Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

16 January 2011: The worst thing about Fractale is all its baggage

Stolen from Nausicaä.

It seems this season is plagued by preconceptions. More than usual, it appears people are making up their minds about certain shows based entirely on early glimpses of information or the pedigree of the staff and cast involved. They decide whether it's okay to watch or enjoy a show before it even airs. For some people, watching the actual shows themselves is almost an afterthought—a mere formality. Fractale certainly suffers from this this. Specifically, the Yamakan baggage (of which I shall not speak, though nearly everyone else seems to have relayed it already), appears to poison some viewers' opinion of the show thus far, or at least their ability to enjoy it.

Stolen from FLCL.

Truth be told, I suffered from this as well during my first viewing of the initial episode, and did not feel especially impressed by it. But let's take another look. What is there to complain about specifically? Are those complaints well founded? Would these criticisms be levied against the show were it, for example, a Studio Deen or m.o.e. production with a staff of unknowns? Should they be?

A bird in the sky
Stolen from Full Metal Panic!

In a season filled with shows criticized for being "generic," Fractale manages to be different and creative despite being very obviously derivative of a number of different properties and conventions. Is it wrong to be derivative? Must every show be entirely original from top to bottom, start to finish? Is any show entirely original?

Stolen from Nadia.

Fractale does a few things very well. For example, its timing is excellent, and while the jokes are not hilarious, they're sharply executed and well punctuated with audio beats and visual cuts the same way Kannagi delivered simple setups extremely well.

Also stolen from Nausicaä.

Is it wrong to do things well if they're done well on purpose? Must every show be an accidental masterpiece like FLCL which, if the director commentary tracks are to be believed, Gainax just threw together practically extemporaneously? The ED is also simple, yet beautiful. Is it wrong to use a W.B. Yeats poem in order to invoke and enhance images of an Emerald Isle?

Stolen from Antiques Roadshow.

This is not to say that Fractale is a flawless show. First of all, only a single episode has aired, so it is largely premature to make any type of hard conclusions one way or another. Second, Potato-kun is doing his best to ruin the show for me. I don't know why anime male protagonists have to follow such ridiculous conventions. I'm starting to think they follow these cliches because they're cliches. It's never-ending. But it's not enough to overshadow the show's positive aspects.

Stolen from Galaxy Angel.

I watched the first episode twice. The second time I watched it as if I had never heard anything about it. I watched it with the eyes of someone who is relatively new to anime, and not someone who has been blogging regularly about it since 2002. You know what? Fractale is great.

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