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Wow… Mega long unintended break. Honestly speaking, whatever my opinions on the Fairy Tail fillers, I’ll say that this extremely long break on blogging episodes has been mostly due to personal reasons, not due to the quality of these last 7 episodes. Its also important to note, that its times like these that can make or break a series. Too often, we’ve seen shounen series like Fairy Tail go on break from its manga adapted story and throw in a filler storyline that is intended to help pad out the manga. Even more often, some series have never been able to survive the loss of viewership that has occurred due to this.
Some people drop the series and just focus on reading the manga, some people move on to other anime series altogether, whatever the case, I’ll say that a filler arc is the true test for that series fandom, because the series needs to survive long enough to be able to adapt the manga that fans are so smitten with.
With all of that said, I will still state that the fillers of Fairy Tail are nothing worth watching. While not the most horrible fillers I’ve ever seen (that title will probably belong to the original Naruto’s series for the foreseeable future), they’re pretty darn bad. Yeah, if you love Fairy Tail, its intricate plot, its intensely lovable characters and the fine balance between seriousness and comedy, then these fillers will trample on everything you hold dear.
Before this “Clock Starry Sky Key” arc started, I’d have said that the Fairy Tail fillers were doing a fairly decent job. There were little things that the fillers played with, mostly for comedy or romance drama sake. Those were mostly fine, as the writers really didn’t have to focus on what really makes all the different characters in Fairy Tail tick, and how they quite beautifully play off of one another.
This filler arc though? My God. The biggest sin this story commits is that it truly dumbs down and completely forgets everything about the series characters and their character development.
Lets take a look at Erza first, since her treatment was the most jarring:
Erza is, perhaps, the most serious character in the Fairy Tail guild. This is a woman that’s all about no play until work is done, about the Guild’s honor, and about upholding the rules. She’s generally so serious, that its often to a fault, making for some extremely comediac moments.
What does she do when Fairy Tail decides to look for all these Clock peices? Instead of being serious about the mission or anything remotely important, the woman constantly gets distracted and seems obsessed with this notion of a picnic. Its downright bizzare, when Erza is the one holding up the group with her selfishness, while CANA and WENDY are the ones who are wondering if they should be “wasting time”. Its exceedingly out of character, and Erza in general is shown as exceedingly dumb, gullable and simple minded throughout these 7 episodes. Totally… totally not cool. I’m not the biggest fan of Erza, but this is the woman that refused to fight for Jellal when he got taken away by the Magic council, and took down friggin Azuma in the last manga cannon arc!
If that weren’t bad enough, what truly drove the point home that the writers clearly have no handle on Erza’s character, was when they had Erza and her team meet up with none other than the Jiggly Butt gang:
Alright… For those of us who were curious about why the Jiggly Butt Gang made it into the OP, this is why. They seem to be a regular occurrence in this arc, in a horribly bad way. Not unlike the first time, the whole episode with the Jiggly Butt gang was not only bad, it bordered on excessively stupid. The continued reliance on Fart jokes isn’t just bad… its tragic. Its sad and extremely pathetic, and there isn’t even an ounce of funny in the entire concept.
The only remotely funny thing was perhaps Carla’s whole trauma at remembering Wendy in that black jump suit, only to have to not only see Erza wear it, but everyone including herself. But even all of that is rendered moot by this scene right here:
And to top it off, the Jiggly Butt Gang seems to be the new team Rocket (from Pokemon if that referrence is lost on you) as they friggin just “blast off” into the distance vowing they’ll return.
And to add insult to injury, in episode 138, Fairy Tail goes from Jiggly Butt Gang’s horrible to downright despicable. Thought the Jiggly Butt Gang was bad? How about the Jiggly Jugs Gang! I kid you not. The FRIGGING… JIGGLY… JUGS…GANG?!?!?!
My God, whoever the perverted, twisted sick individual is on the Fairy Tail writing team, he needs to be fired… like right now. I’m not one to hate on a particular episode so much, but episode 138 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. If I had reviewed that episode individually, I’d have thrown in a D for simply having to suffer through all of that. Carla traumatized? Forget that, I think I’m going to have this bitter taste in my mouth with regards to Fairy Tail for quite a while after suffering through this.
And of course, the other teams didn’t do all that well in the intelligence department either. Next up is definitely Natsu & Lucy:
Okay, I get it, Natsu is all about brawn over brains. The guys is pure natural instinct, he relies on feeling it through with his fists and fighting his way through rather than properly planning out his attacks…. to a certain degree. He is not, what this filler arc has made him out to be, a complete moron.
Natsu has, if nothing else, the ability to react and adapt to every situation. In every battle he’s faught, Natsu rushes in and attacks yes, but if it doesn’t work, he switches gears and tries something else. What’s horribly wrong about his entire encounter with Dan Straight (oh we’ll get to him in a second… ) is the fact that he keeps throwing the same fire attacks at the guy again and again.
I mean I get it, Natsu’s a bit thick headed, so it would take a few hits before he realizes that stuff ain’t working. But all through these eight episodes? Natsu keeps using the SAME friggin frontal attack EACH time, and falls flat on his face, only to repeat the process. Its not Natsu’s that’s doing this, its the writers, in a sad and pathetic attempt to prevent Natsu from conquering Dan too quickly, and throwing in a lot of “OMG! Happy is tall and tramples Natsu” jokes.
The fundamental no-no of any story, is when a plot begins to dictate the character’s actions, completely forgoing any sense of personality or personal development that said characters may have had. This is exactly what happens to Natsu, as he, till the end, continues to idiotically keep hitting the same wall, with his head, and falling flat on his back. Its too stupid and idiotic even for Natsu. Even a child would understand after getting hurt a few times that that is NOT something to be done. Only an insane raving mad lunatic would persist on doing something that would cause himself injury.
And speaking of lunatic, the whole character of Dan Straight is just…. argh! Again with the convenient powers? Dan Straight has the ability to not only reflect ALL types of attacks with his sheild, but his spear can only change the size of things. If that’s not overpowered, bordering on god-mode, then I don’t know what is.
Added to that, his whole, loverboy “I’ll go for any woman with extreme passion” quirk that pretty much defines his character gets utterly annoying after the very first time you see it. Its just plain boring, bad, and having ANOTHER character creep lecherously towards Lucy is just adding to the unoriginality. Dan’s whole chasing Lucy throughout these 7 episodes has got to be the time when I turned my brain off, and just waited for the next scene.
His whole back story, which was probably intended to be extremely funny, only proceeded to waste half an episode and try my patience ever more. Dan Straight is a straight up mess of a character.
Lucy on the other hand, was mostly pretty accurate, except for the fact that she had nothing to do except run away from stuff and get burnt on the ass:
Yeah. That scene? Happened three times in the same episode. I’ve long defended Lucy as the female character that, while often reduced to a fan service device, does have her own personality and does fight her battles. In this story Lucy has done nothing but rely on others, barely fight at all, and even go as far as to hide behind Michelle. It also seems like any cleverness that Lucy seemed to have just went out the same gutter that every other character’s intelligence went through. Lucy makes the same dumb mistakes, over and over throughout the arc, never fights or stands her ground, but apparently that’s okay because the Anime gives you stuff like this instead right? :
Yeaah. It is totally not okay.
The other bits were mostly okay, if still somewhat dumb. I will give props to the Mirajane battle, as seeing another Satan soul, even if its probably just an anime original, was pretty cool. It was darn awesome seeing Mira kick ass and face off against her own power, obliterating it and that annoying Mary Hughes in one go.
If there’s one villain that the filler arc successfully developed, its Mary Huges, who I definitely felt an intense amout of hatred for. Seeing Mirajane finally put an end to her was just… Gratifying. Lisanna and Elfman were useless as usual.
The Gajeel/Levy combo battle wasn’t that bad either. In fact, I truly enjoyed the battle between Samuel and Lily. Added to that, the whole “Nii-san” and “Sammy” stuff was actually pretty darn funny and entertaining. Its surprising that of all the characters to nail down properly, it was Gajeel and Lily that the anime writers actually managed to do well with.
And yes, we had Byro’s Octopus go down fairly quickly, which was quite nice. There were also some interesting plot threads that seem to lead up to what will eventually be a battle royal between the Legion, Fairy Tail, and a third party (the new OP throws in some serious spoilers). It is interesting to note that the Teddy bear isn’t with the Legion at all.
The legion aim was actually kind of a surprise, since they seemed to want to prevent the destruction of the world. The way they went about it though? Kind of stupid. Instead of trying to gather all the parts and make yourselves an easy target, it would’ve been better to have just gaurded the peices from a distance, I mean, all the peices were in extremely well gaurded puzzles/mazes/traps. WHY would you collect those when you know they could all, together bring about the end of the world?
Again, I felt like the writers were insulting my intelligence, and simply introducing a classic anime twist for the sake of not ending things too quickly. “These bad guys, they’re not the REAL bad guys, they’re actually the good guys” idea is so prevalent in anime that I feel like going over it is just a waste of time.
So now… we’re at the stage where all the Clock peices are about to come together. What happens from here on out is probably the final set of battles, as three different groups battle it out for said Clock parts and probably the fate of the world.
At the end of it all, I’ll say that these fillers were pretty disappointing. I’m glad that, as of writing this, there are still people who are watching this. If you’re one of those people that watches it through Crunchyroll or on air in Japan, then I’ll implore you to continue to do so. These fillers are annoyingly bad, but the series needs to survive them to truly get to the next interesting part. Until then, gritt your teeth and hope that its not as bad as episode 138.
I’ll throw in my impressions of the new OP with the next episode, and also resume my regular weekly reviews from there on as well. Sorry for the big break!