Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 101 – Black Wizard

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The Story
Natsu is almost killed when he is hit by the strange mage’s dark magic, but somehow Igneel’s scarf absorbs the dangerous magic. On a sky ship on course for the island, Grimoire Heart, the dark guild, reveals that the strange mage in question is in fact the dark wizard Zeref.

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Lucy and Cana manage to figure out where the grave should be, while Gray and Loki follow them. Erza and Juvia continue to search for Wendy. Gajeel and Levi have an argument, and Levi runs off. She is attacked by two Grimoire Heart wizards, but is saved by Gajeel.

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The Review
With the “last” episode of Fairy Tail having aired, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at the episodes that I haven’t reviewed. Perhaps give a chance for fans to look back on the series while no new episodes are forthcoming. While the last episode ended as “to be continued” and Mashima has said this isn’t the end, there is no news currently about when new episodes would start airing, nor exactly how the series would continue. I for one hope the regular series will return, but it isn’t unlikely that the rest of the story will be told in OVAs.

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Getting to the episode itself, it’s been a while since I watched this series, so I’d completely forgotten exactly how much content they could fit into one episode of Fairy Tail. Perhaps that’s part of why the series has ended, they just got too close to the manga, and their low filler policy just didn’t allow for the anime to keep going without overtaking the manga. In a way, I feel grateful for that. Because I am sick and tired of series that insist on pacing the anime as slowly as possible, just so they don’t overtake the manga.

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It might take me a bit of time to get into the swing of reviewing Fairy Tail again. After all, it’s a much different beast than Toriko or most other anime I’ve been looking to review. Somehow the entire episode is packed with events that don’t seem to drag on, but then when I try to recap them it feels like I can only think of a little of what actually happened. Which is fine by me, I’ve decided, since the last review I wrote for Fairy Tail, that your average reader isn’t interested in a recap of what happened.

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I know precisely what your average reader is interested in.

The thing about Fairy Tail is that there is a reason I stopped reviewing it for a while. It’s around this arc that I started to fall out of love with the series. I still like it, just not with nearly as much fervor as before. So my motivation for starting reviews again kind of dwindled, I’ll be getting into the reasons why once they rear their ugly heads. But, considering it was one of my most popular segments I’ve been meaning to revive these reviews. The problem I face now is that I am in the middle of an arc, and I need to catch my bearings before I really get into the swing of things again.

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That being said, perhaps I should actually talk about the episode. Because there are multiple plot lines to discuss, it’s difficult to focus on just one. But, for now, let’s talk about the big one. Namely the reveal of the mysterious stranger. It’s been a while since I first experienced this review, but at the time my mind was pretty much blown. Looking back on it now I can say that it’s a bit odd for it to be revealed by the master of Grimoire Heart the way it was. Felt a bit too convenient, like there was no better way to reveal the information.

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Also, knowing what I know about future arcs, I find Zeref’s dialogue to be quite interesting. I have my theories as to what exactly it all means, and they are becoming clearer now that I have this chance to look back. But for now I can’t share them, because now is not the time. Once we get to the Magic Tournament arc, then I’ll be able to discuss my thoughts on this matter.

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Though, I’m not certain if I’m amazed that Zeref is such a waifish youngling, or disappointed that he’s not a standard old wizard type character. Though, Mashima abandoned standard wizard tropes fairly early on into the manga, with just a few exceptions, so I suppose it’s no surprise that Zeref turns out to be a much younger, much more attractive character. And I’m not saying that as my own opinion, but from experiencing female friends squee over him.

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Gajeel and Levy’s relationship moment, while played far more seriously than I felt it warranted, was an interesting point in the episode. Fairy Tail characters are certainly more forgiving than real people, otherwise Levy wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that Gajeel seriously injured her and her team mates. Which is somewhat inspirational, if a tad annoying for those used to more realistic reactions. However, while I’ve never really understood their apparent relationship, I do appreciate how Mashima develops them subtly. In fact, as I will mention when the time is appropriate, he’s really good at developing character relationships in subtle ways throughout the series. And somehow he develops the ones that readers can really get behind most of the time.

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As for the other scenes, nothing really worth analysis happened. And if I were to go into every last detail this review would turn into an unwieldy beast. Though, I will note that I couldn’t help but think about Aya Hirano’s scandal from a few years ago after seeing Lucy’s scene, and the theories that the anime was ended because she has been shunned from the voice actor community. Theories, I would like to point out, that are complete and utter bunk and only espoused by those that haven’t a shred of reason in them. Granted, considering the Japanese entertainment industry, I wouldn’t be surprised if she really is being slowly phased out of the community, but it isn’t that hard to find a soundalike for a voice actress like Hirano. If they really wanted to get rid of her, they would replace her. After all, it isn’t unheard of for actors to be replaced for voice work. Remember how Ivankov in One Piece had to be replaced because a scandal? Granted he wasn’t a main character, but the voice isn’t so crucial that one actresses personal scandal would shut down an entire anime production.

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So, anyone taking that theory seriously. Let me put it bluntly. You’re an idiot. Rather, note how close to catching up to the manga the anime was. That is most likely the reason the anime was “put on hiatus” or whatever it actually is. The whole thing is a bit confusing. My bet is that it’s just going off the air for a season or two. Something that is quite common in Western programming. OVAs are a possible method for continuing the story, but my theory is it will be off the air for a bit to allow the manga to make some more ground.

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But I digress. This episode was enjoyable, but definitely something that has to be taken in context of the arc as a whole. Coming at it after being away for so long has definitely shown me that.

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The Grade

4/5

Buy The DVDs!
Fairy Tail: Part 1 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Fairy Tail: Part 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Fairy Tail: Part 3 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Fairy Tail: Part 4 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

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