Fairy Tail does it again, ending another story arc and hitting another milestone in the process. This week marks the 100th episode of the second anime series adapted from Hiro Mashima’s fantastic manga, and the 275th animated episode of the franchise as a whole. Its unquestionable now, that at the very least, Fairy Tail definitely has staying power, and its also nice to see that the show isn’t going to be ending any time soon.
But before we look to the future, there’s one last look at the past, and its with its final episode that Fairy Tail Zero lays out the actual creation of the title guild itself. Fairy Tail gets created in this episode, or rather Mavis and her comrades take the very first steps toward that specific outcome. There’s an interesting choice made here, because this so called creation, the big moment that the arc itself has been leading up to, teasing and nudging us towards, well its kind of not that big of a moment.
Maybe this is just one of those weeks where big reveals end up being unable to meet the hype, but I did find the finish for Fairy Tail Zero’s arc to be kind of rushed. For as much time as we’ve spent with this arc, this cast of characters and their journey towards coming together and forming a guild, it all felt really underwhelming and kind of forced by the end of this episode. I almost felt like, this episode needed to be split into maybe two or three more episodes, because there was about that much content to go through.
The first, and foremost thing that the series needed to resolve, and that I think it had the most success with, was the execution of Zera’s final moments. Zera, as an element in this story, has been kind of a double edged sword. While she may have worked as a pretty powerful plot twist in the manga, it wasn’t quite the same experience seeing her story play out in animated form. Zera’s death waaay back in the first episode of Fairy Tail Zero was more or less a given throughout this arc. It was just waay too obvious that no one outside of Mavis was really interacting with her.
And I voiced my personal concerns about the whole Zera twist throughout the arc as it progressed. What kills me, however, is the fact that Zera’s big twist, if I hadn’t seen it coming, would’ve been powerful. The very idea that Mavis was actually able to grow up into adulthood with the help of an imaginary sister-like friend that she created? Well that’s a pretty original and darn clever idea.
I know I said this last week, but I really do believe that the whole Zera situation needed to be adjusted a bit. I really do think that it was a missed opportunity to not have Yuri, Precht and Warrod interact with Zera, and to have her be exclusively with Mavis. I think the twist would’ve been MORE powerful, in fact, if The trio of treasure hunters actually got to know Zera themselves, and then everyone as a group lost her because of Mavis’s Fairy Law spell.
And we can debate whether Zera could’ve been “killed off” or have been revealed as “Dead” in some other way, but the story is what it is. And, for what it is, it does a decent job of communicating how much Mavis relied on Zera and how close the two were. I also do get what Mashima-sensei was trying to say here. Is Zera really just an illusion? What defines someone’s existence? Is it the fact that they’re flesh and blood? Or does someone’s existence come as a result of their shared experiences with the people close to them? Its a sentimental idea, and one that Mashima-sensei doesn’t exactly tackle head on, but just one that he kind of eludes to.
The question of Zera’s existence, and what defines her, isn’t the central question or idea behind Fairy Tail Zero. Again, however, I really do think that it could’ve been that and a whole lot more. I mean, just think about how powerful and more connected the story would’ve been, if Zera was the key that linked all of these characters together, and the pain of her loss was what drove them all towards creating Fairy Tail. What if Precht’s obsession with Black magic was actually related to Zera’s loss? These ideas and hypotheticals are just that, concepts that I wanted in the story, but never got.
But, the more important point I’m trying to make here, is that the whole Zera storyline wasn’t as powerful as it could’ve been, and it wasn’t Mashima-sensei’s usual hit out of the park. What we got, was a scene that I could respect, one where Mavis’s own illusion pushed her forward, and with Yuri’s help she (Mavis) finally became independent. And that scene, while it didn’t drive me to tears in the same way I wish it would have, it was none the less pretty decent. Acceptable maybe? Yeah, lets go with acceptable as the way to describe the whole scene of Zera’s death, because I wouldn’t say it was terrible, anymore than I would say it was great.
Quality of that particular moment aside, after the whole issue of Zera’s passing on was dealt with, the next major thing for the story to tackle was the actual “aha!” moment where everyone decided that forming a guild was the next logical step for them. This, is where things got considerably less acceptable, and it all felt very kind of “phoned in”. I got the major idea, in that Mavis looked at the town, looked at all that she had lost, and was looking towards a future full of adventure.
Yet, it all happened waay too fast. We went from Zera’s loss, to Mavis walking around, to her with a bunch of Magnolia residents, to her big epiphany. It felt like Mavis didn’t grieve long enough, that she didn’t flounder enough, and that she found her answer too quickly and easily. Now, whether this is because of the fact that the story was shown off in a few manga pages, and then adapted into a few moments of animation, or whether this part of the story itself wasn’t focused on enough, the fact that it felt under-emphasized is definitely still there.
I wish Mavis had more of a grand reason for the creation of Fairy Tail. I wish it wasn’t just: “Oh! Magnolia needs a guild to survive!” and “I have friends and people who want to adventure and can use magic!”, because that is what it felt like. It felt like the reasons for Fairy Tail’s creation weren’t as much concious decisions by the cast of characters, as they were a matter of convenience. I wish there was more of a philosophical reason to the creation of Fairy Tail. Maybe Fairy Tail was going to be the antithesis of Blue Skull, and would become a Guild that saved and protected its town, rather than just used it and destroyed it.
And Yes, I’m aware of the fact that Mavis’s whole speech is about the idea of Fairy Tail and Magnolia growing hand in hand. I get that, but that isn’t the core idea behind Fairy Tail’s creation either, and like Zera, its more of a side show than the main event. Once again, I feel like if the whole idea of a “guild that protects the people and creates a loving family” was more of a focus in this arc, then it would’ve been a lot more potent as well.
In a way, I feel like this story arc and Mashima-sensei himself, really needed to commit to one central idea, rather than strew together a bunch of ideas loosely. I say that, but I can still appreciate the fact that these concepts that I mention, do at least exist in this story, even if they aren’t tackled head on or given the emphasis they arguably deserve.
And if you thought that the creation of Fairy Tail was where things ended, then this episode had a lot more in store for you. With the decision to create Fairy Tail more or less done, the name is what comes next. And the name, actually comes from Mavis’s life long promise about Fairies to her friend Zera, and said friend’s hair looking like a tail. Cheesy? Corney? Kind of forced almost? Yeah, the reasoning behind the name is all of those things, and yet… Yet I still felt a tinge of warmth from the idea, as Mavis and the story presented it to us. The reveal of Mavis’s reasoning behind the name of her guild, at least connected in a stronger way to her own past and Zera, than a lot of the other elements in this story. So I guess I’d count that as a win, of sorts.
Of course with Fairy Tail finally formed, there the little gap of years between that and the present day. That’s what the episode handles next and its that particular part of the episode that I really had a big of a problem with. The experience of watching this episode play out was seeing it go from “Good but not great, to kind of really being a bit of an after thought.” After Fairy Tail is created, and we see the actual first version of the Guild hall itself, we get what is pretty much a bunch of timeline bullet points for the rest of the Guild’s seemingly rich history.
And that’s what I don’t get; Why the show felt it necessary to condense so many important and epic moments, into a few quick “slides”. I definitely would’ve loved to see Yuri’s whole getting married thing. I would’ve loved to see Precht and Warrod’s transformations. There’s a whole Second Trade War in there, one where Mavis actually ends up becoming famous. There’s Mavis’s death, and there’s stuff like the creation of Phantom Lord and how Geoffrey ends up going into the shadows to create a rival guild to Fairy Tail. There’s all that cool stuff, and then there’s the actual lead in to the present day. And we miss all of those defining moments, and just kind of get the summary notes.
Yes, I’m aware of the fact that there’s a Fairy Tail Zero part Two, but I don’t like the fact that the show and the story just kind of strides through everything, and gets right back into the present day. It feels like we’re almost skipping past some really important things, and as to why? I’m not entirely sure. I know, I know, there’s going to be some payoff or answers in the future, and I look forward to those (although no spoilers or hints or suggestions about what’s coming), but I really do feel like ending the story this way, wasn’t the most satisfying thing in the world either.
In the end, I think Fairy Tail Zero was kind of exactly like what I said it was going to be last week; Strong to start, weak to finish. That’s how “I” felt about the story at least, having experienced it solely through the lens of the anime adaption we got here. I really really liked Mavis and this cast of characters. I loved how related Mavis and Fairy Tail were and are to Zeref, and by extension how related Natsu is to the guild he’s a part of.
There’s an almost ironic tinge to it all, since Natsu ends up being taken in and guided by the very guild that Zeref himself, has a hand in creating, even if indirectly. That link and meeting between Zeref and Mavis? That was my favorite part of this story arc, with the actual characters of Warrod, Yuri and Precht being a close second. Oh and Mavis herself was awesome, and a great protagonist that really set herself apart from Natsu.
So there we have it. I don’t normally comment on Previews, but it was nice to see that we’ll be jumping straight back into the present day, and catching up with everyone a year after the events of the battle with Tartaros. The little look into Fairy Tail’s past and creation, became a journey that was more about the path rather than the destination. Overall, I enjoyed Fairy Tail Zero, even if it wasn’t perfect, and even if it didn’t have the same level of surprise and power that Mashima-sensei seems to be able to dish out every now and then.
The last thing I’ll say is that I want to thank all of those people who were active in the comments throughout this arc. Part of what made it such a joy to blog and write about, and what propelled me to cover it on a weekly basis without messing up, was the constant discussion I got to be a part of in the comments. I will say that I continue to love Fairy Tail, appreciate the characters and depth of the lore, and just marvel at how darn amazingly creative Mashima-sensei is (most of the time).
Here’s to more Fairy Tail in the present day, starting next week!
We rejoin Lucy in the present day, One year after the disbanding of Fairy Tail. So cannot wait for next week!
Tags: creation of Fairy Tail, fairy law, Fairy Tail, fairy tail 2 episode 100, fairy tail anime blog, fairy tail episode 275, fairy tail episode blog, fairy tail episode recap, fairy tail episode review, fairy tail episode summary, fairy tail review, fairy tail screencaps, fairy tail zero ends, Fairy Tail Zerø, zera's fate
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