February 19, 2011

Fractale Ep5: Being With Others

Posted in Fractale tagged , , , at 11:54 am by meotwister5

Just as Clain found it rather odd to be in social situations in previous episodes, he still finds it a very odd and very alien thing to actually have a communal living with his captors on board the airship.  He and his loincloth (I forget the term) are put in a symbolic box of sorts so he really has no choice, unless he wants to parachute into the sea, so his limits here are pretty obvious when you think about it.  Phryne, of course, didn’t seem to have any qualms about jumping ship when the ship’s systems start to go haywire due to Nessa.

Yeah it’s her fault.  Not surprising actually.

Someone's gotta do it!

Communal airship living.  It’s like a house, only it flies and stuff.  I’m sure none of us can really claim to know how it is to live in a home that has no permanent address on a daily basis, unless of course you’re homeless but that’s entirely a different matter.  As a member of the community each member has to pull their own weight, so the previously complacent Clain is forced to do chores in the ship, something I assume is completely alien to him.  Cleaning the toilet is just one of those roles, and yes he complains a lot while doing it.  After a while though he gets used to it, and even finds it fun after some time.  He has even started to enjoy eating with everyone.

I think the biggest sign that he has appreciated this is how he has taken a more active role in helping, which we see as Nessa’s presence starts screwing with the computers and, after being initially rejected, he uses his computer knowledge to track her down and return normalcy to the ship.

I'm... uh... doing laundry?

I think this episode is probably the first time it’s being made clear how Clain is slowly adjusting to a new culture that he has only but read in old files and documents.  He was in previous episodes a very resistant man to change, but now put in a box of sorts that he can’t get out of, he has no choice and has to live with what he has.  Despite that initial resistance, he had already begun to change without his knowledge, and in his reflections realizes it is greatly due to Nessa’s influence.

As I had said before, I find it sort of ironic that someone so addicted to antiquity would be so hesitant if not downright resistant to it.  I guess there’s a big difference between being interested in something as opposed to actually living it.  Clain is so engrossed with the ways of life of the past, but now that he has a chance to further see it enacted before him, he finds it difficult to be part of it.  The difference now is that in his new situation, he has grown to accept it and realize that, indeed, there are other ways of living apart from looking at things from a magnifying glass.  There may be no better way of understanding from first hand experience.  The fact that by his own admission he enjoys it now signifies his growth from a cloistered young man to someone who is slowly experiencing the world before it, in all its differences and contradictions.

Too much of something is bad m'kay!

Nessa and Phryne patching up their relationship is all well and good, but I have to wonder if it’s more due to Nessa’s childlike fickleness more than anything.  As Clain puts it, she’s pretty much forgotten why she was angry in the first place, so now that she’s decided to follow into the airship and wrecking havoc due to her inherent innocent playfulness.  It is still pretty much Nessa being Nessa, who is unable to understand the implications of her actions most of the time.  Phryne, on the other hand, seems to have something of a martyr complex, ready to dump herself from a hatch on the ship if it means correcting the situation.  She did do something similar by running away from the Temple with Nessa in order to stop whatever they were trying to do, but her ultra selfless attempt to handle the situations by herself can only get so far.  As Clain mentions through the store room door, no one will know about what she has to go through if she doesn’t tell anyone.  Clain, even before, has offered to help.

Baked Nessa. Yummy?

An old college professor of mine used to say that you cannot truly learn and understand a culture and society just by reading a book or interviewing the people. To learn about them, you must live with them, eat with them, bathe with them, cook with them, clean with them, laugh with them, sing with them, cry with them, among so many others. The sudden shift to a peaceful slice-of-life episode might come as rather disjointed considering the violence in the last two episodes, but I think it managed to accurately portray what Lost Millenia is outside of the civilian massacres. The moment of respite would allow Clain time to process what he had just seen and, more importantly, put into perspective just how different the group is compared to others and on first glance. As I had said, you learn about others by being with them, and despite their violent methods the episode allowed us a look into their more mundane and daily lives where, I think, allows us more understanding of the people who make up not just their organization but their family. It shows us who they are and who they are not.

The episode succeeds then in providing contrast and background for a group that has been portrayed to be something of an ultraviolent movement, which isn’t saying much when you look at how many people the Temple itself caught in the crossfire.

I feel a draft down there.

Seeing however that a NoitaminA show usually only runs 11 episodes, having another episode like this would rob the story of time.  The episode manages to do it’s thing well enough, and I think having another one would be a bad idea.  Considering that they’re about to reach their destination, I think we’ve seen enough background on the people here, so it’s time to get the plot moving.

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