Fractale had some interesting concepts and nice animation… but really wildly inconsistent tone and approach to some of the themes.
At times there were nice dashes of humour (and you can see the fingerprints of Laputa and Nadia Secret of Blue Water here) but the flickering from violent to moé elements, to super-creepy then high-spirited adventure, and then philosophical… it was really jumping around too much for me.
I have read that director Yutaka Yamamoto (the guy who has been quoted as saying adult anime fans who were obsessed were ‘handicapped’) claimed that he wanted to “overthrow the ‘moé anime Yamamoto Yutaka’ image” and it seems the director felt pressure to do just that… and maybe that’s why the series really missed the mark, for me. Supposedly he’s retiring again this year?
I don’t think Fractale pulled off that true sense of adventure or the gradual reveal of the darkness either – even the ultra bright colour palette seemed to clash with the more mature moments.
Anyway, I’m not sure I could recommend Fractale for fans of those other texts I mentioned in the end… because it seems that those comparative aspects were meant to function more as a cloak for the attempt at deconstruction.
I do think that Fractale had some genuinely funny moments and I did like a lot of the character design but ultimately, too many great ideas just weren’t explored deeply enough for me, or worse, were sadly mishandled.