Its like we never left. Fairy Tail’s second series is upon us, after about a year of wait, we’re finally back to the story and the painful cliffhanger that we left on. The first episode of the new series had two major roles to fulfill, one was to prove that Fairy Tail still had that magic that had entranced us all from the first series, and two, to get moving back into the story as quickly as possible.
I think its clearly evident from the latest episode that things are going to be going great. The series wisely chose to get straight back into the story of the current arc, rather than try and catch up people with any boring recaps or too much retreading of old material.
And man, I have to say, just from the first episode, all the expectations that the last series built up to in that cruel cliffhanger are already starting to pay off. One of the things that I constantly praised Fairy Tail for was how well paced each individual episode was, and how meaty the content was. This new episode was no different.
The episode opened up with what I assume to be the dark future that we got to see before. The whole world is red, broken and in flames. Interestingly though, the world is also full of dragons again, something that we haven’t seen in the series for a while.
The opening scene, with Lucy and then Natsu jumping into action was pretty darn sweet, no question. The whole In medias res approach to storytelling is nothing new, but seeing Fairy Tail do it for the first time and do it well was great to see.
I’m curious to see how we got to the point where Natsu and Lucy are pretty much alone, in a destroyed world, fighting for their lives. Is it time travel? An alternate dimension? Or does the world really go to hell following the events of the Grand Magic games. As always, Fairy Tail throws a bunch of interesting questions into the mix, while answering some old ones.
The big reveal I think, was when Natsu, Gajeel and Wendy went to Dragonbone Graveyard together (with Lucy, Gray and the Exceed Cats). This was really a big moment for the story at large, as Gajeel rightly pointed out, the graveyard proved the existence of Dragons.
More interesting though, was what happened when Wendy unleashed her last new spell, Milky way. Being able to summon the spirits of Dragons and hear their voices is a pretty darn amazing power, if a bit limited in scope. Still, the power gave us a way to truly understand what happened in that graveyard, and the exposition was truly interesting.
Zirconis, the Jade Dragon was the one who was summoned by Wendy’s spell, and ends up dropping bomb shell after bomb shell on our heroes. In essence, a huge part of Earthland’s mythology and world building is established here, and the information is pretty surprising.
It turns out that Dragons were the first dominant race on the planet, not humans, who were little more than prey for the superior creatures. Interestingly, in a Devil May Cry Sparda sort of say, one of the Dragons decides that he wants to coexist with humans, and calls for a world where such happens.
Its not revealed that dragon is, but my bets are on Igneel. Given how much of a role Igneel has had in the series, and how he decided to “not get involved with the human world” anymore, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the dragons that was at least in favor of this peaceful coexistence, if not the dragon behind the whole thing XD
Its especially true because Zirconis clearly knew of Grandine, who we’ve seen talking to Igneel once before in the series.
It was also interesting to know how the inevitable war between the two factions of Dragons that were for or against this idea ended. It was the creation of the Dragon Slayers themselves, that led to the co-existence faction winning the war of sorts. Its interesting to note that, according to this mythology, Dragon Slayers are actually stronger than the Dragons themselves, something that we’ve yet to see happen.
The big twist though, was the reveal that Acnologia was originally Human, a Dragon Slayer that went berserk, killing every dragon he could find, and who ended up becoming a dragon himself by the end of it.
Acnologia is also known as the Dragon King, and with all that considered, its lucky that Fairy Tail had Mavis to save them when they did come in contact with Acnologia during the S-Class Exam arc.
Of course, its unclear whether Acnologia transformed into a Dragon because of his use of Dragon Slayer magic or because of Zeref.
The arrival of The Captain of the King’s Guard and Yukino, reveals some interesting new information about Zeref too. It seems much like Deliora, Acnologia was created by Zeref. For what purpose? That’s the million dollar question isn’t it?
I’m personally not convinced that Zeref is actually evil, despite how much everyone else seems to believe so. In a way, the whole Acnologia being turned into a Dragon seems like a punishment more than anything else doesn’t it? I mean, how do you punish a being that has committed Mass genocide of a species? Transform him into that very species he’s been killing.
Either way, Zeref apparently needs to be defeated for Acnologia to be killed, which could also explain why it/he rushed to Tenroujima when Zeref was attacked. Interesting answers, and new questions, Hiiro Mashima-sensei just continues to delight with more and more interesting mysteries.
Of course, you’d think this entire reveal about Zeref, Acnologia and the history of the dragon was the only bombshell that the first episode was going to drop, then well… prepare to be surprised.
In a scene that I can’t quite grasp yet, we had something major happen at Saber Tooth’s guild as well. As expected, the Guild master of Sabertooth was none too pleased with Sting and Rogue’s performance in the last battle.
As we can all remember from a year ago, Natsu completely owned both Sting and Rogue at the end. So, because of that, I had expected Sting and Rogue to get some bad treatment equal to what Yukino got (Which was beyond disgusting… and still is).
And true enough, we had the Guild Master not only beat around Sting and Rogue, but ultimately KILL Lector in front of Sting. The whiplash from that shock was intense enough, but what came next, I was totally not prepared for:
Sting ends up killing the Guild Master in a fit of justifiable rage. The fact that the Guild Master is actually annihilated there and then is just… unexpected? Surprising? Yes, all of those things, but its also kind of satisfying to see that twisted sicko get what was coming to him.
From the looks of it, his own daughter was gunning for it to happen anway, which probably means that she now takes over as Guild Master? Either way, Lector is gone… Something that, despite how little we’ve seen of the character, was quite a tough pill to swalllow. As a result of that, Sabertooth’s Guild Master himself was taken out too.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Grand Magic Games wrap up now, given that Sabertooth is going to be a very different guild now. The clash between Sabertooth and Fairy Tail in the final event of the Grand Magic games is something that’s definitely got me excited.
Finally, the episode circled back to our post apocalyptic landscape, with Natsu taking on battling a bunch of Dragons. The action scene here wasn’t the best I’ve seen from the franchise, but its still too early to really give a verdict on the quality of action in the new series, given we haven’t really seen that much.
The scene itself, was pretty powerful though, and it was hard to watch Natsu try and take on a near incomprehensible number of Dragons alone. Again, the big question of how we reach this point is going to be the big thing that this arc will probably build to.
The one question we didn’t get an answer about though, was who the hooded figure that Jellal ran into was. As a result of the meeting, however, he learns about the whole Eclipse Project and the Festival of the Dragon King. Who is the hooded figure? My guess? Its Levi, since she apparently is the only person who we’ve seen other than Natsu and Lucy in that destroyed world future. But of course, time will tell.
The final thing I’ll touch on is just how well done all the story beats and everything was. We dove right back into the meat of the story, but that bar scene at the start of the episode following the OP was a pretty nice reminder of all the character dynamics that we had come to love in the last series. It did seem a bit erm… artificial at times but it still worked pretty well nonetheless.
Okay, so story-wise, character-wise, Fairy Tail is still as awesome as it was, so what about the production? The big change we’ve had in the production is that of the character designer. Shinji Takeuchi (from Gintama) is the new character designer, and I actually like what he’s done with the character designs and general art style of the characters.
The characters resemble the manga a lot more closely now, and there’s more of a roundness and thinness to the characters that contrasts to the last series. Its a change that works, and matches the original vision of the manga, so I can’t say I have any complaints.
All the seiyuu are back and it was great to see everyone rock their roles like they always have. The animation… I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too blown away by it this episode. Judging from the OP/ED though, we’ve got some good stuff in store for the future. Since Fairy Tail is a long running series, there are budget concerns to handle, so spectacular action right out of the gate not happening isn’t surprising.
All in all, I’ll reiterate that Fairy Tail is back. Its better than ever, and its really a joy to have the series back. Fridays are going to be amazing again, and it’ll be great to cover the series again. Welcome back Fairy Tail, and Thank you Hiiro Mashima-sensei, for actually making this happen, as I honestly wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon.
Okay, so I’ll say that Fairy Tail has been a franchise that has always had great music. Its been rare that I’ve found an OP from the series that I haven’t liked, if not loved. The new OP hits it right out of the park again.
Where to begin? Lets talk about the animation first. I loved what we saw in the OP. Yes, there was a bit of a spoiler, but I think the OP proved to be a nice teaser trailer for what we’re going to see soon. Very slick animation too, with some great battle scenes, and more moody reflective bits there too.
And that ENDING! Man, this series is definitely pushing the Natsu and Lucy pairing a lot harder than last time, and its something that I can’t say I’m unhappy about XD. There was also a nice little moment there for Gray and Juvia, so lets say I’m pretty much sold on this OP.
The song itself, was pretty much amazing. I’ve never seen a moody, melachonlic peice from Fairy Tail, but man, it works and then builds up to the more intense stuff we’re used to hearing. I can say that BoA really did a smashing job with this one, and its definitely one that I hope to get the Full version of when it releases.
Did I say this series was pushing the Natsu x Lucy thing? Well the ED just brings the fanservice up to 11. It’s a nice calming peice, with an animation that focuses on a cute date moment between Lucy and Natsu. Honestly, I can’t picture Lucy and Natsu sitting down at an outdoor cafe, but hey, I’ll take it. Great stuff.
Alright! Its back to weekly blogging for me! Next week we get into Fairy Tail’s tussle with the Captain of the Guard, as well as the finale for the Grand Magic Games! Oh man… Next week will be just as awesome!