Okay… I’m fully aware that this was not a series finale, but damn did it feel like one. If there wasn’t a preview hinting at the upcoming Fairy Tail Zero arc, well… I’d have thought that this was probably a pretty good and solid point to end the series on. Part of me wonders if that was always the plan? End Fairy Tail here and then maybe pick up after the manga gained some traction perhaps? Its also entirely within the realm of possibility that the decision and announcement of Fairy Tail Zero came AFTER the fact, and was a nice solution to tide fans over till the next big manga adaption.
In any case, we’re at episode 90 for the second series of Fairy Tail, and at the end of one of the seminal story arcs to come out of the franchise yet. It’s kind of crazy if you think about it though. We’re a year and 8 months into this second series, approaching on two years now, and about 7 years into the franchise in animated form as a whole. 7 years! That’s how long Fairy Tail has been going, and while it’s maybe not as huge of a number as say One Piece or Naruto, Fairy Tail HAS gone on for a decently long time and has demonstrated staying power.
More importantly, I think, its here to stay hopefully until the end of its story, since the Tartaros Arc wasn’t even near the endgame. I think a pretty good way to look at the Tartaros arc is as an end to the second act of the overall story of Fairy Tail. We’ve reached the point where the story has more or less established all the players, and, its big end game. There are still unanswered questions to be sure, but the general idea is there and pretty much set in stone.
Zeref and Acnologia are the series big bads, and Natsu and the rest of Fairy Tail, alongside maybe Jellal and Crime Soriciere are prepping to take them down. But while there’s a lot to talk about in terms of plot, I think what makes this final episode such a success, as the book end to a pretty solid story arc (as a whole), is how emotionally powerful it was.
Natsu’s graving, crying voice as he stood over Igneel’s corpse? That was powerful stuff. I don’t normally give a shout out to Natsu’s seiyuu, but Tetsuya Kakihira just friggin killed it. Its one thing to shout, and exude a sense of bravado, but its another to really show a strong character’s vulnerability and weakness. Natsu felt the most weak, the most vulnerable we’ve seen him since his fight with Gildarts on Tenroujima, and I think it just makes him a more interesting character.
Calling this moment, the turning point for Natsu, is an understatement. His entire reason for living, to see his father, is gone. Its over, he met his father, only to see him killed at the hands of an unbeatable enemy, all the while he himself stood powerless. A moment like that? It would break any normal person, any standard character. If this were any other show, you’d see Natsu go down a path of pain, anger and ultimately be gunning for his revenge.
Thankfully, despite the pain and loss, Fairy Tail ends on a pretty positive note. Natsu and Happy, following the events of the battle with Tartaros, head out on a journey to become stronger, all so they can take down Acnologia, not only to get even, but more importantly, to protect their friends and family (and the world).
Its funny, because this point in the story almost feels like its leading up to a time skip. The interesting thing, however, is that Fairy Tail’s already done one of those. The major difference, this time, however, is that time is actually going to pass for the characters. We’re going to come back and see all of Fairy Tail’s characters after a year of change, hardwork and hardship.
And while Natsu’s definitely the protagonist, its nice to see that some of the other characters are going to go through their own little journeys before everyone comes back and converges. Which brings us to the first of two major headlines, The fact that Fairy Tail has disbanded.
If there was anything, that could’ve screamed “end of series” then this was probably it. Its one of those odd moments, that anime seem to leave you hanging on. Fairy Tail is disbanded, all the primary characters scattered, and if you want to see the rest of the story, well… Read the manga.
Now, to be fair, there is still a chance that the series may very well end with Fairy Tail Zero, but… After 7 years of ongoing Fairy Tail coverage, I’m fairly confident that something like that isn’t going to happen. If anything, the story seems to be setting up for a pretty solid next arc, whenever we do get that.
What I do wonder about, however, is how little everyone else changed, beyond Natsu and Gray. We’ll get to Gray in a moment, but I do find it interesting that Lucy, for example, was almost left behind. I get that Natsu has to go on a journey of self discovery and self improvement, and I get that it will have a pretty big narrative payoff when Natsu comes back and sees Lucy again but… Damn. Part of me really feels sorry for Lucy.
The girl sacrificed her closest and most precious person in order to save her friends, Fairy Tail. What happened afterwards? Natsu up and left, and then Fairy Tail itself was disbanded. Talk about getting the short end of the stick. If a part of me definitely died with Natsu as he cried for his father, another part of me definitely felt a similar sense of loss when we saw Aquarius key lying on Lucy’s table.
Yes, I’m aware of the fact that no one in Fairy Tail really knows about Lucy’s big sacrifice, but that little bit makes it all the more painful. Lucy lost the guy she cares for (because lets face it, its pretty much cannon at this point) and her best friend, that she grew up with. That’s a pretty tough moment to leave on, but I think its just another example of Mashima-sensei sowing the seeds for some kind of change later on.
Laxus for example, is another one of those characters that’s going to go and grow stronger in that one year. At the moment, despite how badass Laxus was throughout Tartaros, I have to agree, he’s got a long way to go. The really nice thing though, is how different his reasons are for getting stronger. Its not because of some vain cry for power, its so that he can protect those that matter to him. I think if anything, I’d love for Laxus to go and grow stronger, and then come back and reestablish Fairy Tail as its next Guild Master after that one year is over.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but I’m sure that if the anime is any indication, Mashima-sensei definitely has some grand plans in store for Laxus.
On the Wendy front, its was almost kind of weird how she almost regressed back to how she looked and acted. I’m sure its more of an attempt to hold on to the past, and resist the sea of change that’s sweeping across her and her friends, but… It definitely felt like Wendy wasn’t actually being setup for anything too major. Gajeel, Sting, Rogue and the other Dragon Slayers felt largely the same.
And before I forget, the Dragons… Yes those guys. How friggin anticlimactic and pretty darn useless that scene was? I mean, I get the emotional potential for all the Dragon Slayers to be saved by their parents but… That’s it? No big explanations, no nothing? All the Dragons did was stop Face and then disappear?
The whole Dragon plotline kinda felt a bit underwhelming, when it didn’t concern Igneel. So the Dragons were more or less just a remnant of themselves, left in by the originals to counter act the “Dragonification”? Why? You’d think that Grandine or any of the others could spare a second and tell their children why they had done what they did?
I suppose we’ll hear of it later, at some point, but the whole Dragons meeting their children felt like a pretty huge missed opportunity. We also know that they’re gone now, for good, so there isn’t much of a chance of them explaining whatever it is that their motives and situation was.
I had expected that we’d at least get some of the details surrounding Acnologia and whatever it is that happened all those years ago? Unfortunately, all we got were some vague hints regarding some kind of pact between the Dragons and Humans, called the Magna Carta… And that’s about it.
Thankfully, while the Dragons didn’t end up revealing much, there were still a few surprises in store, and some more hints here and there. Lumen Historie was almost swept under the rug, and all we really know is that Mavis’s body is inside some kind of giant crystal, and that Makarov refused to use it when he could have.
I did like, however, the nice little twist about Mest/Doranbalt, and how he WAS actually a member of Fairy Tail. THAT, really explains all his presence in the filler arcs, and the one would argue undue attention he got. I actually really like the idea that Doranbalt erased his own memories to go under cover, and that the cost of his infiltration is that he himself doesn’t quite remember his own identity. Not that it matters, of course, because Fairy Tail itself has more or less disbanded XD
The last character that’s worth highlighting, however, is Gray. I liked the moment between him and Juvia, and if anyone had doubted that particular pairing’s validity, well then… XD
I for one, never suspected that Gray would actually blame Juvia, so to have him thank her and then cry in her arms was a nice moment. If anything, I’m glad at least ONE couple can find some measure of happiness, unlike say Erza and Jellal.
Speaking of Erza, man, is it just me, or is Mashima-sensei running out of ways to give her some kind of meaningful conflict. I mentioned, during her battle with Kyouka, that there could be a nice “recovering from Trauma” storyline for Erza, had she not completely and utterly overwhelmed her enemy, just cause she was Erza… XD
It seems like Mashima-sensei wasn’t interested in that particular story, however, and instead the mere appearance of Jellal was enough to fix whatever issues the long torture and extreme pain had inflicted on her? I get that Mashima-sensei doesn’t want to go towards certain topics, but I think retaconning out the aftermath of such a situation feels very odd and abrasive. I suppose Erza will just be the strong female character of the cast, and that’s about it.. Unfortunately. It doesn’t seem like she’s going on some kind of self improvement quest like Natsu, Laxus and Gray.
Oh yes, before I forget, Gray vowed to kill END, carrying on his father’s will and what not. Which is going to lead to a pretty awkward moment, when he realizes that he’s basically promised to Kill Natsu Draganeel.
So Zeref lets it fly, Natsu Dragneel is actually Etherios Natsu Dragoneel (END). I’m glad for the fact that Mashima-sensei and Fairy Tail choose to reveal that, because I had already kinda put two and two together. If you recall, a few weeks ago, where I said that “Mashima-sensei” had just telegraphed a bit pretty big reveal, well… This was it.
So Natsu is the frigging Demon that Zeref created to kill him eh? I guess my theories from the first season, where I’d suggested that Zeref was Natsu’s father were pretty much on the money eh? Well… Kind of. The minute I put together the fact that Zeref was more or less Natsu’s creator, that whole idea of “Zeref being Natsu’s father” was more or less thrown out the window.
To those of you who wondered why I thought Natsu not being Zeref’s son was more or less confirmed, it was because of this particular reveal. Sure, Zeref might see his demons as his “children” but I personally view them more as his creations. But lets forget that for a second, because that really is just semantics.
The big reveal has such powerful implications though! For one thing, its such a ballsy move. Making the protagonist of your story into a being that was more or less created by the villain of the story? I don’t think we’ve seen that before. Its a pretty original and frankly, pretty ingenious idea.
And man, is there potential for some earth shattering moments, later down the line. When Natsu finds out? When Gray finds out? Man, there’s going to be hell to pay. And if Natsu is END, then what exactly is that book? Does it house a part of his power? Or is just some giant misdirection from Zeref? And how did Igneel end up raising Natsu? There are some good questions in here, and ones that I’m sure we’ll jump into at a future date.
And so… Fairy Tail’s Tartaros Arc draws to a close. In closing, I’ll say that I actually really enjoyed this story arc. It wasn’t perfect, but the good, in the end, outweighed the bad. I think the arc was pretty darn strong, from both a production value perspective and a storytelling perspective, until the last few episodes. These last few episodes weren’t the strongest, and did feel a bit off in terms of pacing, but I still think that overall, the story won in the end.
With “the end of an era” happening in terms of Fairy Tail, it seems like we’ll be heading into a nice look at the past soon. I think the whole idea of throwing in Fairy Tail Zero now makes so much sense. For one, it’ll give the manga itself time to distance itself from the anime, and for two, learning about the origins of Fairy Tail seems like such an awesome idea.
I’m not sure how many manga readers have actually read the FT Zero novels, so Anime and manga fans might be in a similar boat come this next arc. While I’ll miss Natsu and the rest of the regular cast, I’m up for this trip into the history of Fairy Tail. If nothing else, its just good to see Fairy Tail not only continue, but continue with a story that’s exciting and generates genuine interest.
(P.S This post was late because I managed to injure my lower back pretty badly. Also please pardon any typos, I wanted to get this post out rather than wait. I’m slightly better, so I hope to be back in full form starting next week.)
Fairy Tail Zero begins next! I think Fairy Tail will be taking off Golden Week, so we might end up seeing it two weeks from now. See you then!
Posted by setsuken
Posted on December 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm
in Fairy Tail
Tags: end, etherios natsu dragneel, Fairy Tail, fairy tail 2 90, fairy tail 2 episode 90, fairy tail anime, fairy tail anime blog, fairy tail episode 265, fairy tail episode blog, fairy tail images, fairy tail recap, fairy tail recaps, fairy tail screencaps, natsu dragneel, tartaros arc, tartaros end, tartaros epilogue, zeref
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