Fairy Tail Review: Is It Worth A Watch?

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Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

If you ask any anime fan about Fairy Tail, then there is a really big chance that they will tell you that watching it is a waste of time. The anime currently sits at an astounding 328 episodes and two movies. Even though Fairy Tail gets a lot of hate, many people would still suggest it, most of the time, due to the nostalgia factor.

Fairy Tail started airing in 2009, the time when anime was starting to gain popularity overseas, but it still didn’t manage to gain huge fandoms like Naruto or Bleach, which were airing almost alongside it. Most of the time, Fairy Tail gets mixed reviews but is still revered as a somewhat decent anime.

We also know that sitting and watching 328 episodes of an anime is no easy task, and people don’t want to waste their precious time watching something that they might not enjoy. So we decided to sit through the entire 328 episodes and write this Fairy Tail Review, which might help you decide whether you should watch Fairy Tail or not.

Fairy Tail Plot Summary:

Fairy Tail starts out with a brief glimpse of a blue-talking cat named Happy and his companion, a pink-haired mage named Natsu Dragneel, getting off of a train in the town of Hargeon. Both of them are searching for a mage called “Salamander” who should currently be in this town. Soon after, we are introduced to one of the primary cast members of Fairy Tail, Lucy Heartfilia.

She’s a celestial mage who can call forth celestial spirits like Pisces, Aries, Taurus, etc., to fight for her. Lucy is also in this town in order to get into some guild. They are mediums that are used to call forth spirits.

Lucy gets the word that a really powerful mage with the name “Salamander” is in the town, so she tries to go meet him. Unbeknownst to the fact that the mage masquerading as Salamander is a fake and uses charms to trick people.

Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

Later Lucy treats Natsu and Happy to a meal after she is saved by them from the charm magic of the fake Salamander. She then reveals to them how she is looking for a guild to join, informing them about the importance of joining a guild if one wants to prosper as a mage. Natsu then reveals that they were looking for Salamander thinking that it was actually Igneel, a fire-breathing dragon.

Lucy then leaves them, astonished by the absurdity of their search for a mythical creature like a dragon in the middle of a city. While Lucy sits in a park wondering about how one gets to join Fairy Tail, a really famous guild that she also admires.

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Soon, she is again approached by the fake Salamander, who manages to trick her into believing that he’s actually a Fairy Tail wizard who can also help her join Fairy Tail. Later Lucy follows him to a cruise where he reveals not only that he tricked her but that he brought her to the cruise to sell her as merchandise.

Later Natsu crashes through the roof of the cruise in order to beat Salamander, who is masquerading as a Fairy Tail wizard. During all the ruckus, Happy manages to take Lucy and fly her away from the cruise, leaving Natsu to fight Salamander and his crew.

Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

After reaching solid ground, Natsu makes quick work of Salamander’s crew and reveals that he actually is a Fairy Tail Wizard, and he’s angered by the fact that his guild’s name is being used by this fake excuse of a wizard.

It is then later revealed that fire doesn’t affect Natsu as he uses ancient magic, a spell that was used to slay the dragons themselves, Dragon-slaying magic taught to him by none other than the fire dragon Igneel. Lucy then notices Natsu’s appearance, a white scaly scarf, a Fairy Tail emblem on his shoulder, and a wielder to fire magic revealing that Natsu is the actual Salamander.

Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

Natsu and Happy later flee the scene after utterly destroying the fake Salamander. All this while dragging Lucy along with them, inviting her to join Fairy Tail. Later Natsu and Happy, along with Lucy, come to the town of Magnolia, where the Fairy Tail guild is located. After entering the guild, Lucy is astounded to see the guild filled with all different kinds of wizards.

But soon, the whole guild descends into chaos as all of them start to fight each other over the most trivial matters, which turns out to be a regular routine of the guild members. Then soon, Lucy gets the Fairy Tail emblem carved on her hand, officially joining the Fairy Tail guild.

Fairy Tail Review:

Anime isn’t for everyone. There is no anime that embodies this fact more than Fairy Tail. Let’s first talk about the protagonist of Fairy Tail. Almost every shonen anime focuses on a central protagonist to carry the story forward.

The adventures of said protagonist that we viewers can relate to as we journey alongside them, growing and experiencing, and while the protagonist reaches a stage of fruition where they finally get recognized, or they fulfill the task that they believe in finally discovering themselves, the viewers reach a stage where they discover themselves.

The role of a shonen protagonist is as fascinating as it is generic. The shonen protagonist is a character that is almost impossible to get right and can never really be the most beloved character of their series. 

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The shonen protagonist, thus, has to always needs to take some form of generic role for the story to move forward. At the same time, the nuanced roles are always taken up by the side characters. Being generic is the protagonist’s downside while also being their greatest strength.

Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

This brings us to the supposed protagonist of Fairy Tail, Natsu Dragneel. Natsu is a very nuanced character and therefore does not fill the role of a protagonist. The generic shonen protagonist is not someone like Natsu in the slightest, but he does have the most important role out of almost everyone in the huge cast of Fairy Tail.

Natsu Does take out the big bad villains at the end of each arc, but he still is very different than the average shonen protagonist. A shonen protagonist is a role that should never polarize the audience. We want everyone to relate to them to some degree.

That’s why all shonen protagonists almost always have generic powers, Asta has anti-magic,  Deku is just super-strong, Naruto uses Rasengan, which is a really powerful punch, and shadow clones which is just a normal technique not inclined to some element.

Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

Natsu uses fire, which is a polarizing element. People might like ice, water, or wind more. It’s important to mention all this as Natsu is not the main character, Lucy is not the main character, and the protagonist of Fairy Tail is the guild Fairy Tail. We are not following Lucy’s journey to becoming a wizard she can be proud of. We are not following Natsu’s journey to finding his dad.

We are following the Journey of Fairy Tail, the evolution of the guild, the challenges they have to overcome, and the inner dynamics of the guild. The viewers don’t need to find themselves as protagonists individually; the viewers find themselves as the guild Fairy Tail finds its own identity.

Fairy Tail Review: A Underwhelming Saga
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

Fairy Tail has a really dynamic cast of characters, each of whom wields a different kind of magic, there is wind, water, fire, and all the generic kinds, but then they have magic like gun magic, inventory magic even perfume magic. Each of them has a unique design, even though they can be boiled down to simple tropes. Some of the guild members are there just to embody a trope.

The arcs mostly follow the same structure, but they still manage to generate hype moments and, in the end, deliver a satisfying conclusion, be it through some generic “power of friendship” or an actual power-up that the protagonist gets. No matter how incoherent the powerups may be, they still manage to deliver a strong thematic conclusion.

One of the biggest disappointments of Fairy Tail would be the genericness and minuscule narrative progression during the arcs. Most of the time, the protagonists face off against the antagonists a final time and somehow manage to defeat them with the all-powerful “power of friendship.” 

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In most shonen animes, the powerups from one arc are carried over to another. This acts as an adequate pay-off for the audience that watched the entire arc. But almost no such thing happens in Fairy Tail; Natsu or any other character in this series gains a powerup towards the end of an arc but soon loses that powerup in the very next arc.

Even though the thematic pay-off of every arc is phenomenal, further emphasizing the importance of the family that is Fairy Tail, the actual pay-off that should carry over to the next arc as a reward for the previous one is nowhere to be seen.

Fairy Tail Review: The Music

Music is one of the things that makes anime stand out from manga. Good music can even make generic anime into something decent. By having a unique quality to the soundtrack or even a single song, perhaps using a genre or instrument that isn’t associated with a certain kind of show allows the score to stand out even more and, if done right, enhances or even revolutionizes the perception we have between a type of music and a genre of media.

Like the use of Lofi hip-hop beats in Samurai Champloo or the use of jazz in Gundam Thunderbolts, both of these shows revolutionized the way certain songs are used in certain shows. The same goes for the use of bag-pipes in Fairy Tail. The soundtrack in Fairy Tail is one of the very best. Even haters of the show would admit that.

Be it a sad scene, a sorrowful scene, a hype scene, or a melancholic scene, the soundtrack of Fairy Tail would always stand out for its innovative and almost fascinating use of bag-pipes in its soundtrack.

Fairy Tail Review: Final Verdict

Overall, Fairy Tail is an anime that is not for everyone. It is not a must-watch for anyone. The story is interesting but lacks depth, and the characters and their motivations are interesting. Watching them try and actually accomplish their goals in the most spectacular way possible is surely entertaining.

There are plenty of hot guys and girls that anime fans will surely love, each having a unique quirk while embodying a trope. The soundtrack is unique. But Fairy Tail still is a shonen anime that fails to reinvent the wheel and isn’t even a good generic shonen anime. 

It tries to be something unique while also being generic. Overall you should watch Fairy Tail only if you’re just getting into anime or if you just want to relive your younger days of watching Fairy Tail; otherwise, it is not worth it. 

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By Anupam Barua

Anupam Barua is a passionate reader who enjoys indulging in light novels, manga, and anime during his free time. He hails from Assam and is currently pursuing BSc. He specializes in anime and manga-related articles, you can reach out to him on anupam111246@gmail.com

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