- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: TV-14
- Run Time: 106 Mins.
- Discs: 4 (2 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
- Studio: Funimation Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: July 17, 2012
- List Price: $69.98
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Director Yutaka Yamamoto anime series Fractale (フラクタル, Furakutaru) is an action fantasy anime with steam punk elements set on a futuristic Earth in which everyone lives in a utopian world connected by a global network known as “Fractale.” The Fractale network has allowed for the elimination of sickness, poverty, crime, and many other social worries leaving humans free to indulge in all of their leisurely pleasures, desires, and pursuits, but also very disconnected from one another socially, ironically. Families no longer live together, choosing instead to follow their own paths separately and use “doppels” or computer generated holographic avatars in their place amongst their relatives. The end result of this global dependency on the Fractale system is that the system itself has risen to the level of a religion and deity in society, with its own temple, religious order, and even prayer.
Clain, a 16-year-old boy who lives on his own and has a hobby of collecting antique technology from the 21st and 22nd century, is out for a walk one day when he witnesses a girl on the run from pursuers fall from the sky. He runs to her rescue and brings her back to his home. She his Phryne, a runaway priestess from the Fractale temple and their meeting will open the doorway to an adventure that leads to dangers and unknown truths about the centuries old Fractale system. The next day, Phryne sneaks away, leaving behind only her pendant, which Clain investigates and finds to be a data storage unit containing an advanced “doppel” named Nessa, a cheerful 10-year-old type personality whom he can, for some reason, actually touch.
Clain grows to like Nessa and vice versa, but the two are captured by a dissident group calling themselves the Lost Millennium whose mission is to bring down the Fractale system, live without the tech implants that humans are so reliant on, and return to a more natural way of living. They want to capture both Nessa and Phryne and keep them from the Temple as it is their belief that the two girls are the key to rebuilding the Fractale system which is now thought to be collapsing.
Initially, Fractale begins like any number of fantasies. The first episode, in particular, had me thinking that this entire series may just be taken directly from Studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky or something. It certainly has very strong allusions to that, like Phryne falling from the sky, the airships, the chase scene, and even the general style of clothing and so on. Going beyond that, however, the series quickly settles in to its own world and became very satisfying. By the time I got to the last episode, I was sad that it was over.
The animation style still reminds one of Ghibli, especially the beautifully done, almost watercolor looking backgrounds. The character designs, however, are more angular, along the lines of what we are used to seeing in an anime series, yet still rather unique and detailed.
I can’t find any fault with the image on this release at all. The mid- to high-bitrate AVC 1080p encodement that ranges from ~32Mbps and often peaks around ~38Mbps looks spectacular. It is clean, sharply detailed and filled with vibrant colors. No noise, aliasing or other anomalies can be detected.
Two lossless options are provided, the original Japanese language track in Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) with optional literal subtitles and an English dub in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit). While the Japanese track has good stereo panning and clear dialogue with a decent sense of dynamics, it is the English dub in 5.1 that is really engaging here with a lush amount of atmospherics in the surround channels, big sound effects and resounding low frequencies.
The supplements here are all in HD and are rather self-explanatory. Being a big classical music enthusiast, my favorite offering is the performance by the Shobi Wind Orchestra doing the first movement from composer Souhei Kano’s Fractale Suite for Wind Orchestra.
- Episode 01 & 02 Commentaries
- Original Preview (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:32)
- Promotional Videos (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:50)
- DVD & Blu-ray Commercials (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:08)
- Shobi Wind Orchestra, Tokyo (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:52) – Fractale Suite for Wind Orchestra, Movement 1: ‘Fractale’ Composed by Souhei Kano
- Fractale’s Art Sanctuary (1080p/24) – A slideshow of Fractale artwork
- U.S. Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:02)
- Textless Opening Song
- Textless Closing Song (Japanese Lyrics)
- Textless Closing Song (English Lyrics)
- Funimation Trailers
- DVD – 2 DVDs of the set are provided in this combo-pack as well.
The Definitive Word
This gorgeous, well thought out fantasy series is an absolute must for anime fans of genres like this. From the first episode to the last, Fractale will keep you entertained with its captivating visuals, sense of adventure, and strong story arc. Recommended.
Additional Screen Captures