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Fairy Tail Vol. #26 Manga Review

4 min read

Fairy Tail Volume 26
Fairy Tail Volume 26
The past returns with a vengeance.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Hiro Mashima
Translation/Adaptation: William Flanagan

What They Say
Just as the S-class wizard test gets underway, everything goes wrong! Grimoire Heart launches a surprise attack on Fairy Tail, but the guild is just collateral damage – their real goal is much more sinister. At the vanguard of the invasion force is Grimoire Heart’s master, Hades… a man who only respects power, and has a history with Makarov!

Content: (please note that content portions of review may contain spoilers):
There is a Murphy’s Law of combat that states that the enemy always attacks at two times- 1 When they are ready and 2 When you are not- and the group from Fairy Tail find themselves in a real bind as their enemy isn’t just attacking when least expected, they are doing so after years of training under a relentless master who has brought out the most from each of them. In very short order the group on the island finds themselves pushed to the very limits of their abilities- and some of them beyond- as their opponents are beyond even what could be considered S-Class.

It isn’t just the members of the guild overwhelmed either as Makarov’s to protect his charges is thrown into chaos by a surprise encounter with the leader of the invading guild which leaves him shaken psychologically as well as overpowered by the leader of the invaders which opens him up to facing defeat like he has never known, both on his own and as well as then being unable to save those he thinks of as family. With defeat looming has Fairy Tail finally found themselves facing an opponent they can’t get past?

Since the introduction of the series one of the more certain aspects of the series and its characters was that the guild could always count on its master Makarov to rise to the occasion when push comes to shove and serve as a breakwater against which the rush of oncoming forces find themselves stopped. This time however an enemy has appeared who undercuts the master’s unshakable faith in Fairy Tail and its bonds between the members as no previous challenge has- and the fact that the enemy is powerful enough to defeat Makarov serves as injury to insult as Makarov’s charges also find themselves seemingly beyond their abilities.

But incredible danger may turn out to be just the motivating force that some of the members need as the perilous situation pushes them to do things they otherwise might not try in order to have a chance when facing a force that is not just stronger than them but which also knows a secret about the island and someone on it that may change not just the outcome of their current fight but also which may shift the balance of power for the entire world.

One of the strengths of Fairy Tail is how the author works to bring incredible action into the foreground while not losing sight of the characters he has established and just what it is that brought the readers to the series in the first place and this latest volume works to reinforce both aspects as it delivers some amazing fights while also playing heavily on the reader’s sense of concern as more than a few of the characters who are the most powerful find themselves in untenable positions which may lay them out, perhaps for good. While the action may be what many come for and notice first- and they will not be disappointed in that regard in the least- it is the undercurrent of family that runs throughout this arc that really brings the emotional pull to events as Makarov finds himself facing someone he never would have expected which throws him completely off while Mirajane finds that the possibility of losing that which she will not again has her at a sizable disadvantage. And they aren’t alone as everyone finds themselves placed up against a powerful member of this rogue guild and it may be less the opponent ahead of them that makes them want to get up and answer the new challenge than the devotion they have to their defacto family members that provides the strength to keep trying to get to their feet…but will even that be enough to overcome the enormous forces that have amassed to try to obtain a legendary and feared power which has been hinted at for a long time now?

In Summary
Fairy Tail continues to burst forward as the members who were competing to become S-Class wizards in their guild suddenly are confronted with opponents who may go beyond what the members of Fairy Tail think of as S-Class. If the challenge of being overpowered wasn’t danger enough the guild will also find itself rocked as its notions of family and those ties that bind shift and serve to hamper the abilities of some of their strongest members and shake the foundations of their beliefs. As the trouble grows and some stalwarts fall will the younger members rise to the occasion or is Fairy Tail about to see the end of its best and most promising? With so much action as well as surprises this is a part that series fans will find they can’t afford to miss.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha comics
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
MSRP: $10.99