Fairies fight against spirits in an exciting battle of bleh.
What They Say:
The Fairy Tail cavalry arrives in Astral Spirytus to help Natsu and the gang try to stop the renegade Celestial Spirits from gaining perfect freedom at the cost of only having 12 days left to live. However, when the Spirits enter their respective gates, the Fairy Tail members split up to follow them for one last fight in the space between the Human World and Celestial Spirit World.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ve fallen out of favor with this filler arc. I was mostly ok with it because I put up with its subpar quality in favor of thinking of the positives in what will ultimately be an inconsequential series of episodes. I mean, the Celestial Spirits wanting to be free is a cool concept all on its own and I wanted to grasp onto whatever I could.
No longer. This episode pushes me over the edge. The characters are no longer believable, they’re merely serving the plot. Lucy fights so hard against wanting to fight her Celestial Spirits, but gives in so easily when it’s presented as her only option. There’s no fight in her anymore! She’s a girl who fights for her friends so hard—and does so in the upcoming arc—but gives up at the drop of a hat because Natsu and Gajeel want a fight. THAT’S BULL! Let her put up more of a fight! Better, let her fight against everyone who wants to harm her friends. Let these characters have an arc and be characters while still maintaining some dignity in an arc full of silliness and fighting. This can be about Lucy’s bond being stronger to her spirits than to her guildmates because, even if she’s excommunicated from the guild, she’ll still have her spirits.
But no. We don’t have these luxuries of creative freedom because everything must remain at a status quo. And I’m angry for it.
It’s not just that the characters are being disingenuous (though that’s my biggest complaint), it’s that the arc and particularly this episode are incredibly silly. This is a world where Aquarius is not fighting against Juvia, but against Wendy. A world where Cana and Scorpio are playing Yu-Gi-Oh. The rest of the matchups play out largely at random: Mira v. Pisces, Gajeel and Pantherlily v. Gemini, Elfman v. Taurus, Levy v. Capricorn, Yukino v. Libra, Gray v. Cancer, Erza v. Sagittarius, Juvia v. Aries. Rounding out their “arcs” are Lucy v. Virgo and Natsu v. Leo. This is a world where Taurus is beaten by sweat. This is Fairy Tail right now and I’m not happy about it.
What I’m perhaps least happy about is that these two ideas were essentially done better elsewhere in one of my favorite long-running shonen series: YuYu Hakusho. First, the concept that people (the Celestial Spirits and M1, M2, and M3 of the Dr. Ichigaki Team) are acting against their will. Kuwabara put up a FIGHT against M1, M2, and M3 and it’s not the kind of fight Natsu wants to get into. It’s the kind of fight Lucy SHOULD want to get into and it’s much more exciting and touching than anything else that I’ve seen thus far. If Lucy got tossed around like Kuwabara did in that fight, I’d 100 percent back Natsu on fighting the spirits, but that hasn’t happened yet. Violence is the only answer we’re given to a problem with many solutions. There’s a rich history at play with Lucy and her spirits and we catch nary a wind of it through four episodes.
The second part is the games that are taking place, this time from YuYu Hakusho’s Chapter Black arc. Amanuma (Gamemaster, for those who don’t LOVE YuYu Hakusho as much as I do) creates the games same as the Celestial Spirits are for some of the members of Fairy Tail, specifically Levy and Cana. It’s a long-standing tradition to split up gang in shonen fighting anime because you fight someone one-on-one, fair and square, mano y mano because that’s the honorable thing to do. The same thing happens here and some turn to games, but we hardly get a sense of the stakes. From Elfman’s fight, they only have to touch the key to the spirit and then poof? The games Amanuma set forth meant something because it revealed a little about each character that was involved in them. When Kaito plays in the quiz game because he’s the brainiac. Amanuma plays a war of attrition with Yusuke’s team because, while the matches are one-on-one, they’re allowed to be in the same room. The correct move from Fairy Tail was to split them up, but there’s no pressure on any of them to win. Their guarantee in all of this isn’t victory, but prolonging, yet it feels so final when everyone gets matched up like this.
I can’t believe I wrote 700 words on Fairy Tail, probably 300 of which are comparing it to YuYu Hakusho, but here we are. Comparison is an easy way to get out of making legitimate analysis on what you’re actually writing about, but it can also serve as an important tool for reasoning this is better than that and here’s why. On its own, Fairy Tail hasn’t managed to grasp my attention with this filler arc, due in no small part to it being a filler arc at all. Beyond that, the concept made me want to love it and yet the execution is so lacking. Any shred of hesitation is hand waved away in not just the next episode or the next scene, but the next cut. This is no longer a test of strength, it’s an all-out brawl. And dammit let Gray have his battle with Loke, Natsu! Finish your business with Taurus!
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Equipment: PS3, LG 47LB5800 47” 1080p LED TV, LG NB3530A Sound Bar