It feels like it has been a while since I have written about an anime other than Star Driver. This episode is titled "The Gilded City". The episode starts out as Nessa and Clain go out in a mini-ship to search for fresh water, but Nessa starts feeling sick and the plan crashes. Clain wakes up in the city called "Xanadu", one of the last cities that are fully operational and connected to the Fractale system. It is a city of beauty and perfection, the world is literally at everyone's fingertips, or rather every person's doppel's fingertips. As Enri and Phryne search for Clain and Nessa they discover a group of seemingly peaceful and nomadic people, who heard sheep, fish with nets, farm in fields and so on. All in an effort to live with and enjoy nature. At first Enri exclaims that they must be some branch of the Lost Millenium, but they deny it. It is revealed at the end of the episode that the doppels in Xanadu are the doppels of these nomadic people. So much for living with nature.
As always, Fractale is just pleasant to watch, using vibrant colours, simple imagery, and a suitable soundtrack. If you look at the screens I have taken, you can piece together what has happened, but it's something else to watch it all unfold. This episode revealed that Nessa is possibly the "key to saving or destroying Fractal System". I am expecting the series to have a happy ending, more people probably die. I'm interested to see what happens.
On another note this episode initially presents us with two societies, the city of Xanadu, and the village of the nomads, only to have them both turn out to be inhabited by the same individuals and their doppels. I don't think it's a stretch to compare Fractale to the Matrix. Of course, there are differences in the circumstances and the properties of the worlds that are presented. However, both Fractale and Matrix ask basic questions of human importance. Question like, "What is the real world?" "Would it be better if I was ignorant or in an artifical world, shielded from the harshness of reality?" "Is ignorance bliss?" "Who is it to decide what is the right way for people to live?" "What is the point of art if it is artificial?" Okay that last one might not be as relevant specifically to Fractale or the Matrix, but it seems to me an important question to keep in mind when we're looking at any type of art. And I'm sure there are many many more questions that could be asked after watching this episode.
I think I have said it before, it is not like I am expecting these questions to be answered when I'm watching these episodes. Rather I find it interesting to see how it is presented and what the anime seems to be saying as a whole.
Now before you start thinking that this anime is all serious and philosophic, I should say that since the anime is told largely from the perspective of Clain, the anime is fairly simplistic. When I watch this anime, it is almost like I am learning about the world at the same rate as Clain. Clain, the young, naive boy. It also helps that other characters including Nessa, Phryne, Enri are there for some light** comedic relief, which only compliment the vibrant world of Fractale. In any case, great episode, can't wait to see more, and wow already episode 7 out of 11.
_____________________________________________________________ **Here I tentatively use the word 'light'. I considered using the words 'innocent' or 'appropriate', but then I remembered that sometimes the comedy does rely on those tried and true "ecchi" moments. Like when Clain is trying out his camera, but doesn't realize he is taking pictures of the girls doing their laundry, resulting in Enri calling him a pervert. So I settled with the adjective 'light' to describe the comedy in this series, because it doesn't go overboard and it just feels... appropriate (sorry) to the world that Fractale tries to present as a whole.