The thing about Fairy Tail is that unlike so many other shonen fighter anime, it doesn’t waste the viewers’ time. An episode like this one shows that perfectly, where not only does an entire fight begin and end in the same episode, but a second fight begins and ends almost immediately after that. It’s only been eighty eight episodes, but an amazing amount of story has been crammed into those about forty four hours.
Lucy calls out Taurus to fight Byro, but he is defeated by Byro’s flame liquid. Byro uses an alchemical style of magic to fight, employing several different kinds of liquids to cause different effects. Lucy manages to summon Virgo, and bury Byro down a hole, but he returns as a giant squid monster.
Virgo gives Lucy a whip, that Lucy is able to use to trip up the giant squid. After she has him immobilized, Natsu shows up, kicking Hughes through a wall. His flames catch Byro as well, and both enemies are down for the count.
Coco is about to give the key to Natsu and Lucy, but Sugar Boy skates by on…his…breast plate… Okay… Gray chases him down, on a motor…cycle…where the hell did he get that?
Anyway, Lucy and Natsu start sinking into the ground, and Gray tells them to leave the key to him. He manages to stop Sugarboy, and the two fight, ending in a stalemate with the key trapped in a block of ice. When the key starts to crack Sugar Boy tells Gray that if he fires the concentrated dragonslayer energy at the crystal instead of the island it is floating on, he could use it to turn all the people trapped in it to normal.
Gray says that Gajeel, Natsu, and Wendy will turn everyone back to normal. But according to Sugar Boy that would take too long. He urges Gray to not destroy the key, but Gray does so anyway. After beating Sugar Boy Gray then reveals that he can just make an ice replica of the key.
Lucy’s fights are always a treat, at least the later ones are. Since Lucy is not a powerhouse, she can’t rely on the usual “hit the enemy very hard” tactics her friends employ. Lucy’s earlier fights were either against opponents that weren’t very strong, or she was helped by someone else. This is one of those rare cases where not only does she win the fight on her own, but she also gets a helping hand from Natsu.
The reason I say she won the fight on her own is because while she did not knock Byro out, she had him immobilized, and by all accounts had won the battle. I feel like it was an important moment for her character. Or her battle career, since that seems to be all that the shonen audience cares about.
Though really it seems odd that anyone would hold her getting help in fights against her. Lucy’s entire fighting style revolves around summoning help. She does fight alongside them, which is admirable, but in the end her magic is basically a fancy way of calling for help.
Lucy symbolizes the underlying theme (never thought I’d use that word when analyzing an anime) that Mashima is trying for with Fairy Tail. It’s not about one guy winning all the fights (though Natsu is the one to finish off the enemy so many times that it seems contradictory), it’s about the bonds between comrades. Fairy Tail stands as one unit in troubled times, and Lucy simplifies that down to its most basic element. She never fights on her own, but as part of a team.
Even Natsu’s dragonslayer abilities allow for him to receive help during battle. More often than once he’s had to find some fire to eat in order to increase his power, but he can’t do that on his own in the middle of a battle. Like in the Phantom Lord arc, Lucy was there to provide support, allowing Natsu to finish off Gajeel. Antagonists fight on their own, and no matter how powerful they are, they fall before the protagonists and their allies.
And that is why no one should complain about Lucy always getting help during her fights. Though, Gray and Erza seem to be pretty good at finishing their fights off on their own. I guess every theory has some holes in it.