Fractale 4 – Getting Mixed Signals …

I’m enjoying Fractale, but I’m not quite sure how to feel about how it is mixing tones — the end of last week’s episode was a sobering attack that saw both sides lose lives. It’s a fairly serious moment. But this bit at the end of Fractale 4 seems to be the polar opposite: It’s not really super serious; it’s part of a rousing adventure, and it comes off as if the audience is supposed to react like, “Hell yeah!” after Mr. Douchebaggy Priest Guy and his guards are blown up (and the priest gets up and shakes his fist like he just stepped out of The Simpsons). The guy isn’t hurt, so of course it’s hilarious! Just ignore the bodies strewn about the cliff . . .

I do wonder if it’s intentional. I’m liking the series, so I want to give the creators the benefit of the doubt, but it’s probably still too early to definitively say, “Fractale is trying to subvert (whatever)” or “Fractale is a giant mess that has no idea what it’s trying to do”. But it’s just weird to see a scene like that (complete with rousing adventure music) after last week’s ending and the opening of this week’s episode where the dead are being mourned. Wouldn’t anyone question it, even a little bit? I’d like to believe in the competency of the creators and hope that they figured the viewers would see that kind of thing and react like, “Huh?”

Now, I don’t have any particular issue with rousing adventures — hell, I love a good adventure story. But it also seems as if Fractale is trying to make the participants morally ambiguous. Lost Millennium is fighting for what it sees as its freedom, but they’re doing it in a violent way, and civilians are getting caught up in the battles. The religious mages are a bit less ambiguous, at least so far. They’re accused of using the Fractale System as a means of control over the people, and they don’t really hesitant to beam spam their magic at Lost Millennium. Plus, there’s the douchebag mage who is, like, Code Geass levels of comically evil.

Point is, the kick-ass adventure elements and the sobering drama elements are mixing in an awkward way. But maybe by the end it will seem as if it is purposefully awkward? We can only hope.

One thing I definitely don’t like, though, is the old “I’m about to reveal some important infor– OMG DISTRACTION I MUST GO NOW” cliche. Sigh. How infuriating is that bullshit? Such a lazy way to build tension, tease the audience and prolong the storyline. So all we know now is that Clain is special in some way or another. Well, whoop-dee-shit. I think everyone in the audience could have pointed that out. Bleh, such a tired device that needs to be put out of its misery. I don’t need every piece of information to be revealed asap (what’s the fun in that?), but don’t tease people in asinine ways.

Oh well. I am least still curious to see Phryne’s role in everything, even though I doubt anything related to that will be doled out any time soon. Plenty of time for more vague statements about hating love to be made. Hooray!

I’m not. Good riddance, I say.

9 Responses to “Fractale 4 – Getting Mixed Signals …”

  1. Eh, my opinion of this show sinks lower every week. Love triangle dynamics? GTFO.

  2. I just caught up with this and I’m not overly fond of the up and down we are getting from it either but I’m totally willing to watch it all the way through. The world alone is enough to keep me interested. I love the steampunk feel the show gives off too. So wonderful

    I do hope they stop dicking around with us soon…

    • The world alone is enough to keep me interested, too, but if it keeps going with just the world alone, then it’ll just end up like Sora no Woto. Not totally a bad thing, but not a great thing either.

  3. I normally like morally ambiguous players, but there are right ways to implement it and there are wrong ways. Seirei no Moribito does a good job of doing so by exploring the characters in great depth and giving us all sides of the story. The Phantom Menace would be a terrible implementation, especially when the bad guys really weren’t all that bad, which made vanquishing them feel so unsatisfying.

    Fractale teeters towards Phantom Menace quality ambiguity, especially when it’s keeping so many things close to its chest. We’re not really sure who to root for and the depths to which one can analyzing motivations (a great thing to do in Shiki) behind Fractale’s characters is close to nonexistent. In short, we don’t have enough material to work off of. What gives?

    • Yeah, Moribito is a good example of ambiguity; you could really sympathize with both sides’ feelings, if not necessarily their actions. In Fractale, both sides’ feelings and actions are muddled and confusing, and not really in an interesting way, either.

  4. I have said this on other blogs but so far Fractale is playing out just like a RPG game! I mean new team member joins and airship leaves the starter island! Now onto the mainland for more adventures…

    Clain is surrounded by crazy chicks…sucks to be him right now lollll..

  5. Who gets an airship right off the bat? I only got a stinky rinky red sail boat with a talking dragon head.

  6. Hey, if this was supposed to be ‘realistic’, in real life drama and adventures sometimes mix in very awkward ways :v

    But it isn’t supposed to be realistic, so I’m not sure.

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