the similarity made it more believable that Nessa was what Phryne looked like when she was younger. I imagine the change was made so that no one would suspect they’re the same person, but in hindsight, I think it would’ve been something fun to speculate about. It wouldn’t have taken away from the impact of the cloning processing going on (at least not for me), as the sight of all the adolescent Phryne’s in test tubes raised even more questions about what exactly the “key” is.

I’m sort of surprised the story is still keeping the details under wraps, given how long it’s teased us about the whole key bit without providing anything substantial to go on. However, this episode did suggest that Phryne is only one of possibly many potential candidates, plus how it seems to require her virginity intact. The question is, to what end? For a moment, I thought she was being cloned to fuel the Fractale System in some way, but that idea was quickly put to rest after Phryne said they’re just disposing of the failures. So with that, I’m kind of of at square one again on the plot side of things. Since we’re rapidly approaching the end of the series, it’s starting to look like the key is something relatively straightforward though, in the sense that it won’t have any further plot twists once it’s revealed. The thought of that is somewhat disappointing, as I was hoping there would be more layers to the overall story.

On a positive note, the character interactions have continued to improve, starting with Enri showing concern for Clain and demanding that Sunda charge in to save him and Phryne right away. That almost seemed out of character given how poorly she treats Clain, but it did go on to reiterate that she’s not a bad person and her pervert remarks are just a running gag. Nessa’s rampage on the other hand leaves me wondering if Phryne likes Clain just as much as her doppel does. She sort of hinted at it when she spoke about running away from the monastery and meeting him, which felt like a confession even though it was far from being one. The most powerful scene involved the Phryne clone whom Claim formed a bond with, as I really didn’t want to see her killed after she directed them to the closest shelter. That damn Dias. He’s proving to be more and more of a jackass who’s only concerned about his own agenda.

Despite the cliffhanger, I’m pretty convinced that both Clain and Phryne survived. I can’t say the same for Barrot, who had a bunch of rumble fall on him. It would be a pretty anti-climactic death if he did die right there and then, especially after he was shown laying his hands all over Phryne. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be her legitimate father and just a self-imposed one. I say kill him off without a second thought if that’s all he is.



    1. I also always thought that Divine is pretty lenient.”Looking Beyond the Surface”. This sentence he added near the top some months ago pretty much sums up everything.

    2. I agree with Divine on this one. Even though I enjoy the series, i would have enjoyed more layers to the plot. The world they find themselves in seem so interesting. There is a huge potential for nuances and subtleties, especially with the concept of the fractale system and augmented reality. I also think that they should have probably added more shades of gray to the characters, making us question actually who is in the right instead of making the villains so obvious.

      1. Hmmm yeah now that you say it , it’s true the universe Fractale is taking place in could use some more developpments. It probably won’t happen since there’s only 13 episodes.
        And btw it’s probably obvious but I made a mistake on my first comment, wanted to reply to the one below.

  1. i must say Divine, you are quite a demanding person if it comes to this particular series, cause from what your posts look like I almost always get the feeling that what you’ve seen did not satisfy you enough. I’m on the other hand genuinely digging this show. And I so hope that this old creep Barrot died. Freaking pervert

    1. That’s odd, seeing I’ve been giving the series the benefit of the doubt all this time while other people have been throwing Yamamoto under a bus and looking forward to him retiring from the industry.

      I wouldn’t mistake my “somewhat disappointing” remark about the key bit saying I don’t like the series. That was just a minor critique, not a complaint. I even said the cloning revelation had a lot of impact first and foremost.

      Also, you can check other anime blogs or forums, but I’m probably one of the most lenient anime critics. Heck, I don’t even like to refer to myself as a critic. I purposely avoid making a definitive opinion about a series until I’ve seen it all, giving it the complete benefit of the doubt as an anime fan.

      1. well I was not criticizing you or anything, and I did not mean to suggest that you hate the show or something if you had that impression from what I wrote. It’s just that I get this constant feeling that it does not live up to your expectations, maybe i’m wrong though:) But i don’t get where does this whole bashing of the show come from, why are people so disappointed with it? It may not be a masterpiece but I think it’s really good and enjoyable to watch

      2. You can say it has not lived up to the hype. Epectations were that it was gonna revolutionize anime as we know it and it has turned out to be an ok series but nothing special.

        Madoka on the other hand came in with like no expectations or hype and each week just blows people out of their chairs.

      3. Lenient? Oh wow.. you are past lenient. You are truly someone that just enjoys watching anime in general rather than a critic. That’s one reason I enjoy reading your blog anyway since I enjoy most stuff I watch similarly to you.

        Anyway this episode was pretty nice. This series in general so far might not be explosive like the others but I thought that the atmosphere of the show have been pretty good. Also the pacing is not too bad either. Definitely enjoyable.

      4. I for one could not get into Madoka even after the 3rd episode. A series of socking events is not my cup of tea i guess. But I love Fractale for some reason. The beginning of fractale wile not exciting was important in developing Clain as seen in recent episodes, both sides of the fractale war and their positives and negatives (such as medial care for non-fractale people compared to fractale people as seen in episode 3). It is saying many things (many I dont know of). Right now I know it is talking about societies reliance on technology and that technology has made lives better but it has also separated people (though not as extreme as having programs socialize for you as seen in fractale) from one each other. Has anyone else gotten something different from watching Fractale I would love to discuss.

      5. I have to admit I’m one of the people who might have thought that the person who hype this step done, I now want to apologize for that now that I understand it’s nothing but an emotional outburst from me nothing more. I mean this series even cause some steer when news broke that it would stop streaming if CR doesn’t do anything with piracy, back then I thought that this series is really special and even though “this might be the next big thing” in anime, now I know its nothing more than a PR stunt to generate even more hype only to find out some series outdone anything it could offer.

        I post this sometime ago: “Their are a lot of good animes in every season if you will just look around, the many great ones are found all year long, while the outstanding ones are found years in between [that’s why they are called oustanding in the first place]. Learn to do the basics in case you have all already forgotten and you will find that anime is here to live.”

        So where is Fractale in that? I will say its in the “great ones that are found all year long.” I for one enjoy watching anime in general and usually didn’t care about stuff like the PR thing they did, but I thought Fractale is great as it is and the hype is not needed, because it just increased needlessly my expectation.

  2. While this episode wasn’t as good as the last’s one cliffhanger, it helped lift some doubts, mainly the nature of Phryne’s “sister” and her relationship with her “father” (god, I want to punch him!). And yeah, the hair color change made it seem like Phyrne had dyed her hair or something, the manga colors are more reliable but I already got used to see Nessa as having red hair. I felt a little sad for that clone, I hope she survives and Clain taking care of her but probably she’s going to die =/. The series is getting interesting again but I wonder how much effective would have been this if it were a movie.

    I mean, both Madoka and Fractale air the same day and while on Madoka I watch the stream in raw despite not knowing too much Japanese, I don’t do that with Fractale. It’s mostly like: Finish watching Madoka raw-> stalk for subs-> watch Madoka subbed -> oh right, Fractale is out too lol, gotta watch that tomorrow. Fractale is a good series but the pacing is a little slower than I like but helps recovering me from the train wreck that Madoka is.

    1. Wow… good to know that I’m not the only Madoka stalker (I’ve watched this week’s episode thrice now) XD
      To be fair, Madoka’s one of the very few shows which have managed to keep the intensity in tact every single week so I guess most animes would pale in comparison

  3. It’s not that I am against plots with clones but…

    Every time a fiction show tries to emphasize the astonishment of the protagonists from seeing these clones for the first time, I wish I could also be surprised too but I dunno…

  4. Well, i do have to say that the only complain i have is that they have maintained somewhat a little too slow-paced. If we start to chop useless stuff, we could probably get about 1 or 2 episodes of extra screen time.

    Compared to the previous episodes, i have to say that i liked this one the best. I did see a few cliche lines on this episide that didn’t feel cliche at all due to the right coupling of animation. I have to say, they have at least maintained quality compared to Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka? But again, it feels like comparing apples and oranges because they are completely different genres.

    1. Was wondering how long it would take.

      This is a great time for pirates and leechers with a little bit of cash to donate to trustworthy recovery services aiding Japan.
      It’s *literally* the least you can do.

  5. Yeah, pretty disturbing episode with all the scenes with the priest guy especially the damned key inspection, wished he had a much more painfuly slow death for some reason (indeed I am already assuming that he died).

    My theory that Nessa is actually Phryne’s younger sister just got defenestrated.

    Anyway, I really don’t understand they’re making more Phrynes if the Phryne we had is still working (to put it lightly), though, it would mean either they are making backups for the Key of Fractale or that it requires more than one working Phryne.

    Gaze of Providence
  6. Good ep. Now i’m more interested if human Nessa also joined Clain. Is Phyrne’s use as the key mean she gives birth to whatever is needed to sustain the Fractale’s (assumed) bio-computer systems? The “dad” seemed to reference 2 people rather tha Phyrne herself.

    I wonder if people feel ths is worse or not as bad as the Misaka Imoutos

    Zaku Fan
      1. otherwise i’d expect to see more brown haired ‘grown up’ phryne’s running about the place.

        unless there is another facility somewhere else with lots of brown haired girls in tanks.? the plot thickens!

        fractale reminds me quite a bit of eureka 7 and also ghost in the shell.

  7. I daresay it, and I really think so in my opinion: Fractale is waaaay more fu**** up than Madoka. They hinted a bit at how Phryne could have been reaped in her youth, and in this episode again they hint a lot about it and how her “father” seems to be a pedophile and abused her. And that Phryne clone sacrifice damniiiiiiiiiiit.

    1. Of course that’s pretty disturbing, only if it had shown it sooner instead of Clain fanservice and crossdressing :P. If something, it reminds me of Railgun and the “sisters” system, but 10 times more messed up. At least Misaka was not raped =/.

  8. Barrot better be dead. That perverted virginity check reminded me of “Dance in the Vampire Bund” manga. It was kind of weird how Phyrne got up onto the seat with her stockings and pants still on though.

    I’m also really confused about the qualifications of a key. Nothing really changes within a girl that loses her virginity. It is really only a social preference. FRACTALE has not entered into magic usage, so everything to do with the system should still be technological and mechanical problems. So unless they are bribing some engineer with cute virgins to fix the programming on the Fractale System, I don’t see how virginity qualify with anything technological.

    Furthermore, I wonder how Nessa got her name. If all the Phyrne clones have no sense of identity, then how did Nessa automatically name herself?

  9. @divine

    today something really hard happened to japan, it would be nice if you write an article about it, i’m sure everyone would enjoy to read your thoughts, fears,hopes and expectations of what’s gonna happen

  10. anyone else think that the “key” is actually some kind of reference to the Virgin Mary? It seems to me that the temple people(also explains why they used priestesses/priests instead of scientists) are trying to recreate a vessel (through trying to clone/ make DNA modifications to make the perfect vessel capable of a virgin birth)–which I also think might explain the disposing of the phyrnes that were a failed production from their research–and the grown up phyrne is more like a most likely to succeed as a virgin mother (since we see her “dad” rubbing his face against her tummy—and saying how it smells nice, whereas normally he says women smell bad)
    well–that’s what i’m speculating…hehe

  11. Barrot doesnt deserve to die so relatively quick… I say give him over to Enri for a few weeks of tsun torture 😛
    Also, given my personal tropes experience (Hi Calo Nord! for all the KOTOR fans :P) “nobody could survive that” death is promptly followed by “they never found the body”…

  12. This episode is a lot better than I expected, if only this series could maintain this consistency (It should be because their are only 3 more episodes left).

    I found it pretty disturbing that Barrot guy, one hell of a pervert and lolicon! He seems to be very infatuated with Phryne, I don’t think he’s dead though, he will be back or so I hope, we need a villain in this series! If the series can keep this pace and stay in focus and not wander again to some random happy/fluffy moments aka blushing/manserive of Clain, then all is good.

    This is a great show if we minus the hype before 🙂

  13. The other Phyrne made a comment that she and the others were not clones. On another forum it was proposed that Nessa was actually the data that was used to create the Phyrnes, so that they weren’t actually clones but a copy of some original Phyrne that was stored as data. So instead of Nessa being a doppel of Phyrne, Phyrne is a copy of Nessa. My conjecture based on that is that Phyrne is some sort of superuser (key) that can reboot the Fractale system and that each of the Phyrnes had some error in their creation that would not let them be recognized by the Fractale system as the original Phryne. They were being destroyed because they were of no use to the Priests. Phyrne took Nessa so that the Priests couldn’t create anymore Phyrnes.


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