Monday, August 25, 2014

Fairy Tail Chapter 397 Review - Steel

Written by Shiggins

If anybody was expecting a proposal in this episode, just leave now.

After Levy sacrificed her air last week to Gajeel in the most romantic and fan-squealing way possible, she seems to be unconscious. Gajeel then roughly wakes her awake (like a real man does with a lady), and insists she give him more air. As Levy is unable to speak in water, she's just thinking how she can't because of course, she hasn't got much left. Gajeel then reminds Levy of something: Solid Script Magic! Levy blushes appropriately.

I love how Tumblr constantly posts fanart of Gajeel being gentle and shit, when he's literally the type to roughly shake Levy despite her probably being near-death. (I had to get Tumblr to help advertise Otaku Nuts)

So now that they both have air to breathe in without using each other's mouths, Gajeel gives his thanks and charges down to fight Torafusa!. A bunch of kicks and punches while Levy is giving air to Natsu and presumably the others, which ends when Torafusa! hardens his body suddenly and Gajeel seems to have severely injured, possibly broken, his arm. It turns out that Torafusa! has the hardest defence in Tartaros and that's what makes him special.

Realisation in 3... 2... 1... and there it is.

As Torafusa! tells Gajeel how everybody will die because of the poison, he grabs Gajeel roughly and I'm not joking here, we go into Flashback Land. Yes, Flashback Land is back and this time, it's about Gajeel on trial for being an asshole working for the Phantom Lord Guild. He's smug and not really caring about his crimes because crimes are fun and he's an asshole. Later, Councillor Belno walks up to Gajeel and once again recommends he leaves Phantom Lord because he should live a life with meaning and how she knows Gajeel is lonely inside.

Holy shit! You're an actual character with dialogue! Proper dialogue!

After ignoring her words, we skip ahead a bit to the near-beginning of the Tartaros Arc where Gajeel, Levy, Jet and Droy are at Belno's home but were too late to stop her being killed. Gajeel then goes to the roof alone to dwell on her words about living a meaningful life and how he never had a "decent conversation" with her in his non-asshole Fairy Tail version. And as he actually has a cry to himself, he remembers Belno comparing him to her deceased son.

Oh my god, Hiro Mashima! Why would you say something so evil?! Don't you realise what this makes fans of us do?! We want more now!

Back to present time, Gajeel roars and says how he may not understand the meaningful life lesson, he wants to protect those around him and he will, which makes this his meaning of life. As Torafusa! is confused as to how Gajeel can break his defence, we see that Gajeel has absorbed the "carbon" around him and fused it with his iron to make steel. And with a final devastating attack, Torafusa! collapses and the water disappears.

Right now, I can practically hear Claydragon attempting to do a happy twirl over this.

Opinion: Alright, I have two big things I want to talk about first. The first of which is this flashback we got.

That flashback scene really got to me. Not because it was emotional, which it was, but because it was so unexpected and new. Which I dislike. Although the scene itself had an impact on me and was actually really clever, I can't help but feel we should have seen this way before now. I understand if Hiro Mashima hadn't thought it up until now but if that was the case, why show it at this point? Will it be important later? I doubt it and although I loved the scene, I also felt it should have been at least referenced to in the past. (Maybe it has but I don't know of it. If you know, tell me please!).

Speaking of problems with this chapter...
The second thing about this chapter, and recent chapters actually, is Torafusa! himself. To put it simply, he got too generic. When he first appeared, he was the calm, respectful type who wanted to get things down with and not bother with petty things like banter or torture, unlike the rest of the demons. That was good because it made him unique and special. In recent chapters however, he went down the route I like to call the "Aizen Path". (Fans of Bleach instantly understand what I'm talking about). The Aizen Path is when a villain goes from brilliant and cool and cunning, to becoming a loudmouth idiot just because of a power-up. Torafusa! lost what made him unique and became somebody I didn't even blink at when he died. Good riddance really.

The most notable examples of the Aizen Path. (Any I missed out? Let me know!)
However, this chapter was good. Not as huge as last week of course but it had a funny start, some nice action, a clever twist to defeat Torafusa!, and an emotional flashback scene involving a character we never expected but did fit the role perfectly.

Manga Rating: 4/5

Character of the Week: Gajeel for defeating Torafusa!, making me giggle at the start, and having a surprisingly emotional flashback scene.

Best Part: Gajeel = Steel

Worst Part: Every panel where Torafusa! wasn't how he used to be.

He can cook!? Since... when... Is Hiro Mashima just making random things up for Gajeel this week?!

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  1. the flashback could be foreshadowing to gajeel dying

  2. I really hope what Anonymous said in their comment doesn't turn out to be the case. Gajeel is one of my favourite characters in Fairy Tail and feel the series would suffer greatly from his loss. However I don't think this is the case for the following reasons: he is protected by Almost-Main-Character-Powers, and I can't see his role in this story to be anywhere near over. Also he is a Dragon Slayer, one of few true ones in the series (even if it doesn't always seem that way).

    Having said that I loved this chapter, and while I agree that Torafusa's character has suffered and changed greatly I can forgive his appearances in the panels because of the quality of the rest of the chapter. The beginning moments between Levy and Gajeel were in character, sweet, funny and held an appropriate sense of desparation for the situation. Even with Levy cutely trying to deny the reality of her reasons for what she did.

    Now on to the flashback. I loved it, plain and simple. It gave us a welcome glimpse into Gajeel's backstory, instances of which have been too few and far between considering how long he's been a staple within the series. Maybe it was meant to be a means to maintain mystery for the character but really we didn't need much, just something to keep our interests. When Mashima remembers the supposed importance of Dragons and Dragon Slayers things always get very interesting and in my opinion produces some of the best moments in the series. This flashback in particular is emotional, well-thought out and amazingly executed and it gives us a welcome reminder of how Gajeel used to be before Fairy Tail. Which also allows a greater weight to what Gajeel goes on to say about protecting the people he cares about being his meaning in life.

    All in all this chapter was just what I needed. And I hope it continues to this standard. Maybe it's a hope in vain but it's a hope nonetheless.

    1. Well, obviously I agree with Gajeel never dying. Especially since Hiro Mashima isn't the type to kill people off if he enjoys writing them so much. It's not his style. He likes to write characters and have fun with them, not kill them off and break our hearts.

      Torafusa has sadly failed me the most but the chapter itself was enjoyable. Especially the opening with Gajeel shaking Levy and the adorable blushing and all that...

      And although I did enjoy the flashback and I found it great, I do find it too random and "out of nowhere" to fully enjoy it. It was welcome but I wish it had made more of an impact in the past, or at least been referenced to.

      So I mostly agree with you but I just had one or two problems really.

  3. if anyone knows, can someone please expand on what gajeel meant when he said "Don't forget the song salamander"

    1. i dont understand what he meant too

    2. In the previous chapter, they made a bet about who would defeat his opponent first, and the looser had to make a song for the winner.

    3. Anonymous is correct. In chapter 395, the loser had to sing a song about the greatness of the winner. Very... lame to me actually.

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