Yo, Cedric-alpha back again, and more than likely, I am the Shonen expert when it comes to this site. At least, I like to think that. Why? Well, I’m here again reviewing another shonen anime for you to see. Now, unlike the other ones I do (Shippuden and One Piece) this show hasn’t made it to Toonami yet, or has seen the light of day on US Television. Unless you count on-demand as TV viewing, which I guess you could. Anyway, this show has gotten enough attention for wanting to make it on the Toonami block. And it also has alot of people who never want to see this on there, and would prefer a better shonen show or whatever they want. Yes, like most shonens, it has its fans and critics. and I’m here to tell you how it stacks up. Here it is, the first series of Fairy Tail.
Note: There will be spoilers on here. So if you haven’t seen the show/haven’t caught up, you been warned.
Story and Characters
Well, let’s begin all the way at the beginning shall we. The story starts off in a land called “Earthland” with a young blonde girl named Lucy Heartfilia. She is looking for someone nicknamed “The Salamander” who can help her get into a powerful wizard’s guild known as “Fairy Tail”. Lucy herself is a magic user. In fact she is known as a “Celestial Wizard” and can summon out “spirits” with keys she has. Which includes an angry mermaid, a perverted cow, a hair-stylist crab, a sexy sheep girl, a strong lion spirit who looks human, and Virgo, who can change her body, dig tunnels, and who really wants to be “punished.” (Also included, the little carrot nose “dog” Plue from the manga author’s previous work, Rave Master.)
Lucy thinks she found the guy, who is getting all the ladies with a type of magic that he uses. Well, the guy isn’t him. Lucy does run into another guy though among the way. His name is Natsu Dragneel, and he has a big appetite (like all shonen MC’s do) and doesn’t do well with stuff that moves like a car, train, or just about anything. And I mean, ANYTHING!
He has a little blue cat pal with him too. His name is Happy. He likes fish, likes to crack jokes, and he’s sometimes an honest asshole. Oh, did I forget Happy can fly? Cause yeah, flying kitty cat. Which, by the way, Natsu doesn’t get sick having Happy fly him. Don’t ask. Anyway, the guy Lucy thought was the Salmander, was actually impersonating Natsu. For he is the said Salamander, and is also a “Dragon Slayer”, meaning he can use magic that only dragons know because they taught them/raised them as their own. His magic is fire attacks, and being able to eat fire. All Dragon Slayers can eat whatever type of element type use. Natsu and Happy do take Lucy to their guild and she is accepted quickly into the crazy group. And I do mean crazy. This guild really likes to trash the place around and get into fights.
Because this is a guild they’re in (and it being a shonen), there are a ton of characters. I’ll start with the other mains. We have Gray Fullbuster. He is a Maker User, and his main magic with it is ice. He can make alot of attacks with his ice, as seen later it the series. He has a rivalry with Natsu, and they fight alot. Also he likes to strip. Like, ALL THE TIME!! And it’s usually out of nowhere too.
There is also Erza Scarlet, and she might be the scariest/strongest member of the guild. She uses Equip Magic, and with it, she can make a whole bunch of armor/sword combos that can make her very powerful. She is as fierce as they come, and yet as feminine as they come to as well, for she enjoys picnics, theater and cake. And you do not want to mess with her cake.
But those are the mains, so lets get through the others as well. Let’s start with the Fairy Tail Guild’s master, Makarov. He is a tiny, old man, who has as much energy as the others do at times. But he is their leader, and sees everyone who is a part of Fairy Tail as his children. He is also super powerful, and can unleash mega powerful magic attacks, and can also turn into a giant. There are the trio of siblings in the guild, Mira Jane, Elfman, and Lisanna, the latter you see in flashbacks with Natsu when they were kids, but don’t actually see her own self till much later. Because reasons. They all have a weird type of magic that allows them to transform into beasts (Elfman), demons (Mira) and animals (Lisanna). Also, Mira Jane is one of the cutest women on here, and Elfman thinks EVERYTHING IS MANLY, AND YOU SHOULD ACT LIKE A MAN AND BE MANLY!! Including you ladies out there. There is Kana, who has as big a chest as Lucy (sorry, had too) and she loves to drink alot. And I mean, ALOT!!
She’s a powerful magic user herself, as she is related to … actually, you can find that out yourself. There’s Levy, who is not the most powerful wizard (or the most busty. I’m so sorry Levy.) But she might be the smartest person of the guild, and really like to study up and read books. Her magic basically involves words and that. And then, there is Juvia. She can control water/rain, and who starts off as really emo. Then she found Gray. And she fell in love. Really hard. She becomes very stalkerish in her pursuit of his love. She would literally try to kill someone if they ever tried hurting him, and has so many “WOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!” fantasies involving him. Did I forget to mention she is the best girl on this show? Because she is. I mean, look at her!
She is a real delight. There are also other Dragon Slayers, other than Natsu, that belong to the guild. Laxus is a atypical Dragon Slayer, since he didn’t get his powers … um, naturally. His also involves Lightning. He is super fast, and very powerful on his own, and Natsu tries to beat him alot. I will reveal that he is Master Makarov’s grandson, and he gets kicked out of Fairy Tail at one point in the show. That’s all I will say for now. There’s Gajeel, who is the Iron Dragon Slayer, and he’s as tough as they come. He tries to have a bad boy side to himself, is a musician (who’s bad at it) and he does do pretty badass things alot of the time, and is rivals with Natsu (who, by the way, is basically rivals with everyone in the guild, trying to see who is strongest.) Then again, he can be like this as well.
And then there’s Wendy. She is the Sky Dragon Slayer, and uses the air to fight. While she can fight along with the others, she usually just heals people with her powers. But I must say, she might be the most adorable little Dragon Slayer you have ever seen.
Those are just some of the names you will see on here that are among the guild. There are some like Juvia, Gajeel, and Wendy who don’t show up till sometime after the beginning (Wendy herself doesn’t even show up until at least episode 50-something.) There are characters like Gildarts, who I’ll talk about later, who do show up and are important to the story, but are only there on so many occasions. Others in the guild I can’t even remember their names since they don’t have alot of screen time/aren’t powerful like the MCs. It’s mostly like a Bleach-like thing, except they aren’t badly used to further the story. They are just there. And with those said amounts of characters, there are other guilds included in this as well, like Blue Pegasus, Mermaid Heel, and Lamina Scale. And even dark guilds like Phantom Lord and Raventail. I really can’t mention the others on here without also mentioning the best character in Fairy Tail.
Yes, I am being serious. Then there are others that include “Exceeds” or what they are on here, the flying kitty cats that include Happy, Carla (Wendy’s cat) and Pantherlily (Gajeel’s cat). There are alot of them, including this guy, who I have no idea what the fuck he is doing.
Of course, I can’t talk about a shonen without mentioning the villains. There are a ton on here, but the most known is Jellal, who starts bad, then turns good. Also Erza has a crush on him, even if he killed a childhood best friend of theirs (Yes, some people die on here. And by “some people”, I mean only Simon and Gray’s former master, Ur. Only those two kick the can on here if I remember right.) Then there is Zeref, who is supposedly evil, but has more emotional problems than anything. The Oracion Seis, a “Dark Guild” who appears a couple times here, and the most evil of them all, The Butt-Jiggle Gang! (I’m joking I’m joking! They really are all gas with no stink. Hehehehe.) Hell, we even got an evil dragon on here too in Acnologia. Most of the villain are basically your typical shonen types, although some are interesting. To a point. Most are just “whatever, you’re gonna get your ass beat by them anyway.”
Since I mention the characters, I have to mention the arcs as well. Being a shonen, and are a few of them. The arcs range in different styles. From the beginning to meeting the group, to the Jellal arc, the Oracion Seis/Wendy arc, the Edioas arc, the Tenrou Island/Zeref arc, the Infinity Clock arc, and finally the Grand Magic Games, with others in between. The arcs are actually pretty short compared to most shonen arcs out there. Some go on for a bit longer than they should’ve have (The Infinity Clock arc, while not as lenghty, really went too long in my opinion. A boring arc and we really didn’t need to see the Oracion Seis again.) While some may have been too short (I kinda wanted to see more of the Grand Magic Games.) Others were just fine (I may have liked the Edolas arc more than some would.) It usually comes down to a big showdown with Natsu winning in some way. And everyone believing in the power of friendship. Yeah, stuff like that mostly everyone knows about. The arcs really do depend on how you will enjoy them, as with most other long-running anime.
On to the animation part of it. The show is done by studio A-1 Pictures and also studio Satelight. A-1 Pictures, as you know, has done animation for a ton of shows including past Toonami shows in Sword Art Online and Blue Exorcist, and other hits including Magi, Your Lie In April, Black Butler, and The Seven Deadly Sins. Now usually with A-1 Pictures, the results can sometimes look really gorgeous. They can have some excellent stuff that comes out that makes the shows they do look top notch. The only problem with those is that, well, the story to them is so-so to terrible. Now for Fairy Tail, the story is also as pointed above is okay, depending on which arcs you like. The problem though: The animation can look bad at times. Now, throughout the show, it has some good moments of animation, where it looks very fluid and nice. But, because of the weekly show part, the animation can get rough. The long shots of characters can look really bland. The locations/background can be good at time, then really meh at other points. Hell, looking through the Grand Magic Games arc I finished a week ago (during the time this article is published) most of the time the audience looked like rough sketchings that were approved for use cause they ran out of the scheduled deadline, and used it over and over and over again. It was bad. If I had to put Fairy Tail in the list of weekly shonen animes and how they look, it’s somewhere within how Shippuden and One Piece shows it, where it can look good at time, but have alot of UGGGHHHHH!!! moments. At least it has one of the better storylines out of A-1 Pictures, out of most that they show. Now, I’m not saying that all A-1 shows have bad stories. Some are good. But there are some A-1 titles that sacrifice the whole story for spectacular animation *coughSAOcough*
On to the dubbed portion of the show. Fairy Tail is licensed by Funimation, so it gets its collection of talent for the show. With the role of Natsu, we have Todd Haberkorn, who does excellent as the crazy, pink hair fire breather. He brings out Natsu in every moment. His fun moments, angry moments, sick moments. Hell, even his dumb moments. Even more, at least to me, he sounds almost like his subbed counterpart, which makes it even more amazing. Lucy is voiced by Cherami Leigh, and she too brings out all the emotions for her character, just like with Haberkorn’s Natsu. They really do seem like they have chemistry together, which is what makes the ship of Natsu X Lucy for everyone light up more. Newton Pittman voices Gray, and while I think he is the weakest voice of the main group, he still pulls off Gray pretty well. Especially with the Natsu/Gray rivalry and of course, the Gray/Juvia moments. Colleen Clinkenbeard voices the powerful redhead Erza, and like Natsu and Lucy, she is great as her. Her powerful voice is what makes Erza go, and she does handle her goofy moments just as well. Tia Ballard voices Happy, and I really like how she handles his “honest opinions” and catch phrases (“Aye, sir!” “SHE LOVES HIM!!”) It delighted me when Happy was being a jerk to others, and him getting his ass kicked afterwards, and she did her best to do that.
But it’s not just the mains that get highlighted as well. The others in Fairy Tail have some good voice actors as well. R. Bruce Elliott is great as Master Makarov. He has the old man voice to go along with him being an absolute beast when he gets angry and protects his family. I loved Monica Rial as Mira. Her cute voice always gets to me, and her as Mira on here is no different. She can also go to a deep voice with her when she transforms into her demon beast form, and that’s done well too. Christopher R. Sabat was also one of my favorites as Elfman. Elfman is all about BE A MAN!! and he brings that manliness to this character, and then some. Jamie Marchi as the mostly drunk Cana is also a fav of mine, along with Brina Palencia as Juvia too. Both of them bring out their characters’ personalities to a T.
Others that I liked as well include Patrick Seitz (Laxus) and David Wald (Gajeel), as they bring out the toughness in their Dragon Slayers personas. Brittney Karbowski (Wendy) is great as her adorable Dragon Slayer counterpart. And I even liked Joel McDonald as the emo Zeref and Leah Clark as the first master of Fairy Tail, Mavis. They were on there for only a short time in the first series, but they were good in their limited roles. There are a whole lot of others on here I can list, but it may take too long to do it. I will say most were good as well in their roles. The Fairy Tail dub is as excellent a dub as you will hear, in my opinion. And before I end the dub portion, RIP Bob Magruder, who was not only the Narrator on here, but also voiced Natsu’s dragon dad, Igneel. I couldn’t leave him out of this portion.
The music in the show does fit the show’s title describes. Most of the time. The show, being it set in a land that is very medieval, has music that is also like it. Some of it can be very soothing to the setting, and very catchy. Other times, usually when the team is fighting with each other/goofing off, it’s music turns into a classical piece to set the tone. Of course, there are times when it turns into a rock-n-roll, cause we need action! But I can’t leave out the serious moments without Fairy Tail’s own main theme song.
You will hear this whenever the fighting gets serious. Or if there’s a sad moment, and it gets slow down a bit. This theme is throughout the show, so you can’t miss it.
On to the OPs and EDs. I have to highlight some of them. There are 14 total for this show, which is actually alot if you break it down with the amount of episodes total they have. (175 episodes/14. Do the math.) Because I did it in my Shippuden review, I’ll list my favorites. Starting with the Japanese/English filled song “The Rock City Boy” by JAMIL.
The song is amazing. And it’s even more amazing when you listen to the full song. At least I think so. This is one of the better songs, along with it ED that goes with it. Of course, I can’t leave out my favorites without the first OP, “Snow Fairy” by FUNKIST.
It’s one of the better and really relaxing first openings I have heard, and the ED that also accompanies it, is really fun as well. The other OP’s I like on here include the 3rd OP, the 6th OP, and the 10th OP, as well as the 2nd ED and the 14th and last ED. Again, your favorites may be different from mine, and that’s ok. Fairy Tail has a bunch of songs that you may like. It’s one of the better things about it.
The Problems With Fairy Tail
Now to get on with what has gotten the critics all in arms with this show. Which is alot of things. I’m just gonna highlight a few and that will be it. Let’s start out with the Number 1 main issue that people have with Fairy Tail: the fanservice. Oh yes, the fanservice. Every anime has it, whether it’s intentional or not. Sometimes, it’s actually a part of the whole plot (Look at Kill La Kill or Monster Musume.) Other times, it’s to distract you with the fact the show has no lineal story whatsoever *coughAsteriskWarscough* Point is, Fairy Tail has alot of it.
The fanservice does get out of hand at times. To be honest, it’s not as noticeable in the beginning. I mean, it’s still there. But it’s not totally in your face as much as it is until halfway through. (I think it really became noticeable sometime during the Tenrou Island Arc. Around there, we started getting more boobs and ass shots aplenty.) Yeah, this can be a problem, and I really do get why people can be turned off by this show for all the fanservice it has. It shouldn’t deter you from the show, mind you, but still.
But there’s more to this show than the … umm, plot. Lot of others have made this random factoid a reason why they hate it: Fairy Tail is a rip-off of One Piece. Now as a huge OP fan myself, let me just say this: WHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTT?!?!?!?! Now this is really stupid and shouldn’t be an issue. But I’ll get some points out of the way. One thing people get is that Gildarts, probably the most powerful member of Fairy Tail, looks kinda like Shanks. I mean, you tell me.
Okay, maybe they do have a legitimate beef with this. And it may be the fact as well that they are both super powerful. But then again, a lot of characters in different animes do look alike. Do we get mad at them about that? No, not at all. Another thing that gets to this argument is that Mashima was an assistant with Oda before Rave Master, and that he copied his style. Now, I have no idea if he did work with him, and this seems like a weird rumor. But I can tell you that One Piece and Fairy Tail both look alot different in style to each other. The other thing I hear with this stupid thing is that Fairy Tail is the same thing as One Piece. Meaning, they do the same work. The only thing similar, other than having power-ups and fanservice, is that they are both shonen titles. One Piece takes place mostly on water/islands. Fairy Tail is mostly inland. One Piece gets their superpowers from fruits. Fairy Tail from magic that they create themselves. I really don’t see any comparison or thing to say they rip them off. I just see this as being really fucking stupid.
The next thing I will say that may be a major issue for some too: The Friendship Power-up. You know how in most shonen titles how the MC/his squad is almost beaten, and the villains are about to win, but then they get a massive power-up because of friendship or not giving up, or whatever? Well, that’s what Fairy Tail has, and then some. Yeah, the friendship power-up in this is real, and can be laughable at times. Whether it’s Natsu, Erza, Makarov, or anyone, beating them to a pulp, and have them at their most vulnerable, but then they talk shit about their friends/guild, and AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! FRIENDSHIP POWERS UNLEASH!!!!!!! Yeah, it’s really like that. And most times, you see it coming. (Hell, they sometimes use the friendship power thing when not taking on a big baddy.) The friendship power sometimes works at the moment, but most times, it’s just annoying. I usually made fun of it myself watching this show.
Then there’s another thing that gets to people too: Lucy. It’s not just because she’s mostly fanservice, but alot argue that she is a very useless character. Yes, Lucy doesn’t get stuff done alot, and she usually gets her ass beat/taken away/lit on fire and used as an attack by Natsu. (Yes, that last one actually happened.) But, to be fair to Lucy, watching this show myself, I believe she is not as useless as many claim her to be. Now, is she as strong as Erza? FUCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK NO!!!!!!! Erza transcends most of the female MC shonen characters by actually backing up her strong female empowerment. She is a badass, and can easily beat Natsu and the others down if she wanted to. But this is about Lucy. And from what I seen, she does her best with what she has. But something always derails her in the way, whether it be stronger opponents, cheating from others, or just getting possessed. Okay, that last one might not be an excuse, but you get my point. I really don’t think she’s at the Sakura/Orihime level of being completely useless. You have to be completely inept to that. If anything, she might be at Rangiku’s level of just being there, doing stuff as best she can, being comic relief at times, and having big boobs.
And to round this off, there’s the one thing that everyone always screams about Fairy Tail: It’s overrated/trash. While I can’t stop anyone from saying it, maybe at least back up your claims for once, instead of saying it. It’s usually the case for most shonen titles, be it this, One Punch Man, JoJo, anything. Mostly if a lot of people like said title, it has to be complete trash to them. Quite frankly, if you can’t back up why a show is overrated, then please, shut the hell up. Others don’t need to hear your bullshit if you only watched one or two episodes and declared it garbage right away. Give us facts to your statement, then I’ll might listen. Otherwise, I’m just be doing this to you.
So does Fairy Tail have faults to it? Yeah, it does. Most animes do. It’s a long-running shonen, so you will find a fault or two or 10. It’s a vast show that has a ton of characters and alot of story to cover. I didn’t even mention about Lucy and her dad’s relationship issues, or how the Edolas versions are lookalikes of the crew/others, only with different personalities. Or in Wendy’s case, just more taller and busty.
If anything, I actually liked Fairy Tail more than others did, even with the issues. Yeah, the animation can at times look meh, but it has a great dub, great music, the characters can be really fun, and the fight scenes are also pretty good, even with the friendship power-ups. Another thing I like about this show: It’s funny. I actually laughed as many times at this as much as I did when watching One Piece. Like OP, it actually has moments where you really can’t stop laughing, which you can’t say the same for Shippuden, which tries too hard and fucking fails. Overall, I say Fairy Tail is a pretty good show,and the people who like it do have a case for why it should be shown on Toonami. Who knows, maybe it can one day find its way on Toonami one day. That is, if we lose another long-running show. Which won’t happen anytime soon.
My rating for Fairy Tail: 6/10
Now to wrap this review up, here’s a touching pic of Ichiya with his kitty cat after he got beat. Well, I think it’s suppose to be that way? You be the judge.