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Reviews Comments: Initially interesting, then took a nosedive Fairy Tail whole series review by Nikita 123

Fairy Tail is quite an interesting and promising series at the beginning. The plot lines are decent, being well-thought out and fairly well executed.

However, there are some glaring flaws which only worsen as the series goes on, pointing to some serious issues in the overall storytelling, the most serious of all being:

1) Fights: Given the genre, we can expect there to be lots of battle sequences. However, the increasing number of asspulls thinly disguised as The Power of Friendship end up becoming incredibly lame excuses just to see our heroes win. There are no serious challenges, let alone defeats, for the guild. I'm looking especially at Natsu, who frequently triumphs over opponents that he should have NO chance against. (That moment he defeated a god was when I lost all respect for him as a hero).

2) Characterization: Now, I know that this series is meant to be entertaining and doesn't have much depth to its characters. However, the author appears to have decided to make them as basic as possible without giving them any chances to grow or at the very least work on their flaws. This is partly due to the above: none of them are allowed defeats. There are brief moments(Gildarts teaching Natsu that fear can be important for survival) but these are very rarely expounded upon.

3) Fanservice: While already prevalent in the beginning, this has been taken Up to Eleven with practically every female being saddled with DD cups. Lucy is the most affected by this - one can only wonder how she manages to walk with those humongous...well, you get the point. This ends up becoming incredibly annoying and intrusive to the plot.

4) They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Although the plot arcs were initially passable, there were way too many contrived and coincidental plot twists(which naturally became affected by the nature of the fights) to feel natural. For example, the time-skip, which wasn't decently handled at all due to insufficient development or foreshadowing to avoid making it seem like another asspull.

In short, while this began as an entertaining and energetic watch/read, the author appears to have lost his way and doesn't appear to know the identity of his own series.

Comments

  • gk3389127
  • 31st Dec 15
In many respects, I disagree wholeheartedly, not with the Fanservice, but I stand by that stuff like that can only really bother a person if one lets it, and honestly, I've seen far worse in other products.

That may be true with the fighting, but why is it so wrong that this series does, when other series are just as guilty of it. In One Piece or Naruto, is there any fear that the protagonists are going to lose. The god fiasco may have been inexcusable, but weren't they completely curb stomped in the following arc by another enemy?

And really, all the characters are basic? I can think of several times where the characters have serious moments of emotion.

In summary, a lot of the problems you list are just as glaring in other series. What makes it so wrong for this one to have them as well?
  • MFM
  • 31st Dec 15
I'm not sure where anyone implied it was okay for other series to have similar flaws.
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 31st Dec 15
I feel like Fairy Tale had a lot of solid foundation but just didn't have the ability to stretch itself as long as it did.

Like at the start, one of the things that made the fighting so good was that it was clearly established who was more skillful than who and they finished arcs with satisfying fights against strong opponents where the heroes had to dig deep and emotionally grow to overcome the challenge. But when that arc is repeated again and again and again it all becomes absurd, the emotional climaxes become yet another time Natsu wins through flashbacks and the power of friendship, the well defined power levels become nonsense as the heroes have to face harder and harder villains to create a challenge. There's only so many times you can be told that the new bad guy is the strongest bad guy you've ever seen before it becomes ludicrous.

And it's similar with the fanservice, it was indulgent at the start, but when it went back to the fanservice well again and again it became really destructive to the characterisation.

What killed it for me was, I liked Lucy. And through the first couple of arcs she grows as a person and a fighter - but then that would all derail again and again because they needed her for the humour and fanservice. When you've seen her summon all the zodiacs at the same time through sheer will power and deal with the king, but then you have to watch her fall over a bucket of water again and splash it all over herself...it's just not worth continuing. Nothing will ever change properly because Fairy Tale wasn't able to adapt and keep things fresh as it kept on going.
  • Nikita123
  • 1st Jan 16
Tomwithnonumbers summarised exactly what I meant. It's not that other series don't have similar flaws - it's that Fairy Tail just overindulges in the flaws present. The fanservice actually makes certain characters act OOC - it's the most obvious with Lucy.

The fights - well, I was very impressed with them at the beginning, but they began repeating again and again as though there is nowhere to go from there. That's why I said characterization is stagnant - how can the "serious moments of emotion" be taken seriously if you've already seen them in another arc?
  • gk3389127
  • 2nd Jan 16
To say OOC seems like an inaccurate term to use, since they don't seem out of character to me. Unless you count the OV As, which you can't.

Again, I disagree. The point of series like these, is seeing the overtop, silly fight scenes. The best comparison I have is watching a Marvel movie. I know exactly what's going to happen, but I don't care because I enjoy seeing scenes like those. It may be Formulaic, but there are people who like the formulas. And I don't think that all the fights end the exact same way. To me, there are enough variations in certain parts to prevent if from becoming stagnant, and that's the point, seeing new magic spells with new details. For example, in the final battle at the Tenrou Island arc, there was no doubt that Natsu was going to deliver the final blow to the antagonist, but what made it fresh for me, was the fine details. That's what makes the fights work for me, the new details they add on.

I try to think of moments where where there are legitimate moments of emotion, where I feel for the characters. And there are, I think of the scene where Lucy finds out her father died, where Natsu finds and loses Igneel, where Natsu finds out he's Zeref's brother, where we find Natsu is Zeref's brother, the scene where Lucy sacrifices Aquarius to summon the King, and others. When a serious moment needs to be serious, like the ones I listed above, their allowed to play out. Comedic scenes afterwards are to prevent it from ending on a too solemn tone, which would be against the whole series.

Well, one way another, to each their own. I'm going to keep it my way, just as you're going to keep it your own. I'm not asking you to like it, just like you're not asking me to not like it. Take note though I said "I", not "you" when writing this, because I don't speak for others.
  • XenosHg
  • 2nd Jan 16
I feel that all your "moments of emotion" except the first one are from the latest manga chapters.
  • VeryMelon
  • 11th Jan 16
Tomwithnonumbers summarised exactly what I meant. It's not that other series don't have similar flaws - it's that Fairy Tail just overindulges in the flaws present.

This is my issue as well. Fairy Tail doesn't just share whatever issues any popular shonen manga have, it uses them to repeat a damn-near unchanging plot structure of events.
  • gk3389127
  • 2nd Feb 16
Xenos Hg

One, I don't think some chapters from at least a year ago (all but one) now constitute as "latest".

Two, sarcasm is wholly unnecessary.

  • dianastills
  • 13th Feb 16
Well, like you said, to each his own. I agree with the OP though, in that the fights are overly repetitive, and the fanservice is just annoying and unrealistic. Maybe the characterisation is better than it's given credit for, though. There are touching moments - but I find them ruined because given the genre, the fights are also opportunities to explore characterisation, and this is an opportunity that Mashima just doesn't take anymore.

All in all, I feel that there are other series of the same genre which make the same mistakes, but are nevertheless of better quality(One Piece is by far my favourite).
  • The08MetroidMan
  • 16th Apr 17
Hate to speak out against anyone directly, but I honestly cannot agree with gk3389127's comments for a number of reasons.

To start with, the OOC aspect comes from how it seems like characters will suddenly take inefficient or unnecessary actions/poses to accentuate fanservice. One of the biggest offenders of this was in the Tartaros Arc when Natsu and Lisanna were stripped naked and tossed in a cell together, with their solution being to have Lisanna pushed up against the wall with her legs spread out trying to push apart Natsu's wrist-cuffs, his back and hands facing her pelvis as she did so. You'd think one of the first things they do would be to try and move to get their arms in front of them so that they could work on the things more conventionally, rather than move to what Lisanna flat-out lampshades as being a compromising position. And that's just ONE instance I can think of - there's more blatant ones like Wendy stopping in the middle of her fight with Eileen/Irene to take note of the latter's chest-size, while Eileen/Irene does the same with Wendy's own; they weren't portrayed as people senseless enough to focus on that in the middle of battle.

This leads straight into the second problem I have with your comment; the idea that the series in general being over-the-top means that EVERY moment of it has to end up like this, or that there cannot or should not be any form of complexity or even nuance. To compare it to a Marvel movie... is honestly an INSULT by comparison in my opinion, because Marvel at least mixes up the formula. It doesn't let the conclusion being foregone prevent it from changing around the hows, whys and whens of how it happens - it doesn't just take the quickest or easiest route to get there, nor the most obvious ones, and it works to build up a reason for why that scene plays out as it does. Saying "there are people who like the formulas" feels like an excuse, because that's like saying that there should never be any deviation or change. By contrast, ALL of Fairy Tail's fights end the exact same way - with the characters never losing, never doubting and never changing; in the Marvel films, the characters change and evolve, but in Fairy Tail they never do because all their character development is past-tense, therefore they never suffer the needed hardship in the now to evolve past what they were introduced as.

This leads to the third issue I have - which is the idea that suddenly tossing in new types of magic out of nowhere every fight somehow makes it a good twist. If there is one thing I have learned about storytelling, it is that suddenly throwing in something new and unexpected doesn't equate to it being a good twist if it comes out of nowhere with no explanation for it. To borrow from one Doug Walker / The Nostalgia Critic, everyone turning into snowmen of George Tekei would be a surprising twist, but it wouldn't be a good one because it just came from nowhere with no rhyme or reason for it. I have not seen any such "fine details" in more than a few select fights in Fairy Tail and especially not the later ones, so it just gets progressively blander for me as time goes on.

Likewise, point four I disagree with you is on the idea of any emotional moments being actually legitimate... because in reality, they rarely seem to be. What you're describing are GENERAL emotional traits - they are things that are not UNIQUE to Lucy, Natsu and co; any feeling human being is going to be distressed to have their parent die or to see it happen in front of them. Hell, I've even seen complaints that the tie between Natsu and Zeref (hotheaded little brother resurrected as semi-evil hybrid by his mentally-unstable demon-creating humanity-hating "big bad brother") is just a re-hash of Allen Walker's tie to the Millennium Earl in D Gray Man. Not to mention how the "family member on the villain's side" has been done ad-nausium throughout the series - Lucy's father Jude backing Phantom Lord, Makarov's grandson Laxus starting a civil war in the Guild, Laxus' own dad Ivan heading a dark guild, Gray's dad Silver being a corpse-puppet of Tartaros, Erza's mother Eileen being Zeref's right-hand woman, Mavis' son August being his father Zeref's right hand man.

Point five I disagree with is with how every single one of these things, all the "emotional impact" is ultimately ARTIFICIAL due to the very fact that nobody ever dies; there are no consequences or lasting effects from these. Gajeel, Carla and Juvia's faux-deaths in the current arc are perhaps the biggest offenders to this, portraying what was supposedly an emotional scene and completely undoing it literally one chapter later, making investment or any sense of suspense completely invalidated. Even before the timeskip it had this issue - Makarov having a heart attack but then never having his health be an issue again. Jellal having been The Lost Lenore for Erza only for it to be undone entirely. Mira, Laxus and Natsu also had Lisanna as The Lost Lenore, but that was undone too. Even if they weren't done as quickly as later examples, these two still axed out a lot of the emotional side of things their absences caused, because it seems that the story is more focused on everyone having a perfect ending than actually making us care enough to see it. It treats death with so little seriousness and respect that when someone finally does die, the only response one can muster is either "at last he's dead", "did he actually die or something?" or "wow, that took long enough for someone/anyone to bite it."

Point six is your comment about comedic tones - which, in all honesty, I don't agree with. More often than not, I think Fairy Tail has NO such balance between these elements, or at least not anymore. One such thing comes to mind is when Erza is captured by Koyuka, as her torture scene looks and plays out more like soft-core BDSM-porn. Same for her mother Eileen in the flashback to her past, and Lucy when captured by Tartaros. Serious scenes also get ruined by inappropriate fanservice - when Koyuka gets punished by Mard Geer, there's more than one scene focused on her ass while she gets needled by thorns; when Eileen seemingly kills Wendy's mind and takes over her body, she gropes her new (twelve-year old) body to weigh her breasts, combined with a panty-shot (again, on the twelve-year-old girl) when she attacks Erza; when Wendy in Eileen's body is forcibly undoing the switch, she blurts out "It's great having this big chest, but I need to stop you" in what should be a very tense exchange (if she'd made some comment AFTERWORD or the like about missing the nice body, that would have been better paced - but right in the middle like that just throws one off and makes the eyes roll); hell, even Makarov's death scene is undercut by how the shot of his petrified corpse is largely dominated by Erza's butt when she falls over on her knees in front of him, turning what should be a sad moment into an "uggghh" moment.

I get that you have your own tastes, just like mine. But I for one just can't look at this series and feel as you do - maybe it once had something going for it, but at this point I feel morel like it's more nostalgia carrying the series on than anything else.
  • marcellX
  • 16th Apr 17
Point 5. I always put it simply, it\'s trying to have your cake and eating it too. Mishima doesn\'t kill FT members (I\'m still iffy about Makarov), yet tries to go through the whole act and emotional tax of it.

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