Fairy Tail520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡBgN2whlaV8
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I am honestly surprised I'm not going to be doing One Piece as the very first review, which is my all-time favorite anime of all time as the very first. It would seem cheap to me. So, we're going to be doing another one that I have also read and watched in the past while. But first, a brief summary.
Lucy, a 17 year old girl, sets out on journey to become a full-fledged wizard and joins the strongest and most (in) famous guild FAIRY TAIL where she meets Natsu, Happy, Gray and Erza, who treat her more like family than friends. This epic series takes us through all the dangers that the members of fairy tail face and eventually overcome through mutual love and friendship.
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WHAT TO EXPECT520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡu83d54tmbq
So, you're curious about Fairy Tail and want to see what's it's all about? Don't know what you'll be walking into? Allow me to elaborate.
Fairy Tail will introduce you to a world of magic and endless possibility, where absolutely anything is possible. At first glance the world is seen through rose-colored glasses. Everything's fun and fantastical, crazy, zany, and a little bit overwhelming. It's a kid's fantasy land, save for the dark guilds that are the story's first main concern.
Past that point, once you realize that there is an actual threat in the world and everything in not perfect, you should expect lots of fight scenes and unique styles of combat, given the extraordinary nature of the universe's magical capabilities. In terms of combat, if that's what you're looking for, this may be a decent anime to keep your interest.
And from the rest of the time on, you should expect endlessly running in-jokes that borderline overuse, shameless fan service through the female characters, and a decline in story arc quality once things really begin to 'get interesting.' Allow me to elaborate below.
PLOT / STORYLINE520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ1OWvJXSZAn
For the purpose of length, I will not be going over each individual arc because that would be ridiculous. If you want that sort of review you'd best head over to youtube or something. Rather, this is an overarching general review of the entire story as a whole.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡOQWyCSYQMR
Despite having a lot of things going on at the very beginning of the story, my first impressions weren't that great. I quickly grew bored and slightly frustrated within the first few episodes because things just felt...stale? I suppose that would be the best word I could use to describe it. Very generic. Like I'd been through this spiel a hundred times before. Maybe perhaps because I have.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ1PdCl2Xld0
Lucy, the 'secondary(?)' protagonist is met with main protagonist Natsu Dragneel, a Fairy Tail mage who pretty much fits the description of a Stock Shonen Hero. (We'll get into that later,) and Happy, his familial pet.
From there, they team up and form the main perspective for the rest of the story. Their adventures are numerous and wild, and do a relatively decent job of keeping you entertained through the first part of the story. The story follows the basic anime format of introducing more and more dangerous and powerful enemies as time goes on and as the protagonists grow. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it can come across as rather formulaic in its approach.
Plots have meaning to the story universe, so points awarded there. What the characters face isn't just useless conflicts to pass the time, and drags in new and interesting enemies the further it progresses. Throw in age-old mages and connecting backstories to main characters and things can get very interesting very quickly.
However, you reach a point in the story where despite how interesting things are, you begin not to care. Secret information and lore are readily thrown out further into the story in bits and pieces, just enough to keep you trudging through the rest of the story because you've already dedicated this much time to it. You may as well finish it. Directly after the Grand Magic Games I began to feel like I'd seen all that Fairy Tail had to offer. It seemed like that was the best it could do, for several arcs afterwards, until the Tartaros Arc.
It was interesting, fun, and actually introduced a threat of defeat into the story that up until that point it had lacked. Seriously. It is very subtle, but after some time you realize that nothing seems to be in any hurry. There's no real threat dangerous enough to make you wonder if the protagonists will actually prevail. It's a given. 520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡOhwd7Sh1mG
Now obviously the story is about the main protagonist, you may say, the point is to make them prevail. But that's not necessarily true. If I feel as though there is nothing the protagonist can't accomplish or can't overcome, I'm not going to care that they actually did it. It's expected, it's formulaic, so there's no sense of joy and relief when they eventually come out victorious. I want to feel as though one wrong decision could set the characters back several steps, and they need to come back at a later time to try again. Just as an example.
Fairy Tail lacks that sense of danger. Tartaros was the first point in the story where I felt that tension. That nervousness that this time, things might not go the way we want them to. By far the best arc in the series, Tartaros also connects well with the individual characters and gives us real character development that seems genuine. Not forced or too fast. Just right.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡiFZbYuIdi4
And then all of that changed immediately after it's conclusion. Back to the way things used to be up until that point. And the disappointing part was that it so happened to lead directly into the story's ending. So sad to see that drop in quality that close to the end. 520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡiK2A4ztuOn
The Alvarez Army Arc didn't do much for me. Sure, it was supposed to be the biggest threat Fairy Tail and the other guilds had yet to face. And at first I was excited, don't get me wrong! But as they continued with the story, and put it's characters in the worst of circumstances, I continued to be excited. Until it became apparent that the author of the series cared more about pleasing fans than creating a realistic and believable story line.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡO305OKSnmP
It felt more like an insult to be given happy endings so easily, so readily. As if nothing had previously happened before. And though this may come as a spoiler, it needs to be stated. ONCE A CHARACTER IS DEAD, THEY SHOULD STAY DEAD. No bullshitting to get them back. Otherwise the very concept of death becomes meaningless and worthless to the story. What's the threat of losing a character if there is a means to get them back? What's the point of having them die in the first place?
Of course, there's always the argument of deaths for the sake of shock value, but we all know how well those go over, don't we.
My point is, I believe the quality of the storyline dropped significantly after the Tartaros Arc, because the author was either too afraid to let the story process like it should have, or someone else wrote Tartaros because there is a stark difference between it and the rest of the story.
Not to mention there is a lot. A LOT of Deus ex machina throughout the story. I'm all for believing in the power of friendship here and there, but not every problem can be solved with holding hand and thinking really hard. My belief in what was logical grew extremely thin during the events of the story, and it got to a point where huge chunks of characters development was thrown into the mix as well, which I could not forgive. If you are going to take the time to create these characters, there is no short cut in developing them as well. Don't take shortcuts the way Fairy Tail did.
To sum all of what I stated above into a short little blurb: At first, the story will eventually drag you into it's content after several chapters/episodes. It will take some time but with dedication you could really find yourself enjoying it. Things are fun up until about halfway through, when you begin to realize that there is no real tension with the conflicts the characters go through. Deus ex machina is a theme found numerous times in this story, and not pleasantly so.
Quality of the arcs can vary individually, but most higher-quality ones are found mid-story to 3/4ths of the way through. After that, things become a bit too much to believe could logically happen. Even with a world where many things that would seem impossible are indeed possible here, these things just don't make sense, or they seem stale and forced. It's a fun read, up to a point. Then it just becomes frustrating.
CHARACTERS520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡEDCVpPEtMK
While I can dish on the storyline all week long if I had the chance, there is one thing that Fairy Tail gets (mostly) right. It's characters. There is a menagerie of quality characters that any number of people can relate to. They're interesting, more than 2 dimensional (in most cases) and are really the driving force behind the story being any sort of entertaining.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡrnZxcEXl11
Natsu Dragneel, our main protagonist, is a pretty typical Shonen Hero example. He closely resembles Goku and Luffy and Naruto characters, the overly enthusiastic and stubborn boy who eats a lot and doesn't take kindly to his friends being hurt. At this point it's become a bit of a cliche, and I could argue all Shonen Hero characters types tend to follow that trend, some of which are done in a less obvious or annoying fashion.
The point is, you can automatically understand what his character is all about, because it's a pretty basic cookie cutter of his personality's stereotype. Mix in a bit of mystery regarding his past, who he is, where he comes from, and you've got yourself Natsu. Simple stuff.
Lucy, on the other hand, is a bit of a cocktail of both good and bad. She is a strong female character, has her own personality with strength in her own right. She uses not only her strength but her mind as well to solve problems, and she has genuine use and a place in the story. A few arcs focused directly on her, in fact. While she wasn't my favorite character in any way, she could hold her own and I didn't downright dislike her by the end of the story.
However, the way the author treats her and intentionally displays her as nothing but shameless fan service really leaves something to be desired. Unless you look past all the times Lucy has had her clothes completely destroyed or ripped off and is left completely naked, then you would only see her as the possible female love interest to the protagonist and nothing more. Maybe a hot looking one too. But if you decide that you want to take the time to see past what she is being used for you begin to see that she is more than these moments of what is supposed to be comedic value. She's intelligent and has depth, but the author makes that very difficult to see outright. I would call that bad writing, personally.
So our two main protagonists are an overused cliche, and a girl who you have to really work to see her value in the story. Things don't sound very good to begin with, do they? However, Fairy Tail's saving grace is it's supplementary characters.
I don't know why there is such a difference in quality between the main and secondary characters, but I feel that there is. Erza and Juvia and Gajeel and Levy and Cana and Mira all have much more personal development than either of the main protagonists and that's what makes half the story interesting. There is a boatload of growth between all the members of Fairy Tail (Save for Lucy and Natsu to a degree), and it is impressive how the author manages to give enough attention to the rest of the story's cast without taking eyes off the main story and making everything feel disjointed.
There is a whole slew of characters in Fairy Tail to choose from. Almost too many, but somehow it doesn't seem boring when the camera cuts to some of the others in the guild. Very well done, in my book.
Personal problems hold real value, and back stories are really very interesting to read and see unfold. Some you are even still left guessing at after all is said and done. And that is what I live for. Leaving a bit of mystery for your audience tends to draw them more into the universe you've crafted, and the characters all have that little bit of mystery for you to wonder and theorize about.
I guarantee you would find at least one character that would draw you in.
STYLE / PACING520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡkbL1E3hvdJ
Hiro Mashima has a...inconsistent style of writing. There is great fluctuation between good content in his story and filler. While not every writer can be expected to stay excellent over the course of an entire story without some not so great arcs, the level of fluctuation is stark and glaringly obvious to readers in this one. Almost painfully so.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡua3kbXpRkd
What I think Mashima wanted to accomplish with Fairy Tail is a children's adventure acted out by teenage characters. And to a point he accomplished that, because most of the humor and jokes seem extremely childish or tailored to a juvenile's level of understanding. I found that most of the humor wasn't really to my taste, but if that sounds like something you'd enjoy than perhaps you'd find more value in reading through the story than I did.
As far as pacing goes, there weren't too many issues throughout. Like I said before, the beginning can tend to draw itself out longer than need be, but as a starting point, it isn't the worst I've seen or read before. An average start to an average story isn't absolute trash.
PROS / CONS520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgbUPSW5VeJ
Pros to reading / watching Fairy Tail? You get a whole lot of content. There are roughly 550 chapters of the manga to read, and the anime is still being aired in both English sub and dub. I believe there is planned to be just over 300 episodes there. So if you're looking for something to take you time to get through, this would be a good option.
It's entertaining, to some degree. As an adventure and action story it gives you a whole lot to work with, and there is nearly endless possibility for fanfiction if you are interested in finding a new fandom to write for. There is literally an endless cast to write about, with hundreds of abilities and powers to make your own. Plenty of room to expand and add new things to. Very versatile.
If you're into the anime, it has a very good soundtrack as well. The manga is detailed if you would prefer reading instead, and goes at a good pace.
Now, onto the Cons? This may not be quite the story you think it is. It comes across as something that could be more adult than it really is, so it can be misleading. There are 'adult' themes within the story when pertaining to certain political or social issues, but nothing ever screamed at me 'mature' at any given point of the story. So if you're looking for something a bit more mature or serious, I would look elsewhere.
It can be difficult to relate to either of the main characters, meaning a majority of the story could drag on. Sure you may find you really enjoying watching Levy and Gajeel grow closer, but they are not the main focus of the story and don't appear quite as often. Leaving you waiting in enthusiasm for only small pieces of the story.
The ending can be a big disappointment, though it's largely polarized within the community of fans. You either love it or you hate it, and there's really no one that's essentially right. It's all a matter of preference.
FINAL GRADE520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡm8pCOsfGPk
6 out of 10520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡo8uDqZx62Q
Overall, I could have given Fairy Tail a higher score, but there was just too much about it that disappointed me, I felt giving it a 7 would be too much, even for all of the awesome characters and the badass-ness that was the Tartaros Arc. There was too much I was hoping Fairy Tail would be, and with the endless possibilities that it could offer, that hurt most of all.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ6UyFR2J8M6
Most of the story felt cheap and campy, shouting 'the power of friends and family' and last-minute rescues at every corner. What is a story without any tension? I was disappointed as well in the writer's inability to stick to a decision regarding character deaths. It felt like a cop-out and giving in to upset fans who didn't want their favorite to die.
All in all, not a bad anime, but not one I would ever revisit again. I'll leave the fanfiction writers to do their job and come up with more interesting content for me to enjoy in the Fairy Tail universe, because I won't be reading the 100 Year Quest sequel that was recently created. No thanks. I don't need anymore disappointment.520Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡxvFC9iBAbG
Do you agree with my assessment? Have something to say, or is there something I missed? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to let me know what you thoughts of Fairy Tail!