Nessa’s Smile: Fractale Episode 2, Part 1

While I feel that the general concept of what I aim to do with my Fractale posts have come across, I was initially amazed at how it required multiple installments.  Each scene in episode 1 was crucial to the development of the plot structure of the episode itself, and episode 2 follows up with another strongly formed scene weave.  As such, it seems that my weekly posts on Fractale will likely require 2 posts, since I don’t like slamming down a big wall of text.  In a very plot-heavy show as Fractale, it is important to look at each individual part and how they contribute to the story.

That said, Episode 2, appropriately titled “Nessa,” introduces the third character in the power trio of Clain, Phryne, and Nessa.  She is given plenty of screen time, and while the bulk of the audience reaction is based on their direct opinion of Nessa, I’ve come to appreciate her solely based on Clain’s character development in reaction to Nessa’s appearance.

Scene 1

She will have to be punished severely.  She has stolen the key to the world, after all.

Summary: In a far-off temple of sorts, a head priestess assures her worrying disciples that Phryne will return safely, and that her actions will result in dire consequences.

Analysis: This scene hints at a secret behind Phryne’s background, as well as her importance.  It’s interesting to note the placement of the scene at the very start of the episode, and not as a cold opening either.

This introduction is expected to set the tone for the rest of the episode, but the severity of the dialogue is instead juxtaposed with the light antics of the next developing scenes.  The head priestess also reveals the nature of the story world as well, which will definitely have an effect on the main characters’ struggle against it.

Scene 2

If I were to make a wish to the day star, I would wish to be great friends with Clain!

Summary: Nessa appears in Clain’s attic, and they interact for the first time.

Analysis: Nessa’s carefree, energetic nature is immediately thrust upon the audience, made more prominent by its juxtaposition with the ominous first scene.  Clain’s first impression of Nessa is that of utter confusion; not only did she suddenly emerge from Phryne’s pendant, but Nessa is unlike any doppel that Clain has seen before, if at all.

The wishing song makes another appearance, establishing itself as a motif that reveals the characters’ true intentions.  Unfortunately, Clain is somewhat pre-occupied with his thoughts to notice it.

Scene 3

Clain, you brought another girl here?

Summary: Clain’s parents, upon their discovery of Nessa, insist that she is taken back to the authorities.

Analysis: In a story that involves youth as the main characters, the initial opponents/antagonists are always the parents, because their world-view and moral argument are always differing from those of the main character.  This scene touches a bit on that, and through a seemingly mundane argument regarding how to deal with Nessa, the audience begins to see the differences in ideals between Clain and his parents.  While Clain is curious about Nessa, his parents just want to get rid of her entirely.  The bubbling of the father’s doppel makes for a smart ending beat to the scene, as well as a humorous reaction to Nessa’s weirdness.

Scene 4

Nessa:  Touch me.
Clain: Touch you?  Why?
Nessa: Touch me.

Summary: Nessa falls off Clain’s bike, and asks him to touch him when he goes to get her.

Analysis: The first part of this section is chock-full of scenery porn, which underlines the open, carefree nature of the world.  The mood it establishes resonates with Nessa’s personality.  The interaction between the two characters after Nessa falls off is intriguing.  Nessa’s request to be touched is mysterious in her words, but the contact that she establishes with Clain afterward is sensual, warm, and pure in intention.  It also highlights her mystery, as she displays characteristics different from most doppels.

Scene 5

Everyone is lost.  No one has a welcoming home to return to.

Summary: When the two arrive in town, Nessa and Clain wander off to the top of a clock tower, where they observe a trailer park outside of town.

Analysis: After 3 scenes of mysteriously cheerful and affectionate prose from Nessa, her mood suddenly changes when she perceives the apparent negative of the fractale system, which separates everyone from each other.  It sets her up nicely as an elephant child of sorts, naively questioning her environment, yet appearing as the only sane person in this world for questioning the system in the first place.  When she naively ponders about the system with Clain, her moral argument for how life should be lived is compared to Clain’s, which will definitely affect whether or not Clain’s world-view is changed as the story progresses.

Scene 6

Everyone seems to be having so much fun!

Summary: When the two visit the trailer park, Nessa ruins everything she touches.  They are both chased away amidst the chaos.

Analysis: This is the inciting event that sets the rest of the episode into motion.  Nessa’s antics show how she is a weirdness magnet, and that she is very likely to cause Clain all sorts of problems.  Clain responds accordingly in the next scene.

Scene 7

Clain, you’re the one who called Nessa out.  That’s why Nessa’s home is wherever you are.

Summary: Back in town, Clain decides to hand Nessa over to the authorities.  He discovers that physical contact with Nessa has become impossible.

Analysis: Clain’s reaction to the events in the previous scene prompts him to take action.  Nessa reveals her desire of being at home by being with Clain, which goes against Clain’s desire to get rid of her altogether.  Clain is moved by her statement by saying that her cheery smile scares him.  Whether this is due to their conflict in world-view, or due to the effect that her statement has on him, his sudden change in feeling causes him to be unable to physically touch her.  Contrasted with Nessa’s desires to touch him in scenes 2 and 4, the symbolism reflects the moral conflict of the merits of being tied down to a home.

The Story So Far

The scenes in this episode have logically flowed one after the other, and each one was important in establishing different aspects of the story, whether it be by revealing details of the world which the characters struggle against, or by pitting the characters against each other, prompting Clain to slowly change the way he sees the world itself.  We’ll see in the next half how Nessa manages to get Clain to think differently.  See you later this week!

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