2011: The Anime Year in Review

I’m going to go about this in my usual biased way, ignoring anything that didn’t interest me and selecting the shows that were great, the shows that were good, and the shows that might have been good were it not for some serious flaw. Ongoing series that have not completed a single season will have judgement deferred until next year. (Too often a promising show is ruined by a bad or missing ending.)
Continue reading

Fractale Ends

I don’t want to be to hard on Fractale. This show has the sort of ambition that I would like to see rewarded. If “90% of everything is crap,” Fractale clearly belongs in the 10% of anime that is not crap. Nevertheless I have to rank it below a unambitious but competent show like Gosick, let alone a ground-breaking work like Madoka Magica.

Perhaps this show gets harsher criticism than it deserves because of its director Yutaka Yamamoto (“Yamakan”). He has a record of harshly criticizing the work of other directors, including a notorious TV appearance in which he bitterly denounced the popular series K-ON and ripped the head off a Yui doll. Before Fractale aired he suggested that he was going to “save” the anime industry by creating something great.
Continue reading

Fractale Absurdities?

I’ve been able to accept most of the technical details of the world of Fractale as the result of super-advanced technology, but some things in the last episode don’t make sense to me. Maybe a satisfactory explanation will be forthcoming, or maybe the writers really haven’t thought things through.

What follows is sufficiently spoilerish that you probably shouldn’t read it if you haven’t yet watched the show. (So go ahead and watch it. It’s available legally and free on Hulu.)
Continue reading

Thoughts on Fractale

I hate to say bad things about Fractale. This is the sort of anime that I would like to encourage. It clearly has ambitions to give us something new and superior, but so far there are a number of things that annoy me. I am not annoyed enough to stop watching, but I fear the series is going to turn out to be a disappointment.

The show has a solid, thoughtful science fiction premise. The world of the future is a cybernetic utopia (or dystopia) based on the “Fractale System.” People are connected to a world-wide computer network by means of “Fractale Terminals” embedded in their bodies. They are free from all material wants and mostly chose to live alone, visiting each other only in the form of holographic projections called “doppels”.

The hero, a boy named Clain (Yuu Kobayashi) lives alone in a house on a remote island, attended only by the doppels of his parents and the family dog. His isolation is broken when he meets Phryne (Minami Tsuda), a runaway priestess from the planet’s theocratic government. Phryne soon vanishes but she leaves something behind: a mysterious childlike doppel named Nessa (Kana Hanazawa) whom Clain is somehow able to touch. Phryne and Nessa are being pursued by a rather thuggish gang of revolutionaries let by a obnoxious petulant girl named Enri (Yuka Iguchi).
Continue reading