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Monday, December 18, 2017

Anime Hajime Review: Fairy Tail Season Six (Fairy Tail Month Part 6 of 9)

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Fairy Tail. Reader discretion is advised.***

Season Positives

If you’ve been following along this month, first thank you for sticking around. Second, you’re aware of my thoughts concerning the previous Starry Sky Arc. In case you’re jumping in here, the nicest way to describe the thing, “I didn’t like it.” That storyline has been the lowest point of this series so far. Let’s hope it stays that way.

One question has refused to leave my head. How do you follow up such a huge waste of time? One would like to assume, regardless of that answer, it would be better. Right? Things couldn’t get worse, could they? Of course, they can. That's a notion I don’t want to consider with this series.

Fairy Tail’s response to the travesty that was the Starry Sky Arc was the Grand Magic Games Arc. And boy was this a welcomed return to form and then some. Not only was this a massive improvement, this was the best this show has been. This was phenomenal.

Before, I speculated, now I'm sure. The Starry Sky Arc is skippable. This season set it up to ensure we would never need to speak of it again. Aside from a few easy to miss references for the sake of continuity, Fairy Tail washed its hands of the ordeal. I could not be more okay with this.

After a twenty-five episodes void, this series acknowledged the fallout of the seven-year gap. To catch us back up, Fairy Tail’s core members were sealed away at the end of the Tenrojima Arc. The once joyous and popular guild had fallen on hard times. When everyone returned, the name Fairy Tail had become the laughing stock of the land.

To avoid repeating myself over and over, I’ll get it out of the way in the beginning. The Starry Sky Arc did plenty for me to despise it on its own. The Grand Magic Games Arc, whether intentional or not, made me hate it even more.

Every questionable decision from the last season was as stupid as can be. It’s comforting to know I wasn’t imagining things. Whatever that was, it wasn't the Fairy Tail we had been seeing.

For example, Gajeel. He didn’t do much this season. Which is fine since what he did do was in line with his character. He’s arrogant, hot-headed, and always ready to fight someone. The stronger the opponent, the better. He’s not a person who runs away because he might get hurt. Though just one of many, Gajeel illustrates how off focused the last arc was.

I do not want to talk about the Starry Sky Arc anymore. Instead, let’s focus on how cool this arc was.


The Grand Magic Games Arc avoided one of Fairy Tail’s biggest struggles. This story’s pacing was great. There were a few hiccups, but for the most part, things took as long as they needed to take. Instead of resulting in frustration, this arc used frustration as a fuel source.

By design, the first day of the Games was hard to watch. Fairy Tail got humiliated. Never before had this guild been this discredited. And this was not their fault. There were people who realized the team was getting screwed over. While comforting, this could only do so much.

Of the two main rival, Saber Tooth was always looking down on our group. With Fairy Tail’s strongest out of commission, Saber Tooth became the most powerful. In their minds, no one was their equal. It got to the point where they made one crucial mistake. They did the one thing no one should ever do.

Saber Tooth managed to piss off Fairy Tail.

The other rival group was Raven Tail. Saber Tooth had some, albeit small, sense of dignity. These other guys were dicks. They didn’t care about winning. They only cared about destroying Fairy Tail. On that first day, they succeeded in delivering a devastating moral blow. It was their actions that made it one of the most difficult moments of the series.

Then if those two things weren't bad enough, the crowd sure was. This audience was painful to listen to. It was amazing how much people forgot the glory that was Fairy Tail in only seven years. This was the guild that the had the habit of saving the world time and time again. Every boo and sneer this audience gave was like a knife to the heart.

At the end of the first day, Fairy Tail was at the bottom of the rankings. The odds appeared insurmountable. Yet these are the exact conditions where these guys are at their greatest. From the start of day two, the Grand Magic Games Arc kicked into full gear.

An Arc of Triumphs

If you were to ask me to make a list of the best Fairy Tail moments I’ve seen, most of the top ten would come from this arc. And while most came from the Games, there was an exception.

Let's get that one out of the way first.

Jallel made a return to the series. Freed from the darkness that controlled him, he was dealing with the guilt of his actions. He also now had to confront Erza.

At the end of the Nirvana Arc, Erza was happy to see that the man she cared about had returned. Unfortunately, he did have to pay for his crimes. Cutting short what should have been a joyous reunion.

This second meeting was perfect. I can’t think of a single thing it did wrong. I can think of a lot of things I would have like to have seen. Yet in terms of storytelling, how this played out was the right answer. My place could have been on fire and I would not have stopped watching.

This was the moment that made me smile the most. The following seven moments were just pure excitement. For reference, I’ll be ranking them from good to “oh my God that was f@#$ing awesome”.

The Grand Magic Games Arc made up for a rather disappointing instance from the Tenrojima Arc. This scene is low on the list because it wasn’t that big in the larger scheme of things. If anything, it felt like Fairy Tail apologizing for botching it last time. Canna was allowed to use Fairy Glitter.

In the Tenrojima Arc, we learned that Fairy Tail had three sacred spells. One of them being Fairy Glitter. The gist is, nothing is left standing when this gets used. Except that was exactly what went down in Tenrojima and it was bull crap. Not this time. Damn this felt good.

Following Canna’s big moment would be Elfman’s. He’s proven himself long before this arc. He is someone who will get the job done. If you think something is out of his league, odds are you’re wrong. To give some context, the members of Fairy Tail had to make up seven years’ worth of training. Anyone they knew before they got sealed away has also gotten stronger.

As such, Elfman faced an opponent who fought Erza to a draw seven years ago. With that in mind, Elfman demonstrated he could take on Erza as she was before the events of Tenrojima and win. Not to take away Elfman’s glory, the “as she was” part of that last sentence is key.

Next was Wendy’s first sole fight. Sure, she’s been around in many major battles. Yet she’s only been a key defensive player. A role she has been doing well in. This was a wonderful reminder of two things.

The first, Wendy is a dragon slayer. Therefore, she is a capable wizard and no one should underestimate her. The second, she may be small, but she does carry Fairy Tail’s mark. This means her power will fail her long before her heart does.

It was inspiring to see how much Wendy has grown since we first met her.

Speaking of growth, Lucy had her best fight. I cannot express how happy I was to see this. This was not the bumbling wizard we met back in episode one. If there were any doubts left about her abilities, they’re gone now. She is no longer someone you shrug off. Even still, the amount of potential she has left is great.

Kicking off the top three was Natsu’s assault on Saber Tooth’s base camp. Him just doing this was what made it so great. With zero forethought, he challenged the entirety of the current number one guild on his own. This was reckless beyond belief.

Yet given his reasoning, this was something Natsu would do. Had something not come along forcing him to stop, I have little reason to suspect he wouldn’t have gone the whole way.

Settling in at second was a moment belonging to Laxus Dreyar (voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi). Given how much of a prick he was at the end of the first season, it’s amazing to see how much his character has transformed. He has calmed down and has realized Fairy Tail is his family. And one thing you do not do is threaten Laxus’ family.

The beatdown given was so satisfying. It’s one thing to take down one smug ass hole. It’s another to take down five and make it look easy.

In a fair world, this does not get better than this. The Grand Magic Games Arc gave precisely that.

To bring it full circle, this season made up for another Fairy Tail misfire. It made up for this series’ most disappointing mistake outside the Starry Sky Arc. I’m referring to none other than the Edolas Arc’s Erza versus Erza fight. To give credit where its due, the Edolas Arc had the better idea. The Grand Magic Games Arc, though, won in execution. It doesn’t matter when or where no one tops Erza Scarlet.

Her actual fight wasn’t even the most badass part. Although that was pretty sweet. It was the build-up that was gold.

The proposed event involved competitors traveling through a giant labyrinth. Inside were one hundred monsters, each more powerful than the last. A wizard would declare how many enemies they would face. The catch, the outcome was random. If someone said they would face one, they would indeed face one. Except that one could be the most powerful creature of the bunch.

This arc went into length describing how these rules worked. It was shaping up to be a fascinating numbers game. I was curious to see how this would play out. Then Erza won the right to go first. And she said the one thing only Erza would say in this situation.

And it’s not my place to spoil it.

I’ll end this section with this. To whoever thought the Starry Sky Arc was a good idea, please listen. You were wrong. This is how you do it.

Season Negatives

To be fair, I do need to call out this arc for doing something I didn’t let the Starry Sky Arc get away with. If anything, this was even more blatant than last time.

There was one episode with the sole purpose of getting every female character into a bikini. It was silly. It was stupid. This was pure fanservice nothing more. That said, two factors made this more tolerable than what occurred in the Starry Sky Arc. 

The first thing, a reason, albeit small, existed. The two actual combatants were former models. They made a career out of posing for the camera. Because of that, things got out of hand. The second thing, there was a payoff. This was a Mirajane fight. When it came time to end the match, she didn’t lose. And any time Mirajane wins, it’s a spectacle.

That out of the way, there were some other details this arc overlooked. Or did not make sense.

Of the things that did not make sense, I mean Carla. What the hell was she thinking? This is a problem she’s had for a while. She has the ability to receive visions of the future. It has never the full picture, but that’s not an excuse. There’s always enough to make anyone go “hey that's a bad, I better warn people.”

Carla is seeing images of pure destruction with her friends in the middle of it. That doesn’t raise any red flags for her? Instead, she kept choosing to keep it to herself because she didn’t want to believe it was possible.

That’s dumb. If things do go wrong, she is partly to blame. Could Carla's warning stop whatever is about to happen? Maybe not, but that’s not the point. She needs to say something.

Of the things this arc overlooked, there were two.

The first was establishing how powerful new characters were. This was no more apparent than with Saber Tooth. They kept going up against challengers we were seeing for the first time. When Saber Tooth would defeat them with no effort, yeah it looked devastating. Yet, it never meant anything. There was nothing to compare it to.

What would’ve been more effective was doing this against a character whose power we know. That way we would have a better gauge of how big a threat they were. We know how hard Natsu, Lucy, Gray, and Erza hit. In terms of visuals, Saber Tooth wasn’t any more impressive. There was no way of knowing how strong these guys were.

The second thing was Raven Tail. They were the last loose end of the original season. They were the guild formed by Master Makarov’s son and the two did not like each other. Raven Tail’s main goal was to destroy Fairy Tail. To do so, they employed Gajeel as a spy. Little did they know Gajeel was really working for Makarov.

This has the making of something intriguing. Too bad nothing came of it. Raven Tail stayed as that one detail in the back of your mind. And it’s been that way for over one hundred episodes. To have this culminate to nothing was a bit of a shock.

I mean that both figuratively as well as quite literally too.

Those issues notwithstanding, the Grand Magic Games Arc remained spectacular.

Season Six Final Thoughts

This season ended with the series’ first “to be continued”. Fairy Tail would then go on to have a year hiatus.

Up to now, my break down of Fairy Tail hasn’t followed most sources. I’ve split seasons apart that otherwise should have been a whole. As such, I’ve been focusing more on individual arcs for the most part. The exception being season one with its five. Whether this is right or wrong doesn’t concern me too much. It’s not that big a problem.

This series ran uninterrupted for five years. In total, that was 176 episodes. So, in reality, the first six reviews of this month can be considered the true Fairy Tail season one.

That being the case or not, it doesn’t matter. This season ended with one hell of a cliffhanger. Quick side note, the Grand Magic Games haven't finished yet. We'll get that in the next review. But I’ve got to say, what comes next has huge shoes to fill.

Fairy Tail Month will continue December 22 with Fairy Tail season seven.

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