“Shattered To Pieces” – Fractale (anime) – 4/10 Pools

Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it. ~Max Frisch

Genre: Sci-fi/Adventure/Fantasy

Review Status: Complete (11 Episodes/11 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US.

Art/Animation: Overall the art is very nice, especially the backgrounds. However, a few poor choices in coloring the characters made a key point impossible to guess, and actually seems silly when you think about it (this does have something to do with Nessa and Phryne’s hair in the promo art).

Dub Vs. Sub: There is no dub for this anime.

Summary: The story takes place on an island, where a “Fractale System” is beginning to collapse. One day, Clain finds an injured girl called Phryne under a cliff. She disappears leaving a pendant. Clain sets out for a journey with the girl-shaped avatar Nessa to look for Phryne and discovers the secret of the Fractale System. (MAL.net)

Review: This started out with bright promise. Clain, our hero, is a boy who lives alone in a small village, with his father and mother’s “dopples” (computer-generated avatars) looking after him. Virtual Reality has been taken to a new level- people are implanted at birth with machines that allow them to access Fractale, a program that allows people to interact with a virtual world in every way that’s important, except for touching them. He discovers a girl, helps her get better, she disappears, and within the pendant she leaves is a unique dopple named Nessa.

The next episode is full of him and Nessa exploring their world, discovering just how unique she was. And then they are kidnapped by a rogue faction named “Lost Millennium”, a group that is against humans being dependant on the Fractale system.
That is where the show takes a logic leap over the cliff. Everyone, regardless of which side they are on in the debate, is either

A) Evil
B) Insane

To some extent. Clain is very right when he says late in the series that both sides have right ideas and wrong ideas. However, they are completely unable to work together. Everyone views the other side as completely monstrous or a nuisance. In order to try and stop the Fractale system to be removed, the group that Clain and Nessa fall in with decides to attack the Church when they are dealing with people and the system. This does mean they end up shooting innocent civilians. The Church fires right back to defend themselves- killing still more innocent people. This is the first clear sign that everyone is bad news around here!

only gets worse from there. Sunda, the leader of one town’s Lost Millennium group, treats those he disagrees with as inferior- he bullies them. And there’s another leader that makes him look downright nice in comparison! This anime also decides to propagate the idea that the Church is run by evil manipulators and madmen. Phryne’s father figure lusts for her in a very obvious, creepy way. One of the other leaders is jealous and insane. It all means that there’s no one that you can really sympathize with, and Cain himself teeters between the sides the entire time.

There are other little things that only bring my opinion of this down lower. Virtually all of the comedy revolves around Cain being called a pervert. It’s only amusing so many times, and that joke far outstays its welcome. The romantic development between Phryne and Clain seems forced and convenient for plot purposes. Clain never develops beyond an indecisive boy who’s only looking out for Nessa and Phryne. Phryne is an unfeeling stoic character for most of the series. Almost none of the characters are genuinely likeable, except for Nessa! She’s a bright, enthusiastic spot in the middle of madmen, murderers, and dull people.

All if these things made this show one long chore to watch. I was highly unimpressed. Nice visuals and a great soundtrack do not a good story make. Buy the OST and make up your own story for it- anything would be better than what this studio put out.

Overall, this was a disappointment in so very many ways.

Recommended: No. 16+, though, since although this seems like it’s for kids, there are people killed onscreen quite a few times, constant references are made to men being perverts (“naughty” in the subs). In one episode Clain wakes up to a pair of knockers in his face, and the lady teases him about what a wild night they had the night before (nothing happened, as it turns out). She says she has a collection of date rape drugs that they could take and have a wild time with. Phryne’s father figure insists that the only way to make sure she’s fit to be the ‘key’ is to see whether she is still pure- she ends up getting into stirrups (if you don’t know what I mean, ask your mother) but is saved before the examination can take place.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Dennou Coil (anime)
Ghost Hound (anime)
Origin: Spirits of the Past (anime)
Ghost in the Shell (manga and anime)
Summer Wars (anime)
Time of Eve (anime)


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