Ah, gotta love the masses and their love for mediocrity. Fairy Tail (FT) is from the pilot chapter/episode an average shonen series and yet it is loved by many for being just that. I guess rehashing notions from Naruto or One Piece can make a success out of anything. Because just like those shonens, FT has superpowers, adventure and a big cast of colourful and eccentric characters that occasionally get focused upon and fleshed out. Nothing we haven’t seen before but, hey, if it worked before why wouldn’t it work again?
Because it’s WORSE!
It is hard to talk about anything in this show without feeling like I am just stating the obvious or just describing a different shonen. For to be honest, there is approximately zero innovation in this work and it just walks upon the path others paved before it. It can work alright but it will never stand out on its own; it will forever be just a rehash of already established formulas that have been attributed to others at least a decade earlier. Not only that, but the show rehashes them in a watered down way to the point it becomes a Saturday morning cartoon.
- Animated by a collaboration of studios A-1 Pictures and Satelight. The first usually have very good production values and the later have low. What they have in common is how most of what they have made over the years is mediocre and forgettable.
- Directed by some nobody who never made something significant in his whole career.
- Based on the manga by Mashima Hiro, whose only previous major work was Rave Master. In case you didn’t watch that show, I advise you not to do so; for it’s a completely generic, aimless, boring, and incomplete series. Plus you can easily see that Fairy Tail is basically its improved remake, reusing the same character archetypes and feeling. In all, the mangaka is not much of talent for anything past creating mediocrities.
- Art and animation are rather crude for the time the show was made. The most obvious fault is how they use repeated footage during summons and attacks, an element that is in fact absent from fighting shonen and better affiliated with mahou shojo or mecha. It is a very striking weakness that alone makes it seem lazy compared to others shonens.
- The initial episodes had really jerky motions and many complained how the characters didn’t look or behave at all like in the manga. For an adaptation that is NOT trying to be a spin off but a direct adaptation, the first impressions they offered was the middle finger. They improved it later on a bit but the damage was already done.
- The setting lacks characterization. It doesn’t seem to stand out from the lot like others do, which again makes it hard to be remembered in the long run. Unlike other famous shonens like Naruto or One Piece, there is no theme in the FT world and it passes by as a generic fantasy realm.
- The character figures are again nothing memorable; most are basically counterparts of people from other shonens, so again it has a problem being remembered for anything. As for the more eccentric-looking ones, they are somewhat original for their looks but they are all minor characters that are defined by a quirk and are defeated and removed from the show in just a few episodes. And of course we have most of the girls running around half naked and acting like they are in permanent heat. So this is a cast you will be staring at for the bizarre or sexy way they look and not because they have any special charisma in their personality.
- A minor thing that irritated me a lot. They placed Plue as cameo, a creature from Rave Master. Now what did that manage to accomplish other than annoying the average fan? Is that their way of telling us even clearer that they are rehashing other works INCLUDING their own? That is really tasteless. I hear he was placed there to please the fans of Rave Master but I don’t believe that. Who still likes that boredrome?
- The music part leaves me with very little to write about. The OST is fitting for such a series but I don’t find any memorable songs in it. Voice acting is ok too with what is going on in the story. No amazing performance though.
The story is completely generic stuff and easily the weakest part of the show. It plays out like some MMO game, where you join a guild and take seemingly irrelevant to one another missions, while at the same time leaving a few openings for character colorization and world-building. It all plays out quite childishly and there isn’t even an objective for anyone in this show; they just take missions and hope to find something that interests them in the process. For example, we know Natsu is looking for a dragon but did he actually look for him? No, he is just fooling around in his guild and takes part in whatever mission comes along.
The scenario ends up driving the characters and not the other way around; and even that happens in a bad way since the heroes are not actively doing anything. They just fool around until a villain or a mission appear out of nowhere (no foreshadowing at all) and just decide to take part in the whole thing for money or to save some girl. That makes the protagonist and his gang completely boring since they have no goals in life to go for without some world threat standing in the way. Heck, they would probably be sleeping all day long if they had no obstacles.
Now it is true that many events lead to character immersion and reveal more aspects of the world, but all that don’t add anything significant to the show. It’s like drawing more hearts around a short love letter; the contenct is the same but just looks cuter. The plot is always predictable, since it repeats in the exact same way all the time with no interesting plot twists or memorable events. Some character’s past is revealed, some old enemies of him appear, some sinister plan of mass destruction takes place, and then the heroes storm in and win with the power of friendship. Thank you very much; I have seen it all before and in a more mature form. They also add nothing to the show besides more cardboard characters with no significance or moe sancy areas you will never see again.
As if that wasn’t enough, just like with all perpetual on-going shonen the anime reached the manga at som point and the creators had to turn to slower pacing, fillers, and eventually to cancel the show prematurely in the middle of an arc. Not that it would be any different if they did what the Big Three do to bust our balls with 10 fillers followed by 2 canon episodes of snail fast plot but the show is left incomplete. Not that there was much of a plot to care for...
If there is something good to say here is how all the arcs are relatively short and with a fast pace to the most part. Unlike most shonen, FT does not try to stretch each arc too much. Of course technically most battles are dead time, since they offer nothing to the plot, plus are predictable and repetitive. So to the most part you are still watching a show which repeats itself faster than the average of its kind and is mostly canon filler.
The cast is eventually the meat of the show, since the plot is mostly about somebody’s past creating problems in the present. This way you feel like everything is revolving around them and that they are not irrelevant to the main problem of each arc. Some of them count as cool and fleshed out to bother paying attention to but don’t try to find unoriginal characters because you will be disappointed. They are all following a rather typical demeanour but at least they do it right to the most part. There is variety in personalities and powers and most have a rather basic but sufficient backdrop to work with.
Of course they are still shallow as heck; their personality can fit in two lines including their signature move. So the mangaka had to resolve to keeping all the girls half-naked and in constant heat in order to keep the viewers/readers from realizing that. For a show that aims at children, I must say there is too much fan service in it that is there specifically to distract you from thinking how stupid it is.
Needless to say, don’t expect any drastic character development to take place since most of whatever the characters learn in one arc, is immediately forgotten in the next. They keep trying to make you believe they are gradually getting stronger but you can never see that on-screen. In fact you never have a clear picture of who is stronger and by how much, much less where he excels enough to be able to defeat opponents who are in overall more experienced. So how do all the battles resolve if there is no balance then? Oh come on; you can probably figure it out immediately; it always comes down to the power of friendship. To hell with strategy, planning ahead, learning from your past mistakes, or even paying attention to your injuries. Just storm in and win against all odds with the almighty POWER OF FRIENDSHIP! I MUST PROTECT MY FRIENDS! FRIENDSHIP MAGICALLY HEALS MY GRAVE WOUNDS! FRIENDSHIP BRINGS EVEN THE DEAD BACK TO LIFE! Yes, get ready to eat up a lot of this baby food, for the whole plot runs purely on this sort of fuel. Needless to say, it is stupid, overdone, and eventually tasteless.
The series is aimed at younger teens; even younger than the target audience for Naruto or Bleach. There is a lot of silliness (more than the usual) and violence is really basic and mostly bloodless. And of course nobody ever gets killed, or in the rare case he does, he doesn’t stay dead for long. It is by no means a serious show and nothing in it feels important after awhile. Just to give you an example, it has a mascot in the form of a cheery blue flying cat named… Happy. Imagine a scene where some demon prepares to blow up a village full of people and the camera suddenly zooms to Happy’s permanently happy face. Yeah, the excitement vaporates right there. It is very hard to be interested in whatever the heck is going on when everything looks so easy going and silly. In fact the boldest thing in this show ends up being the fan service around the girls and even that is completely basic compared to your average modern ecchi comedy.
So is it a good show? No, but it’s a good time killer if your expectations are low and you are not older than 15 with prior experience to other famous shonen. I doubt it will leave any mark in anime history or be remembered as anything more than a rehash of other works. It does it right but at the same time it lacks the unique feeling every show that aims to be loved needs. It is indeed nothing but a fairy tale; shallow and for little kids who still tolerate the power of friendship is the most awesome thing ever. But it can be enjoyable just for that.
Oh, and I might as well add how FT became one of the Big Three shonen, after the Bleach anime was discontinued. That may seem like it’s supposed to be awesome enough to deserve such an honor but in reality it is only because modern shonen are crap. It gets some value for that but it’s otherwise only the best looking trash of the garbage bin. And the funniest part? Now that it is discontinued as well, there is nothing to replace it. Yeah, hard times...
And now for some excused scorings:
ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (typical fantasy world)
Animation 1/2 (average)
Visual Effects 1/2 (typical)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (good albeit too melo at points without excusing it nicely)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (um, good I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (as typical as it gets)
Pacing 1/2 (fast but repetitive)
Complexity 1/2 (nothing besides lots of two line characters)
Plausibility 0/2 (THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP is not plausible)
Conclusion 0/2 (left incomplete)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (generic but well defined)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none; the show is left incomplete)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 2/3 (part of the Big Three for awhile; yay!)
Rewatchability 0/3 (none; too childish to deserve any)
Memorability 0/4 (meh, it is just a watered down rehash of other shonen)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks generic)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 0/3 (feels generic as hell)
Characters 1/4 (they are also generic as hell)
Could they make it any worse?
This is by far my favorite anime. I loved the characters, the plot and the constant supply of entertainment and action. I really enjoyed the way the whole anime panned out and it never dragged on an arc for too long however it was a litte boring for a while after the S-Class exams.
Let’s start this review by saying that I’m a fan of this show. However, I’m not a fanboy who will look for excuses for every (huge or little) bad point. If you want a huge rant about why FT is bad, go look at roriconfan’s review. If you only want to hear “omg this is tha best show eva omg omg must watch blabla” then you should go somewhere else as well. I’ll go for the way in between those two: I really like the show, but I also see the good and bad points in it. Well, whatever, let’s get started.
Common complaints about Fairy Tail
Yes, this is going first, and it's a long topic. Why? Because people love hating popular things, I guess. Nonetheless, there is some truth in all of these complaints (otherwise they wouldn’t be so common, would they?)
So, the first thing lot’s of people complain about is that Fairy Tail is basically a copy of One Piece. When you look at character designs, that certainly is true: http://i.imgur.com/uedxH9Q.jpg
When you look at their personalities, however, it’s kinda unfair to say that it’s only a copy of OP. These personalities are just typical shounen, and calling FT a copy of OP would be the same on this part as calling OP a copy of Dragon Ball. For all three of them you have this: strong hero-kid that eats a lot, is funny and carefree; girl that is always by his side; get a lot of other friends around them, add some super-powers and you can start your adventure! Oh wait, I just summed up Naruto too… and about 80% of shounen series. Also, apparently the two authors, Oda and Mashima, are quite close (source is Google). Some shout-outs are, thus, to be expected.
Another reason why I wouldn’t complain about this is because the storylines are different (while they still are typical shounen adventures though).
The second thing people tend to bitch about is that Fairy Tail is also “just an improved version of Rave Master”. Rave Master, for those who don’t know, is made by the same author. (for more info: http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/groove-adventure-rave ) It’s true that here too, there are lots of similarities between characters, and there are even cameos of elements from Rave Master in Fairy Tail. However, I don’t see the point in complaining about this either. Why? Look at this: http://i.imgur.com/k2Y2UHU.png . The improvements are showing, aren’t they? Would you complain about an author if his first book wasn’t really succesfull, but his 15th was, but the 15th is very similar to the first? I wouldn’t, and I don’t know why anyone would.
Third complaint: “the power of friendship”. No matter how injured/tired/dying someone is, they will win to protect their friends / get revenge for hurt friends / because their friends support them / …. (you get the point). I’m not even gonna try to defend this, because it is utter bull****. If anything can be said about it, it’s that this kind of crap happens in most shounen series of this type (Naruto: “I will bring Sasuke back!!!!”, OP (although a lot less): “you hurt my nakama!!!”, etc.)
Complaint number four (told ya it would be a long section): fanservice. Yeah, well, personally I don’t really mind this + the fanservice sometimes gives some hilarious scenes too.
So, FT is about Natsu Dragneel, Lucy Heartfilia and a bunch of other characters and their adventures in their guild called Fairy Tail. That’s about all I can say about it, because each arc has different qualities and bad points.Meanwhile, there’s also a bit of a plot on the background going on to be used for later stories (foreshadowing to master Ivan and Laxus as enemies later on, preparations for Zeref and Igneel, etc.)
All in all, it’s hard to give this a score because of the different arcs and because we are still far so far from getting the conclusion. +1 for nicely reusing characters introduced earlier, -2 because nobody ever dies.
Some really loveable characters, some guys you really get to hate, some really manly guys (see: Elfman), some really bad-ass guys, etc.
What I really like about FT is how almost every character has an interesting backstory. However, most of them are still quite shallow.
At first it felt like it was just ok, later on it gets always better, making the fighting scenes amazing.
Another part that I just love about the show: the soundtrack. I never get tired of the theme song during fights. The emotional songs were done very well too.
The voice acting was also good.
some really good humour imo
You get things your inner 9-year old will love, like:
colours (like really, blue, pink, red or green hair?)
good guys punching bad guys
people punching monsters in the face (or slicing them through, if you watch episode 167 “100 vs 1” - spoiler: http://goo.gl/kPsuxz )
All in all you could say that this is probably not a good series. However, there are so many things I like about it, that I still like. Number 1 guilty pleasure then, maybe? To say the least, I found this really entertaining.<div>
Hiro Mashima is a great artist, and has created another great anime that is one of the top most read mangas on OneManga.com. Which makes it the most popular anime/maga known today. The characters are perfect and the story revolves around the events that happen. Which also makes the story ever so interesting, and even though some peope think that the charaters are like Hiro's Manga Rave Master characters, they are not similar one bit. The one thing that makes them the same is the way they react to things and the story is not similar to One Piece either. So FU Fairy Tale haters. The animation is ok, the threeD efect is kind of annoying, but it adds to the suspense of the fighting sequences. Over all, the anime is one of the top animes that I would reconcider to watch if you are a fan of Hiro Mashima's work.
Story: The story is a nice idea,and no one has made it yet.Although sometimes,fights can take up to 5-7 episodes.
sound:Some good comedic sounds and explosions,but it's not excelent.
animation:the animation is acceptable,but it's not stunning.
charecters: Each charecter has a constant gag/habbit(EX:Lucy using her huge breasts to get what she wants,Natsu constantly hanging around Lucy's house,Grey's clothing frequently being stolen,Erza is very bossy,and Natsu and Grey constantly fighting.)
overall score: 8.9/10