I remember, clearly, when I first encountered this anime. It was right when it began airing, and I proceeded to apply my one-episode rule. I liked it almost immediately, and what really hooked me was the very first moment we see Natsu eat fire, much to the astonishment of his enemies, whom he proceeds to wipe the floor with, with the Celtic-flavored main theme roaring to life. I liked that moment so much I shared it with my roommate (after making sure he was alright with anime) and that was pretty much it. I was hooked on Fairy Tail.
It did take two or three dozen episodes for my appreciation of it to develop into entirely loving it, but it became the first anime in my life that I ever called “my favorite.” Needless to say, I have pretty favorable opinion of it. 😉
Fairy Tail follows the adventures of the titular guild of wizards, famed for their strength, loyalty, and a particular proclivity for collateral damage. They are much more an unyielding hammer than a precise, flimsy scalpel. As Natsu puts it, “Breaking things is a Fairy Tail specialty.” 🙂
The story begins with a young girl, Lucy Heartfilia, joining her favorite wizards guild, the titular Fairy Tail, after a tumultuous first meeting with Natsu Dragneel. From there, the cast gradually and continually expands, but revolves most around those closest to these two. It follows their adventures as they take jobs and face down gangs, monsters, and especially other wizards.
The primary drive of the show is the action, the fights. Said fights display the magical skills of everyone involved, and a great deal of effort clearly went into the magic system, what with all the unique and intricate spell circles and the vast array of mystical talents. There are elemental abilities, with some nuance to be found among such, and enhanced special skills, and written magic, and magic involving contracts with spirits… the list goes on, and it is fascinating.
But the real entertainment of the show, for me, is the characters. Be they good or bad, or somewhere in between, or villains on the road to redemption, they are a colorful, endearing bunch. Their antics are hilarious, heart-warming, inspiring, or, in the case of the villains, properly horrifying. It’s easy to feel sad when the characters are sad, or angry when they’re angry, or happy when they’re happy. That is no small thing.
With generally thrilling fights and lovable characters, the overarching plot is fairly straightforward. The wizards of Fairy Tail go about righting wrongs and beating bad guys, and they stumble their way through a plot involving the legacy and machinations of the most fearsome of all dark wizards in the history of the world, while also touching on ancient conflicts that eventually bring them into battle with the greatest and most terrible powers in the world. All of this, while exploring themes of loyalty and friendship, love and power, and the magnitude of what it means to stand in judgment of others.
It’s a thrilling, exciting, generally uplifting ride.
And the music is great! I love this soundtrack! 🙂
But there are a few things which could be improved. For one, while the magic and technological system of the world might be riveting to behold, it seems to be designed more for the thrill than for the sense it makes. People have their abilities, or not, just because, with not much rhyme or reason applied. Similarly, the plot suffers from extending for too long and accomplishing fairly little, and getting a bit monotonous. Heck, even the fights get repetitive, especially when so many of them are decided by “THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP!” My favorite fights actually lack that notion completely, and are decided by one’s wits.
Finally, from what I understand, that sense one gets that the author is just making it up as he goes is rather well justified here. Not only are there smaller examples of such (an early fight features a pair of combat wizards boasting of how so many wizards ignore physical power, yet 99% of the wizards we see in the series are entirely physical in their power), but the manga’s conclusion, from what I hear, was pretty much just made up on the spot. It fulfilled very few of the promises the series had made, completely ignored many of the couplings the audience was rooting for, and left many fans disappointed. I am actually hoping that the anime departs from the manga in that regard, at least.
That said, I still absolutely love this show, and there’s plenty to love about it. Fantastic fights, powerful magic, epic triumphs, touching drama, endearing characters, beautiful music… it’s easy to love Fairy Tail. 🙂
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.