Opinions (B+):

With the setup for the final arc more or less done, I’d say that now is a good time to take stock of where we’re at, and what may be coming down the line.

It is interesting to me that Fairy Tail’s Final Season is one of the few shows to not go on break again this week. While a lot of other shows have opted to take a second week off or give the “recap” episode as a time filler, Fairy Tail’s Final Season is trucking on. And I think that says something about this particular season of Fairy Tail, something pretty important. It tells us that this season and its production are a well planned, well oiled machine that will be telling its story on time and on schedule.

There’s no big production scares or delays, and now while I still wish we were about to get to the heights of the first series in terms of production value and quality, I realize that the amount of people following this show and franchise since the first series started has certainly dwindled. There’s a reason shows like One Piece and Naruto kept airing despite being either too close or completely out of content to adapt. Simply put, a show, during its initial run and popularity is at the height of its mind share and popularity. In order for a franchise to remain at its best, it has to maintain that momentum and really just keep going until it finishes its story.

Reality works counter to that particular ideal scenario, however, and even the best anime series end up catching up to the source material remarkably fast. And in the end, no one is willing to wait until a manga series is completely finished before making an anime series out of it. So we are where we are, with I think Fairy Tail and its fandom being a much different, more muted place (even on this site) than what I saw when I covered the first series all those years ago.

A lot of people dropped off from this show, but I think what is really special about Fairy Tail is that, at the very least, its maintained a consistent level of quality and entertainment value, even as the years have gone by. And now, we’re about to head into what I think will be the final, long arc of the show, franchise and story. Its an interesting place to be in for sure, especially as we look at what we have and what the show seems to be saying is coming.

Now, while I’m generally positive about this show and franchise, I have to say that I am a bit more skeptic about what we’re getting this time around, than in any other big arc that we’ve seen prior. The Tartaros arc, to me, is still the shining example of Fairy Tail’s storytelling, especially with how it starts out. Unfortunately, despite a somewhat interesting start, I’d say that this final story arc of Fairy Tail hasn’t started in much the same way. To that end, I think its pretty useful to do a sort of comparison between the Tartaros arc and the current Ishigar Invasion Arc (For lack of a better name).

So, the first thing that immediately strikes me about this arc, is the lack of stakes and the sense of danger. There was just something really powerful about having Tartaros’s first attack basically remove one of Fairy Tail’s strongest Mages in Laxus from the equation. It showed us that these antagonistic characters were dangerous, powerful and that they meant business. The first attack set a real tone for the entire arc, a sense of dread and of impending loss. The message was clear here; This isn’t going to be a battle that Fairy Tail is going to be able to walk away from without losing a few key things.

The fact that Laxus had to basically sacrifice himself, in the very beginning of the arc to stop the first attack, was a pretty awesome and cool way to start the arc. It communicate the sense of impending doom for the entire guild, in one smart move. Plus, having certain characters like Erza uncover a mystery regarding traitors in the magic council, and then be subsequently captured, was a pretty cool way to really set up the main idea of the arc; Tartaros was in control, and Fairy Tail, at a severe disadvantage in every possible way.

The Tartaros arc being awesome is fine and good, but why exactly am I bringing it up here? Well, because this final arc is basically trying to do the same thing that that arc was, and doing a much less impressive job of it. See, the stakes are kind of the same here. Zeref and his Sprigann Twelve are actually much more powerful and stronger than Tartaros ever was, but yet its hard to make that connection because we haven’t really seen them do much other than unsuccessfully attack a few of our characters and then basically let them go.

There’s no sense of danger or unease here, because nothing all too serious has really happened. Natsu and co are overpowered yes, but the Sprigann Twelve, at least initially, feel like they’re a lot less menacing and serious than the Tartaros Demons ever were. It just feels like none of these antagonists are all together too motivated to do anything, and simply telling the audience that these characters are intensely powerful while showing us their weird quirky personalities, just doesn’t do it for me.

Which, I think, is the chief issue here. None of the antagonists, save for maybe Zeref or Acnologia, are altogether interesting. None of these new villains have anything cool or interesting about them. As far as Fairy Tail villains go, they’re pretty unimpressive and generic, whether its in their personalities, backgrounds or character designs. Oh look, a guy who has earth magic and is some kind of desert dweller. Oh gee, a woman who can shrink things and is kind of lazy. Oh look, the strongest of the 10 Saints of Ishigar is just some weirdo who loves to point and go over the top.

None of these characters have the menace or the evil of Tartaros, so their oncoming threat just doesn’t feel all that big. More so than in other arcs, I really feel like Fairy Tail will be just fine, even if logic begs to differ. I know logically that Fairy Tail is horribly out numbered, that a single guild facing an entire empire is insane, especially with the core generals of said empire being Mages that are more powerful than Fairy Tail’s strongest member himself (Makarov). I get that, but the show has done a poor job of really selling the idea in the sort of way that it normally does.

A big reason for that, I wager, is because the Sprigann Twelve are not being shown as inherently evil. Unlike Tartaros’s Demons, these are human characters that are just kind of being used by Zeref and may not be inherently bad. Its an interesting choice to have these characters be the final opponents for Fairy Tail, especially when I feel like characters with the overwhelming prescence of Tartaros would be more interesting.

I mean compare the menacing Mard Geer to even Zeref himself, and there’s a world of a difference here. Zeref himself is kind of a contradiction, especially after the little backstory that Mavis revealed in both this episode and the last one. Mashima-sensei has positioned Zeref as the cursed, tragic character that just went insane because of the mistakes that he made and the curse that he got. He’s not shown as inherently evil, and thus Zeref actually has to do a few despicable acts in this next arc, to really sell us of on his position of “ultimate antagonist”.

And heck, maybe I’m reading into this wrong, and its not Zeref but actually Acnologia that’s the real bad here. But even Acnologia is kind of uninteresting to be honest. Yes, we’ve seen that he’s pretty powerful, and we’ve seen him decimate Fairy Tail before, but beyond that there’s not much else to him. He was a lot more menacing when we initially saw him and didn’t know much about him. Nowadays, he’s just some dude who went all in on the Dragon Slayer magic and just became a Dragon himself.

So, I guess what we have here, is a premise and a cast of villains that doesn’t feel all that impressive. Even with Fairy Heart being revealed as this infinite well of magic power, its not much more than a macguffin to get this conflict started. It makes sense to me that Fairy Tail unintentionally has the most powerful source of power in their world, and now has to take steps to keep it away from everyone else.

It makes sense, but its kind of boring by itself honestly. But hey, I’ve done nothing but complain about this arc and this episode thus far, so I think its worth talking about the good, as well. The first thing that I appreciated about this episode, is how it basically connected both Mavis’s story and the origins of Fairy Tail to the current day conflict rather nicely. Seeing Precht’s rise and fall as the second guild master was pretty sweet, as was the so called dark history of Fairy Tail that’s been hidden all these years.

I also have to say that I liked the fact that Natsu apparently has some secret weapon to deal with Zeref. I’m not entirely sure what it is, I’m going to guess its his Dragon Force form, but in any case, the notion that Natsu has some hidden power that he can only use once, is a pretty exciting thing. In fact, Natsu really is the only character that provides some interesting potential for the future. We’ve got his special move of course, but there’s also his relation to Zeref and being END, that even he has yet to learn. So when we do get that stuff, I think, there’s a chance for some truly awesome character moments.

And I will say, I do like how the show is kind of angling some characters from the Sprigann Twelve as polar opposites of some key Fairy Tail members. We’ve yet to see if our Fairy Tail Mages (Erza, Laxus, Gray, Gajeel e.t.c) are up to the task of taking on these opponents, but its at least an interesting prospect here.

Finally, despite the “feelings” and “tone” surrounding the Ishigar invasion, I will say that at the very least, from a pure idea stand point, we’ve got a really bad situation for Fairy Tail. It almost feels insane for Fairy Tail to even hope to beat this latest challenge, and I’m honestly wondering what the characters are going to do when they realize the true nature of their current predicament. Right now the characters are all pumped up after the pep talk from Makarov, Mavis and Natsu, but that will definitely change once the battle and its horrors actually unfold.

Which I guess, brings me to the big question I have going into this arc; Just how is this all actually going to work? I mean, we’ve established that Fairy Tail is horribly outclassed by what they’re facing, both in terms of ability and just plain numbers. How exactly is the show going to actually sell us on these characters overcoming these odds, if they do indeed do that. And if the whole arc is going to be a slaughter, then well… How is that going to be interesting or entertaining to watch? Can the show actually create something truly important without killing off or sacrificing some characters in this final arc?

I personally don’t think so. One of the reasons Tartaros was so powerful was because there were some losses in the battle. Whether it was Elfman being controlled and turning against the guild, or Lucy losing Aquarious, or Laxus’s big gamble at the start or Natsu losing Igneel… All of these contributed to some pain that made both the characters and thus the audience in turn.

So from the looks of things, it doesn’t FEEL like this next arc is going to go quite as dark, or do things in quite the same way. My worry here is that we’re going to be in this weird “its fine” territory for a bit, before the arc course corrects itself and starts doing something truly interesting.

And Look, I may be horribly wrong here, and the arc may end up awesome. We may be getting awesome character moment after awesome character moment, but none of that has been hinted at or communicated by the show just yet. So, despite everything being fine, this episode post is more or less completely worry prone and negative, despite the episode itself being rated a B+.

Things are okay, things are fine, but at this late stage of the story, I kind of feel like we need something more than that. Maybe that’s coming, but first impressions are what they are. Lets see what the shoe does in the next few weeks, I guess.

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The Owner, webmaster, designer, coder and writer for the site. Anime Evo is Setsuken’s (Hassan's) proclamation of love for Anime, which he can’t seem to get enough of. He’s a 26 year old male, and current resides in the USA . A writer for a number of years Hassan is also a 3D Artist, a Game Designer, a Web Designer and a Huge Anime Obsessed Enthusiast.

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