An episode that delivered it all, a great, tense and exciting battle, a heavy and emotional finish and then the cop out at the end. Fairy Tail was more or less a traditionally shounen show this episode. Sometimes the standard stuff can be just as good as the unexpected though, and that’s what we got this week.
I think the big achievement of the episode was that nothing felt “definite”. Would Wendy stop Face? Would she and Carla make it out alive? Nothing was definite. The sense of tension created from that uncertainty isn’t just to this episode’s credit, but the whole arc’s success. We’ve seen our heroes fail and people die as a result already in this arc. Laxus, one of the strongest members of Fairy Tail, could do nothing more than to sacrifice himself to try and protect everyone around him and he still failed.
And while Wendy did enter Dragon Force, her victory wasn’t assured. But lets dial back a second… Wendy. Dragon Force. How friggin cool was that!
Last week threw in the big twist of Wendy using Dragon Force, but it was this week that unleashed the hurt. Ezel wasn’t a pushover either, he clearly still was quite the threat for her despite her power up. I think that’s a pretty important point, that even after a dramatic power up, Wendy inched out her victory, it wasn’t a landslide win.
I really like how Dragon Slayer magic works in the world of Fairy Tail. Its very elemental in nature, and as such, each Dragon Slayer has their own unique style and application. Wendy basically “controlling” the space around was pretty darn slick. Its something that neither Natsu nor Gajeel (or any of the other Dragon Slayers) can do. If you’re trapped in an enclosed space with an Air Dragon Slayer where they’re got Dragon Force, then you’re screwed. The potential power and options available to Wendy were near infinite.
And despite Ezel unleashing his true Demon Form, he still got owned in the end, even if it did take every ounce of Wendy’s power. So the big battle was resolved but the problems didn’t end there.
Perhaps even more superior to the fight, was the conundrum that Wendy and Carla found themselves in once Ezel was dispatched. Face’s physical body had been destroyed by Wendy’s final attack, but the counter was still ticking down.
This was where the emotional heft of the episode really delivered. It was gutt wrenching to see that Wendy had accomplished so much, taken down a Tartaros member by herself, and yet she had pretty much still failed, and Face was more or less going to go off anyway. Again, because of how this arc has been laid out so far, it seemed pretty possible that Face would indeed go off.
But there does turn out to be a solution to stop face thanks to Carla’s clairvoyance power. The only way to stop Face? Change its function from magic destruction, to a self destruct. Of course, given how weak and tired the two girls were, there was no chance of escape. So in the end, the big victory for Fairy Tail’s youngest Dragon Slayer? She could sacrifice herself alongside her best friend to edge out a victory.
I’ll admit, the reality of the situation felt really unfair. But beyond that, the flash back scenes that happened as Wendy and Carla prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice were poignant. I’m generally vary of Flashback scenes, but here they just worked. It really did feel like a big death scene was pretty much upon us, and that this was about as far as Wendy and Carla could go.
Even more so, it cemented that, much like Natsu and Happy, these two probably have the strongest bond that two friends can have in this series. And that feeling of friendship, seeing it all flash before us as the end drew near, that was strong stuff. I admit that I had the watery eyes by the end of it all.
And then… Face self destructed. The blast radius was huge, and it seemed like Wendy and Carla had bowed out of the story. Except… they didn’t. Mest/Doranbalt ended up teleporting them to safety at the last moment.
Now, lets not kid ourselves, that totally came out of nowhere and made no sense whatsoever. How did Doranbalt find where Face was? Why did he jump in at the last second? There are a ton of things that don’t make sense with this whole thing. So in many ways, it felt like a cop out, not because Wendy and Carla didn’t die, but because they were saved in the most ham-fisted way possible.
Despite that, however, I was glad that we didn’t see the due kick the bucket. I was glad they there alive, because honestly at this point losing a character as sacred as Wendy would’ve been too much to bear. After all the hard work and effort that Wendy put in, some reward was very much deserved.
Was it realistic? No not really. But I think its great that fiction can give us these “have your cake and eat it too” moments, even if the cake itself can taste a bit funny at times.
So ends one of the most pleasantly surprising moments of the Tartaros arc. Face is no longer a threat, and now the rest of Fairy Tail can work on taking down Tartaros. It is curious though, can something top what we got in this episode? If there’s one thing that I think this arc has shown us, its that it is indeed very much possible.
Seems like Natsu vs Franmalth is going to be the focus next week. Not terribly excited, but anything following up this week’s events was likely to fall short.
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