January 21, 2011

Fractale Ep2: The Human Disconnection

Posted in Fractale tagged , , , at 8:52 pm by meotwister5

It was a classic “You don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye”.  After she disappears into the night, Clain could only become rather angry and depressed on how he views humans as nothing more than transient creatures, passing by to use you before going back on their merry way.

But now that a young girl named Nessa, coming out from pendant Phryne left behind, what would become of his life lived in a distant and impersonal way?  He has no dopple of his own, yet even then seems to find personal contact to be rather… troubling.

Cute or retarded? You decide.

Out from Phryne’s brooch comes Nessa, a girl with a rather curious and wild side to her.  She pops out from the thing and immediately asks Clain to touch her, who is much surprised after assuming that she’s just Phryne’s Doppel.  She is obviously not when he realizes he can touch her.  Clain of course is one those people who, in this era, apparently has a dislike the more exhausting forms of personal communication and decides to take her to town and leave her with the police.  After much hijinks and being sort of interrogated by people with a stake at the girl named Phryne, he eventually leaves the overactive Nessa with the security forces.

Only after leaving her there, of course, does he realize that special something that he’s never had before, and starts to regret his decision.

Choas during a fine summer day.

Hanazawa Kana as Nessa?  She’s becoming one of my favorite VAs this year, and her role as Tsukimi in Kuragehima as shown that she can do more than simply be typecasted as the typical quiet girl with a soft voice.  This is a bit of a throwback to her role as Kobato, only here she’s a bit more eager, active and a lot louder.  I could actually get used to a genki Kana role.  Additionally, there’s a lot of complaints with the way Kobayashi Yuu also tends to do a lot of young boy roles, but personally I think she’s doing a pretty good job as Claim.

One thing I previously wasn’t able to point out was the specific Ghibli film I thought the show seems to have been influenced with.  For me without a doubt I felt like it was a lot like both Porco Rosso and Laputa. It probably has to do more with all the flying and the very rural and empty setting of the show.

A rather douchebag pose.

The show has laid some pretty interesting groundwork with it’s core theme, namely the mode of distant and impersonal relationships.  This is personified by the Doppels, a sort of middle ground of human communications where you can communicate with others by having a visual representation of yourself.  It is, in truth, a system very much similar to the internet use of bulletin boards or chatrooms where one communicates with others directly but not face to face.  Direct interaction from a distance.  The Doppels stand as a rather obvious symbolism to the current age of technology that allows communications from across the globe, at the price of an impersonal correspondence.  You are talking to someone, but you are not there.  Doppels exist at the intersection between what is and what is not, it’s entire being given form by this opposition.

Clain is a very impersonal character that’s for sure.  Slightly ironic for him to have a dislike for human interaction when he himself does not have a Doppel, forcing him to have to speak with people face to face.  He finds it tiring it seems, suggesting that he himself perhaps lives a more isolated lifestyle where his only contact is with his parents through their Doppels, Doppels he can will away as he sees fit.  He almost stands as a rather fitting representation of the modern technologically savvy human who sits in front of his computer and doing all his work there, which is not far from the truth considering we see him in front of one of his gadgets and using them for his work.

His love for the old technologies stands as a rather obvious contrast with the fact that he is a child of the the story’s modern era, an era where personal contact is deemed troublesome and tiring.  For all the while that he savors discovering the ways of old where people congregated before the advent of Fractale, he himself finds difficulty in human interactions.  He is a crossroads of sorts then, discovering relics of an older culture while coming to terms with the fact that he belongs to the present.  He is both a child of the present and a child of the past it would seem.  He is both of them at the same time, and the arrival of Nessa who is apparently not human yet not a Doppel makes him question her origins and what she really is.

Ever wish you could make your parents disappear?

When I was typing that I ended up being unsure of what I just did, mostly because I had a feeling that either the apparent presentation of the show was meant to be that way, or it is because of the way I had always approached text based on my college education.  A quick background check of the lead writer, Azuma Hiroki, revealed that he is a literary critic that had been greatly influenced y Derrida, and by extension I presume by the post-modern approach to philosophy and reading.  In that sense we have a shared educational background, because I myself found some training in classical and post-modernist philosophy (yeah I sort of skipped modernism) for the philosophy degree I never finished.  I guess that’s why I find it easier for me to see the oppositions made in his story setting and in his characters that helps define them which, at it’s core, is sort of the basics of Derrida’s differance at work.

In a way perhaps the story comes across as a deconstructive allegory of the modern internet age: his presentation of the raw elements of the story setting that makes the differences and opposition of the characters and the tale all the more apparent to the viewer and allow him to make his own judgment on the story; one ultimately about a society that straddles between the personal and anonymity.

Okay enough with the complex philo lesson. Here's a DAWWW shot.

I think I understand a bit of the story’s approach.  It is a referencing tale of the modern age, for sure, but under a more post-modern lens in its attempt to show the smaller and deeper intricacies that make up the modern society and how it has changed from the past cultures that Claim himself is trying to understand.

In any case, an interesting approach, and I may as well take up the production’s challenge and and flex some of my college brain capacities I haven’t used in a while.

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