Fractale (Winter 2011 NoitaminA Series)

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Fractale (Winter 2011 NoitaminA Series)

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Postby Xard » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:47 am

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Announcement wrote:The September issue of Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype magazine is announcing next week that Kannagi and Haruhi Suzumiya's Yutaka Yamamoto (a.k.a. "Yamakan") is directing the Fractale television anime series for Fuji TV's late-night Noitamina timeslot. Also involved are otaku scholar Hiroki Azuma (as story developer) and series script supervisor Mari Okada (Kuroshitsuji, Toradora!). Mandelbrot Engine created the original story. The illustrator Hidari (Uso-tsuki Mii-kun to Kowareta Maa-chan light novel) is creating the original character designs.

The story is set on an island at the far reaches of a continent where the "Fractale System" is on the brink of collapse. A boy named Kurain embarks on a journey to search for Furyune — a girl who disappeared, leaving behind only a pendant. Kurain will eventually learn the secrets of the "System."

The series will premiere next January with animation by A-1 Pictures with Yamamoto's studio Ordet. The anime's future website already has an address. Fuji TV producer Kōji Yamamoto (Paradise Kiss, Honey and Clover II) had indicated on Friday that Azuma, Okada, and Yutaka Yamamoto were working together on a January Noitamina series, and science-fiction critic Tsunehiro Uno had already revealed in May that these three were working on a television anime.


It doesn't hurt if what is probably one of the most notable and certainly the most ambitious anime this season has its own thread. Out of all Winter 2011 titles the one I've anticipated the most (even more than Kimi ni Todoke's second season) is without doubt the Fractale. I've been interested since I first heard of it and new tidbits of information have only raised my interest in it. (I'm also transcribing one interview not avalaible on net that discusses Eva briefly too!)

Rundown of the basics courtesy of ANN:

Title: Fractale
Starts: Fuji TV, Friday, January 14 at 12:45 a.m. JST
Studio: A-1 Pictures Inc.
Genre: Fantasy

* Director: Yutaka Yamamoto (Yamakan)
* Series Composition: Mari Okada
* Music: Sōhei Kano
* Original story: Hiroki Azuma
* Original Character Design: Hidari
* Character Design: Masako Tashiro
* Yu Kobayashi as Clain
* Kana Hanazawa as Nessa
* Minami Tsuda as Phryne
* Shintaro Asanuma as Sunda
* Yuka Iguchi as Enri

Official page

Trailer

Summary:

The story takes place in 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. Crane sets out for a journey with the girl-shaped avatar Nessa to look for Phryne and discovers the secret of the Fractale System.


**********************

I have few clear reasons why I'm interested in Fractale.

#1

What initially really got me interested was the heavy involvement by Hiroki Azuma, a philosopher, culture critic and public intellectual who has specialized in writing on otaku culture (he may be familiar for eva fans for his discussions on the series, in particular for the fantastic Anime or Something Like It: Neon Genesis Evangelion). His best known book probably is Otaku: Japan's Database Animals which was best seller in 2001 and very influential. It was eventually translated to english and as a matter of fact I'm reading it right now. It's certainly interesting, not least for detailing the ideologial shift in creation and consumption of narratives in anime and the huge influence NGE had on the development.

A publishing event—the highly influential best seller in Japan translated into English.

In Japan, obsessive adult fans and collectors of manga and anime are known as otaku. When the underground otaku subculture first emerged in the 1970s, participants were looked down on by mainstream Japanese society as strange, antisocial loners. Today otaku have had a huge impact on popular culture not only in Japan but also throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku offers a critical, philosophical, and historical inquiry into the characteristics and consequences of this consumer subculture. For Azuma, one of Japan’s leading public intellectuals, otaku culture mirrors the transformations of postwar Japanese society and the nature of human behavior in the postmodern era. He traces otaku’s ascendancy to the distorted conditions created in Japan by the country’s phenomenal postwar modernization, its inability to come to terms with its defeat in the Second World War, and America’s subsequent cultural invasion. More broadly, Azuma argues that the consumption behavior of otaku is representative of the postmodern consumption of culture in general, which sacrifices the search for greater significance to almost animalistic instant gratification. In this context, culture becomes simply a database of plots and characters and its consumers mere “database animals.”

A vital non-Western intervention in postmodern culture and theory, Otaku is also an appealing and perceptive account of Japanese popular culture.


Fractale is the first time Azuma actually works in anime industry and the fact he wrote the original story makes me very excited and curious. His penchant on social criticism and analysis bleeds out even from the short synopsis: deeply immersed in the "database" character traits and storytelling tropes and at the same time hinting at deconstruction of some kind. On the other hand the premise of story is also charmingly traditional (paying it debts to Miyazaki's Laputa in particular) and has nice feeling of upcoming grand adventure. :)

Apparently Benoît Mandelbrot is actually relevant to the titular Fractale system which hopefully satisfies the scifi fan inside me :D

#2

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The second reason (and I'd watch Fractale for this alone) is the fact it's NoitaminA show. NoitaminA is in my opinion nothing less than the best and highest quality programming block in whole world and absolutely crucial focal point of mature and artistically worthy tv anime that targets adult audience (they famously started getting 20-something women into anime with H & C).

It's track record speaks for itself: both seasons of Honey & Clover, Nodame Cantabile, Ayakashi, Mononoke, Library Wars, Eden of the East, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0...

Their offerings from last year were Masaaki Yuasa's Tatami Galaxy, House of Five Leaves, Shiki and Kuragehime - out of which particularly the first two stand out as mature and in Tatami Galaxy's case very ambitious artistically. I haven't seen Shiki but other three were easily head above most shows of last year, helding up well NoitaminA's record of quality.

Fractale's partner in crime this winter is adaptation of beloved Hourou Musuko - also a show that is probably worth checking out.

The thing simply is: in order for show to air on NoitaminA it must have that something. The end result might be unremarkable or damn great but no vanilla anime show has a chance of airing on NoitaminA.

Fractale is NoitaminA show. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

#3

Third big reason is also the factor that makes the show quite a wild card: Yamakan and his burning ambition and audaciousness.

Now if I ever were to make list of notable anime directors and divide them in such modest categories like God Tier, Great Tier, Good Tier (and maybe Shit Tier for balance) there would be Tier to which only Yamakan would belong: ??? Tier

As far as anime directors go I doubt anyone is more notable and visible as Yamakan with such small resume. Hideaki Anno made name himself long before Evangelion (even before grand success of Nadia and Gunbuster) in 1980s with his phenomenal animation on Nausicaä, Macross: Do You Remember Love? and Honneamise's climax. Miyazaki had been working for decades before the dawn of Ghibli in 1980s in many key productions of era from Horus to Heidi. Makoto Shinkai exploded on the scene with Voices of Distant Star but outstanding quality of his works was clear from the start.

Only (full*) series Yamakan has directed so far is Kannagi - which as popular as it is certainly isn't new Gundam or even Haruhi. Most notable thing he has done so far is of course the famous Hare Hare Yukai dance - and despite the fact he only directed the famous ED and two episodes (the phenomenal anime original episode Someday in the Rain being one of them) he is far, far more visible than the "real Haruhi director" and force behind Kyoani's key successes, Tatsuya Ishihara, to the point some people think Yamakan directed Haruhi's first season.

*Yamakan was sacked from Lucky Star after first 4 eps for reasons that are still unclear. Some say it was due to strange sense of comedic timing, problems staying up with the schedule or pissing off producers and sponsors. Knowing Yamakan's trollish and biting personality I suspect the last option :D


So in terms of anime Yamakan has so far made name of himself as director of "moe anime" (term I find quite nonsensical in any case) and especially as creator of many famous dances from Hare Hare Yukai to openings of Kannagi and Lucky Star (I must admit the man has knack for stuff like this). The presence of idol elements ain't very surprising given that the man is idol otaku.

More importantly however Yamakan has distinguished himself as one of the most vocal and ardent commentators on the industry (and criticizing/trolling his former employer Kyoto Animation) and excluding pure troll jobs like beheading Ui nendoroid (with hilariously predictable results) he comes off intelligent and perceptive with smart things to say and flair for true hoitytoity auteur theatricality.

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Yamakan certainly is technically gifted director (I especially like his editing) with great ambitions - and now it looks like he has finally found the work to accompany his vision. In fact he has gone to the point of threatening to retire from the industry if Fractale flops. Act which speaks just as much about his confidence in the project as about his notable vanity.

He really is aiming high with Fractale:

- it will not target specialized otaku audience, meaning it will probably avoid all the major pitfalls that have plagued anime during last few years

- it will destroy Yamakan's reputation as director of "moe anime"

- There will be no dancing! (*gasp*)

- He feels his responsibility is no less than to "change anime"(!!)

Whether he will be succeed or not ambitious shows are as a rule far more interesting than ones that play it safe. And anime industry has churned out way too many that belong to latter category.

#4

I really like what I've read of the manga so far (as is usual with anime original projects manga adaptation starts to run couple of months earlier in order to promote the upcoming anime).

Basically Fractale is what happens if you combine Laputa's famous meeting between boy and the girl floating down from the sky and GAINAX/Anno's classic Nadia: The Secret of the Blue Water with science fiction utopia crumbling apart with some of the weirdest designs I've seen in a while and replace cheery Jean with demotivated and apathetic (though not openly angsty) 00s post-NGE main character.

Nadia is the most apt comparison because they go to the point of "copying" Grandis Gang (down to character designs in case of Sanson & Hanson Mark II) and Clain is basically less optimistic and more lonely version of Jean. The emerging spirit of high adventure is another shared aspect and something anime has missed for ages. The combination of Azuma's scifi musings and classic feel of Laputa/Nadia era is most delightful in my opinion.

It isn't all that surprising either, given Yamakan's and Azuma's Anno fanboyism :lol:

******************

So, these are the reasons why I'm interested in Fractale. At this point it's impossibly to say if it'll flop, be good but nothing special or truly phenomenal work. But at the very least it's something different from usual drudgery of anime from last years.

It would be preposterous of me just to offer my own hype as it's more important to draw your own conclusions. For that purpose here are the first three chapters of manga:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

There's no telling how closely anime and manga will correspond with each other but it should give you the basic picture of what kind of work it seems to be shaping up into :)

I really love the concept art for this show, they have that lovely Ghibli (or maybe Sora no Woto?) feel:

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It's a pity they changed character designs from Hidari's original artwork to such large extent. I really liked the violet hair schema with Phryne and Nessa.

Phryne
AIRSHIPS FUCK YEAH

Anime designs look like this

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Still nice but brown is a bit bland in comparison...oh well, Nessa is cute as ever. ^_^ Phryne gets something of a Nausicaä vibe, especially in the scene where she is flying seen in weird PV/OP combination released today on Nico Nico Douga.

The new PV/OP with hypnotic Fractale patterns (account required)

Hmm, I think I really like the song and what I see. A1 Pictures can churn out some great animation when needed (Birdy Decode's sakuga nomnomnom)

And here are Yamakan interviews promised earlier in different thread with most relevant bits bolded:

This one is from Asahi.com
SPOILER: Show
While many businesses go abroad to take advantage of low production costs, Yutaka Yamamoto is looking overseas for inspiration to jump-start what had once been considered an infallible Japanese product: anime.

The anime creator, who likens his trade to manufacturing, says he seeks to develop an equal standing with partners overseas.

"The bubble has burst" in Japan for the anime industry, Yamamoto said.

He said the reluctance of the anime industry to change its business practices has driven down wages, drained the creative spirit and consequently turned off many fans.

"It is becoming the norm to order some of our work to anime productions in China and South Korea. Not because we want to suppress our personnel costs, but rather because we are unable to find enough people to work (in Japan)," Yamamoto, 36, said.

He said that while the skills and quality of work produced in those countries are improving, "many of the works appear to have been influenced strongly by Japanese designs."

"I'm hoping that something that is typical of that country will come out," Yamamoto said.

Yamamoto's expectations come from watching the domestic industry become glutted with similar anime styles.

He joined an anime production company after graduating from college, and he helped to create such popular anime hits as "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu" (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and "Lucky Star."

Three years ago, he started his own business, which today employs about 10 people.

But while he has found the work of his calling, he said he is facing a "block."

"There was a time when people were under the impression that anime makes money, and that anime is a culture that can gain respect worldwide," Yamamoto said. "But at the same time, the priority has been on quantity."

Working conditions have remained dire, and the industry has been hit by a chronic shortage of creators.

The recession exacerbated the animators' woes as sponsorships have shriveled since around 2007. With television broadcasters cutting their budgets, the anime industry has tried to make up for lost sales through DVD productions. But even that strategy has been undermined by illegal broadcasts on the Internet.

Another concern for the industry is a possible shrinking fan base. Estimates put the population of die-hard anime fans at around 150,000. But Yamamoto suspects the number now falls short of 100,000.

Part of the reason, Yamamoto said, is that producers, including himself, devoted too much of their energies in creating cutesy "moe" (budding)-type characters in hopes of making sure-sell products in an already small market.

"Although the otaku (geek) market is said to be a robust one, even the otaku are not immune to Japan's economic doldrums," Yamamoto said.

Yamamoto is now trying to think outside of the box.

Last year, he directed "Watashi-no Yasashikunai Senpai" (My mean senior colleague), a romance-comedy featuring popular teenage actress Umika Kawashima and comedian Satoshi Kanada.

Yamamoto said the experience reminded him of the importance of human interface.

"In anime, the division of labor has become the norm. And in some cases, one never meets other staff involved in the same project. That may be one reason for the current stagnant situation," Yamamoto said.

Yamamoto said his new way of thinking has helped to open up business opportunities. He joined hands with Good Smile Co., an anime character figurine maker, to create an anime DVD packaged as a promotional tool for an anime figurine.

His latest anime series, "Fractale," to be aired from Jan. 13 on Fuji Television Network Inc., will target non-anime fans and one-time fans who have shifted away from the genre.

"The anime industry is said to have become introverted. But our business is about providing something fun and exciting to people. I decided to stop being inward-looking," Yamamoto said.


Yamamoto said he hopes to create an interface with prospective fans overseas through such measures as adding subtitles to his works.

Nevertheless, he believes simply selling anime abroad is not enough. He said it is crucial for the domestic market to regain its vibrancy that will attract people overseas.

"I hope that we can develop an equal relationship with creators overseas, and not simply subcontract work. For that, we need to continue creating works that other people will be interested in," Yamamoto said.



More important and indepth one is one found from Patrick W. Galbraith's Otaku Encyclopedia. As far as I know this is not avalaible on internet so I had to transcribe this. Because it discusses Evangelion (as well as problems facing anime creators today) in part it's of some interest to those who have no interest in Fractale so I'm leaving this unspoilered so more people bother to read it. Parts directly relevant to Fractale (interview was conducted over a year ago so it isn't mentioned by name) are bolded. Also, Yamakan's definition of otaku is both most honest and hilarious I've ever read :lol:

Yamamoto Yutaka

Yamamoto Yutaka, or "Yamakan", was born 1974 in Osaka. He is among the most talented of Japan's new generation of anime directors and is known among otaku for directing the animated dance sequences in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, and Kannagi. After a mysterious brouhaha concerning his direction of Lucky Star in 2007, he was demoted and left Kyoto Animation to found Studio Ordet

PG: What anime do you respect?

YY: I wrote my graduation thesis at Kyoto University on Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke and the movie version of Anno's Neon Genesis Evangelion. These were epoch-making films. I don't think anyone in our generation will make an anime that moves the industry, Japan, and the world as these two did.

PG: So no anime will ever match these?

YY: I hope it will. I don't know what post-Eva anime is, but it's insulting to these masters if we don't try to make it. It's also irresponsible not to try and make work that resonates with our times. But no matter how you look at it, what can be done in anime has been. Genres, forms of expression, themes, characters, it's all been exhausted. So what can we do? Only copy, and add our own little bits along the way.

PG: Are you targeting otaku with your anime?

YY: I just want to make anime. I'm an otaku, so naturally similar people are attracted to my work, but I personally don't like it when otaku monopolize anime. Anime made by otaku for otaku, that sort of narrow conception isn't good. I want people who like anime, from the old to the young, watch my work.

PG: What does "otaku" mean to you?

YY: People who are unpopular with the opposite sex and blame that on the anime and games they love. I was that way, so I can say it. Otaku are people who don't get along well with others. In truth, it isn't my favourite word.

PG: What are otaku fans like?

YY: As an otaku I can say they're generally rude and selfish. It's tiring to be with them. Miyazaki Hayao, Anno Hideaki, and Okada Toshio all gave up. They aren't trying to communicate with otaku but rather to be rid of them entirely. The worst thing about otaku is their tendency to think they're different from everyone else and cut others off to retreat into their own world. Maybe Miyazaki, Anno, and Okada just don't recognize that about themselves... if we abandon otaku now, it won't result in happiness for anyone. I can just come out and say it, "Otaku are annoying," but we still have to find some way to get along.

PG: Is your anime MOÉ?

YY: I say I make moé anime because it's convenient, but I have no idea what moé is. I can't deny that some characters are moé, but if we try and define those elements we end up creating separate camps of fans that cut themselves off from one another. I'm not criticizing moé anime, and it's fine if moé elements are there, but making it on purpose and categorizing it isn't good. Anime as anime is just fine, so we should leave it that way.

PG: At Kannagi event in 2008, you announced you're married. Are you still an otaku?

YY: Yes, I'm not all that sociable. For me, being an otaku is a persecution complex, like everyone despises me. I don't think Okada's generation felt that. Otaku don't have the power to change society or create culture the way Okada wanted them to. Otaku are people with complex about being otaku. The same way I hope for another anime masterpiece to emerge, I hope that otaku become stronger.

PG: Anime suh as Haruhi were instrumental in the phenomenom of otaku making pilgrimages to certain locations (seichi junrei). DId you expect that?

YY: To some degree it was predictable because seichi junrei is part of otaku culture. I myself did it as a student, going to Higashi-Koganei in search of Ghibli. But it wasn't my intention. If you draw settings from your imagination, you end up with Doraemon or Sazae-san, with their boring, uniform backgrounds. Anime is better if we add a sense of reality to the unreal.

PG: Is your use of idol similar, like giving reality to movement? For example, when you used the group Berryz Kobo as a basis for the Haruhi dance.
YY: No, it's because I like idols. They're like water, food, and air, something I can't live without. I always thought I wanted to make an anime idol dance. Just doing it had meaning, and that is something I can take pride in. Forgive me for that.

PG: How do you define idol?

YY: If you translate "idol" into Japanese, it is "image". Like an image of Christ. And when you say image, it means something that's not real. It's shrouded in lies. Communal worship of the image is what creates an idoru. An idoru is about remaining as close to the image in the minds of the believers as possible. I want idol remain wrapped in lies, and I don't care what the real person is doing. In a way it's a sad existence, but that tragedy is also appealing. It's similar for anime characters. Anime is a lie, drawings of a human form. But when wrapped in the right lies, the character can create a sense of moé in the viewer.

PG: What do you want to do from now?

YY: As a creator, I have a responsibility to change anime. We need to stop categorizing, suppress the tendency to cut ourselves off from others in the community, and liberate anime and bring it to the masses. If we don't then we will continue to retreat into smaller groups watching more specialized anime until we perish.

PG: What is coming up for you?

YY: I have new anime in 2010. I can't say anything detailed, but it will be an original story. I want it to be a work that overthrows the "moé anime Yamamoto Yutaka" image.
There will be no more dancing in my anime. I'm also working as a critic, writing and lecturing.



Whatever the results will be I'm sure the ride will be fascinating. So, who is going to watch Fractale this winter? :)

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Postby InstrumentalityOne » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:54 am

I´m going to watch it this season, but if your extremely exaggerated hype is going to kill it for me, I´ll be sorely disappointed.

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Postby Xard » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:57 am

View Original PostInstrumentalityOne wrote:I´m going to watch it this season, but if your extremely exaggerated hype is going to kill it for me, I´ll be sorely disappointed.


Uhh, that's why I provided manga scans. So that my hyperbole don't colour your judgement too much and you can draw your own conclusions. The start is very promising in my opinion but there are numerous ways it can fuck up during the journey to the end.

And as for hype, I just went by quoting interviews etc. for most part, apart from the fact I've enjoyed manga so far :D

If providing juicy background info on creators counts as hype there's not much I can do about it :P

( I for one don't think for a single second Yamakan will succeed in anything as lofty as "changing the industry" if Anno can't do the same with infinitely more high profile Rebuild. But that's what he said so I quoted it)

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Postby Sachi » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:05 pm

This, too, is what I'm most excited for this season. I don't know much about it at all, but it seems to stand out compared to everything else this season has to offer. However, I don't think my excitement matches that expressed in Xard's tl;dr post.
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Postby Merridian » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:04 pm

I can’t believe how jaded some of the responses are to this. It’s like suddenly we get news of “Hey guys this new show is gonna make anime FUN again! :D” and the responses are either disinterest or mild but apathetic "yeah it looks cool but whatever".

I mean damn, imaginative environments? Fantasy-steampunk-airshiptastic settings? Awesome character designs and the possibility of an intriguing world? This is what used to make anime worth watching! All that’s missing is giant robots, but we’ve got enough of that with Star Driver.

This stuff alone would make Fractale something to splooge about, since it’s already got a capacity for nigh-endless speculah material. Couple it with two names related to that whole anime culture—one of whom has proven his talent already on a few projects, the other being an esteemed commentator on the whole idea of Japanese geekdom—and you have one of the most promising titles to come around in years, certainly more so than the Gainaxism of PSG and the lolYuasa hipstershit of Tatami Galaxy, both titles being awesome in their own rights.

With the kind of premise, setting, and crew it has on board in production, it’s got the potential to appeal to both Miyazaki-loving fans who enjoy the mystery of a fantastical adventure story, as well as the lolhipsters who dig off-beat shit that would usually be watching Yuasa-grade material—and it’s likely to drag in a decent amount of otaku as well. I doubt it’ll have the kind of industry-setting impact that Yutaka seems to be aiming for, but then I don’t think that kind of thing is possible in an industry that is already reasonably diversified. Not to mention that trying to pry an audience out of what it wants see when you’re relying on that very audience to support your income is practically impossible. But who cares? If he's trying to present a new story with a new method, then I'm on board.

As I see it, the likelihood of Fractale being utter shit is really, really low. It might not live up to what I expect, but I kinda doubt that as well. I’m expecting something refreshing, adventurous, and entertaining, and there isn’t much doubt left that this will not come to pass.

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Postby EvangelionFan » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:43 pm

It looks like it could be something really special. Thanks Xard for posting all of this material, Fractale is now on my to-watch list. I should note that it is likely I'll start this series sometime after it has finished airing so that I can watch it at my own leisure.
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Postby Xard » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:29 pm

Merridian's post is the kind of stuff I'd like to see, something that might lead to real discussion.

My main motive for writing the post is realized in people like EvangelionFan - I've seen plenty of people on the internet go "lol doesn't look anything special" only by giving superficial glance to art and synopsis mentioning boy meeting mysterious girl. Given all the unsupported "bla bla bla nobody is making good anime anymore it's all moe shit bla bla" going around I also feel need to point out contrary evidence. Not to mention I hope people here might find interesting shows to follow in a bit larger scale outside GAINAX ones (PSG being obvious example) - discussing Fractale on /a/ or MAL seems futile from the start.

Incidentally the fourth (and final to be scanlated) chapter came out around the same time I made that post

The new longer PV finally made its way to youtube, check it out (in its glorious low-res, Japan hates HD)

I think the song is one used in OP...I liked it from the start and it's growing on me more with each passing repeat.

As for the footage shown, I guess it isn't all that surprising flying Phryne reminded me of blue clad Nausicaä (I wonder if that's intentional, even the thing she flies looks like mehve...given already present Laputa "quoting" it isn't at all unfeasible)

In any case, enjoy :)

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Postby symbv » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:32 am

Just the fact that FRACTALE is on NoitaminA is sufficient for me to check this show. And thanks to Xard, I now have more information about the background of the anime production, though for me it may have the opposite effect of (slightly) lowering my enthusiasm:

- I never think much about the postmodernist idea and Azuma's commentary on otaku-dom (from what little I could scan from the Japanese original) is valid on a lot of the facts but I am not sure this necessarily leads to the conclusion that otakus are turning more "animal-like". Anyway, knowing Azuma is behind contributing to the screenplay would not hurt as I would like to see what kind of chemistry his cooperation with Yamakan could lead to.

- I only knew Yamakan mainly as the creator of Hare Hare Yukai dance and the director of Lucky Star for only a few episodes before being fired. It is great to learn about this person (thanks to Xard again) but I am not sure I like what I found. This person, like Anno, seems to be a very deep otaku, yet found fame and rose well above ordinary otaku level (as Yamakan said - one clear critieron is whether you can find a girl -- and both got married :-) and possess an intense love-hate relationship with the anime industry that brought them fame and respect. Many of the problems Yamakan mentioned in the industry are true, but some of them are more like an evolution (as otaku becoming more mainstream and contribute to a larger share of anime spending, the makeup and consumption pattern of otaku will surely change with an impact to the anime industry), or external factor (population decrease, particularly of children; high cost and low labor productivity in Japan manufacturing -- which includes anime making). I don't think self-appointing himself as "the saviour of anime" or doing stunts to piss off K-On fans (perhaps he forgot K-On brought a lot more new fans to anime than most of the anime in the past few years, including Haruhi) would help things. Perhaps it would be better for him to let go his grudge against KyoAni and leave those stunts until after (if it happens) the success of FRACTALE

as is usual with anime original projects manga adaptation starts to run couple of months earlier in order to promote the upcoming anime


That I am not sure. For example the other original anime this season Puella Magi Madoka Magika will only have manga out next month. The other original anime that I can think of is Angel Beats! which only has a manga out recently, several months after the show ended.

FRACTALE also has a novel just started. The trend nowadays is to offer a strong "media mix" to maximise interest and potential revenue channels. It is not easy to pull off though. So many attempts to add manga as a supplement to the anime failed because too little resource or thought is put into the manga, resulting in ill-conceived structuring or appearing too much like a lazy or rushed job. The FRACTALE manga (available free on GanGan online) looks decent enough. If the story in the anime follows the manga, there should be little that needs to be worried.

As the character design, I also like the purple hair color a lot more. What puzzles me is that in the official website the character is still shown in purple hair color. Are we going to see purple color at some point in the anime? Perhaps the change was made only at a very late stage?

I believe the PV was intentionally made to invoke memory of Nausicca and some of the promotion material also want to raise associaton with Laputa. Added to the fact Noitamina always appeal to broad demographic, I can see the ambition of Yamakan and his staff to want to draw more people into the anime world.

I notice many people (almost always from the west) complain about anime now is not good anymore. But I wonder how much of it is because of "good old days" reminiscence, and how much is because of the changing trend in anime? Or perhaps passage of time makes one more hardcore, more picky and more ready to dismiss a show? I can see that the genre of epics or giant robots has become less often while genre for slice-of-life or cute girls moe is definitely on the rise. So tastes have surely changed. On the other hand, the animation production quality, in terms of drawing, animating, editing or music making, has not dropped. I still have a lot of joy appreciating the work and thoughts brought into anime currently being made. In a way this may be a silver age (if the good old past is golden) for anime because there are so many anime being made each season (most of those known in the west are the midnight anime category) but still we do not see the same quality deterioriation or outright blackout that seemed quite common back in the early days of midnight anime. The concern is more about whether this kind of pace (with almost 20 midnight anime in each season) can be kept up. And I suspect this is why Yamakan worried about there is a bubble being burst. Even otaku may not be able to check all the new animes these days, and the pressure of producing so many anime, while the business model is getting more precarious (because tv sponsorship is split up among so many anime and it is never big to speak of since it is aired in midnight slot), means that the production quality always risks going down. Yamakan's courage to try to find a solution is worth admiring, but I see some of the problems that are facing the industry will not be solved simply by a "breakthrough anime".

The way I see it, the shifting trends of the anime industry are not just a syndrome, they are also a response to the society change and its impact to the anime industry. Even making another Eva or Mononoke Hime will not solve the root causes (stressing the plural). The rise of moe anime is a response. The rise of "media mix" is another. The rise of seiyuu being more like idol is also another. They all contribute to creating more revenue and securing the loyalty of fans. Instead of grumbling about "lost past" I find my own way of enjoying all these changes. And if once in a while there is a "special breakthrough anime" coming along, then all the best -- it will be icing on the cake. For now I take what I can enjoy, as no one can tell where the anime industry may lead to in the future... I would definitely miss the whole anime thing, including the so-called "crap shows", should the whole industry collapsed. As a anime fan I do my share to enjoy and (perhaps more importantly for the industry) consume (if the dvd is too expensive, I can still buy the moe character goods or the cd or the media mix manga etc).
I never thought I would come back to Evangelion after EoE,
But I discovered Re-Take (or it found me?) and
now here I am.
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Asuka FAN FOREVER
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Postby Merridian » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:27 am

Nice post, symbv
View Original Postsymbv wrote:I notice many people (almost always from the west) complain about anime now is not good anymore. But I wonder how much of it is because of "good old days" reminiscence, and how much is because of the changing trend in anime?
considering how wildly the genre has diversified (to the point that it's not even a unified "genre" anymore, if it ever even was), I think a lot of fans who bitch about the good old days are wearing nostalgia goggles. I'm a fan of older stuff myself, but I certainly believe that the last ten years have offered some incredible shows.

symbv wrote:- I never think much about the postmodernist idea and Azuma's commentary on otaku-dom (from what little I could scan from the Japanese original) is valid on a lot of the facts but I am not sure this necessarily leads to the conclusion that otakus are turning more "animal-like".
While I agree with where Azuma's coming from, I've found his criticism to be a little over the top, myself. The 'otaku database' thing in particular doesn't seem to warrant the amount of focus he gives to it, only because the exact same kind of thinking is what constitutes any form of literary analysis. The only difference is the field of study--instead of 2D geekdom, it's art critics with academic degrees. And the fact that capitalism never fully exploited an overuse of particular literary techniques that would appeal that particular demographic, though the rise in postmodernist artwork might have seemed like it. It just never filtered down into mass entertainment and remained confined to the art world.

But despite this, I don't think he's totally off-base. If the whole reason a particular show exists is to display a zettai ryouiki-donned gradient-eyed tsundere nekomimi schoolgirl's particular reaction to a personality-less protagonist spilling tea on her maid outfit, then the show is pretty useless. To construct entire works around key superficial elements isn't good storytelling or narrative development, but the theory is that it makes money because "that's what people want to see". But producing that sort of thing only only shoots yourself in the foot because it lacks any distinguishing characteristics, and it doesn't even have decent storytelling to fall back on. It's basically assembly line entertainment.

symbv wrote:The way I see it, the shifting trends of the anime industry are not just a syndrome, they are also a response to the society change and its impact to the anime industry. Even making another Eva or Mononoke Hime will not solve the root causes (stressing the plural). The rise of moe anime is a response. The rise of "media mix" is another. The rise of seiyuu being more like idol is also another. They all contribute to creating more revenue and securing the loyalty of fans. Instead of grumbling about "lost past" I find my own way of enjoying all these changes.
That's a good attitude to have, but at the same time, I can't help but see a general trend of creative stagnation occurring alongside of this "rise of moe anime". There are some parallels that could easily be drawn between today's industry and that of the early 90s, though I don't think the situation is quite as dire as it was then. Not that I'm in the best position to judge.

Either way, as Yamakan mentioned in his interviews, the directorial big guns have largely jumped ship in terms of anime productions, aiming for wider markets and leaving the otaku to stew in their own juices. Some of the best & most promising current directors' stances aren't all that lenient on the geeks, either. Yuasa's Studio 4C output is arthouse as hell while Shinkai & Hosoda aim for bigger audiences than otaku can satisfy--and I'd say the same for ABe/Ueda productions, except that there hasn't been one of those in years. Other directors like Shinbo (extreme example) work well within the 'anime'-culture, but they don't seem to draw any new blood to the genre in terms of viewership.

The problem Yamakan is addressing isn't that the overabundance of merchandising secures fans, it's that by catering specifically to a single niche demographic, this 'securing' of fans is simultaneously alienating many more potential markets. Anime doesn't exactly have the best rep for itself, and fetishizing it up even more just for profit only cements an already negative image (Shinbo's method is a pretty good example of this). Granted, I think some of the claims about "moe anime killing the industry" can be a little exaggerated--since Madhouse still finds ways to produce Yuasa's offbeat stuff, as well as cerebral shit like Mouryou no Hako or Shigurui, not to mention how a programing block like NoitaminA itself is still successful enough to draw viewers and stay on the air, and a studio like Bones still has money to pour into something as ambitious as Star Driver; all of this means that money still has to be coming from somewhere. Yet regardless of that, all the right people are sufficiently worried enough to be giving interviews like this and trying to either remain proactive or they just throw their hands up in disgust and focus on wider audiences.

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Postby gwern » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:46 pm

So, I read through the 4 manga chapters. It's decent enough, but...

I'm perplexed. Even leaving aside issues like 'the medium' reminding me a great deal of Senjougahara from _Bakemonogatari_, Fractale seems pretty ordinary.

Asides from being ordinary, it seems to commit the sin of being heavily database-oriented. It's easy to point to elements from the database (seems to steal a fair bit from _Castle in the Sky_, for example). But Azuma's involvement and his statements would seem to suggest that it's supposed to be anti-database!

I put it on my list anyway because of my respect for NoitaminA, but if the blog posts aren't that enthusiastic, I doubt I'll ever watch it.

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Postby Merridian » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:18 pm

^given how manga previews can be, I'm hesitant to make assumptions based only on what's been published as promotional material.

Also, how does Phryne remind you of Senjougahara? I didn't get those vibes at all. Then again, I didn't see anything ordinary about the premise, either. There isn't enough narrative there for me to judge.
gwern wrote:Asides from being ordinary, it seems to commit the sin of being heavily database-oriented. It's easy to point to elements from the database (seems to steal a fair bit from _Castle in the Sky_, for example). But Azuma's involvement and his statements would seem to suggest that it's supposed to be anti-database!
"Stealing" (...or being influenced by) aspects from Miyazaki isn't exactly a case of otaku-pandering moe fetishism, which is more what Azuma's 'database' concept refers to.

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Postby BrikHaus » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:55 pm

I'll agree to watch this series if you people stop with the tl;dr posts.
Awesomely Shitty
-"That purace has more badassu maddafaakas zan supermax spaceland."
-On EMF, as a thread becomes longer, the likelihood that fem-Kaworu will be mentioned increases exponentially.
-the only English language novel actually being developed in parallel to its Japanese version involving a pan-human Soviet in a galactic struggle to survive and to export the communist utopia/revolution to all the down trodden alien class and race- one of the premise being that Khrushchev remains and has abandoned Lysenko stupidity

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Postby gwern » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:52 am

View Original PostMerridian wrote:^given how manga previews can be, I'm hesitant to make assumptions based only on what's been published as promotional material.


Of course. It's still on my list, just now I'm going to put much more weight on the early reactions of anime bloggers (as opposed to largely ignoring them).

View Original PostMerridian wrote:Also, how does Phryne remind you of Senjougahara? I didn't get those vibes at all.


Hm. Maybe it's her character design, just looking like Senjougahara. The scene in the church under the stars kind of reminds me of Senjougahara's own scene with Aragagi and the great ED for _Bakemonogatari_. But I think it was probably just the undressing scene. (Which is totally from the database now - the beautiful strange girl undressing near the bashful guy.)

View Original PostMerridian wrote:Then again, I didn't see anything ordinary about the premise, either. There isn't enough narrative there for me to judge.


The setting look borrowed from _Aria_. I know I've seen projected parents before (although for some reason the only example that allows itself to be recalled is _Texnolyze_'s surface-dwellers). And besides that?

View Original PostMerridian wrote: "Stealing" (...or being influenced by) aspects from Miyazaki isn't exactly a case of otaku-pandering moe fetishism, which is more what Azuma's 'database' concept refers to.


Azuma's database isn't limited solely to moe fetishism; moe fetishism is just the most straightforward and easily analyzed genre. He could've just as well worked on mecha - _Gundam_ is ripe for database analysis. If you haven't read the book, I have a crappy scan at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5317066/eva/200 ... nimals.pdf

And there are plenty of examples. The jewel the strange female is carrying. The not-so-clever villain and bumbling accomplices. The loli with a brother complex (seriously, Azuma, what the hell?). The sinister religious cult. The old-fashioned European city.

I mean, I'm not even taking notes, just pulling this out of an increasingly vague memory. Hugely original, _Fractale_ isn't looking to be. I hope it won't be, but I can't be optimistic. _Eva_ looked more interesting in the first few chapters of its manga-preview.

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Postby Xard » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:40 pm

Brian Ruh wrote similar, borderline hypesque post on Fractale for ANN

Here's Azuma's interview from japansociety.org which may or may nor have content relevant to Fractale - at the very least it's exposition on his complicated attitude towards otaku.

Interview with Azuma regarding his book

Funimation is going to simulcast Fractale

Lenght confirmed for 11 episodes.

Replies to symbv on stuff not strictly related to Fractale have been spoilered.

SPOILER: Show
View Original Postsymbv wrote:- I never think much about the postmodernist idea and Azuma's commentary on otaku-dom (from what little I could scan from the Japanese original) is valid on a lot of the facts but I am not sure this necessarily leads to the conclusion that otakus are turning more "animal-like". Anyway, knowing Azuma is behind contributing to the screenplay would not hurt as I would like to see what kind of chemistry his cooperation with Yamakan could lead to.


Azuma is using the word "animal" in very specific, philosophical sense that traces back all the way to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (importantly through Kojevé's interprepation) so it propably doesn't mean what you think it means. :)

Ruh offers a simplified version (not that Database Animals is very unaccessible as far as literary criticism & philosophy goes, Azuma wrote it for general audience after all)

I have little interest in postmodernism (esp. as a philosophy) but postmodernity is something different and pretty important to understanding our modern age. Azuma makes the same distinction and the book doesn't really concern itself with the former and - as he says in interview - that book is hardly case of subjecting otakudom to postmodern theory. It's more a case of vice versa.

It's also worth nothing that discussion on otaku culture is only second fork of Azuma's interests (he had already risen to enviable position in 90s prior to all this), other one being liberty and ethics in society of information age, much more "high browed" and technical subject matter.

By no means I agree with all Azuma says and of course his theory doesn't offer full picture of otaku culture (which means that anime or manga are not even singular main focus, I'd say games are at least as important): it's too harsh (and so it isn't surprising he isn't exactly dear to most otaku) for start. People still make anime relatively free of contents of this book, as diffuclt and rare it might be. The book was written as starting point for discussion, not as end all be all on the subject. The boldness, originality and level of genius Azuma shows in his writings endears me to him but I can say same about many thinkers I don't fully agree with. And then again, Azuma's thesis has so far received the strongest of vindications: passage of time. It's incredible that the book came out in 2001 because it feels prophetic in parts when I look back at last 6 years or so.

Personally speaking I found the discussion on psychology of otakudom and Japanese nationalism most illuminating.

View Original Postsymbv wrote:- I only knew Yamakan mainly as the creator of Hare Hare Yukai dance and the director of Lucky Star for only a few episodes before being fired. It is great to learn about this person (thanks to Xard again) but I am not sure I like what I found. This person, like Anno, seems to be a very deep otaku, yet found fame and rose well above ordinary otaku level (as Yamakan said - one clear critieron is whether you can find a girl -- and both got married :-) and possess an intense love-hate relationship with the anime industry that brought them fame and respect.


I feel that as a general rule artists with ambivalent or contradictory relationship with their work tend to churn out vibrant art. From film we got Godard, from anime Anno and even Hayao Miyazaki himself etc.

View Original Postsymbv wrote:I don't think self-appointing himself as "the saviour of anime" or doing stunts to piss off K-On fans (perhaps he forgot K-On brought a lot more new fans to anime than most of the anime in the past few years, including Haruhi) would help things. Perhaps it would be better for him to let go his grudge against KyoAni and leave those stunts until after (if it happens) the success of FRACTALE


My opinion on Yamakan is mixed at best, albeit these interviews and Fractale have shifted it greatly for better (I used to hate the guy for the way he stole honor for Haruhi from Ishihara, behaving in Con panels etc. as if he had made the damn thing). But I didn't see him do anything as lofty or as egoistical as that: he just wants to put up a "good fight". It's his responsibility as a creator.


View Original Postsymbv wrote:That I am not sure. For example the other original anime this season Puella Magi Madoka Magika will only have manga out next month. The other original anime that I can think of is Angel Beats! which only has a manga out recently, several months after the show ended.


Well of course it's not a universal rule, but it's been common trick in industry for decades to have manga start running before original anime project as marketing. It's kind of reverse engineering the typical scenario of having anime follow succesful manga largerly for promotional purposes (Bakuman). Of course these days it's more complicated "MediaMix" project which means they launch games etc. at the same time too.

Out of this year's original tv anime Angel Beats! is exception instead of a rule, I feel. Sora no Woto and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt both got their inferior manga versions running beforehand, for example.


View Original Postsymbv wrote:I believe the PV was intentionally made to invoke memory of Nausicca and some of the promotion material also want to raise associaton with Laputa. Added to the fact Noitamina always appeal to broad demographic, I can see the ambition of Yamakan and his staff to want to draw more people into the anime world.


Yes, exactly. It's important to remember that Nadia was one of the biggest anime of whole 90s in Japan and alongside with Eva largerly responsible for "third wave of otakudom" (damn you, Anno and GAINAX! What did you do, ruining so many lives...even NHK manga jokes about the fact :lol: ) - as such enormously influential, important and widely recognized work, even outside otaku (for example all the countless people who watched it as a kid).

As I said Fractale's very purposefully making allusions to high adventure anime of classic era (Nadia, Laputa and Nausicaä).

View Original Postsymbv wrote:Yamakan's courage to try to find a solution is worth admiring, but I see some of the problems that are facing the industry will not be solved simply by a "breakthrough anime".


Yes, and like with Rebuild I have little faith in Fractale being any kind of seismic shift. If Rebuild can't do it there's no way Fractale can. Perhaps RoE had a chance before they completely screwed up the schedule. Now the films come too rarely to have sustained impact. Why the ambition interests me are the propably positive effects it'll have on final product, not whether said product has large impact or not.

Say, are you native Japanese? :)

Nothing in my reply to merri was actually Fractale-linked :lol:

SPOILER: Show
View Original PostMerridian wrote: While I agree with where Azuma's coming from, I've found his criticism to be a little over the top, myself. The 'otaku database' thing in particular doesn't seem to warrant the amount of focus he gives to it, only because the exact same kind of thinking is what constitutes any form of literary analysis. The only difference is the field of study--instead of 2D geekdom, it's art critics with academic degrees. And the fact that capitalism never fully exploited an overuse of particular literary techniques that would appeal that particular demographic, though the rise in postmodernist artwork might have seemed like it. It just never filtered down into mass entertainment and remained confined to the art world.


The database theory overall is by no means confined to otaku culture and is becoming the primary model of consumption in postmodern era. Sounds wonderfully pretentious but anyway, it isn't that simple. For Azuma the database model is what happens when "tree model of modernity" when it comes to grand narratives of life (I just realized how difficult this all is to communicate without his diagrams, gahh) and fiction is discarded. It's not collection of narrative tropes and storytelling techniques that haven't ever really changed. It's also tied to reconceiving authorship and especially to the notion of simulacra. Azuma himself used Di Gi Charat anime as ultimate culmination point of these developments in the industry; obviously he didn't have Touhou et al to work with back in the day.

Evangelion the anime for example has not severed its roots to "grand narrative" and Anno's authorship: it's impossible to look and understand Evangelion without its personal and thematic roots.

However, Evangelion itself properly understood is little more than simulacra, a grand non-narrative fans "read up" any way they want, producing more and more simulacra completely disengaged with any connection between Anno's grand narrative and the "original" work: in modern otaku culture whole concept of "original work" is questionable and what we have instead of originals and copies is just endless stream of simulacra. From larger perspective and context of the otaku consumer culture Eva the anime, EDEN Rei hentai doujinshis and Pachinko games are inseparable and share same "value". There's no real "original" in any meaningful sense.

View Original PostMerridian wrote:If the whole reason a particular show exists is to display a zettai ryouiki-donned gradient-eyed tsundere nekomimi schoolgirl's particular reaction to a personality-less protagonist spilling tea on her maid outfit


I find the expression of the whole theory /a/ came up with on its own terrifying:

Image
GAAAHHHH BURN IT WITH FIRE

Truer demonstration won't be found even from Murakami's artworks. Instead of characters and narratives stemming from worldviews of creator(s) what we have is industry of people dabbling in same "database", dissecting and connecting features in whatever way they see fit. There's no "real" character who shares certain characteristics (properties): there's just a bunch of traits and moe-triggers dressed in two dimensional figure. They're not properties of some essence, it's nothing but than bundle of properties you can cut and paste whatever way you want.

(and suddenly my talk got eerily close to philosophy of mind...)

View Original PostMerridian wrote:
The problem Yamakan is addressing isn't that the overabundance of merchandising secures fans, it's that by catering specifically to a single niche demographic, this 'securing' of fans is simultaneously alienating many more potential markets. Anime doesn't exactly have the best rep for itself, and fetishizing it up even more just for profit only cements an already negative image (Shinbo's method is a pretty good example of this).


We cannot underestimate the impact that the gigantic shadow of Evangelion has on the whole industry. There was interview with Dai Sato and Azuma on Japan Society and they pretty much summed it up:

"In Japan people have actually given up on the future and potential for anime and games. This is because it has been ten years since Evangelion, and we still haven’t had anything that exceeds it, to put it bluntly. Of course, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is truly great and I mean it (!), but it’s not easy to exceed Evangelion, right?

(Sato nods.)"


View Original PostBrikHaus wrote:I'll agree to watch this series if you people stop with the tl;dr posts.


yeah, this always happens whenever I actually give a damn about what I write...that isn't even long post in my eyes :(

*******

Anyway, I guess it's my own damn fault for emphazising the fact so much but discussion of Azuma's book and database theory has dominated the topic to unreasonable degree. I only brought it up as something that would well illustrate Azuma's character and why I was interested in seeing what he'd do in Fractale. I wasn't intentionally implying Fractale is going to be some sort of theoretical wankfest of his. He just wrote the original story anyway, the actual script and series composition is by Mari Okada and of course Yamakan's direcion is the most important thing.

There's no direct indication that Fractale is "anti-database" anime (I'm not sure how this would be even possible because database animalism is a way of existence in post-industrial, postmodern society in Azuma's theory, not argument or trope in itself that be simply discredited. Fractale can be created and written as act against such way of living - and I think that's obviously happening - but whatever happens with final product depends of viewers) in any case.

Make no mistake, I think there's already hints of rich subtext and serious loldeep thematics but Fractale was never written "free" from database (because "database animals" dissect everything they consume and put the parts in their databases - and in case they won't find right one for some element they create new category for it - it depends on viewer). Nor does it intend to. What it clearly intends to be is be a genuine story with "grand narrative" (ookina monogatari is a bit more nuanced than the translation but whatever, it can't be helped) and meaning that is lacking from works constructed within and from elements in the database (because database is all surface without any real essence behind it, essence that traditionally gives birth to stories and characters instead of bundling bunch of traits into a "character" and then constructing work around it a la Di Gi Charat or entire world of Touhou). For example moé elements have always existed and they exist naturally: it would be typical modern behaviour however to "dissect" and then cut and paste these elements instead of having them emerge naturally from the story.

To quote Yamakan again:

"I'm not criticizing moé anime, and it's fine if moé elements are there, but making it on purpose and categorizing it isn't good. Anime as anime is just fine, so we should leave it that way."

"We need to stop categorizing, suppress the tendency to cut ourselves off from others in the community, and liberate anime and bring it to the masses. If we don't then we will continue to retreat into smaller groups watching more specialized anime until we perish."

and perhaps most importantly:

"But no matter how you look at it, what can be done in anime has been. Genres, forms of expression, themes, characters, it's all been exhausted. So what can we do? Only copy, and add our own little bits along the way." < this is very similar to what Anno said of NGE back in the day as explanation of its pastiche nature.

What Fractale is doing isn't any different from what's said here, really.

View Original Postgwern wrote:I'm perplexed. Even leaving aside issues like 'the medium' reminding me a great deal of Senjougahara from _Bakemonogatari_, Fractale seems pretty ordinary.


There's nothing similar between Senjougahara and Phryne apart from purple hair and hime cut. And this similarity doesn't even exist in anime itself.

Personally speaking I find the whole thing anything but ordinary, not because I haven't seen the elements before but due to way they've been put together. For example the comparison to Aria flies right over my head because I don't get that vibe at all.

As for Tex "similarities", I think they stem from same thematic roots instead of any influence

View Original Postgwern wrote:Asides from being ordinary, it seems to commit the sin of being heavily database-oriented. It's easy to point to elements from the database (seems to steal a fair bit from _Castle in the Sky_, for example).


Allusions do not a database make.

View Original Postgwern wrote:And there are plenty of examples. The jewel the strange female is carrying. The not-so-clever villain and bumbling accomplices. The loli with a brother complex (seriously, Azuma, what the hell?). The sinister religious cult. The old-fashioned European city.


It's worth pointing out that most of these things are just ancient storytelling tropes (that cannot be reduced to "database" by simple virtue that they've existed for eons whereas Azuma's model presupposes society that has existed only for few decades by now) and with the ones that are typical examples it's entirely possible these elements are presented for later deconstruction and subversion: as if this was planned version of Eva. To how far they're going to take the whole "falling apart" of the Fractale system that is upholding the fictional world, so to speak.

Regardless, because Fractale's supposed to reflect the age elements like "loli with a brother complex" (she isn't loli! Only loli here is Nessa) are bound to be there. For what purpose (if there's any)? I can't say.

View Original Postgwern wrote:Eva looked more interesting in the first few chapters of its manga-preview.


I'd say just the opposite as Eva was very traditional mix of robot anime cliches in the start: there wasn't such a wonky combination dustopia (ain't I clever) futurism with distinctively post-Eva protagonist combined with adventure narrative of "classic era". And Nessa alone is just as weird as Rei, if not weirder.

To end this post I'd like to throw out couple of quotes that might give hint about wtf is going in with the setting from that Japan Society interview (I suspect Fractale is ment to symbolize the empty world that yet satisfies all needs that is end point of po-mo):
DM: Can a few creators really undo the nihilism, the paralysis, you see in Japan's youth culture?

HA: We probably cannot reverse this flow easily. Some creators can challenge it and do challenge it. But a little paralysis is the logical result of human nature. In the 19th and 20th centuries, we needed big ideologies, big nationalism, to manage big communities. But we now have information technology, we now have very sophisticated social institutions, so maybe we don't need ideology. A paralyzed, animalized society is a kind of dystopia, but perhaps it can be a kind of utopia too.

DM: Because young people are finally free to care about nothing?

HA: As you know, there is a famous novel from the 1930s, Brave New World. Brave New World is very different from 1984. In 1984, Big Brother is watching you, so your desires are very restricted. In Brave New World, everyone's desires are met, everyone is happy, but those desires are very sophisticatedly controlled by the government. I think the 21st century may be a bit similar to Brave New World. Of course, the controlling agent is not government.

DM: What is it, then?

HA: Perhaps information technology. A leftist activist might say this is a kind of capitalist domination by big companies, like Microsoft or Google, but I don't think so. Google's platform does, however, supply people's scope of knowledge, people's worldview. An affirmation of people's desires and needs can coexist with some kind of strong control. I'm interested in this coexistence of freedom and control, organization and restriction.

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Postby EvaCub » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:25 pm

so who enjoyed the first episode?...
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Postby Xard » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:28 pm

View Original PostEvaCub wrote:so who enjoyed the first episode?...


Still no 720p version out there so "LOLDUNNO". Why the fuck Funimation streams suck so bad in terms of quality? This same waiting-for-ages-for-good-resolution was such a bother with Kuragehime and Tatami Galaxy too

symbv digged it though, but that lucky bastard lives in Japan anyway.

OP's pretty cool (lol'd at "Azuma Hitomi")

edit: UTW is doing subs to Fractale at least so I'm waiting for them

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Postby Azathoth » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:01 pm

Well, Funishit aside - and that is a big aside (seriously, 360p, what the fuck, maybe next week they ought to release it as rmvb) I wasn't hugely impressed. Too much setting-sell, not enough plot-sell. The subtext has tons of potential but the text itself is meh so far. Phryne's mood swings were funny. Team Rocket was also pretty funny. I'd suggest that the fault doesn't lie with Azuma's concept but with the actual writing of it, which is at its best in humor and seems mediocre everywhere else.

Not going to critique the animation, character design, dialogue until I can actually see them as opposed to pixels & artifacts with shitsubs. I'm not dropping it, but it doesn't do much for me so far.
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Postby Xard » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:06 pm

Ehh, if the writing is similar to manga I honestly don't see a problem. And actually the series composition and script is written by Mari Okada (for example ToraDora, she is also writing Hourou Musuko this season), Azuma's text just formed the basis so you'd propably be barging at wrong tree in any case.

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:Team Rocket was also pretty funny.


Not recognizing Grandis Gang and you're on fucking eva forum? :sigh:

Ugly disgrace, get out of my sight!

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Postby kuwisdelu » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:13 am

Just watched UTW's version. Definitely got those Nadia vibes. I'll be looking forward to seeing the rest of it. Interesting it will only be 11 episodes.

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Postby Oz » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:30 am

The first episode was awesome. Looking forward to the next episode already.
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