Fractale premiered in January of 2011 as part of the noitaminA animation block on FujiTV. The series’ inclusion in noitaminA led to high expectations. The block, putting aside its lame name (animation spelled backwards), has a reputation for interesting and innovative shows, including Honey and Clover, Eden of the East, and House of Five Leaves. Fractale looked like it would fit that mold, as an original fantasy story with beautiful visuals. Unfortunately, while Fractale is set in an interesting world that is well animated, it doesn’t successfully address the interesting and timely problems posed by a world reliant on technology.
Like most everyone else, I’ve enjoyed watching Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. I haven’t seen many other series directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, but I’m well aware he’s earned a reputation for weirdness. Even still, I’m sometimes taken aback by how abstract and artsy Madoka can get, and yet, in contrast to fellow auteurs like Masaaki Yuasa and his Kaiba, Shinbo’s eclectic style actually appeals to a broader range of anime fans than elitists like me.
I don’t have Bateszi’s gift for intros, so let’s jump right into the Winter Preview. This season does not have any wildly anticipated shows, nor have I seen something of Star Driver’s caliber. Still, even if the shows don’t blow you away, anime is definitely still well and kicking.