Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 69 – Call of the Dragon

Don’t look now; It’s Filler Time!

It’s the time that Naruto and Bleach fans dread.  Filler!  I’ve commented on the filler in Fairy Tail before, and so far haven’t found anything to complain about.  Mostly that is because the filler has been really short, unconnected episodes, and focused completely on comedy.  But individual filler episodes that come in batches of two don’t give the manga-ka much time to keep ahead of the anime.  And in order for Fairy Tail to continue it needs to stay well away from the two remaining arcs, which means – Filler arcs!

Which is exactly what our current episode is the first of.  I know that in the past I’ve been okay with filler since it never tried to take itself seriously, and never made me suffer through months of it.  But the fact remains that eventually we’re going to have to put up with filler if we want to see the entire manga animated.  This is it folks, the trying fires.  If what we witness in this episode does indeed become an extended filler arc then it will be the moment that determines the future of the Fairy Tail anime.

Or not.  Either way, let’s see if we have to suffer terrible filler in Fairy Tail, or if A-1 Pictures and Satelight come through for us.

 

The first quarter of the episode is actually canon material, and mostly just wraps up a few of the loose ends from the arc.  Lucy gains three new keys, Gemini, Scorpio, and Aries (who is probably just happy that she finally has a master that won’t use her as a call girl, or meat shield).  Natsu, healed of his motion sickness, enjoys the boat ride home – up until the point where Wendy tells him that the healing magic she used on him will eventually wear off.  Which it does.

When they get back to the guild Wendy introduces herself as the Sky Dragonslayer.  When the guild doesn’t respond, but instead stares at her, she wonders if they didn’t believe her.  Of course they do believe her, and she is welcomed with open arms.

But not all is well, as Gajeel ominously watches the proceedings from the second floor, and wonders…why he doesn’t have a cat like the other two dragonslayers in the guild.  Gotta say, I’m really glad Mashima got rid of all the doubt of Gajeel’s loyalty, because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the tough guy revealing his inner teddy bear.

After all that the episode switches to a few weeks later, and the filler officially begins.  Wendy tries to choose her first mission, and Mirajane suggests that for her first one she should partner up with someone else.  Both Lucy and Levi offer their teams to accompany Wendy.  Before Wendy can choose who to go with, Gray – wearing clothes I might add (this is important, pay very close attention) – comes and tells Natsu about how he heard a rumor that someone had seen a dragon.

 

Natsu and Wendy go to find the person Gray told them about, while Gajeel stays at the guild, saying it’s nothing but a rumor.  Erza in the meanwhile is buying a cake as a welcome gift for Wendy, as well as 99 more for herself.  When she leaves the bakery she is attacked by a cloaked individual, with very reptilian looking feet, who can use the same magic as her.  They fight for a minute, and then the figure disappears.  Really quite well animated too.

 

Natsu and Wendy get to the hotel, and find that no one is there, except for in one suspicious room…

There they meet Daphne, the inventor of a diet food who won’t let Natsu get a word in edgewise as she keeps going on about the benefits of her invention, how she created it, etc.  When Natsu finally manages to ask her about seeing a dragon she tells him that it was a lie.  She told people she’d seen a dragon so that they would believe that she put dragon scales in her food, which might have unknown useful properties.  A publicity stunt basically.

 

Back in the guild Erza tells the master about being attacked by the person who could use the same magic as her.  She mentions that she knows there are other people out there that use Requip magic, but that something about her attacker seemed ominous, and smelled strangely like a beast.  Not that it’s ever explained what exactly a beast is.  At this point I was starting to perk up, because I realized that there was more to this than a goofy diet food saleswoman who may or may not be a villain.  Now we have a real threat, a conflict – aka/ something that none of the other filler had.  So far it doesn’t seem too bad.  A stranger who uses the same magic as Erza, and was able to go toe to toe with her.

 

Natsu and the others discover that they can’t get out, all the exits and windows lead into nowhere.  Daphne then reveals that Gray is working with her, and used the lie about the dragon to lure Natsu there.  Gray (still wearing clothes, very important clue here) challenges Natsu to a fight.  The final fight, to decide which one of them is more powerful.  And with that the episode ends.

 

I must say, I’m pretty impressed.  The stories being set up here aren’t too shabby at all.  Of course it’s easy to have a good setup, and a really stupid execution, but so far I am inclined to give this filler the benefit of the doubt.  Daphne is a pretty well written, entertaining character, who somehow manages to come across as a credible villain (not an easy thing to do, the moment a villain becomes funny is usually the moment they fail as a villain).  At the same time the writers are able to give her a ton of personality, which also manages to be entertaining to watch.  There are also several questions raised just from this episode.  Why is Gray working with Daphne?  Is he really Gray, or is he under some kind of mind control?  (Hint: He’s wearing clothes!)  And what about the guy who attacked Erza?  Overall I have to say that I’m pretty impressed.  From the little I’ve seen I honestly think this filler is going to be good.  I might be wrong, but I’m feeling pretty confident here.

No idea how long this filler will be, my prediction is no more than two to three, or maybe even more, episodes.  It would be nice to see a longer filler arc in an anime that wasn’t retarded, but something tells me this won’t be it just yet.  Not that I think it will be stupid, just that it won’t be very long that is.

Definitely nice to see the quality of the anime maintained after the amazing climax of the last arc.  I’m looking forward to see how this develops.

If you liked my review, Watch the Episode Here!

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