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Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - f1

Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - f2 Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - f3

Opinions (C):

Okay… Now I’ll admit that, even I, am a bit worried. We’re three episodes in and the story for Fairy Tail is as great as ever. The production on the other hand, is a completely different story. Its hard to trash a series that’s only 3 episodes in, but with such a high bar of quality set before it, and the extremely interesting point in the story that we’re at… One has to wonder if Fairy Tail can afford a showing like the one this week.

I guess I’ll address the big elephant in the room first then… MAN did this episode look ugly. It wasn’t just a case of bad animation, or just the new art style giving us a sort of different feel, or even just budget concerns that were handheld poorly, it was everything. Everything that could have gone wrong in the visuals area, went wrong. The art and animation for the episode was bad to the point of becoming distracting, painful to watch even. It was a huge tragedy too, as the stuff that was happening on screen was interesting and intriguing. I just couldn’t help but whince, however, every time something horribly off happened on screen.

Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - 01 Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - 02

In many ways, this was the episode or the week where Fairy Tail could have proved to the fans and viewers that the animation and art was fine, and that there was nothing to worry about. Yet… Things went in the unfortunate other direction.

Where to begin? The animation was horribly under-animated. There were no fight or action scenes to speak of, just stuff that amounted to moving still frames, with barely any animation. The characters were all horribly drawn whether in close up shots, action poses or far away shots. There was a lack of detail to all the characters in general, and the backgrounds themselves looked horribly static.

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There was even a lack of shading in the EYES of characters! Anime eye shading isn’t that complicated to begin with. There was a clear absence of anything between the extreme highlights and the darkest shadows. Everything looked exceedingly flat and rather bland. Add the highly flat looking hair and faces, and well… you get the general idea.

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And when there was animation? It was horribly choppy, recycling a few frames over and over. There was no one bright spot in the entire episode, and I constantly found myself wishing that the next frame would improve things, or the next shot would be better, to no avail.

There was this weird dance this episode, where the story and actual plot would draw me in and get me excited, and then then the animation and character art would just whiplash me out of the experience. It was definitely a new and rather jarring experience with this franchise. Heck… I hate to say it, but even the old series, with it’s early episodes and humble beginnings, had better artwork and animation than this.

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And it would’ve been one thing if the bad animation and art had been the only blemishes, but none of the battles or fights really had much of an impact at all either. Nearly every fight sequence happened off screen, or would end in one attack, which would be a freeze frame shot. Then, we would get longer (by comparison) walk and run cycles that would not only look bad, but seemed like they were actively trying to waste time.

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It seemed that, much like BlazBlue Alter Memory, (a series that still gives me nightmares), this episode of Fairy Tail was actively avoiding the action and focusing as much as possible on low-key moments. That simply can’t work in a shounen, action heavy series like Fairy Tail.

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I shudder to think about what’s going on behind the scenes. Is the budget for the series just not all that much? Is this just bad budgeting? Did Fairy Tail get shafted by A-1 Pictures this time around? I’ve seen A-1’s work, and while they’re not the best studio by far, they’ve done good work with series like Fairy Tail and Ao no Exorcist. So I have no idea why Fairy Tail got this horrible episode after two already lacking episodes before it.

Needless to say, I’m worried. Fairy Tail is a series that had really good production values, especially near the end of the last series. Going from there, to this… is just depressing, and I don’t see it doing the new series any favors. This is especially the case when you’ve got awesome stuff like Madhouse’s Hunter x Hunter adaption happening at the same time, and being an absolute joy to watch.

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The visuals aside? How was the episode itself? It was not too bad. Lots of interesting stuff happened for sure. We had Mavis really shine as the Fairy Tactician this episode, as she pretty much pulled a Lelouch and calculated everything that was going to happen in the final Grand Magic Games Tournament. Seeing Erza and the rest make quick work of the rest of the teams was awesome to see, especially after the whole Fairy Tail team just stood there, surprising nearly everyone who was watching.

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Again, its hard not to cringe at the bad visuals that ruined an otherwise really exciting moment, as Fairy Tail went from almost hitting the bottom of the pile again, to dominating on top.

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Meanwhile, we had Natsu and co sneak in to save Lucy, only to get trapped by the princess of the castle. So yeah, we finally find out who Green haired girl is, and apparently she has an “Eclipse Project 2″. I’m not sure what she meant by that, whether its different from the last one, or whether its simply a continuation/revival.

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Either way, Natsu and the rest are now trapped in some underground part of the castle, and we’ll see how things go from there. I will say the whole thing with Natsu, Happy, Wendy and the rest was kind of meh, in comparison to what was happening elsewhere. I could’ve honestly done without the whole sneaking scene, which only echoed the idea that Fairy Tail was trying to waste time and avoid any more action scene animation for as long as possible.

The episode actually ended with Gray meeting up with Rufus for a rematch. Interesting stuff indeed. I’m curious to see where that fight goes, although I can’t say I’m looking forward to it if its going to be animated like the rest of this episode.

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And yeah, at the end of the day, I know the visuals were the bulk of what this post was about, but honestly, they were that distracting and painful to watch. I really hope that this was an off week, the worst off week the production has ever had, because the animation seen in the OP/ED is pretty darn good, and shows that there’s potential for the series. I just hope this is the exception rather than the continuing trend.

I really am interested to know what everyone else thought of this episode? Was the animation as bad as I mentioned? Did you notice it? Did you care at all? Do let me know in the comments!

Preview:

Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - p1 Fairy Tail S2 - 03 - p2

The Gray and Rufus battle begins! Also seems like its the start of some Lucy Fanservice XD… The preview isn’t exactly showing any flattering shots though… (animation wise). I hope things improve from next week onwards.



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The Owner, webmaster, designer, coder and writer for the site. Anime Evo is Setsuken’s proclamation of love for Anime, which he can’t seem to get enough of. He’s a 24 year old male, and current resides in the Unites States of A and is persuing an education in college for Video Game Design. He likes to draw, watch anime, game, and generally enjoy life. While his addiction for in door entertainment is strong, he’s also a fan of the outdoors.


  • FlareKnight

    I didn’t think much of the action and visuals in this one, though maybe because there wasn’t much to talk about.

    In some ways I’m not surprised they aren’t coming out of the gates swinging animation wise. Feels like the start of a series all over again. Hopefully it doesn’t take this restart as long as Fairy Tail took originally to step up the quality.

    Kind of why I didn’t get the reasoning for making changes going into this S2. Sure being more loyal is a nice idea, but it already looked good and the action was top notch. The test of course will be when they get to the top matches for this arc.

    It wasn’t a great impression to be fair. Little actual movement, but “fight starts” -> “fight over.”

    Story wise I enjoyed it as a whole. Liked seeing Mavis really show her stuff there. Shows a huge difference in the time. The Master who built Fairy Tail during a time of war and lead her guild to greatness. Just above all the people there including Makarov. I don’t think anyone there really could wrap their heads around how damn smart Mavis is.

    • http://www.anime-evo.net/ setsuken

      Interesting, so it wasn’t bad on say close to… Magi Season 1 levels? Because I really felt we went there a few times in this episode. The way the faces were drawn, with I think Gray getting the worse treatment. Argh…

      I agree with holding off on using that animation budget, but this wasn’t that, it was just… wow, it was bad. For me I could hardly keep myself from gasping in shock each time something weird animation wise happened. Anime cuts a lot of corners generally, since its generally animated at 12 frames per second instead of 24, but its never this noticeable.

      I think the real reason the changes were done because there was a different character designer. The character designer generally provides the templates for all the characters, which the animators then use to make the actual scenes. I think in this case, the character designs were too ambitious. A-1 Pictures can’t seem to animate something that’s not geometric, which makes sense given how both Fairy Tail and Ao No Exorcist look.

      I don’t think its a fault of the character designer either, since he’s done amazing work with Gintama (and had Sunrise animating that one). Hopefully these are just growing pains, but at this rate, this new combination is just not working.

      Again, I liked what happened in the story. And agreed, Mavis is the Lelouch or the Light of the Fairy Tail universe XD

  • Omar Salman

    C to fairy tail? What is this?

    • http://www.anime-evo.net/ setsuken

      The Art and Animation was THAT bad! Unfortunately… =/

  • MCAL

    I don’t know. I thought the last episode had it worse on the Art/Animation front.

    • http://www.anime-evo.net/ setsuken

      Really? It wasn’t all too noticeable for me last episode, mainly because there wasn’t much action happening before. I do think that this episode was the worst, as the premiere was actually not bad beyond having a lack of action, and what not.

      Still, I guess its just a common problem with this series now.

  • Krelra

    I did not notice the visuals to much. I was more concerned about the creeping recap at the start. im sure the old series did not have that happening often.

    That aside though. boy I was wrong about the green haired girl being the ministers girl.

    She is the princess of the kingdom =0 P.S Hisui = jade. Makes sense since she has green hair.
    it did not look like she was throwing Fairy Tail into the dungeons by choice perhaps to convince her soldiers nothing is wrong.

    • http://www.anime-evo.net/ setsuken

      Interesting… I guess Fairy Tail managed to pull off hiding the bad visuals from most viewers by use of the engaging story. Good for the show I suppose XD

      The recap was still only 40 seconds to a minute, so honestly, I’m not too worried just yet. As long as we don’t get 5 minute One Piece recaps, I think we’ll be fine XD

      Indeed, it was interesting to see that she ended up being the princess. Interesting note on the name, seems kind of tongue and cheek considering the meaning XD

      I’m not sure what her motivations are, but I too did notice the look of sadness when she finished putting Natsu and the rest in the catacombs of the castle.

      • Winnie Chen

        I didn’t really mind the lack of interesting visuals just because of the interesting plot development but it did bug me at times they did a good job at that leading with interesting plots but maybe hey have something up there sleeves for the anime idk we just have to wait and see though