To make things easier on me, Fairy Tail the anime adaptation is split into 3 production segments: A-1 Pictures & Satelight (2009 series), A-1 Pictures & Bridge (2014 series), and A-1 Pictures, Bridge, CloverWorks (2018 series). I'm reviewing the last anime series which spans 51 episodes. I will admit I will to address the nostalgia bias and how the anime help introduced me to Anime Vice community and it has been a franchise that was deeply woven with the community through the wiki editors and battles over the decade of Anime Vice community.
That's why I'm reviewing it. I may not be the first one as I came to Anime Vice in 2010 when the anime came out in 2009 but I'll be one of the last few users to put this anime into perspective. This series is not for any new anime fans because it's the ongoing and penultimate part of the series with the culmination of story plot points coming to closure.
The anime's story begins after another weird one year time skip which felt unimportant compared to the 7 year time skip which had more significance in consequences and progression for the characters. The Fairy Tail guild disbanded after the Tartarus arc which was in the 2014 anime series. The 2018 anime series explores the final arc and its villains: Zeref and Acnologia.
It's best to start on the villains of this arc rather than the good characters as they are the star attraction that make or break this season.
The season does a good job on Zeref but not Acnologia because Acnologia deserves his own arc not to put into the same last few episodes of the arc. True, we get an extended backstory of Acnologia but it doesn't make most folks connect with Acnologia. It's not a problem if Acnologia is a one dimensional villain without a sad backstory as long as he's a compelling character. He didn't have much compared to Zeref who had so much build up due to his connection with Natsu Dragneel, Mavis, and many characters. Making it a full circle once his character had closure towards the end.
For our the good side and main characters, Natsu, Lucy, and Mavis had great spotlight in gaining closure and answers to the questions they had at the beginning of the series: the disappearance of the dragons and Lucy's mother at the same time but different places. I think Gray Fullbuster and Erza Scarlet were the unfortunate ones. Erza had a similar incident like Gray Fullbuster in the last anime series in confronting a parent on the evil side. Just as predictable, I felt Erza lost more because Irene didn't have redemption. She died as a villain cursing her own daughter in contrast Erza found happiness in her new family. At least, her character reinforces the one of the many themes: family.
Despite its strong family and friend values, it's ironic to say I didn't feel that way when Lucy finally found all her guild members after the one year time skip. I believe it's because of productions and hiatuses between the 2014 and 2018 anime series. If you were a fresh fan or kept reading the manga during the break, the feeling of family will be there for you.
While the overusage of Nakama/friendship values is problematic, it's not an issue for veterans and hardcore fans who grew up with the anime during the decade. I would say it's a problem for non shonen fans or any newcomers who marathon the anime for other reasons. Completing this entirety of the anime is a rigorous task but not as lengthy compared to other shonen series such as Naruto and One Piece.
On top of themes, the anime's tone is more inconsistent compared to its consistency in reinforcing themes of friendship and family. The anime sometimes get tonal whiplash with out of place and sometimes unnecessary dark scenes such as torture (in the last anime series during the Tartarous arc, Erza was being tortured. Then a Zeref cosplayer had a torture scene that was being played for laughs) or the desecration of corpses (example being Zeref who thrashed Irene's dead body).
Lastly the ecchi fan service will depend on your tolerance. Some folks won't like it while others don't mind and some will enjoy it. Fairy Tail sometimes for some reason likes to add ecchi fan service during its dark scenes such as being imprisoned or torture. The anime gets a bit naughty. Ecchi fan service in this season includes weird camera angles, gainax bounce, clothing damage, and abundance of skinship and shower scenes.
Somewhat related to fan service, the shipping content and war of this series is subdued when the anime playing it safe for its ending. I believe no one got married in the end of Fairy Tail. The ending is more of an open note for new beginnings and adventures. The manga series of Fairy Tail did concluded but it had a sequel which I have no information on it as I don't read the manga as I like to watch the anime as a personal preference. In terms of comedy, character quirks, romance/ship content, and ecchi gets milked frequently. Sometimes in odd situations which will feel out of place like our mentioned dark, tonal whiplash scenes. Thankfully, the Fairy Tail series does not share or use toilet humor like its predecessor Rave Master.
The anime's last season is worth finishing for fans who grew up with the series. It's shorter compared to other shonen series. It does a good job of tying filler and movies as well most plot points in the end. I did enjoy the anime's last few episodes include references to the filler and movies. If you are a hardcore battle fan, the battles in Fairy Tail are still short and often end in very abrupt and anti-climatic manner or end with a deus ex machina elements such as nakama power. For me, I think it wouldn't have ended it in any other way because it's Fairy Tail and the act of it references Dragon Ball and other Shonen series before it.
Last Edit: Jan 1, 2020 6:09:46 GMT by Taka: added details about humor
Old Man Dream: ...later titles in the Macross franchise can finally come stateside with all involved parties finally coming to a truce over how to handle things with the Macross trademark and all later anime in the franchise associated with it.
Apr 9, 2021 10:26:05 GMT
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT