The Problem with Fractale

Last night, I took the final two episodes of Fractale downstairs to watch on the big TV. I should have been approaching that with delight, at seeing the culmination of a show that was both entertaining and enthralling. Instead, I almost had to force myself to finally finish the damn thing off.

Because Fractale was neither of those things.

What’s odder is how difficult it is to pin down what makes it bad. The glimpses of greatness it teases us with ultimately distract from the mediocre overall package.

Fractale

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The Never-ending Summer

Something was wrong. Kadokawa and Kyoto Animation had been dropping hints at a second season for quite some time, even going back to that CCTV viral site that many said hinted at the Disappearance novel being animated. Since then, we’ve had the announcement that we would get a second season, which was then subsequently revoked when we were told it was only a re-run. Cue internet hysteria.

Anime gods are serious business.

Someone at Kadokawa must’ve stumbled across this thing called “viral marketing” somewhere, and thought it would be a good idea to string the fans along for a good number of years before finally giving us more new episodes of Haruhi goodness.

I must say, I kind of liked the way they were doing it – seeing the speculation build about what they were doing, along with the theories that they might just repeat the first series twice in their 28-episode slot for a 14-episode show. The hype machine was certainly at full steam when Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody aired basically unannounced. There was a sense of occasion around the whole thing, which thankfully distracted from the animation, a lot of which came from the K-On! school of drawing and which I thought was visibly poorer than the older episodes.

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Clannad ~After Story~ 04

Wow. How far behind on just two series am I? The answer to that rhetorical question – very. So without further ado, let’s get on with the last episode of this mini Sunohara story arc.

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Clannad ~After Story~ 03

It’s great to see Mei back to her usual investigative self at the beginning of this episode. We’re still in the middle of the charade of Sunohara and Sanae going out, and it’s evident that Mei has some doubts about the validity of the relationship, what with these questioning looks.

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Clannad ~After Story~ 02

Ah, Youhei Sunohara. He’s a real marmite character if ever I seen one, which is why this episode could either be a bad one, or a good… no. This was never going to be good. Spoilers ahoy.

In this week’s episode, we get to see Sunohara making a fool of himself much moreso than usual, and in front of many more people, all because of one of Okazaki’s playful remarks that always go just a few dozen steps too far. While stepping through most of the characters we met in last episode’s baseball-’em-up again, and being rejected every time for being, well… Sunohara, Sanae-san finally reveals she was actually worried about his direction in life as well. Who knew?

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Clannad ~After Story~ 01

So here begins this new season of anime, and thus of anime bloggers endless posts about the anime. Woo. In any case, of the new series on offer, I’ll definitley be following both ef – a tale of melodies and Clannad ~After Story~. I am still watching Full Metal Panic!, and I’m really enjoying it, but knowing the next episode is there to watch makes it hard to write about each one objectively and without bleeding into the surrounding episodes. Luckily, I won’t have that problem with the new Clannad.

I was surprised when I heard about Clannad the first time around, basically because of the word “clannad.” I knew without having to look it up that it meant “family” in Irish, and it shocked me to know that visual novel producers actually knew that my country existed. Unfortunately, there already existed a folk band with the name Clannad, so now whenever I hear it, I have conflicting thoughts of moé and traditional music. Which don’t mix terribly well, at least in my own head.

If you haven’t seen this episode, beware of spoilers from here on in.

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