Reviews: Fairy Tail

Initially interesting, then took a nosedive

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.

The Problems With This Series!

There are many problems with Fairy Tail, but most of them begin with the same factor. Natsu. The problems with Natsu branch out from the fact that he hasn't changed in any significant way, nor has he been lastingly affected by any event in the series to date.

Every single character in the series have lost someone significant to them. Lucy, her father; Grey, his parents & Ur; Erza, Simon & Jellal(both temporarily and repeatedly); Wendy...you get the point. Natsu, gets none of that. Sure, he 'lost' Igneel when he was about ten, but that was only because he had been sealed into Natsu's gut...oh! Lisanna...except she's still alive too. As is his brother, who was only revealed to be such around 500 chapters in. His family, he didn't know because he was stillborn(or near enough).

Then there's the power ups that he gets. To be fair, having a power-up is a common trope, so it's fair enough that the main character would get one. The problem is though, that Natsu keeps on getting them, while no-one else does(until Tartaros-other dragon slayers). The problem lies with the mechanics of them. Dragon Force is fair enough, 'Dragon Slayer gets the power of a dragon if he eats a magic of the same type'. The issue, is the rest of them. start with 'Lightning Fire Dragon Slayer Mode'. It was shown that when a dragon slayer 'eats' magic of a different type, they get very sick. That means that Natsu, or any other dragon slayer for that matter, shouldnít have access to any 'element 2 element 1 dragon slayer modes'.

Then, if that wasn't bad enough, now we have 'Fire Dragon King Mode', which we are told is due to the accumulation of Igneel's residual magic and will be completely unusable after said magic is gone. But, the very first thing that happens after Natsu drains it against his brother(still yet to be revealed at the time), he uses it again. Oh, can't forget that he used it to one-shot a 'God' either.

The problem with the power-ups, along with the mechanics, is that they prevent the development of Natsu's mentality. In anything, whenever you run up against a wall, you look for other ways of getting around it. The power-ups in Fairy Tail, while understandable from a narrative perspective, however annoying in their arrival, prevent the mages in Fairy Tail from growing in terms of how they approach battle. The problem that that causes is that by its very nature as a shonen, Fairy Tail(the guild) keeps on running up against enemies that are harder to beat.

Which brings us to the other characters. The power levels in Fairy Tail are stagnant. Which, can of be expected in a shonen, because you'll end up with the bruisers, the middleweights, and the rest. The problem with Fairy Tail is that all three groups have increased in strength at the same rate, as the enemies have gotten stronger by leaps and bounds. Then thereís the overreliance on the belief that Natsu, can save them from anything, despite the fact that he isn't the strongest mage in their guild.

General Review

Fairy Tail is a bad Manga full stop. There are a lot of issues that pile up onto each other to create the mess that is Fairy Tail. This Manga's high moments are only about average and its low moments are pure nonsense.

I feel like talking about the characters would take too much of this review. It is kinda missing the forest for the trees.

Fairy Tail is a manga about the magical guild called Fairy Tail. The main cast of characters is Natsu, Gray, Erza, Lucy. The rest of the side characters get lost in the shuffle. This would not be a problem if Hiro didn't bring them and do nothing with them. Or worst mishandles them like Markov one of the worst father figure characters because he makes bad decisions that hurt the guild for no reason or when he fights it goes two ways he kills an unimportant goober or he gets knocked on his ass.

An example of how poorly Hiro handles his characters is Elfman vs Bacchus this was a big fight for Elfman He had to struggle and it felt like he earned that win and so Elfman looked cool. Baccus then proceeds to lose every other match he has... and some in a comedic fashion. It lessens Elfman's moment because he had a hard time against a character that now looks like a weakling.

Then there is Lisnanna Elfman's little sister who does nothing of note aside from being a member of Natsu's Harem especially since she comes back from the dead kinda. (I don't have room for the longer explanation). She was better dead. Also, Elfman is one of the better cases.

Another core problem is Friendship. Fairy Tail is one of the worst cases of Friendship is Power Because FRIENDSHIP IS LITERALLY POWER. That is awful, I mean it is terrible storytelling device. In most series, friendship inspires the heroes to grow stronger because I want to protect my friend so I will get back up for them. In "Fairy Tail" having Friends means you win. That is a real mechanic and you have Villian groups who are not friends because they didn't the memo. The real problem is friendship directly linked to power is shallow and empty.

Its next biggest problem is the blatant emotional manipulation Media is meant to trick us into feeling but, a skilled writer hides the trick. Hiro does these poorly constructed sad or emotional moments that don't work because things just suddenly happen out of nowhere and you are then asked to care or worst yet revealed with no weight.

You can have a weak plot with strong characters and be great. You can have weak characters if your plot or setting is strong. Fairy Tail fails because it has neither.

Full of highs and lows

Fairy Tail, like other popular shonen mangas, has a tendency to inspire very positive or very negative reactions, depending on the viewer. While one could say that it's due to personal taste, and that does play a role, it's also because Fairy Tail has a tendency to alternate between impressive moments and considerable letdowns.

The plot involves a girl named Lucy joining the eponymous mage guild and going on various adventures It takes a while to get to the main story, but there are a good number of twists and turns along the way, which makes it fun to watch.

The battles can be quite fun to see, when their potential is fully realized, and are often won through strategy, teamwork and creative thinking. Unfortunately, many battles are concluded with some kind of Ass Pull (possibly the most blatant being when someone actually says that Erza overcame a crippling disadvantage "because she's Erza"), and many epic battles take place almost entirely off-screen. Which ones qualify is a matter of personal taste, but it's likely that you'll find yourself dissatisfied with at least a few battles' resolution, and want to see more of others.

Somewhat similarly, the characters vary in quality based on how well they're utilized. Some undergo a fair amount of development over time and have nicely fleshed out personalities, while others are sadly underutilized, and others are overexposed despite not being all that interesting (Natsu, the main protagonist, is the most frequently cited in the latter group), to say nothing about whether characters' power levels live up to the hype. Again, this is ultimately a matter of personal taste, but if you don't end up hating the series, you'll probably like at least one character, while also wishing that character had been shown/developed more.

Like many other shonen series, Fairy Tail heavily emphasizes The Power of Friendship. It's often used well, such as when you can see the camaraderie in the guild and friendships between various members, but occasionally can lead to corny friendship speeches as heroes make implausible comebacks in battle (e.g. the aforementioned incident with Erza).

All in all, Fairy Tail is often enjoyable,but how much you enjoy it depends on how high your expectations are and how well you take it when the series doesn't meet them.

Had potential, but lost its way sometime around the 7-year Time Skip

As the title states, Fairy Tail is a manga that started off with some great potential, but continued to drop in quality as it chugged along. Mashima's become terrible in the storytelling department, and his fights are paced WAY too quickly to ever get truly invested in whats going on between two fighters.

Early on, the story arcs are passable. We follow along with the core members of the Fairy Tail guild to accomplish some impressive feats, and the battles were often fair and well-executed. It was just a fun adventure to watch Fairy Tail go on this grand adventure throughout the world Hiro created. However, that all changed sometime around the Sirius Island arc.

1) Villains suddenly being defeated in very anti-climatic fashion, or being hyped up only to not live up to the potential, and hardly receive any kind of development.

2) Characters we've been following along with suddenly getting random power-ups with hardly any justification whatsoever,

3) Fan-service being so upped to oblivion that its become more of a disservice to women (Chapter 355 being the prime example),

4) The voice of friendship being shoved so painfully into your face that its god's answer to everything,

5) Plot-twists being so odd and convoluted (that bloody Fairy-Sphere time-skip) that you could almost swear it was a bad fanfic.

Including a plethora of other issues, things started getting out of hand for Hiro at this point, and only got worse with how much of a joke the Avatar Arc turned out to be with Natsu going all marysue on a GOD. There's no longer any tension anymore as to what could actually pose a threat to the Fairy Tail guild; even Zeref's newly introduced empire which has already started off on a rough note.


As for the anime, its mediocre at best due to its low-key and still-framed animation. On rare occasions, the animation can be impressive (Laxus vs Natsu/Gajeel or even the 3-way duel between Erza/Minerva/Kagura being standout animation beauties), but for the most part, its nothing special.

The soundtrack is incredible though. I usually always find myself going back to listen to some of the music on youtube.

A series for young girls and young boys who don't know a good story, just yet.

the author is confused on whether he wants to make a love story, battle manga or pornfest.

While the first parts are bearable and funny, (already with tons of plotholes and inconsistencies) the humor runs out fast.

Because seriously, that is the only thing this series has to offer...and tons of fanservice.

what's worse is that those gags and fanservice are placed very badly (like on serious moments or tense moments) which kills whatever good mood the series still has.

sucks I only have 400 words, I could prolly write a book about how this series sucks and how Hiro Mashima (the author) rushes the shit out of this series just to produce garbage after garbage it's not even funny.

friendship power-ups, very long repetitive cheesy speeches about friendships, enemies being hyped as uber-strong only to get beaten in a few panel (mostly one shots), 90% of female enemies turning good to show more fanservice, convenient plot armors, inconsistencies, introducing characters and not using them, almost no character development, the story almost resets after every arc, no progression, hentai references, fairy tail being "right and just" all the time even when they clearly might be wrong, one-dimensional characters, fights ending in gags and tons of holes.

somehow the author wants us to take his characters seriously when he objectifies his characters (male and female) every chapter...it's like watching a kiddie show using friendship as answer for everything but with softcore porn and horrible, redundant, predictable fights with more "friendship" being force-fed into your throat.

I can't even fathom the amount of troll I have seen in this series like the author is intentionally mocking the intelligence of his reader, writing a story for shits and giggles since his readers read everything he pulls out his ass as long as the characters are cool, sexy and funny (but almost empty and one-dimensional)

oh yeah, the male main character's goal proclaimed in the first chapter was rarely mentioned throughout the story, basically he prioritized the protection of the guild even when there are way stronger characters than him in that group.

oh, and he found his goal even without looking for it, which is really dumb.

while the main female character fulfilled her goal at the very start of the series, and is a useless pair of boobs.

Guardians of the Galaxy of Manga

Joining the ranks of movies such as "Frozen" or the "Hobbit" movies, Fairy Tail seems to be becoming one of the series that's "controversial" to like. Its odd, because even though many of the written reviews are critical (and sometimes rather vitriol), on many sites, the average score for the series (anime and manga) is 8-9 out of 10, or 4-4.5 out of 5, and its still one of the most widely read manga out there, being at least in the top 5 most read. That indicates that there is still a sizable fan base, who do truly like this manga.

The whole concept of it being a cliched shounen seems to be a subjective problem. I've seen plenty of people who don't mind the cliches, and actually enjoy them. I for one, certainly do.. Take Guardiansofthe Galaxyas another example. When I watched it, there was no doubt in my mind about what was going to happen, but the characters were so much fun, the action so interesting, and the details unique enough, that it kept me sucked in. Yes, its Strictly Formula, but for some people, that isn't a big problem, if a problem at all.

The notion of the characters being uninteresting, is also subjective. All these characters are ones I like following, and I can describe all of them if someones asksl. Take note, though that I said "uninteresting" not "stagnant". While I do acknowledge they may not as developed as they should, it doesn't bother me, because they are still lots of fun to watch.

People who accuse it of being ripoff aren't looking at it. The Idiot Hero (which mind you, One Piece didn't invent), isn't played up that much, and the characters' personalities are more different when you think about. And I don't see any similarities in art style at all. To grasp at straws, some designs may be similar, but again, the characters are very different, and the skeleton and abilities are as well.

Well, one way or another, it comes down to personal preference. This isn't a story where you go for in depth character development, you come to see characters who are fun, and entertaining. And that's the most important term: fun.

Personally, its my favorite. While I don't think its the best (I personally believe that distinction belongs to Naruto), I still do like it A LOT. And if you're going to bash me for one reason or another, what do you care?

It's Brilliant, 10/10

I absolutely adore Fairy Tail. The best part is the characters. Almost all have backstories, and the backstories still influence their character and give them their quirks, weaknesses, strengths. Even without that, Mashima has this ability to make you love a character within one chapter of seeing them, I know that's happened to me several times. And no matter what people say, yes, there is character development. Erza's more open, less prone to attack everyone at all times. Lucy's gone from a vain, typical blonde to a strong mage willing to pick a fight. Gajeel cares about people instead of brushing them off and living only for himself. You get to watch these characters grow in wonderful ways throughout the whole series, and it's awesome.

The plotlines and arcs are almost always top-of-the-line. While there have been duds, I admit it, the arcs have plot twists and will make you really feel for these characters and everything they go through. And I know, I know, you've heard it- the friendship controversy. My god, people, the thing even has an in-story explanation that's been referenced several times. Yes, Fairy Tail often wins by the power of friendship, yes, there have been a few totally ridiculous fights(Erza vs. Kyouka comes to mind), yes, Natsu always beats the bad guy- but remember that to get to that final battle it always takes the characters pure power and strength. In fact, almost all shounen series has this. It's a staple. But I truly believe that even if you hate the friendship speeches, there are many, many moments when the characters win through simply their strength, that you can really connect to.

Also, it's frickin' hilarious. Before I really fell in love with the series, I literally watched it because it was so frickin' hilarious. Even if you hate everything else, the story is promised to keep you laughing.

And the ships are awesome, even if they are sometimes insufferably dragged out (or in Juvia's case in the anime, played for laughs too many times. Luckily, that doesn't happen in the manga.) Going back and reading the character's interactions with each other early in the series, I can really see how the main ships have influenced each other and how their relationships have grown, in beautiful ways.

So watch the anime, read the manga, and don't listen to the haters or maybe even me- draw your own conclusions

Good but not Great

There are two - okay - three general types of fighting / adventure shonen series. The first relies on a Sorting Algorithm of Evil wherein the characters fight harder and harder enemies and gain additional skills along the way (think YuYu Hakusho). The second is generally framed around small adventure arcs but have very little character development or skill progression (Gintama here which if you haven't seen DO SO). The third type generally subverts the first two where the main character isn't a Hot Blooded Hero or there isn't much reliance on Defeat Means Friendship (arguably Shaman King).

Fairy Tail is firmly in the second. Whatever is going on, expect a happy ending for most involved, most of the antagonists (aside from the really bad ones) eventually getting forgiven and becoming good friends with everyone else and a deus ex machina at least once to prevent the deaths or sacrifices that a character attempts to make. No matter ho bad the physcial damage don't be concerned - the protagonists are in no danger and will walk away from the battle with no injuries after a few minutes. There will be a few of the standard shonen motivations - friendship, hope, fighting solves everything. Almost all the female characters have DD cups and you will see them featured prominently quite often. Same with shirtless men. Both are fine but often during dark, serious events you'll have a lot of Gainaxing to distract you.

That said Fairy Tail isn't bad. The characters are likeable enough and the animation and music is top quality. The arcs last just long enough without becoming tedious and the battles aren't always the same. I did laugh a good bit too.

Its main problem is that everything in Fairy Tail is stagnant The characters rarely change or grow, the arcs don't have a lot of connectivity and there are very few long-term consequences to the world or the individual characters. It's shonen so it's not supposed to be deep but Fairy Tail relies heavily on the most basic formulas and tropes imaginable. Definitely worth an afternoon watch with some snack food but it's not going to stand out that much.
  • MFM
  • 3rd Mar 15
  • 7

Lives and dies by its characters (mostly dies)

As a series with such a huge ensemble cast, itís hardly a surprise that the quality of Fairy Tail depends almost entirely on how well theyíre written. And the answer to that is: not very well at all.

Despite its large cast, most of the characters are glorified side characters. Team Natsu are the only members of the titular guild to appear in half of the arcs, and in the other half they still get the majority of the focus. This would be fine if Team Natsu was at all well-written, but instead theyíre among the most grating characters in the entire series.

Natsu himself is by far the worst offender, being a bog standard shonen protagonist, with the exception of a single tedious running gag being thrown into the mix. In any panel where he appears, Natsu is a void that actively drains any coolness away from fights, poignancy from emotional moments, and humor from comedic moments. The series could be exactly the same, with the sole change of having literally anyone other than Natsu as the protagonist, and itíd be significantly better off for it.

That said, it would still only be decent at best. The rest of Team Natsu alternate between dull and only slightly more bearable than their leader, with the majority leaning toward the latter in any given arc. Perhaps more telling than anything is that as of the most recent arc, the only one I didnít detest was Wendy, the character created solely for kid appeal.

The worst part about Team Natsu being so uninteresting is that the supporting members of the guild are so much more likable. Though perhaps their not being in the spotlight as often is what makes them more bearable; that way, theyíre not around long enough to get sick of them. Even if that was the case, the series would benefit greatly from rotating the focus more, instead of clinging to Natsu in a desperate attempt to prove heís in any way interesting or likable.

I would say Iíve gone on about the characters for long enough, but thereís really nothing else to discuss about the series. The general plot lines sure arenít anything to write home about, and the quality of the various minutiae of the series depends entirely on how the characters are written. If Mashima was a competent writer, Fairy Tail could have been an otherwise standard battle manga with enjoyable characters and character dynamics.

Mashima is not a competent writer.

Don't waste time with it

Forget Bleach, forget Naruto, heck, forget Dragon Ball, Fairy Tail is the ClichťStorm for excellency. This shows, while admittedly having a good animation in the anime, suffers heavily of any semblance of originality.

Let's start from the first arc, especially the pilot and the Deliora arc, they are mostly a rip-off of One Piece, with Lucy a stand in for Nami (only her running gag inverted)and Natsu fulfill the same role as Natsu as the Unskilled But Strong Idot Hero.

Most of the characters are forgettable, their design uninspired due to being either Gonk or Fanservice incarnate. The Running Gag aren't amusing either and the friendship speeches are Anvilicious enough to make Tea cringe, and the Power Of Friendship makes the characters Boring Invincible Heroes. No tension in fights as the enemies hyped up are crushed in Curb Stomp Battles. Admittedly, at least, in this series Dragons are really badass, and there is a character, Erza, with a genuine character arc.

However, the series is dragged down by being So Okay Its Average and, when there are twists, they carry out nothing (like Lisanna's return).

Most disappointing in this point is the Tenrou arc with the promise of being a Wham Episode with deaths and reveals. While a few decent reveals about the Big Bad, they carry no relevance and only (two) villains die, while all the other prove lackster.

If it is your first Shounen, it will be good, but any frequent viewer would quickly figure out most plots and don't bother with it.

6/10

A good ride with a twist of reality

This is a review of the manga up to chapter 191.

Apart from my PSL for Erza and Lucy, I liked:
  • The slightly more realistic tone. Unlike One Piece's protagonists, they still have to submit to authority sometimes. Plus the Guild conflicts (internal and external) showed promise. I hope they'll expand upon those a bit, but it's shonen, so yeah.
  • Erza is badass and a good character besides. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for her to be depowered, derailed or forced into the background to make way for the main hero, as has happened elsewhere. The fact that she hasn't is a source of joy and squee.
  • Following on from that, there's a good bit of teamwork. Natsu is often their trump card, but the team doesn't stand around waiting for him to show up.
  • Power is not everything here, and neither is fighting. Skill, experience, luck and a cool head can triumph. There's that 'realistic' touch again.
  • The multiple cute women of Fairy Tail. It has to be said. :-) Interestingly, there is one old woman in the recurring cast; a skilled healer, she looks old but is neither a Gonk nor comic relief, as so often happens.

What I didn't like:

Recommendation: Read if you like fighting, teamwork, magic used in ways both creepy and cool, badass ladies of war, and can tolerate teen-oriented fanservice and The Power Of Friendship.

Pokemon anime Level

That's putting nicely, as it's as simple and unoriginal with gimmicks as one a running weekly anime/manga should be. Sure it gets good a couple chapters and episodes like the first arcs and established plots but then it starts getting repetitive until it runs dry and excute this same basis over and over again leaving you incredibly underwhelmed with annoyance.

-Characters: Each one of them are as uninspired as any shounen cast, but somehow they did the impossible for me by being even lamer and cheesier than the Strawhats. I mean Natsu is the obvious expy of Monkey D. Luffy but far more blander and is such a static character with unlikeable heroic traits that even you would prefer Luffy over. Erza is the blatant Mary Sue of this story, such as she wins more unbelievably than the main hero and solves all the problems in the main team, Gray is Sasuke/Riku with ice magic gay fanservice, Lucy is basically all the ingredients of shonen main females being annoying with a hint of Kagome and Toryu Honda and she's the most sexually exploited girl, Happy is actually kinda funny but fails to be a point other than a troll. And the others will be even more stagnant and one dimensional and all you need to know about them is the main gimmick or magic that personifies them.

-Story: It's about a bunch of crazy manchilds and women childs beating the shit out of other mages for their friendship and be Team Gurren Wannabes, nuff said. They are epically lame because none of them kill people despite them causeing enough anarchy to topple a city or country. And they're kinda dicks since they only have the right to overthrow law and order for their own reasons disreguarding the safety of innocents when their destructively rampaging on some bad guys. The story is small and only follows Natsu D Luffy with Tony Tony Happy leading his Mage Hats on a quest and shit, and character development is always about bonds and nakama making it the same ass stuff.

-Music: The music kicks ass, which is the only good thing I will say about it.

Overall 3/10. If you have good taste, only good thing about the series is the Shippuden/Celtic music I referred to.
  • ivan
  • 11th Aug 13
  • 2

Quite Likable

As fan of a manga and animes who are perfect examples of True Companions and The Power Of Friendship who also loves as a plus to have likable character with Hidden Depths as their main characters and between Well Intentioned Extremist, Woobie Destroyer Of Worlds and Noble Demon for most of their main villains (with a few exceptions) alongside with Growing The Beard quite early my mind mind, having interesting uses of magic and having in my mind a great Myth Arc I was quite interested in to see how Fairy Tail held up, as I is was told this had a little bit of everything I liked about a story

And in my mind its biggest strength its that is has a likable cast for the most part

Granted, it does its weaknesses in terms of story telling (Especially in the Tournament Arc where some of the victories come as predictable just because itís against Fairy Tail, which come as a tad cheap) but whatís story doesnít have its weaknesses? But in my mind its biggest strength is the fact that a great number of the characters are actually quite likable and have their own interesting personality. These are the kind of people I would spend my time reading about because I enjoy seeing them win, because I enjoy their friendship and their bonds as a family and True Companions. I enjoy reading it because the majority character actually bring a grin to my face and I like how their personalities mesh together to make the wacky yet likable as they are. Granted, this might be because my own family is really this close, or because overall in the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism I am almost always in the idealist side to the point that its sometimes funny, but this is a manga is really something to me personally because how it treats the bonds of trust and friendship.

And sense it seems every time I turn it seems most still ongoing Shonen seem to being going towards the unnecessarily Anti Hero Darker And Edgier route (with a few notable and very worthy as well as excellent exceptions) this manga really is like the much needed breath of fresh air I greatly needed

Not without flaws, but well worth the read.

How the series weighs overall, as of chapter 328,

Pros:
  • Fights are fast paced. No match drags on into tedium.
  • The comedy. Even as the threats become greater, Cerbus Syndrome is never powerful enough to kill the seriesí sense of humor.
  • The characters are well developed for a shounen.
  • Fan service is fairly equal. The author does not objectify women while ignoring that some fans are female.
  • Strong female characters. The girls are not left waiting for the guys to save the day and often contribute just as much (and sometimes more) to achieving victory.
  • The continuity. While itís not without slight consistency errors, the series does a good job of remembering the entirety of its cast, which is no small feat. Minor details in character design and relations between characters are never missed.
  • The plot. Fights are somewhat predictable in that hero will obviously win, the twists and turns that each arc takes, especially later arcs, is always a surprise.

Cons:
  • The shortage of overarching villains leads to new enemies being hyped to make them seem like a threat. Coupled with short fights, this can lead to anticlimactic moments.
  • The fan service. While balanced, it can detract when it comes too frequently.
  • Lack of death. While the series isnít void of it, you will never feel like something bad could happen to anyone in the core or even supporting cast, and the loss of a minor character is so rare that itís a shock simply because someone actually bit it.

And on the anime, up to episode 175:

Itís well animated, though not without the dips in quality that you would expect in a long running series. It follows the manga closely, with the only notable changes being aesthetic adjustments to an early arc. It also adds details to early scenes that the manga did not think to mention until later, giving certain events a stronger emotional impact. Itís had two filler arcs so far. While the first, which was fairly short, is a completely skipable nightmare, the second is impressive to say the least. Without reading the manga and knowing its filler, you may not even notice a difference in it and the other arcs. That the manga creator got involved in its writing and even made a point of referencing the events of the arc within the manga itself may contribute to this.

A Guilty Pleasure

Fairy Tail is enjoyable, not good, enjoyable. I say this because it follows the vast majority of shonen tropes to a T, with the notable aversion of property damage being taken extremely seriously. Despite the fairly cliched plot, the feel of the world and powers are well enough in sync and the characters likable enough to be a competent and enjoyable execution of said cliches.

Fairy Tail: First Impressions

Well, I've reached the end of the Phantom Lord Arc, and this series has won a new fan. There isn't much different it from other shonen, but there are small touches that I appreciate. The one that's first and foremost is the humor. There's nothing really different about the tone of humor from the norm, but what I appreciate is that it doesn't stop. Many series, such as Bleach or One Piece tend to annoy me somewhat because the plot tries to take itself absolutely seriously aside from extremely jarring instances of Mood Whiplash. (OMG, the villain just slaughtered that entire villa—huh, why are these two arguing over something petty? Aren't you supposed to be hurrying to the rescue?) Fairy Tail, on the other hand, constantly maintains humor at virtually all times. Even during "serious" battles, facial expressions remain cartoonish and exaggerated and characters remain consistently silly. What's funny is that before I saw this series, I would have sword that heading in the opposite direction (more consistent drama, less silliness) was the proper way to go. Fairy Tail has changed my mind about that.

The second thing I like about it is that, so far, the story arcs are short. A consistent problem in anime/manga these days is that the buildup and execution of climactic fights slow the pacing of story to ridiculous levels (example: the entire Hueco Mundo arc in Bleach). Fairy Tail's arcs don't tend to last that long so far (again, this is a first impression review, so I have no idea if this changes) and the story continues at a refreshing pace. Likewise, battles are rarely longer than an episode, which I really, REALLY appreciate. The annoying practice of shonen battles sluggishly shifting back and forth between a series of No Sells, anti-left-handedness, and Plot Leveling just wears things down horribly. I sincerely hope that Fairy Tail keeps up such a pace.

And lastly, the cast is likable. As it currently stands, my favorite characters are Team Natsu (Natsu, Gray, Happy, Lucy, and Erza) along with Juvia. Everyone else isn't bad, but these six are my favorites. Everyone gets their own spotlight and the story doesn't typically amount to waiting for Goku to get to Namek Ichigo to escape Hueco Mundo Natsu to beat the Big Bad.

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