I should probably just take more breaks from covering this show. It honestly just gets better every time I’m away from it. Yes, Its still a strange thing, this Final Season of Fairy Tail. There are certainly moments of brilliance in here, for sure, but rarely are they ever executed well or without something else ruining them soon after. A pretty limited budget, a weaker and less fleshed out story, improper build up, and sometimes just pure cheap tactics to stall for time have definitely made this final season harder and harder to appreciate.
I will say, however, that the whole Irene and Erza stand off? I’d say that’s the strongest stuff we’ve seen from this final Season. Its so strong, in fact, that I found myself actively ignoring or letting go of the more annoying issues that have plagued this season as a whole. Bad animation? Eh, I could live with it. Stupid moments like Lucy warming Natsu with her naked body while everyone around them watched? Yeah, I just forgot about it as quickly as I could.
Yes, those stupid and annoying traits of the Final Season are still here, but I think I’m going to just choose to ignore them, avoid them and block them out of my mind moving forward. Not doing so, would make even caring for what’s going on impossible, let alone enjoying and covering it.
Thus, I think for this post, I’ll start with a bit of a caveat. Yes, this Final Season of Fairy Tail is definitely pretty messy, and has tons of issues that could very well render it meaningless and not worth watching. It sucks, its disappointing, and its painful, but that’s the reality we have now. So, being in that very reality, my intention is to try and talk about the things that actually interest me, and that I care for, fully understanding that this isn’t a show that’s worth recommending to everyone anymore.
If you’re watching the Final Season at this point, you’re in a very select group of hardcore fans, and you’re in it till the end. I’m speaking to you exclusively now, and unlike literally every post of mine since I began covering the show, I’m not going to look at the show from the lens of a general anime fan as well. The battle to push Fairy Tail as something that every anime and shounen fan should watch, was more or less lost at the 5 or 6 episode mark, this season.
Now… Having said all of that, how were these three episodes? Especially since I saw them back to back. Well… First and foremost I’d say they were definitely entertaining and engrossing, something I didn’t expect this show to be able to do anymore. Its clear that Mashima-sensei had Erza and Irene’s tale planned out for a while. The evidence being that this particular story hasn’t suffered from his haste to end Fairy Tail before it was clearly ready to end.
What’s quite impressive about the whole Irene thing, is that its just… New ground for Mashima-sensei. I don’t think he’s ever had the ability to create such a despicable, irredeemable antagonist that wasn’t shallow or cartooney. Yes Irene has very good back story reasons for why she is the way she is, but there’s also a fair amount of choice and self agency in her character and in doing the things that she did and does in these episodes.
The contrast to Erza is both beautiful and stark here. We know, having followed the story over the years, that Erza has not had an easy life herself. Sure, its not quite as bad as Irene’s (as even Erza herself admits), but when push came to shove, Erza, even as a child, chose the good option over the easier and crueler one.
Irene really is Erza’s ultimate archnemesis, because in many ways, she’s a dark, twisted and messed up reflection of Erza. Irene is what Erza could’ve been if she had chosen a selfish path, and if she hadn’t been given the support, love and care that she received in Fairy Tail.
There’s certainly an argument to be made for Erza being who she is because she was brought up in Fairy Tail. There is, but I’d argue that that’s selling the character a bit too short. Irene, too, was brought up in a loving environment, in privilege and with a loving mentor in Belserion. And Irene, much like Erza, had a really rough patch in her life, where she had almost no one to hold onto at first.
The difference, of course, came with Erza choosing to befriend those around her and be selfless and righteous, while Irene grew increasingly selfish and self centered. That selfishness grew, to the point where Irene hit her ultimate low point, and decided to sacrifice her own unborn child for her own desires.
Irene, I don’t think, can be redeemed at this point. She’s so far gone, and so twisted, and selfish and cruel, that I don’t think she even deserves any kind of redemption or happy ending. There’s always often rationalization made for bad people that have had tough life situations, but at some point, its those very people that make a choice to do evil and perpetuate it.
Irene, for her part, got so obsessed with getting her human body back, that she more or less became a much worse monster than just being a Dragon. As Irene recounted her story over the course of episode 36, I definitely felt bad for her at first. That sympathy quickly evaporated, however, when she revealed how she had planned to use an unborn Erza’s body and how she abandoned her daughter when that plan failed.
Erza, for her part, took all of this like an absolute champion. In fact, Erza’s choices, movements and actions in this Final Season have been so awesome, that I’m starting to wonder if she’s the real protagonist of the show.
I mean, I know I said earlier on in the season that Erza wasn’t really worthy to lead Fairy Tail as a Guild Master, but dang have she and Mashima-sensei started to turn me around. Its true, Erza didn’t deserve the title and job at the beginning or even mid of the season, but her actions in this Final battle, and while coming face to face with her mother, have been pretty darn impressive.
Learning that your own mother not only didn’t want you, but tried to use you and then discarded you, would trigger an existential crisis in any normal person. Heck, I felt really bad for Erza after hearing Irene spout some of the garbage that she pushed out. “I wish I had never had you” is perhaps the most twisted, disgusting thing a mother can ever say, and Irene blurts it out like a casual insult during the battle.
But Erza? She continues to reaffirm that its Fairy Tail, and her friends in that Guild, that are her real family and support. Her belief, her love and care for her Guild has been a constant in this final battle, and she’s put her money where her mouth was. Whether it was stopping Gray and Natsu, or whether it was trying to save Wendy, Erza’s really done it all.
And of course, the battle with Irene, caps off with Erza basically trying to sacrifice herself to defeat the most insane of Magical attacks (with all the bones in her body done for). Do I believe Erza can do it? Do I believe that it seems like Erza’s cheating a bit in terms of power levels? Yeah, I do, on both counts.
It does, however, feel earned in a particular way. From a character perspective, I’d say Erza has, for the first time, earned the right to use her plot armor and save the day here. Her whole speech about being a queen and protecting others? That stuff is gold, and made me want to root for her inevitable upset against an attack that seems beyond her.
Erza has, always kind of won because she’s been Erza. Mashima-sensei’s never been able to nail down or improve her as a fighter and character to where she’d believably be able to take down the enemies that she does. That’s always been a strike against the character and Fairy Tail as a whole, but at this point, like I said, the people watching are the hardcore fans who’ve made peace with this particular fact.
And I say that, because Wendy’s whole enchanter-off with Irene felt a lot more believable and logical than anything Erza’s done in the battle, ability wise. I was almost expecting Wendy to take down Irene based on sheer skill alone, but of course, Fairy Tail’s battles have always been idealogical ones first, and strategic shounen battles second.
All in all, we’re at an interesting point now. The Erza vs Irene stuff will wrap up quickly in the beginning of next week’s episode, and then I think the focus will shift to Natsu and his whole Dragon Seed thing.
Speaking of which, I suppose I should commend the show on how it built up the concept of the Dragon Seed, and Dragon Slayer magic. Irene being the originator of the magic, and being unable to actually control it was a nice touch. That particular world building, and how it organically flowed into the story was pretty darn sweet. It also was nice to see that lead into Natsu’s whole “My END and Dragon selves are merging” problem.
The whole Irene suddenly starting to reveal her life story to her daughter was a bit less elegant, but like I said, its par for the course at this point.
What else? I suppose I could briefly talk about episode 35, in that I’m glad it’s over. I didn’t care too much for what we got in that episode, other than of course the start of the Irene stuff. I’m glad Larcade is done with, and I’m a bit annoyed by the whole Lucy keeping Natsu warm thing, let alone the stuff about Natsu basically having a mini-journey in his mind only to discover that his issue is really just the fact that he’s both END and a Dragon Slayer.
The Natsu stuff, up till this point, has been completely pointless, and a clear waste of time. This whole segment could have been cut entirely, and instead we could’ve just jumped to Igneel telling Natsu the crux of the issue. That end bit in episode 37 is really all we needed, and Natsu could’ve remained unconscious and out of sight, until that point. Its clear that Natsu is going to have to accept both his END and Dragon parts and then that should ultimately save him from dying when Zeref is indeed defeated.
Gray hearing about how Natsu is going to die if he defeats Zeref, should put a stop to his artificial hate as well. Again, these are the more messy parts of the show, and the parts that we’re now going to get back to. Does that worry me a bit? Sure. But I suppose I’m finding solace and hope in the fact that the show can still surprise with the occasional awesome moment, ala Irene and Erza.
I don’t expect to be amazed or impressed by this Final Season anymore, but I’ll gladly enjoy it if it does unexpectedly happen. These three episodes? They were unexpectedly good, and while I didn’t skip out on watching them because I’ve given up on the show (Offline life just became incredibly complex and busy), I will say, it was nice seeing these three episodes in one go.
The fact that I truly do believe in this Final Season’s potential to be better as a bulk watch, does make covering it weekly a bit of a troublesome prospect. That said, I still intend to do so, so starting next week, I expect I’ll be back to blogging the show weekly, life permitting.
Tags: Dragon Seed, Dragon Slayer magic origin, erza, erza scarlet, Fairy Tail, fairy tail 2018, fairy tail anime blog, fairy tail episode 312, fairy tail episode 313, fairy tail episode 314, fairy tail episode blog, fairy tail final season, fairy tail final season episode 35, fairy tail final season episode 36, fairy tail final season episode 37, fairy tail images, fairy tail review, fairy tail screenshots, irene, Irene Belserion, irene erza's mother
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