Monday, August 16, 2010

Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 42 - Battle of Fairy Tail


Fairy Tail is an interesting series in that, unlike other series, there is very little between major arcs. It follows a very strict structure, jumping from arc to arc with little to no breather. This isn't as true in the manga, but in the anime it is definitely the case. The fact that Fairy Tail uses very little filler, instead pulling us along from story to story shows an interesting trend in anime that I've seen replicated in some other series. Filler has always been the bane of a good series, whether it be ending the series with filler, including unreasonable amounts of filler, or placing the filler in the most jarring places possible, even going so far as to cut a major arc in half...TWICE!!. Fairy Tail, much like Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, does the exact opposite. In fact, besides the early episodes, there is no filler, with nothing added beyond small changes, or scenes removed to improve the pacing of the episodes.

Battle of Fairy Tail emphasizes this phenomenon. After the Jellal arc they easily could have skipped to filler, anything to put distance between them and the manga. I've actually discovered why they did not do this, but I'll save that piece of information for a later review, since it has some interesting implications I'd like to discuss, but if I do that here this review will be too long. That and at the time I should have had this written, I did not in fact know of it yet.

The episode stars with Lucy complaining about how she hasn't been able to find any jobs, and her rent is almost due. She goes home, half expecting to find her friends there, but when she realizes that she's alone she gets ready for bed. She's about to fall asleep when she notices that something is awry with her bed.

She has pests.

Natsu, still feeling ill from eating Etherion, has decided to crash at her place, as he is wont to do. Happy tells Lucy that the last time he was this sick was when he tried eating some of Laxus' lightning. He also mentions how every time Natsu challenged Laxus in the past he was always beaten. Lucy is surprised that Laxus can be that much stronger, while Happy wonders who would be the strongest if they were to have a competition between mages in Fairy Tail.

FORESHADOWING!!!

Lucy tries to get Happy to leave, notably not even bothering to try and get rid of Natsu. Methinks someone wanted some alone time?

Ship away!

She finds a flier that Happy wanted to give to her, for the Miss Fairy Tail contest. The prize money is 500,000 Jewels, easily enough to cover Lucy's rent for several months.


We switch to Laxus' personal guard, the Raijinshu...

Wait...why did they only translate half of their name?

Wiping out a dark guild, Ghoul Spirit. They'll never show up again, so there was no real need for them to be named.

Back in Magnolia, the entire town is preparing for the Harvest Festival and Fairy Tail's annual parade, Fantasia. Makarov has a flashback to back when Laxus wasn't a douche yet.

Note the much more obvious familial similarities.

Finally it's the day of the festival, and Natsu is still feeling like crap.


We also get to see another side character introduced who, like Max, was just in the background. Warren is a character who will play a fairly important part later on, but who has not had the benefit of an info card explaining his powers. So, in order to keep his role later on from seeming like a Deus ex Machina, he is introduced here, along with his power.


Lucy says that she's really been wanting to see the fantasia parade, and Gray tells her that she will be participating in it, as all guild members are required to. Then, Lucy remembers that the Miss Fairy Tail contest is starting soon, and runs off. Leaving behind Juvia, who will not be outdone by her rival in love.


The Miss Fairy Tail concept is essentially a fan service segment, with the girls using their magic to "appeal" to the audience.

Mission accomplished.

It's also the point at which I start snapping screen shots like crazy.

The girls all do their routines, more often than not involving swimsuits, even when their magic has nothing to do with water, or even some form of transformation. It's basically just, "I know you people want to see me in my swimsuit, so, here you go."

Traditional Sniper Garb.

And yet, Mirajane's is still my favorite.

Not quite what I was hoping for when I read "Catgirl Mira" in the spoilers.

When it comes to Lucy's turn, Evergreen, of the Raijinshu, interrupts the contest, revealing that she's turned all the contestants to stone statues.

I would make a stoned joke, but the next episode beat me to the punch.

Laxus and the rest of the Raijinshu arrive, declaring that the girls are Laxus' hostages to ensure everyone's cooperation in his game. The Battle of Fairy Tail - A contest to see who is the strongest in Fairy Tail, but in reality is Laxus' ploy to get the master to retire so he can take control of the guild and get rid of all the weaklings.

It's during this point that I think I can pick out a new theme in the background, so I can't help but wonder when the next soundtrack will be out.

The guild rushes off to find Laxus, while Makarov discovers that there is an invisible wall keeping people over eighty, and stone statues, from leaving.


For some reason Natsu can't get out either.


This gives birth to my personal theory that Natsu isn't as old as we think. In his character info card it mentions that his age is unknown. He looks about seventeen or eighteen, as Gray and Lucy are, but the fact that it is specifically mentioned that his age is not known, and that he was held back by an enchantment that was only specifically meant to keep people over eighty from leaving the guild made me think.

Now, Natsu was raised by a dragon. But it is never revealed where he came from before that. It's been mentioned in the manga that it isn't normal for humans to be capable of learning dragon slayer magic. In fact, the only humans not raised by dragons have had to have a specific lachryma inserted into their bodies to give them the dragon slayer powers. Now, it's unlikely that Igneel was able to convert Natsu's body in order to make it capable of learning the magic naturally. At least it seems unlikely to me. So the theory that I came up with, to explain the evidence from this episode, is that Natsu is a lot older than he looks. At the very least it's likely he is older than eighty. He can't be a regular human, and be that old, yet look so young. But what if he really is a teenager, just not a human teenager? My theory is that Natsu wasn't just raised by Igneel, he's his actual son. Natsu is a dragon, in human form.

I have no way of knowing if this is entirely true, but it makes sense to me. Though I can easily see Mashima throwing me for a complete loop, but I'm still sticking by my theory.

But, leaving that tangent aside, the episode ends with members of the guild fighting each other as they fall into traps that keep them from leaving unless they defeat the other guild members caught in the enchantments with them.

A good start, overall for a pretty fun arc. I can't wait to see more of this.


...

Okay, last one.

Oh, to be made of ink...

Disclaimer:

The writer of this article denies all allegations that he is in any way, shape or form attracted to cartoon drawings of any kind.

Unless it's Mirajane...

They will never understand our love.

1 comments:

Raven the Foolish said...

There's anime for the old school, anime for the new school, and anime for the people who like fanservice. There's never anything wrong with a little fanservice. Nothing better than swimsuits. I do like to dress fanservice. The whole elegance of it all. Also, about the Mirajane, you are a hopeless man. I do like Cana though. And Levi.

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