Fairy gone

TV (12 eps)
2.71 out of 5 from 2,604 votes
Rank #7,641
Fairy gone

Fairies possess and reside within animals, granting them special powers. By surgically removing and transplanting the organs of a possessed animal into a human, humans can partially summon the fairy and use it as a weapon. Eventually, such individuals were used for war, and were called "Fairy Soldiers." After a long war, these soldiers lost their purpose, and had to reintegrate into society. Nine years after the end of the war, Maria is a fresh recruit of "Dorothea," an organization dedicated to the investigation and suppression of fairy-related crimes and incidents. Even in peacetime, the government is still unstable after the war. Many criminals still have lingering wounds from the previous conflict, and there are terrorist groups bent on revenge.

Source: ANN

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(This series gave me a lot of mental anguish, so instead of a traditional review, I'm just going to fire some mental volleys and hope to hit some semblance of structure, point, and entertainment.) Fairy Gone is a series that forced me to confront a lot of the habits I have been conditioned to accepting in my general anime consumption. While watching it, for example, I kept saying to myself "Jesus, this is slow" but after finishing it and digesting it for a few days... I don't know... I think maybe for a 12-episode series with a (admittedly) too-large-for-one-season plot/world, they actually did a serviceable job? That is not to say that this series did not have many issues (this review is only for the first half, of course, the second half may prove otherwise) and my rating of a 7 is, I must admit, rounding up a little, as the show at least forced me to question some things about how I watch anime. I will try to equally review both the anime for what it is, and for what, to me, it represents as an anime of its kind at the time it is made. Story: 7 out of 10. Fairy Gone juggles many different pieces that maybe could have worked, had the juggler more skill. The idea of "EVERYONE HAS AN (blank) INSIDE THEM AND MUST FIGHT, MC HAS THE STRONGEST, BUT IS NOT IN CONTROL/DOES NOT KNOW/IS WEAK BUT FRIENDSHIP WILL TEACH THEM" is in damn near 50% of shonen anime, and this one starts us off with that. Marlya quickly gains her fairy (this shouldn't really count as a spoiler, right?) and all we're given is that it went down in a way that is not considered normal. This is my first major problem with the story, and the first point to really question my viewing habits. Marlya's fairy does nothing out of the ordinary, and upon first watch, I was like "What the fuck? She's supposed to have the strongest one, right? When does her secret technique get revealed? Is it her parents? Is it connected to her curse? Surely they will let me know right away!" and then the show just... fucking doesn't. Now, don't get me wrong, this could easily be chalked up to bad writing/directing, and I will not argue that (not until I see the second half, of course) but I don't think it would be wise to dismiss the possibility that the writer/director is playing with our conditioned perspectives here. To be entirely fair, the show itself never specifically said that Marlya's fairy is rare, or powerful, or dark, or cursed. Marlya's skills herself are not really mentioned either. All that is said, in passing, is that her possession is abnormal, and while I think all the previously mentioned assumptions exist because it's effective writing in anime (these things become trope for reasons), I also do not believe it is fair to shit on it for not following up on those. Moving on, the story also had some snags for me because the system of ranking fairies as a viewer is entirely erratic. You have two general groupings of fairy: Tough fighters, such as the fairies of Marlya, Free, Ozz, The horribly named Beevee, Bitter Sweet, and Ver. Then you have... Beethoven-hair Kun's supersonic laser crossbow snake, Cute Glasses Chan's voyeur frog, and Alex's screaming fairy (not sure if that was his. or an item, or what?). I think the series did a great disservice by not having a stronger system of fairies for the audience, but now I must hedge and suggest rethinking my original annoyance. While yes, I earnestly think it just is not good writing, there is something to be said about the purposes of these fairies. We are told, quickly, that to obtain a fairy, you must dabble in some dark surgery shit, and it was created specifically to help on the battlefield. With that in mind, the fairies we have seen so far make sense: brute force, recon, artillery. The show also mentions that there are not that many in Dorotea, which was likely intended to give a sense of urgency or post-war loss. My two biggest complaints about this series are thus opposing: Is it a series of many pieces written poorly so we have to build the puzzle ourselves without any semblance of help, or is this a series that has many mature ideas of storytelling that focuses too hard on an edgy, dismal point of view, forcing us to miss some of it's fun techniques in order to feel the disconnect of the story? (Given the complete lack of chemistry between Marlya and Free, I will assume the first for now). For other story bits, I think this is, again, not an unheard-of plot, but there are many pieces available that suggest there might be more to it. It is not original, but the premise of introducing a fairy fighting anime that quickly bogs down into an introspective (not successful there) political slow burning postwar delusion story is entirely misleading, but possibly the point? We are supposed to focus on the fairy and not the pieces moving underneath (but, then again, it fails as a political thriller, as it is not handled deftly or with any smart hooks.) I guess I mean to say a lot of the problems people may have with this show is because it tries to balance an edgy plot with a mature viewpoint, but I don't think it fully captures either of those ideas properly, but I can respect the attempt? Maybe? PS: The show REALLY focuses on long blonde-haired people trying to attack them. That was a very weird pattern. Weird means "bad" here. Animation: 8 out of 10 It's a PA work, it was made well. The character design is fun for the world, the fairy design is... edgy, but not entirely unpleasant CGI. The action sequences are fun whenever they do finally roll around. The train derailing was a... particularly effective moment of animation. Sound: 5 out of 10 The VA was fine, but I felt entirely too bombarded by that theme song. There's nothing wrong with it, I just felt like every chance they had, they plugged in some Japanese circa early 2000s screamo, and it just wasn't doing it for me. If you like this kind of music, you are in for a real treat. Characters: 7 out of 10 I mostly found myself enjoying every character besides the main two, which I cannot even begin to defend. The show seems to imply that there is a chemistry between Mar and Free (be that romantic, familial, co-worker, or friend, I have no idea) but we do not really get to see that. Right off the get-go, their interactions seem awkward to me, and their friendship does not seem to make a lot of sense. Of course, time passes quickly in the first few episodes, and the constant flashbacks already mess with the murky sense of time (Something that might be a mature attempt at playing with time, possibly just bad writing), so there is argument to be made that their friendship is just sort of... to be naturally expected of two people working together, but from what they show us, the only interactions the two ever have on screen are professional, limited, speech-y dialogued, or awkward. There aren't that many bonding moments. The best moment that could have been easily used for this (the death of a certain character) would've been nice, but she got over it in an episode so... Is that mature for a character who is a soldier now and has been around death her whole life, or is it bad writing? Your choice. Bitter Sweet was a fantastic villain, the puppet emperor and the 3 silently competing underlings could have been fun (if they didn't jump the gun so early) and in fact, I actually think that was another major issue of this show. There was so much they wanted to happen, but they never actually described anyone's motives. Generally, I find this to be ok, as I do enjoy figuring out character's intentions when they all wade in ethically murky waters, as this is likely closer to how we read people in real life. I thought maybe, again, I was just upset over a conditioning, but I would like to think otherwise. Ver want's Ray dead, but it's only really been hinted at why, and her accomplice, we know nothing of intent. Wolfran has some general "I lost so much, someone has to pay" betrayal vibes, but we don't really know. Beevee is just like "I'm a warrior poet, let us fight" but then he just peaces instead of dying in a glorious battle, which his character type should be drawn to, so, maybe he has some further goals (having a merc band would suggest that). Characters like Jonathan, Klara, Auler, Serge, Sophie, Alex, Marco, all of them appear to have other sides to them, fun quirks, senses of strength to make a good ally or villain for the MCs, but man... Free and Mar just... have not showed any of it. They have certainly been written to have BACKSTORY worth investigating (Mar's curse, past, future, and Free's sense of cowardice, replacing Jet, and keeping his country from war, the opposite of Beevee) but we don't really dip into that. One thing I will say that is good about this series is morally ambiguous characters. The useless emperor that keeps the peace, facilitated by the genius general PM (who, as Ray or Schwarz, might believe in peace, or might just be afraid of ursurping power unsuccesfully. This places all three of them into nice political roles). Wolfran, who was a good guy, and was friends with Free, but Free mentions specifically how cold he was even back in war, so he's a frigid character, but we saw anguish when it was clear he lost those dear to him, so his want of some sort of revenge is at least not entirely shallow. Ray Dawn seems to be a good guy who wants peace, but Ver would assume otherwise, so who do we believe? A lot of the reasons to like or dislike characters come from unreliable narrators, and that creates a world that is either very fun as a viewer, or too lazy to enjoy. I think I'm in the first category, but we shall see). Overall: 7 out of 10 The biggest sin of this anime is that is creates a bunch of really interesting pieces. We have an interesting (if not entirely original) world. We have fun characters with, perhaps, a bit more implied depth than many other in common anime. Hidden undercurrents left and right, really high stakes, some light philosophy about life and death and purpose, and then it just... fails to patch them together correctly. While watching this, I kept having this tickling sensation that while everything was playing out, I kept wanting to go back to Golden Kamuy, which seemed to do a lot of what this show was trying to do, only better. I will watch the second half of the show and likely write up another review looking back on this, but all in all... This series has a lot to think about, plenty of good pieces to move around, and just not enough expertise from teh director or writer for me to call great.

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