Would you choose between peace and freedom? Would you choose for all of humanity?

Rating: 4

It's about a thousand years in our future. There is no poverty, no hunger. Everyone lives wherever they want, doing whatever they want. Most social interaction happen via stylised tele-presence holograms called "doppels". To be part of this idyllic world, you just have to sync, once or twice a day, the wireless terminal in your head with the planet-wide computer system called Fractale.

This is the setting of this series, sketched in just a few scenes of Clain's daily life.

Things start getting complicated for him when we sees a girl (Phryne) on a flying contraption, running away from some people with clearly bad intentions. He helps her hide and evade her pursuers, but she soon disappears leaving only a brooch. Clain, being a bit technologically inclined, manages to activate the self-aware doppel stored in the brooch, who calls herself Nessa. They then get captured by the same people who were trying to get Phryne. These are part of a group of rebels who call themselves "Lost Millennium", whose main objective is to disable Fractale and bring people back to the good old days when everyone's life was not micro-managed by a vast artificial intelligence.

There follows escapes, reveals, double-crossing, friendship and love, and a mostly satisfying resolution to the whole plot.

At first, Fractale felt to me to be simple and derivative: Dennou Coil had done the whole "augmented reality" setting four years before, and the echoes of Ghibli in the first few episodes are hard to ignore (Phryne dressed in blue flying atop a white wing; three flying "bad guys" who turn out to be not that bad at all). But what is really interesting, and what makes the series stand on its own, is how the authors avoided the cut-and-dried good-vs-bad characterisation, making sure that we see both sides: the creators of the Fractale system aimed for world peace and stability, Lost Millennium wants to scrap it all to take back self-determination. Both are well intentioned, but both have problems grasping all the consequences of their decisions and actions. I won't spoil the ending for you, but I think that, short of a "Deus ex machina", it's the only sensible solution to that world's problems.

If you can stand some slightly abused tropes, and a bit of excessive cuteness, Fractale will make you think about profound questions, and how to save the world. Or you could always ignore half the plot and just enjoy the chases and the pretty girls…

DatesCreated: 2014-03-19 12:03:19 Last modification: 2023-02-10 12:45:24