Creator Backlash: Juvia's English VA, Brina Palencia, admitted that she was disappointed about her character being romantically obsessed with Gray instead of finding her own self-worth.
Development Gag: Before revealing the black-haired youth on Sirius Island to be Zeref, Mashima considered giving him various other names. Two of them, Toma and Invel (Inberu), were recycled for the king of Fiore and Emperor Spriggan's chief of staff, respectively.
Dueling Dubs: Two English dubs of Fairy Tail exist: one by Funimation, and another by Animax that only airs in South and Southeast Asia. Unlike most Asian dubs, the Animax dub has a relatively devoted cult following, especially the second season (the first is a bit trickier to find) since its episodes were released nearly a year before Funimation, causing some to think Funimation switched out its entire cast in-between seasons.
Executive Meddling: This is rumored to be the reason for Lisanna's return. Apparently, Mashima had wanted to keep her dead, but his editor insisted on bringing her back. Of course, given the gross amount of misinformation that spreads throughout the fandom (see God Never Said That and Word of Dante below), and Mashima's penchant for Trolling the readers (and by extension, the viewers) any, and every chance he gets, it's likely there's little truth to the rumor, if any at all.
Fan Nickname: "Aizawa Belserion" for an unnamed man revealed in a flashback in the Alvarez Empire arc who was Erza's scumbag father due to his uncanny resemblance to Shota Aizawa.
Fandom Nod: At first, certain sections of the fandom bemoaned the idea of an anime filler arc following the conclusion of Grand Magic Games arc, and this kind of reaction is nothing new to anime in general and Shonen in particular. Though a good portion of these fans have since come around to at least being more open-minded about the filler arc after finding the new character designs for the Eclipse Celestial Spirits interesting, the first actual episode of the filler arc was positively chock-full of references and foreshadowing for the upcoming Tartarosarc, including Happy getting an afro and Character Development for Lucy and Aquarius' relationship (and given what happens in the Tartaros arc between the two, this can very easily be considered a Tearjerker to those who have read it. It's hardly a secret that the fandom has been eager to see Tartaros animated, and if these Mythology Gags are any indication, the studio is well aware of this.
This◊ little gem in the Tartaros arc of the anime did not go unnoticed by the shippers, either. Explanation "Nalu" is the fandom name for Natsu/Lucy.
Most of the anime-original characters were created or designed by Hiro Mashima himself; the ones who appear in the "Key of the Starry Heavens" arc are even accepted as canon thanks to its Continuity Nod present in Chapter 282 of the manga.
The gentlemanly version of Gajeel present in the anime with a color-inverted version of his guitarist getup is also his work. Hiro Mashima noted that he wanted an Edolas version of Gajeel in the manga, but couldn't work him in. This is how he envisioned him.
All of the Eclipse Celestial Spirits were designed by Mashima himself, and the anime refers back to that arc during Mard Geer's confrontation with the Celestial Spirit King.
God Never Said That: A sizable portion of the fandom believes that Mashima stated that Natsu and Lucy would end up together, when he actually just said that in a hypothetical scenario where the two had a son, he would be called "Nashi"; incidentally the name is Japanese for "Non-existent", meaning it was a very coy response to his thoughts on the matter.
Angel of Oracion Seis being Yukino's long-lost sister, Sorano.
Silver being Gray's father.
E.N.D. = Etheriousnote or something to that extent, such as "Evil" Natsu Dragneel.
Irene being Erza's mother. Some people tried to go 2 for 2 by claiming Acnologia was her father due to Irene's heavy involvement with dragons and being the first Dragon Slayer and as an explanation for Erza's amazing skill, but it turned out her father was just some scumbag from an arranged political marriage that got his just desserts.
Quite a few anime fans predicted that Juvia's replacement voice actress, Dina W. Balencia, was actually a pseudonym for Dawn M. Bennett. They were right.
Official Fan-Submitted Content: The designs of Princess Hisui and four of the Hungry Wolf Knights besides the leader were created as part of a design contest.
The English dub, as good as it is, is not completely immune to this, as various actors moved between Seasons 1 and 2 since no one was certain that Funimation would continue dubbing it at that time. Corey Cleary-Stoner replaced Michael Chinnici as Jet starting at Season 2 because Chinnici retired from acting and moved away to Los Angeles as a photographer. Lindsay Seidel replaced Kayla Carlyle as Romeo only halfway through Season 1 due to Carlyle also moving to Los Angeles and working in union-only projects.
Also in the dub, Magic Council member Leiji went from Jim Johnson to Keith Kubal when the new council is formed in episode 96 because of Johnson's inevitable unavailability.
Plue was voiced by Majken Bullard in the first season before being replaced by Funimation script adapter Monica Rial for the rest of the series (she is also Mirajane) as Bullard moved away to San Francisco.
Eric Cherry replaced Shelton Windham as Max Alors in Season 3. Windham moved to New York City to work as a teacher and an actor.
Barry Yandell (who also voiced Sol) has replaced Antimere Robinson as Bob in Season 4, as Robinson mainly works as a graphic and web designer in Dallas.
Also in Season 4, Chris Ryan has taken over for Steve Summers as Goldmine due to Summers continuing his career as a singer.
Due to Masashi Hirose's health issues, Yutaka Aoyama replaced Hirose as the voice of Hades starting with the seventh season.
This also happened to Bixlow after Scott Freeman was arrested for possession of child pornography; Tyler Walker, the ADR director and voice of Vijeeter, replaced him.
Due to the death of Bob Magruder in early 2015, Igneel and the narrator are voiced by Jim White.
Grandeeney was first voiced by Pam Doughtery during her talk with Igneel in episode 48. When it became known that Grandeeney was, in fact, the Earth-land counterpart of Porlyusica, who is voiced by Linda Young, the latter took over for the dragon in the Tartaros arc, cementing her as the de facto voice actress for the characters. Young's roles also make an example of Acting for Two.
During his first speaking appearance during Erza's trial, Crawford Theme was first voiced by Bradley Campbell who would go on to voice the succeeding council chairman Grand Doma. When making his proper appearance in the Tartaros arc, however, Crawford is voiced by Bill Brooks as Campbell moved away to New York City.
Due to Krishna Smitha doing union-only projects after moving to Los Angeles, Marissa Lenti replaced her as Libra.
In a similar vein to Arai's maternity leave, Ikumi Hayama temporarily replaced Mariya Ise as Levy McGarden.
Due to Juli Erickson's retirement from acting, Casey Casper replaced her as Ohba for the final season.
Since Alex Organ retired and now only does theater projects, Christopher Wehkamp replaced him as Doranbalt.
Gabe Kunda replaced Major Attaway as Arcadios due to the latter moving to New York City in 2016.
The Other Marty: An English dub trailer of the first part of the Edolas arc features Faust being voiced by Bradley Campbell. By the time of the DVD release, however, Campbell was properly replaced with R. Bruce Elliott when it became clear that Faust was the Bizarro Universe counterpart of Elliott's primary character, Makarov.
Posthumous Credit: Bob Magruder, the English voice actor for Igneel and the narrator, managed to complete all of his dialogue for the sixth season before he died in January 2015. He's given a posthumous credit for the fifteenth Blu-ray/DVD release.
Mashima mentioned in Volume 10 that he once thought of Erza's entire adult life being All Just a Dream of young Erza, but decided against it when he realized what that would mean for the entire rest of the series.
Considering the problems she has as an adult (not the least of which is that the love interest she relied on so much as a child is Brainwashed and Crazy), this would have some serious implications for her mental state if it were true.
Her friends also were supposed to be the Quirky Miniboss Squad of the arc, rather than have a Bait-and-Switch with Trinity Raven. When he was writing their backstories Mashima decided that he liked them too much to make them serious villains.
Similarly, Erza's original character design had her as more of a Nubile Savage than the Magic Knight we know her as. Mashima's idea for her character was simply "a woman badass enough to scare Natsu" and everything evolved from there.
Mashima intended to kill Makarov off no fewer than three separate times across the series, but decided against it each time. Ironically, when Makarov really did die in the Alvarez Empire arc, Mashima allegedly meant it to be final, but became so emotional over Mavis and Zeref's subsequent death scene that he resurrected Makarov anyway, playing right into the expectations of jaded readers who wouldn't buy it a third time.
The anime was officially going to end after the Daphne filler arc, which is why most of the passing references to Gildarts were left out. It proved more popular than expected so it continued.
According to the Q&A section of volume 22, Erigor was supposed to appear as a member of the Oración Seis, but was ultimately cut out when Mashima wanted to make them slaves at the Tower of Heaven instead. The only bit that was left in was a brief mention at the start of the arc before Natsu and his friends' departure. However, he was added into the anime adaptation of the arc, and was even included in the guild's roster in a Filler arc under the codename "Grim Reaper".
The name Oración Seis was originally only used as a placeholder for another title Mashima was trying to come up with, but he ended up going with it when the deadline came too close for comfort.
Mashima always intended for Faust to be Makarov's Edolas counterpart, but was forced to exclude it from the manga for reasons unknown. He was glad to see that the anime included it, but complained that their shared actors made the connection too obvious.
Cosmos was originally named "Fione", but her name was changed because it sounded too similar to "Fiore", the primary setting.
Before The Reveal that Mest was a council agent pretending to be a member of Fairy Tail, Mashima considered making him an actual member of Fairy Tail, Grimoire Heart, or even Tartaros. In fact, he intended to set up another reveal that Mest really was an amnesiac Fairy Tail member all along, but never got around to it.
A series of older sketches◊ Mashima released during a drafting phase for Volume 32 of the manga shows Lucy kneeling before Zeref in the lower right-hand corner.
Mavis was originally envisioned as a male character, but Mashima redesigned her after finding out that Mavis is a female name.
Ever since he illustrated Zeref's first on-screen appearance, Mashima actually hadn't settled on him being the hitherto-unseen main villain of the series, and experimented with at least four other names. Two of them, Toma and Inberu/Invel, were later assigned to other characters. The other two, Mafuyu and Fuyuki, both contain the Japanese word for "winter", fuyu, which would've brought Mashima's Temporal Theme Naming full circle.
Word of Dante: Everyone treats it as a well known fact that Lucy's mother died on July 7th, X777, the same day the dragons disappeared. It was mostly to imply some greater connection between Natsu andLucy, as if you actually look through the series you might notice that while she did die that year, there's no mention whatsoever of the exact day or even month she passed away. It was outright debunked in Chapter 465, when it was revealed that Layla Heartfilia was the one to open the Eclipse Gate to allow the five natural dragon slayers into the modern era (which was the day the dragons "disappeared/died"), and died herself just a few weeks later.
Word of God: Mashima often confirms or explains plot details in the Q&A sections of several manga volumes, titled "Emergency Request! Explain the Mysteries of Fairy Tail", hosted by Lucy and Mirajane. Perhaps one of his biggest confirmations is the reveal in Volume 15 that Natsu and Gajeel actually aren'tover 80 years old, which was never explicitly stated in the story after the mystery came up. That led many readers to believe the two wereover 400 years old, further propagated by vague evidence at best.
Write Who You Know: Kinana's pre-Time Skip, Wan Chanzi, Joey Fullborn and Chico=C=Hammitt designs is based off of Mashima's assistants.
Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Mashima admitted he never really expected Fairy Tail to last as long as it did and was mostly just envisioned as a series of adventures then a ongoing epic. As such most of the arcs more questionable outcomes are due to him coming up with things right on the spot to meet deadlines. This includes the finale since he really didn't have a clear end goal for the series. There was a predictable and unpleasant backdraft that followed.
You Make Me Sic: Post something along the lines of "Who's your favorite Fairy Tail character?" online and take a shot every time someone tells you the genre is actually spelled Fairy Tale.
Or on the flip side, look up Fairy Tail stuff and see how many images of/links to fairy tales you get.