A brand new season, and I’m not as behind as I have been! Huzzah! I might even get this review out before the next episode airs!
I’ve done some reading on other blogs, and found an interesting article at the manga critic’s website. I haven’t read much on this blog, and from what I can see haven’t found too many reviews of manga I’m interested in, but I do like her writing style, so when I saw an article about writing reviews I made sure to pay attention. As such, I’ll be trying to apply more of what I’ve learned from her in my reviews, and focus on analysis rather than telling you the whole story. It’ll probably take me a while to get this to work for me, but if it makes my writing more enjoyable to read then I’ve got not reason not to try it.
That being said, you are now witness to a new season of Fairy Tail, accompanied by my brand new and improved review format. Sort of.
With a new season comes a new Opening and Ending. Opening Five is “Egao No Mahou,” by Magic Party, and features an upcoming arc that confirms for me that the series will be continuing on with the manga storyline. I won’t say that the song is my favorite, but it’s up there. I’ll have to listen to all the openings in a row to make a definite decision about my favorite. I’ll just say I like this one, it fits the series and takes a similar tone as previous openings, setting the proper mood for the show.
The first part of the episode is more or less an epilogue as Lucy summarizes what has happened during the week since the Harvest Festival. Natsu complains to Makarov about expelling Laxus, before Erza tells him to stop and consider the master’s feelings.
Natsu’s an interesting character to try and get a handle on. He follows the typical “Idiot Hero” stereotype so common in Shonen, who rarely holds a grudge against someone. Yet at the same time he’s also easily the most violent of the idiot heroes, going so far as to use violence to solve all his problems. Even his idiocy is strange, in that he shows perceptiveness outside of combat, not generally something idiot heroes like Goku do. Luffy comes the closest, but his perceptiveness is much more subtle. In Natsu’s case the best case of perceptiveness is when he deduces that the pile of paper on Lucy’s desk is in fact a book she’s working on. My conclusion is that Natsu’s idiocy is the result of ignorance rather than lack of intelligence. Having been raised by a Dragon Natsu doesn’t really have much experience with other humans growing up.
Makarov reveals that Laxus was not a dragonslayer, but instead that Ivan instilled Laxus with a Lachryma that would give him dragonslayer magic. This comes across as a bit strange, as in the manga it was Ivan himself that explains what he did to Laxus to Gajeel. Makarov never reveals that he knows what his son did. In the manga there is a certain vibe that the dragonslayer lachryma process is illegal, as all those who are involved with it are in some way evil. This isn’t the case with Laxus, but his father is clearly evil, so there is still that connection. In the anime there isn’t that vibe, and I can’t specifically say whether it really is illegal in the manga, but there’s the possibility of it, a possibility that the anime seems to shut down pretty quickly by making it clear that Makarov knows what Ivan did, and didn’t reveal his opinion about what happened.
Makarov tries to step down as master for penance for Laxus’ actions, but Fried stops him by asking him not to make Laxus’ punishment any worse.
The other Raijinshu seem to have opened up to the guild…
Erza wonders who Mystogan is, but even Makarov doesn’t know anything about him. Which seems like a bit of an oversight on his part. Normally you’d expect the master to know the backgrounds of the people he has to rely on.
The results for the Ms. Fairy Tail contest are posted with Erza the winner, Lucy second place, and Juvia third place. In other words, the three that get the most screen time. In the manga the results were determined by readership poll, and were posted in a color cover page. After that it isn’t brought up again, but I like what the anime does by following up on this and making the fact that Lucy is still without rent money a plot point for the episode.
Cana complains to Lucy about not having a boyfriend, and Lucy inadvertently reveals that she’s never had a boyfriend.
Cana predicts a fateful encounter for Lucy, and immediately after that Mira mentions that a reporter for the weekly sorcerer is coming. Lucy of course thinks that this will be her fateful encounter, leading to her getting a feature in the magazine, for which she gets her rent money, and then the reporter will fall in love with her.
She goes to a bookstore to look for a magazine with hair styles to help her get ready. She meets a guy there while both are stereotypically reaching for the same book. She freaks out at the “fated” way of meeting, and runs off. He follows her and asks her to show him around the city, but she apologizes, saying that she’s busy. Also, Wendy.
The reporter comes to the guild, and instantly endears himself as a character to me (though he’ll never return) with his fanboy antics. He interviews everyone in the guild, except for Lucy (apparently people in Mashima Land don’t like buxom blonds).
After failing to get interviewed in any way Lucy heads home and meets the guy from earlier, deciding to offer to take him around the city. According to the still frames they have a good time.
Back at the guild Natsu tells Lucy they should go on a job, but she can’t because she has a date. But after some consideration and a depressed Natsu and Happy, Lucy decides to go with them instead of on her date.
And with one more appearance from Wendy the episode ends. Who is Wendy? I’m not going to say, you’re just going to have to wait for the next arc to start.
This episode was a combination of a chapter Mashima did with the Reporter based on a fan he met at a convention in America. And the Lucy’s Fated Encounter subplot was part of an Omake Mashima did to commemorate Lucy’s year anniversary in the guild. Whether that much time has passed in the anime isn’t clear, as that plot point is changed from Natsu and Happy wanting to go on a mission with her to celebrate her year anniversary with the guild, to them wanting to go on a mission with her that would pay exactly the amount she needed for her rent. See how they tied that plot point together? Personally I like the change, as it keeps the importance of friendship message, while at the same time working in the rent plot thread from earlier.
The downside of the change is that in the omake Cana predicted a fateful encounter and it turned out that Lucy did have a fateful encounter that day, she’d had it a year prior when she met Natsu and joined Fairy Tail. In this episode it changes the fateful encounter to mean Wendy showing up in the background repeatedly. Not sure how that counts as a fateful encounter when they never actually encountered each other.
The next episode preview reveals that it is an adaptation of a very shippy omake. Obvious changes have been made, but so far we are two for two on filler episodes before the next big arc. I feel confident predicting at least a few more episodes of filler before we start the Nirvana arc. So far the little filler we’ve had hasn’t been bad, and actually very entertaining. If we get several episodes of this kind of quality, then I won’t complain. A little bit of filler never hurt anyone, and if it means the anime gets to continue, I won’t complain in the slightest.
There really isn’t much to say objectively about filler. It’s there to take up space, and allow the anime team time to work on future arcs, and to give the mangaka time to put some distance between the manga and the anime. There’s no lifethreatening situation, and frankly I think that filler that tries to take itself seriously is the kind of filler most fans hate, but Fairy Tail filler so far has been adaptations of omakes, or original filler that focuses on comedy. It realizes its purpose is to entertain and goes all out on that. Rather than trying to make us care about filler characters that we’ll hate no matter what because they aren’t from the original, it focuses on the characters we already care about and lets us get to know them a little better. As such, Fairy Tail filler is good filler.
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