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Friday, December 8, 2017

Anime Hajime Review: Fairy Tail Season Three (Fairy Tail Month Part 3 of 9)

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

Season Positives

Season three was an interesting beast. The majority of the story contained the Edolas Arc. The last few episodes were the beginning of the Tenrojima Arc. What I can say for the latter is that they were a pretty good start. I look forward to seeing how this storyline continues. However, since there was so little, I will cover it in more detail in the next review.

As for the rest of the season, it contained some of the finest moments of the series thus far. It was as fun as the rest of Fairy Tail has been. Nevertheless, this was the most frustrating collection of episodes up to this point.

Here was a perfect chance for Fairy Tail to elevate itself. The story could’ve taken a solid step forward. Instead, this opportunity was more squandered than anything. Although the foundation for something fantastic remains. This season should’ve been a huge improvement.

The greatest thing going for the Edolas arc was its core idea. Bringing the Fairy Tail characters into a parallel universe offered many possibilities. And this season focused on two good ones.

The first being the inability to use magic. I can understand why someone would think this would be a horrible idea. Magic is pivotal to this series. Take that away and what can you do? As it turns out, a lot.

The wizards of Fairy Tail aren't as destructive as they are because of their powers. They have huge egos and are quick to throw a punch. Their ability to make things blow up due to those traits is an unfortunate side effect. When you take the magic away, you lose the flash, not the explosion. Not only that, Fairy Tail wizards have earned a reputation for tenacity. They’re not going to stop. They’re going to get the job done. Magic has nothing to do with that.

Seeing everyone struggle to adapt made the moment when they got their magic back all the more epic. For most of this season, Natsu got thrown around. Yet he never quit. His opponents thought they were breaking his spirit. Unbeknownst to them, they were making him madder. When Natsu enveloped himself in his fire again, it was an exhilarating rush.

To go with this, the people of Edolas were unfamiliar with Earthland magic. For the Edolas Royal Army who was causing the mischief, there was never anyone who could stand up to them. Then from out of nowhere, a handful of wizards could take them on. Before each fight, the Edolas wizards were the cockiest of any adversary up to this point. Then as they began to lose, that hit to their pride fueled their rage.

The combination of the strong-willed Fairy Tail wizards and the enraged Edolasians made for some stand out encounters. We had a few stellar Gray and Lucy fights. Gajeel played a massive role and more than made up for his absence in the Nirvana Arc. Natsu’s always entertaining, so this was actually par for the course for him. And the biggest surprise came from Happy. Sure, he may be the silly sidekick, but this arc made it clear. Happy is a member of Fairy Tail through and through.

Now that I think about it, Happy was a key part of this season. Some of the best moments were his doing or he was somehow involved. Makes sense, Edolas was Happy’s homeworld. We got lots of backstory of who he is and where he came from. What made Happy’s story a touch more special was the inclusion of one small detail. And by one, I mean two.

It’s remarkable to think how much can happen when you take away magic in a series based on magic. Granted, it was because of magic that we got the coolest final fight of the series yet.

The Fairy Tail wizards did plenty to destroy the ambitions of the Edolas Kingdom. They did so much, in fact, they forced the King to unleash his ultimate weapon, a mechanical dragon. Which, if you remember, was the same thing that happened in the Daphne Arc. Except where that was dumb, this was awesome.

The Edolas dragon negated magic. This made the thing indestructible. Or at least, it was indestructible when faced with your standard wizard. Fairy Tail has three dragon slayers, Natsu, Gajeel, and Wendy. All three were present. They fought together. It was amazing.

We’ve seen Natsu and Gajeel’s power several times. But Wendy’s been a different story. While her potential has been well established, she’s never had the chance to demonstrate it. Not until this fight.

Though Wendy is sweet and adorable, she is a dragon slayer. She by no means held back her counterparts. She stood side by side with them.

This was the strength of season three. Yet I said there were two good things this season chose to focus on. The second was the Edolas versions of our characters.

As you’d expect from a parallel universe, everyone’s personalities were different. The number of interactions that could come from this was bountiful. Nowhere was this more evident than with Edolas’ version of Lucy, Lucy Ashely.

Where Earthland’s Lucy is more passive and thoughtful, Edo-Lucy wasn’t. She was aggressive, tough, and believe it or not, the de-facto leader of the Edolas Fairy Tail. Our Lucy has a lot of pride in her femininity. Whereas Edo-Lucy couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that kind of stuff. In spite of that, this was only how the two Lucy’s carried themselves.

Their outward personas may have been opposites. Who the Lucy’s were inside didn’t change. Their mindset and drive were the same. They were both reliable allies you’d like to have on your side. And they weren’t someone you’d want to cross.

Another terrific duality came in the form of the two Erza’s. Before anything else, I’m going to keep this point short. I do have a lot to say about this. Most of what I want to talk about isn’t good, though. What I did like was the ideological confrontation between the two sword masters.

Right off the bat, Edolas’ Erza, Erza Nightwalker, was one of the main villains. Making Erza the antagonist was brilliant if you ask me. That meant the only person who stood a chance against her was our Erza. Without going into their fight, the Erza’s represented what could’ve been.

Nightwalker was the embodiment of would’ve happened had our Erza gone down a much darker path. Something, given her history, could’ve been true. Except that same darkness does exist in our Erza. In turn, the goodness and compassion of Scarlet were also in Nightwalker.

The examples with the Lucy’s and Erza’s were fine. The idea behind having alternate versions of the Fairy Tail characters was intriguing. Too bad this season never came close to exploring this concept to its fullest. Because of that, this was a major reason why season three was so frustrating.

Season Negatives

All over the place and needless repetition. These were the banes of the Edolas Arc. These two factors alone weakened what could’ve been something outstanding. There were plenty of instances of both.

But nowhere was this more aggravating than what should’ve been one of the highlights of the entire series.

I want to set the stage. To do that, let’s talk about conveniences.the Edolas Arc had them. My God did it have them. Things had a habit of working out in the most perfect of ways. Whenever it seemed like a character was up against a wall, it was because they were. Then with the most precise timing in the world, a saving grace would appear.

At one point, Lucy, Happy, and Carla (voiced by Yui Horie), Wendy’s cat partner, got cornered. There was nowhere for them to run and they were facing Nightwalker. Good or evil, it didn’t matter. It was an Erza, they were going to lose.

Then as fate would have it, guess who appeared because why not? None other than Earthland Erza. Both of whom were able to use magic for reasons not yet explained in the story.

The use of magic wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that the one person who could fight Nightwalker just happened to appear. When I saw this, it was weird. But I was okay with it because it meant an inevitability. Once you learn of everyone’s alternative selves and Edo-Erza was evil, this one particular moment was going to happen no matter. And I was looking forward to it.

Sure enough, the very next episode had the title card I had been waiting to see. Erza vs. Erza. We were going to get a fight between the two Erza’s. Everything started off as expected and it was wonderful. Then cut to something else.

I’m sorry, what? You’re going to go do something else while an Erza battle is taking place. Okay then, what did you have in mind? Oh, you’re going to explain how Erza got to Edolas and how she can use magic. You know what, that’s fine. That’s good information to know. If that had been it, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

Except, not only did this season feel it necessary to explain itself here, it deemed it a good time to recap. This story proceeded to explain every detail that had happened up to this point. Never mind the fact we saw all of it with our own eyes. Plus, the arc then went to start a Gajeel fight. Then a Gray fight. Then a Natsu and Lucy fight.

THREE EPISODES LATER, the show finally decided to go back to the Erza's fight. For like two seconds. Then after that, this season had the gall to try and pull this on us.

While attempting to confront Edolas’s King, Natsu and Gray needed to figure out a way to get into his throne room. Suddenly, “Nightwalker” appeared and “captured” them.

Bull s@#$, you’re not fooling anyone show. You didn’t give us the conclusion to the Ezra fight. Not for a second do I believe our Erza was defeated off-screen. Don’t even try to play off the "reveal" as this huge event. The person you were claiming was Nightwalker was clearly Scarlet, you assholes.

This kind of crap happened all the God damn time in season three. This just so happened to be the most infuriating example.

Am I a little too upset about this? Sure. But it was right there. A no effort chance to have an ultra-memorable moment. And this arc didn’t take it. Why? Why let that go?

To make this situation more aggravating, there was another opportunity that could’ve been even better. The Edolas Arc instead did the bare minimum of effort. Guess what, even doing only that was powerful. I don’t know how else to go about this without giving it away. I imagine this character will become quite important for the rest of the series. Or at least she better be.


Since season one, the series has made it a point to illustrate the fallout from Lisanna Strauss’s (voiced by Harumi Sakurai) death. This was a person who was dear to Natsu. They were close friends. With Happy being the only other contender, Lisanna was Natsu's closest friend. Not to mention she left behind her beloved older siblings, Mirajane and Elfman.

It would be earth-shattering to have such a person come back. Which is what happened.

Lisanna came back. We first saw her in Edolas’ Fairy Tail. Between that moment and the finale, do you know how many solid interactions we had with her? Maybe two.

Lisanna’s death has been a source of pain for Natsu, her family, and the entire guild for a long time. Why then was her return so underwhelming? Keep in mind, how this story went about this was powerful on its own. But imagining how much more it could’ve been is heartbreaking.

Perhaps season four will rectify this. Except, I'm not sure who that will work, though. After all, the next season is starting in the middle of the Tenrojima arc. An arc Lisanna is a part of, granted. But this arc does appear pivotal moving forward. That tells me we will have to either wait, take a break from the action, or it will never come.

I hope it’s not the last one.

Season Three Final Thoughts

I said it in the beginning. This season was fun in the end. The Edolas Arc did have plenty of great moments. But God damn was it frustrating.

To be fair, most of my issues with this arc are with things that I think could’ve been. I could be wrong and Fairy Tail could go on to shut me up. I would love it if that happens. Season four does have a lot of things going for it.

All we can do is wait and see. Fairy Tail Month will continue on December 11th with season four.

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