“Now I’ve Got A Fire In My Belly!”
That’s right my darlings, this month we’re talking about Fairy Tail! This anime, from Hiro Mashima (also the creator of Rave [aka Rave Master]) is one of my top 10 for so many reasons. If you have never before watched anime, start with this one. If you’re a hardcore veteran, watch it anyway.
Here are some reasons why:
Dynamic Characters! Unlike certain prime time offerings and most “reality” television *cough*, as the series progresses you will see protagonists age, learn new things, and hone their magical abilities. Yay for change! One day, Gray may even learn to wear pants.
The Storytelling! Heck, to be honest, sometimes it’s refreshing to watch something that actually has a plot at all. More recent seasons have progressed towards longer and more involved stories, spanning several episodes. The only possible downside is that, because the anime skips some of the side-stories that occur in the manga, you may go an entire arc without seeing some of the wizards you’ve come to love.
Ze Sweet Sweet Romance. If you’ve watched the series, who are you rooting for? I have to admit I’m a total Gray x Lucy fan, not because I dislike some of the other options (who shall remain unnamed because, spoilers!) but because I think they work well together. Also because I’m a big fan of that crazy stripper of an ice mage and I’d hate for it to all devolve into some kind of overdone triangle, or quadrangle… er… Hopefully Mashima will see things my way, but I’ve heard rumors that my hopes will never become canon. *sigh*
Friendships. Part of watching the guild grow means getting attached to not only the individual characters, but also learning all about their evolving friendships and partnerships within it. Every member of Fairy Tail sees each other as nakama, which means that there is devotion, but also the squabbles, fights, and general insanity inherent in every family. At least the kind of insanity you’d have if every member of your family was a powerful, slightly unstable, wizard. (Just think about how much more exciting holiday dinners with your relatives could be.)
Fun!There are comedic moments in every episode. From Happy mouthing off about Natsu (or fish), one of Lucy’s Spirits being completely inappropriate, to Elfman wildly applauding the “manliness” of an action. There are also elements of physical humor as a part of the animated characteristics of several of the characters. *sparkles*
Voice Acting! Because sometimes when you hear someone acting a character it just clicks, and you can’t imagine any other voice in that role. FUNimation did a great job in casting and the dubbing is fantastic. The actors clearly enjoy their characters, and they do an amazing job of pacing the dialog with the animation. Todd Haberkorn, the voice of Natsu, loved the show enough to get the Fairy Tail insignia tattooed on to his shoulder in commemoration of the 100th dubbed episode. In the FUNimation panel at Dragon*Con I learned that the company is set to release the next set of dubbed episodes in the very near future. With the revamp of FUNimation’s online site coming very soon I think you can expect to find them all uploaded there, while season one is still available on Netflix, either with voiceover or with subtitles.
Natsu! Lucy! Erza! Gray! Happy! I know I already mentioned the characters, but this team is really the heart of Fairy Tail in season one. They’re a little crazy, a bit unpolished, sarcastic, loyal, and passionate about what they do. If I were ever to do a cosplay it would be Erza. Have any of you cosplayed an anime character? But I digress, these four set the standard for the rest of the guild members we meet in future episodes. I can’t wait for the North American release of more episodes since the current ones leave off right in the middle of a story arc. Don’t even get me started on that cliffhanger.
Back stories. Everyone in Fairy Tail has a history, and most are fraught with some kind of epic tragedy. They afford us a glimpse into the murky moral highs and lows of even some of the most callous villains. Arguably this goes back to the fact that the characters are three dimensional, but with their Odyssean degree of complexity I figure back stories deserved their very own point.
Magic!! There are so many different kinds of spells in the kingdom of Fiore that nearly every episode involves something new. Even wizards who practice similar kinds of magic have different styles of casting, sometimes these differences mean that two wizards using the same medium actually possess completely different types of magic. This abundance of magical types has led to more than a few debates over which wizards really are the most powerful. I think that Lucy is often underrated because the power required in Celestial magic isn’t as flashy as some of the others. I’ve had friends posit that some of the lost schools of magic are clearly the most powerful because otherwise they wouldn’t have outlawed them in the first place. If you’ve watched the show, what’s your take on relative magical power?
Feels. Once you get invested in the series watching an episode is sometimes like being on the manic roller coaster of teenage hormones. Everything is funny and happy, and then it’s full of doom, with just enough nail-biting drama to force you to hit the “next episode” button even though you know this will result in drastically less sleep time than what you need to function. Not that I have any firsthand experience with that
Ultimately, I suppose this entire list could be summarized by saying that it’s really all great storytelling. Fairy Tail shows us a compelling world filled with memorable characters and situations full of drama and humor. It’s one of my favorite escapist indulgences, and who doesn’t need a bit of that?
What I’m watching now:
Too many things to count on my Crunchyroll queue… Death Note, Innu x Boku, and a list of OVA nearly as long as my arm. I’m most excited about the upcoming season of Kill la Kill. I can’t wait to see what happens with future dubs of Attack on Titan (especially after seeing Vic Mignogna [my ears are still ringing from the volume of fangirl screaming, which may have been from my husband] and hearing that he submitted an audition for it) what I’ve seen of the new dubs for Fairy Tail also look great. Then there’s the re-launch of FUNimations web service with new series releases like Fujiko Mine: Lupin the Third. What shows are you most looking forward to this fall?
Vampires, Werewolves and Witches, Oh My!