Ah, Fairy Tail! I remember I started watching it back when I was in college. Now on holidays, I finally had the time to finish it off. Now, if you’re wondering, it didn’t feel as epic as it did before. Be it either because I outgrew certain aspects of the Shounen genre, or perhaps for the lack of logic employed in the battles and plot, I did not feel the same as I did back then when watching this anime. For the worse or best, Fairy Tail ended with very few loose ends and I think it deserves a review from me since it inspired me with ideas on how to write for my own fiction projects. This review will contain SPOILERS! How else could I discuss a long-running anime like this without spilling some beans of its plot?
The world of Earth-land is home to numerous guilds where wizards apply their magic for paid job requests. Natsu Dragneel, a dragon slayer wizard from the Fairy Tail guild, explores the Kingdom of Fiore in search of his missing adoptive father, the dragon Igneel. During his journey, he befriends a young celestial wizard named Lucy Heartfilia and invites her to join Fairy Tail. The two alongside Happy, an Exceed, who is basically a cat with wings, then embark on numerous adventures with other guild members where they will face numerous opponents as they unfold the secrets of their past and the machinations of the Black Wizard, Zeref.
Fairy Tail revolves around the family-like bonds, perhaps even stronger than those, that are made within their guild, just like many other Shounen, such as Naruto, One Piece and so on. Although sometimes the argument actually gave chills to my spine because of how epic it was throughout the action, the lack of real loss during deadly battles takes some of the risks out of the plot.
One thing Fairy Tail kept doing throughout the arcs, was that despite the focus of the arc, there was always one bit of story that revolved around the main characters. Perhaps not all of them at the same time, but a fair amount of them. For example, Grey is one of the characters that constantly had developments. First in the Deliora arc with Lyon, his former colleague who studied under Ur’s guidance. Then a love interest in the Phantom Lord arc with Juvia Lockser. Ur’s child, Ultear, in the Tenrou Jima arc, and so on.
The action is epic overall. There are a lot of epic moments where the characters are badass. Natsu going head-on against the Twin Dragon Slayers, Laxus decimating an entire Dark Guild, Erza winning an entire round without giving chance for her opponents to score anything, by challenging all of the demons available in the Tower. These were some of the moments that come right to mind, and by coincidence, all from the same arc, the Grand Magic Games.
But what would be Fairy Tail’s epic confrontations without the magnificent Celtic and Power music that accompanies it? This Anime has the best uplifting music I have ever heard with Naruto almost touching the Fairy’s Tail (see what I did there?), but only barely. Erza’s themes rock way above the line of epic, but there are a lot more themes that just make you wanna join in the fight, and to me, that really accounts for something while watching Fairy Tail!
To my dismay, although the action is awesome, there isn’t much logic, strategy or depth to the magic battles. They are led by the plot and by what needs to happen, rather than leaving the spectator to wonder about certain attributes and thus predict and understand something of it. Unlike, for example, Naruto, which has a Chakra system with elements and systems built around it. Fairy Tail does have Solid Script, Celestial Summoners, Dragon Slayers and some other types, but they don’t have any depth towards the use of magic, related to difficulty or cost of use.
Also, the climax of the Anime is a bit of a letdown and felt like it was rushed, even by the mangaka (author). The last fight between Zeref, one of the main antagonists, against Natsu was underwhelming, and without any show of the so-called magic superiority that an immortal mage, founder of an entire Empire, would have. And then we have Brandish, who can diminish or augment the size of anything… Which you may correctly guess, only has an impact when the plot requires it to have. Also, a bit of a letdown if you consider it, Acnologia one-shotted God Serena, the most powerful mage of all of Ishgar and one of the Spriggan 12, leaving another two of the Zeref’s / Spriggan guardians standing still in fear, as he walked past them, being one of the other two, the most powerful mage of the Spriggan 12, August, Zeref’s son. And after such a display of power, he doesn’t inflict any real damage against any of the Dragon Slayers that fought against him later on. There are no meters here, and to me, that’s a minus.
Of course, there must be people who enjoy the “right to action” method, but personally, I prefer some more depth to the action itself.
Fairy Tail doesn’t run away from its Shounen Archetype. It is filled with action, a lot of “Nakama” (friend) bonds and everything for them, some bits of drama and romance with a little bit of ecchi (provocative) scenes.
But what really kept me going was the story and the action that came with it. You see, every arc there were improvements in power and abilities, and if I’m not mistaken, in each arc there was something more added to each of the main characters’ stories. Besides the two filler arcs…
However, I found the story quite interesting to watch it unfold, although it ended quite because it had to end, rather than flowing naturally in my opinion.
It is still quite a great Anime and worth watching it if you enjoy the genre at the very least.