(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.
This show is ass all everybody do is snitch
When I looked at the poster of this anime I was really hoping that it would be an awsome action anime.
I watched the whole season and there were maybe 2 moments of action. The other moments they were just talking. Ofcourse at the momentsthat they started to fight were awsome but everything else was just a no go for me.
The anime is really boring but if you like serious anime without a lot of action you might like it.
Don’t Worry There Are NO Plot Spoilers In This Review
So recently I decided to start watching Fairy Gone despite what the entire anime community was saying about it and I caught all the way up with the show in a single day, and I honestly don’t understand all the hate for this show. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is amazing but it isn’t the “Worst Anime of the Season” that a lot of people were making it out to be. Also from what I can tell from the posts and comments I have read about this show, a lot of people disdain for the show originated from a few points.
1.) The CGI:
Look, I’m not saying the CG is perfect, but it is significantly better than the CG in other shows that are much more favored in the community then this show. Like did people forget the bear in Golden Kamuy, or the horrendous goblin army in Overlord season 3, heck even the Colossal Titan in season 2 of Attack on Titan looks pretty choppy compared to the CG in this show. I mean I get that the community just doesn’t like CG as whole in anime, to the point that it is basically a meme in the anime community at this point to not like CG, but honestly guys this really doesn’t look that bad, like this is no Berserk 2016, so if that is your only gripe calm down.
2.) The Story:
Okay so there are two levels of complaints I have seen regarding the story in this show, the first is the information dump that is the first episode. Honestly the fact that the first episode is a giant information dump really didn’t bother me, because there are many other popular shows that do a major information dumped at the beginning of the show, that are still widely seen as good shows. The most infamous of which that come to mind right now is the giant 50-minute first episode prologue for Fate Zero that is literally just 50 minutes of expedition before we even start the show. So I get it, if you do not like expedition as a whole, meaning you didn’t like Fate Zero as well for the same reason, then that is fine. But if you like one and not the other to me that comes off as kind of hypocritical.
The second issue many people have with the story is that it kind of feels mediocre, which to me I don’t actually understand what does that mean. Like this show’s story doesn’t feel any more mediocre than other popular shows from just the past year like Sirius the Jaeger, The Rising of the Shield Hero, Goblin Slayer, The Seven Deadly Sins, etc. And that’s not even taking into account anime that I thought were actual trash, that people still seem to have a better opinion of that this show, like B: The Beginning or Tokyo Ghoul: re season 2. Idk, maybe my taste it’s just different compared to other people, but this show feels just as mediocre as other popular shows, and that’s not really a diss on the popular shows (since I still watch them too) my point is just that this show isn’t that bad by comparison.
3.) The Animation:
Okay so this point makes even less sense to me then the story point, but apparently, for a lot of people they feel the animation is lackluster at best, and I personally don’t see what they mean. The fact that the avatars are the only part of the show that are CG (other than background elements that at this point are CG in many anime i.e. the crowds of people) tell me that it was most likely a creative decision to showcase how otherworldly the avatars are compared to the humans. 2nd the animation overall I feel really fits the show and isn’t necessarily bad at all, Maybe I feel that way just because I have actually seen what bad animation looks like in anime COUGH Black Clover COUGH COUGH, or instead of beating a dead horse, If I were to compare this to the animation of One Punch Man season 2, and I honestly would prefer this.
This at least feels fluid and complements the material the show portrays, not to mention they actually show you the fight scenes in this show, instead of just a couple still’s that they zoom in and out of as if to show motion instead of actually animating it, yes I am throwing shade, seriously I don’t like season 2 of One Punch Man. The only other aspect of the animation I could conceivably see people disliking is the lack of colors, which I completely understand. because this show is aiming for that gritty feel, they basically have a single color palette they use for literally everything, which I could conceivably see getting annoying for some people who want more color in their animation. But for me personally, since this is just the show’s aesthetic, meaning it was a creative choice from the beginning, it really doesn’t bother me overall.
4.) The Soundtrack:
Okay now this is the only point I have seen that I actually semi-agree with, I mean other than the fact that the OP is pretty good, most of the music in the show feels kind of out of place. It’s not that the individual songs are necessarily bad, they just come either at completely the wrong time, or the song itself does not match the tone of the scene it is in. This happens enough in the show that it is definitely noticeable (which is why I understand if it bothers some people, it bothers me as well) but it is not bad enough to tank an entire show for me.
5.) The World:
This is the main redeeming factor for this show for me, the world this show set’s up is so fundamentally interesting to me that I can overlook certain story problems when they happen in the moment. The setting for this show feels to me like a cross between Princess Principal and Serpents of the End and I am 100% down for that. Not to mention (and I mean this in the best way possible) the weird creative decisions within the entire world are teetering on Ghibli level weird creative decisions. Like on episode 2 you see a truck that has four arms in the front compartment that comes out from the sides to pull the car, even though it could just have an engine to move. Shit like this is the weird shit that is in this word and it does not matter if I like it or not, I just appreciate that this kind of weird shit is in this world.
So overall my point here is that if you originally wrote off this show because of the immense amount of negative criticism surrounding it when it first started. I highly recommend you actually give the show a shot, because you never know, this might just be the kind of weird dumb shit you need in your life. Granted this is only the first half of the show, so who knows, down the line, this show may completely tank. But as of right now, I like what I am seeing enough to continue the show. 70/100, I am looking forward to season 2😉
not so many joke, but the story is not plain & has nice soundtracks. no need for new season but it'll be nice if there will be a sequel movie