"I know it's crazy. But... I thought... that she might be able to fly."Fractale
is an 11-episode shounen
anime series directed by Yutaka Yamamoto (series production director of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
and director of Kannagi
) and produced by A-1 Pictures
Revolving around a futuristic era in Ireland where the world's source of order—the "Fractale System"—has begun to fall, a fourteen-year-old boy named Clain meets
Temple priestess Phryne being pursued by chance and rescues her. He takes Phryne back to his home and tends to her injuries, but as quickly as Clain begins to bond
with the girl, Phryne disappears the next day, leaving behind a brooch for Clain. A female Doppel
named Nessa appears from the brooch, and Clain and Nessa both go in search of Phryne
while uncovering the secret of the Fractale System.
In doing so, Clain is forced into the conflict
between the rebel organization Lost Millennium
and the Fractale System's Temple priests and priestesses
—both of whom are pursing Phryne—and it grows difficult for Clain to distinguish friend from foe
.Simulcast by FUNimation
in North America (and now licensed), with a brief interruption caused by a "Oreimogate
" variation in which the simulcast was halted until unauthorized copies were removed from the Internet.
This series provides examples of:
- Heel-Face Turn: One of Phryne's clones helps Clain rescue Phryne in Episode 8.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Inverted and averted. Nessa is obviously attached to Clain, but Clain is too far into The Dulcinea Effect for Phryne to notice.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- In the beginning of Episode 3, Clain wonders how Nessa can be so carefree after they had gotten captured by Enri. Moments after they are released, Clain gets in excited fanboy-mode when he sees a bunch of antiques, culminating in an instance where one of the guards has a rifle trained on him, and Clain's reaction is, "I can't believe he's still using an optical sight!"
- In Episode 4, Nessa hits Phryne while saying, "Nessa hates it when people hit others!" Of course, since she's a Doppel, her punches go right through her.
- It's interesting to note that whenever Enri and Sunda kick Clain, Nessa gives no reaction to it.
- Sunda forces the "freeloading" Clain to do various chores and work on the Lost Millennium's airship in Episode 5. However, Phryne doesn't have to do a darn thing, though it might have to do with the fact that she is a "hostage." Nevertheless, she does (kind of) help out peeling potatoes in Episode 6.
- I Will Find You: Clain wants to find Phryne. It's also pretty much the whole point of the lyrics in the opening song.
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Barrot threatening Phryne with Clain's well-being.
- Impossibly-Low Neckline: Megan. Justified in that she is a Doppel and her human creator can make her appear in any shape or form.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Phryne, who easily strips her clothes off on a whim.
- When Clain brings an injured Phryne to his home and gives her a first-aid kit, she immediately undresses (only revealing her under clothes) to take care of her wounds and tells him to leave. Soon after, Phryne approaches Claine topless (her long hair covering her breasts), as she can't reach the back of her shoulder to apply the medicine. Both times Phryne is stoic while Clain blushes heavily with uncertainty of what to make of the situation.
- In Episode 6, Phryne strips down naked so she can have fun splashing water with Nessa and Sanko in the river.
- Invisible to Normals: Without relying on the Fractale System and the Fractale Terminals, members of Lost Millennium can only see Doppels through special eye monitors.
- Jerkass: Dias. Other than removing innocent peoples' Terminals, he attacks and bombs the Temple's underground base knowing that Clain and Phryne are still inside, and planned to kill Phryne so the Fractale System cannot be restored.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whenever it looks like Dias is helping out for a good cause, he'll always have ulterior motives. Always.
- Dias sides with Sunda in the argument with other Lost Millenium factions to attack the Temple, only so his forces can gain entry to destroy the place/find and kill Phryne.
- Just Friends: Phryne's preferred view of her relationship with Clain in Episode 7, claiming that she has no right to be loved.
- Kick the Dog: Dias, who in Episode 6 nullifies civilians' Fractale Terminals (while masking the process as a typical vaccine for refugees) and forces them to either join his faction of L.M. or get killed; and in Episode 8 cluster bombs the Temple's underground base with Clain and Phryne still inside.
- In Episode 10, Dias helps Clain by helping Nessa and him reunite with Phryne, but he really planned for his underlings to kill Phryne after she is reunited with Nessa in order to destroy the body of the "key" so the Fractale System cannot be restarted.
- Gail's attempted rape on Phryne.
- Barrot forcing Phryne to let him check if she's still a virgin by threatening Clain's well-being.
- Lack of Empathy: Phryne is a little cold to Clain after seeing him easily send away his Doppel parents. She realizes this wasn't the case when she sees a video of an infant Clain smiling with his parents together.
- La Résistance: Lost Millennium.
- Large Ham: Sunda and Barrot have their moments.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Clain assumes that Nessa is Phryne's Doppel, but she has no recollection of Phryne. In Episode 3, Nessa appears to be the Doppel of an actual priestess at the Star Festival, who calls Phryne "nee-sama." However, Episode 8 reveals that the priestess "Nessa" is one of many clones of Phryne from her childhood. Episode 9 has Phryne tell Clain that Nessa and she are two halves of the "key"—Nessa as the mind and Phryne as the body to host it—and when they are one, they will be able to restore the Fractale System.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Clain is left out of the loop by Phryne, who leaves him in Episode 1 without so much as a word or farewell. When she tries to pull this a second time in Episode 4, Clain has had enough of being a pushover and calls her out on it.
- Looped Lyrics/Single Stanza Song: The "day star" song.
If I am to offer a wish to the day star... I would ask it to shine a light here someday.
- Phryne and Nessa both sing altered versions of the song at different points, Phryne towards the end of Episode 1 and Nessa sings it during Butcher's funeral in Episode 4. It remains to be seen whether these lyrics are other verses from the "day star" song or whole other songs entirely.
- Episode 9 finally plays a longer version of the "day star" song.
- Love at First Sight: Clain towards Phryne. Phryne, after becoming one with Nessa to produce the "key," reveals that she felt the same way.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The strange photographer is Clain's father (in person!)
- Luminescent Blush
- MacGuffin: Several:
- Clingy MacGuffin: Nessa is one of sorts, as she grows attached to Clain because she "belongs" to him and becomes unwilling to be parted from him.
- Memento MacGuffin: The brooch Phryne left with Clain, which is where Nessa appears from. It seems that Phryne got in trouble for taking the "Doppel information" (AKA Nessa).
- The President's Daughter: Phryne and Nessa. Both are MacGuffins that are actively being hunted down. In Episode 3, Sunda tells Clain that Phryne is "the key to the world," but in Episode 7, Colin also refers to Nessa as the "key."
- Mad Artist: Gail. He was willing to rape Phryne for insulting his art.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Played with in Clain's encounter with Phryne and Nessa.
- Make a Wish: Wishing to the "day star" works in this fashion. Clain used to wish on the "day star," but after a while assumes it must be "laughing" at him. In the same episode, Phryne wishes for Clain's smile to last forever. It remains to be seen if her "wish" will come true.
- Mauve Shirt: Butcher in Episode 3.
- Meaningful Echo:
- Nessa watching from a distance as Lost Millennium's airship leaves without her mirrors the earlier scene◊ of the "real" Nessa watching from a distance as the airship retreats.
- When Phryne leaves Clain and Nessa to return to the Temple in Episode 9, it pans out to her walking along a long, unwinding road, the scene almost replicating when she first leaves Clain in Episode 1.
- Meet Cute
- Mid-Season Twist: Episode 7 ends with Nessa unleashing a devestating power that destroys Xanadu, Colin shooting Clain, and Phryne arriving to the scene just as Barrot finds her.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The ending credits are this. A melancholy song plays mourning lost love and at the very end, Nessa clumsily falls backward off a rock looking at a bug.
- Episode 3, surprisingly, takes a turn for the worse. For an episode that starts off so light-hearted, it ends with the Lost Millennium revealing the Star Festival is a branwashing scheme of the Fractale System... and the shooting of L.M.s, Temple priestesses, and innocent people being killed in the crossfire.
- Likewise with Episode 4, as everyone is dealing with the aftermath of the previous episode. Nessa (and Sanko) sings the rather lighthearted "day star" song during Butcher's funeral, and when the Temple's airship attacks Granites Village and then chase down Clain and Phryne, Phryne bluntly asks Clain if he's in love with her (which is probably not the best time in the world to ask).
- Episode 7. An amusing discussion between Enri and Phryne over the latter's relationship with Clain is soon followed by Gail attacking and almost raping Phryne when she innocently insults his sculpture. After Clain and Nessa are relieved that they escaped their pursuers, Colin shoots Clain, and Phryne arrives to witness this just as Barrot finds her.
- Episode 9. A heartwarming discussion between Clain, Phryne, and Nessa leads to Lost Millennium getting called out on their actions by townspeople. The Lost Millennium preparing for battle against the Temple cuts to Clain, Phryne, and Nessa having another heartwarming moment, only for Phryne to later leave the two in an attempt to stop the Temple.
- In Episode 10, a tender moment between Moeran and Phryne turns into Moeran choking Phryne out of jealousy, as Phryne is the world's beloved maiden while Moeran is "unloved" by the world. After Phryne reunites with Clain and Nessa, Barrot finds them and embraces Phryne, licks her cheek, and claims that Phryne and he are "bound by abundant love."
- Never Hurt an Innocent: Completely averted on both sides.
- Never Trust A Promotional Ad:
- The artwork displayed in the promotional ads is quite different from its anime counterpart.
- And this magazine scan showing Phryne and Nessa smiling peacefully◊ together. They have quite a tense relationship in the anime, but they have made up in Episode 5.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Subverted. Phryne willingly lets herself fall to escape her pursuers, and for a moment Clain almost believed that Phryne could fly. However, when Clain finds her, Phryne is revealed to be unconscious and injured from landing on a cliff ledge.
- No Sense of Personal Space:
- Nessa sure invades Enri's personal space in Episode 3 by following her everywhere, including through a monitor while Enri's using the bathroom.
- Megan playfully attempting to seduce Clain and Colin in Episode 7.
- Barrot practically glomping Phryne by the stomach while smelling her in Episode 8.
- Not So Different:
- Lost Millennium and the Temple priests/priestesses.
- Though Clain tries to act more mature than Nessa and is in disbelief of her cheerfulness when they are kidnapped, he acts quite keet-like upon seeing the antiques of Granites Village.
- Sunda and Phryne both want the Fractale System to collapse.
- Though Clain and Phryne appear to be a case of Opposites Attract, they are both childish and impulsive—evidently shown when they have a race up a hill in Episode 6.
- Not What It Looks Like: Clain bringing two girls home carries implications to Enri and his Doppel parents.
- Odd Couple: The Eeyore Clain and Genki Girl Nessa. See Not So Different.
- Off Screen Teleportation: As a Doppel, Nessa can disappear or teleport to any given place. In Episode 5, she decided to play hide-and-seek, and was even shown to teleport whenever someone found her.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In Episode 3:
Nessa: Clain! Do you want to know the color of Enri's underwear?
Enri: Ahh!! Don't tell him!
[Clain doesn't pay attention to the conversation and walks away]
Clain: [thinking about his conversation with the old man] True freedom... I don't really get it. I don't even wanna know something like that.
Enri: Wha... You don't have to say it that way. I won't tell you anyway!
- One-Woman Wail: Several of the background music tracks feature this.
- On the Next: Averted. There are no next episode previews following the ending credits, which is probably a good thing since Trailers Always Spoil.
- Opposites Attract: Clain and Phryne.
- Panty Shot: A blink-and-you'll-miss it shot of Clain's underwear during his crossdressing scene.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Enri and her mooks arrive at Clain's house looking for Phryne and disguise themselves three times (four times in the manga) in an attempt to get inside. Clain is not fooled.
- Parental Abandonment: Clain feels this way about his parents and eventually calls them out on it.
- Pet the Dog:
- When Enri notices how left out Nessa feels during the welcome to Granites Village in Episode 3 (the residents cannot see Doppels unaided), Enri gets them to use their eye monitors, allowing the group to see Nessa. One of the residents, a child named Sanko, becomes fast friends with her.
- In Episode 8, one of Phryne's clones tells Clain where his Phryne is after he bandages her wound.
- Pinky Swear:
- While Nessa is ill, Clain pinky swears that he'll play a variety of games with Nessa once she gets better.
- The longer version of the day star song gives mention to a pinky swear.
- Plot Armor: Who seriously thought Clain was gonna die from a gunshot at the end of episode 7?
- Plucky Comic Relief:
- Enri and her mooks, Butcher and Takamii. Not so plucky and comical when one of them gets killed in Episode 3.
- Nessa, for her cheerful innocence and naivety.
- Plucky Girl
- Power Trio: Clain (Ego), Phryne (Superego), and Nessa (Id).
- The Promise: Clain, Phryne, and Nessa promise to stay together forever in Episode 9.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Almost literally.
- Pursued Protagonist: The manga begins with Phryne escaping several women. In the anime and manga, Clain meets Phryne being pursued.
- Race for Your Love:
- A more or less platonic version between Clain and Nessa in Episode 2.
- Played straight in Episode 4 between Clain and Phryne. Clain has to literally chase Phryne down as she's driving off in order to catch her.
- In Episode 9, after admitting that he likes Phryne, Clain and Nessa run off to find her.
- Rant Inducing Slight: It's implied that Gail has been through his share of critics criticizing his sculptures, and Phryne's innocent comment of his recent sculpture resembling something of a worm is what puts him over the edge.
- Rape as Backstory: Hinted at for Phryne, as she seemed to go through some PTSD during her Attempted Rape in Episode 7. The leading theory is that the creepy high priest did it, even though this being true would invalidate her "virgin" status and the need to check for such in Episode 8.
- Subverted by conventional means since it's been stated that she is a virgin.
- In episode 11, it is made apparent that Barrot did... something... to Phryne, as the original Phryne's father did to her, thus ensuring that the current Phryne would "match", and could become the key. It seems that that makes Rape as Backstory true for the entire world of Fractale.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Clain is forced to wear pink pants for a bit in Episode 5 after his usual pants are dirtied up.
- Real Place Background: Taken from the west of Ireland, the show goes into some fairly obscure details, correctly belling the police as "Garda" and containing Irish in a few spots if you look. Luimnigh is the Irish Language name for Limerick City. The town in the second episode appears to be based on Galway City while some elements of Granites are clearly based on buildings in Dublin's Docklands area.
- Red Herring: Played with. Clain initially believes that Nessa is Phryne's Doppel, but Episode 3 shows a Temple priestess who looks exactly like Nessa and refers to Phryne as "nee-sama", indicating that Nessa is this priestess's Doppel instead. However, in Episode 8, the priestess "Nessa" turns out to be one of many of Phryne's clones that resemble Phryne from her childhood. It turns out that Phryne 'herself' is a Phryne clone too, specifically #152589, and the High Priestess Moeran is #141923.
- Rescue Romance: Between Clain and Phryne.
- Rubber Face: After seeing a video of an infant Clain with his real, non-Doppel parents, Phryne notices Clain doesn't smile the same way he used to. She is noticeably dismayed by this and attempts to reproduce his former smile this way. When that fails (but does make her laugh), she makes a wish on "the day star" for Clain's smile to persist forever.
- Running Gag:
- Characters (usually Enri) referring to Clain as a pervert.
- Phryne taking off her clothes with no modesty.
- Scandalgate: The series will not be seen in whole until all unauthorized copies of the series are taken down. This could be a new version of Oreimogate. To coin a phrase: "Fractalegate."
- Sadistic Choice: Suspicious of how intimate Phryne is with her "precious friend" Clain, Barrot makes Phryne choose between having Barrot check to see if she's still a virgin or letting Clain die without having his wounds treated. Phryne is forced to choose the former, but Nessa interrupts the procedure before it happens.
- Scenery Porn
- Ship Tease:
- Clain/Phryne and Clain/Nessa.
- Even Enri seems interested in him. She questions Phryne on her relationship with Clain in Episode 7, is worried for the "naughty jerk" when Phryne and he are captured in Episode 8, and screams out Clain's name when the underground base Clain and Phryne were taken to explodes. She even tries to confess to him in Episode 9.
- A tiny bit in Episode 10. Sunda punches Dias after Dias reveals that he was planning on having Phryne killed so the Fractale System cannot be restarted. Dias asks Sunda if he's fallen for Phryne, and Sunda walks away without answering. Subverted in that Dias was probably just being a troll and Sunda couldn't stand the guy.
- Clain appears to be listening to an iPod-like music device in Episode 1.
- The ending theme's lyrics are from a William Butler Yeats poem.
- The Bare-Handed Blade Block Clain attempts in Episode 7 resembles Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Sunda is shot and dying and holds the line at an elevator for Clain, Phryne, and Nessa, giving a vaguely motivational speech, certainly reminds one of a sequence from another anime with a decent amount of mind screw.
- The city of Xanadu is apparently named after a surreal 80s movie.
- Sleep Cute: In the manga, Clain and Phryne in the church.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
- Slow Motion Fall: When Colin shoots Clain in Episode 7.
- Smoke Out: In Episode 4, Lost Millennium uses this tactic to retreat and capture Phryne.
- Left the Background Music On: Played with in Episode 1, where the day star song is overheard by Phryne and triggers her meeting with Clain.
- Spoiler Title: Well, from the look of the titles of Episode 9 and 10—"No Way Out" and "To The Monastery"—things don't look so good for our heroes.
- The Stoic: Phryne, who also doubles as Not So Stoic:
- Phryne has a moment when she slaps Clain in anger after learning of him awakening Nessa from her brooch, and it only increases when she learns that he also analyzed the brooch's data.
- When Gail attempts to rape her in Episode 7.
- Seeing her unfit clones being dissolved in Episode 8.
- Storming the Castle: Twice:
- Stripperific: Megan.
- Supporting Leader: Sunda
- Surprise Creepy: The series started relatively soft and friendly... and then civilians started getting gunned down in Episode 3.
- Take My Hand: Clain does this to Phryne's clone, asking her to come with Phryne and him to the shelter before the underground base explodes. She doesn't survive the explosion.
- Time Skip: Averted. The episodes start where the previous episodes leave off at. As of Episode 4, it can be assumed that roughly only five days have passed since the first episode.
- Terrible Trio: Enri, Takamy, and Butcher
- Third-Person Person: Nessa always indicates herself in the third person.
- Those Two Guys: Butcher and Takamii.
- Thwarted Escape: Clain attempts to rescue Phryne from Lost Millennium in Episode 4, but she's not fairly cooperative and Sunda catches Clain in the act.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Phryne is a little taller than Clain.
- Took A Fourth Option: Barrot gives Phryne three options when he corners Clain and her in Episode 4:
Barrot: Well then, Miss Phryne, here's a three-choice question. This world doesn't have much time left, so answer it within 10 seconds. Question 1! What action will this world's beloved maidens take now?
Clain: Huh? What's that?
Barrot: A: Go back to the Temple happily, holding hands. B: Go to the Temple while bickering. C: Go back to the Temple for the time being since they're hungry. Now, which one?
[Phryne turns and drives off]
Barrot: What're you doing?! A fourth choice isn't allowed, Miss Phryne!
- Took a Level in Badass: To protect Clain in Episode 7, Nessa unleashes a power that "destroys" the virtual city Xanadu.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The villagers who order Sunda's group to leave.
- True Companions:
- Clain eventually realizes this towards Nessa, who was more of a "family" to him than his own parents. By the series' end he still thinks Lost Millennium is composed of murderers, but has also grown to think of them as his friends.
- Lost Millennium. Interestingly enough, a portion of the Granites Village faction actually are a family.
- Enri might possibly be one, indicated by her sweet treatment of her brother Sunda and Sanko, a child from of Granites Village, in comparison to her sour treatment of Clain and Nessa (especially Clain).
- Nessa seems to be quite the tsundere as well once she becomes rather clingy and jealous over Clain whenever Phryne is involved. Though, she calmed down and reconciled with Phryne over a game of hide-and-seek in Episode 5.
- Unexplained Recovery:
- Clain after getting shot, thanks to the Fractale System's advanced medical technology.
- Barrot survived the Temple underground base explosion, though not without injuries.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Clain and Phryne.
- Unwanted Harem: Phryne, Nessa, and Enri seem to have some sort of feeling for Clain, while he initially only has feelings for Phryne.
- Unwanted Rescue: Twice in Episode 4. Clain attempts to escape with a captured Phryne on board the Lost Millennium's airship, but she refuses his help and outright slaps him, angered that he awakened Nessa from her brooch. When the Temple attacks Granites Village, Clain hurries to help Phryne, who again rejects his help, but this time Clain refuses to be a pushover.
- Virgin Power: According to Barrot, Phryne needs to be a virgin to become the "key."
- Virgin Tension: Barrot forces Phryne to let him check to see if she is still "qualified" to be the "key" or not, but before he can, Nessa invades the underground system and prevents it while on her Unstoppable Rage search for Clain.
- We Hardly Knew Ye:
- Clain's father in Episode 6. He is ill, is unlikely to live for much longer, and isn't mentioned again.
- The Phryne clone in Episode 8. She, as well as the rest of the Phryne clones, did not survive the Temple underground base explosion.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:
- Lost Millennium and the Temple. See Grey and Gray Morality.
- Alabaster, another section of L.M., removed refugees' Fractale terminals without warning so that they cannot return to Fractale and are forced to follow them or get killed. All the while Dias—the leader of Alabaster—still has his own terminal intact.
- Wham Episode:
- Episode 3.
- Episode 7. Not only is Phryne almost raped by Gail, the episode ends with Nessa unleashing a devastating power that reveals Xanadu's true nature to protect Clain. Almost immediately after, Clain is shot by Colin, and Phryne arrives only for Barrot to find her.
- The whams continue in Episode 8. Barrot is revealed to be the person who raised Phryne to be the "key" and attempts to see if she's still a virgin. Clain learns that there are countless clones that resemble Nessa (but are really clones of Phryne from her childhood) sealed away because Phryne is the "key" and the useless replicas are destroyed. The Phryne clone who helps Clain rescue Phryne is nearly killed herself and points Clain and Phryne to the direction of the underground base's shelter, but the underground base explodes with Enri screaming out Clain's name.
- What Is This Feeling?: Clain feels this way when it comes to Phryne. He feels angry at Phryne for leaving him without a word and wants to get "mad" at her when he sees her again, but is confused by these feelings.
Clain: She came as she pleased and left as she pleased. People always do as they please. Everyone is like that in the current world. But... why am I this angry?
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's quite easy to forget that Clain actually stole a data clip from the junk market in Episode 1, and this small action has little to do with the plot than briefly explain the Fractale System.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Doppels.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- In Episode 4, Phryne feels betrayed by Clain for not only awakening Nessa from her brooch but for also analyzing the brooch's data. Later in the episode, Clain returns the favor and calls Phryne out for always leaving him locked out of the loop.
- In Episode 9, Lost Millennium is called out by a mob of townspeople on their murders and for the underground base explosion.
- Wild Card: Dias. His motives are to ensure the Fractale System will not be restored, but his way of accomplishing said goal is morally ambiguous; really, he leans more on being an extremist than well-intentioned. His schemes include removing civilians' Fractale terminals, bombing an underground Temple base knowing that Clain and Phryne were still inside, and planning on having Phryne killed so the Fractale System cannot be restarted.
- Will They or Won't They?: Clain and Phryne. They do end up together, but Phryne becomes the "key" with Nessa—she has Phryne's body but Nessa's personality mixed in. Nevertheless, Phryne still has her original memories, as she confesses to Clain that she has always liked him too.
- Woman in Black: In her original character design, Phryne's Temple priestess clothing was black instead of blue. Subverted in that her personality is neither dangerous nor menacing.
- Woman in White: Nessa and Phryne's clones.
- You Gotta Have Purple Hair: In the manga and promotional images, Phryne and Nessa have purple hair. Played straight with Moeran, whose purple hair is maintained into the anime adaptation.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Enri is grade A, except with shorts instead of a skirt.