Written by: Shiggins
Since Chapter 417 was a silent chapter, I'll combine it with the review of this side chapter.
|I sometimes feel bad criticising Hiro Mashima's work since he does so much.|
If I'd been told last week that the chapter title was "Travelling Alone 2", I would have been much less worried. The last time we got a title called "Travelling Alone", it was during the Grand Games when we got nothing but silence and Gildarts being both hilarious and touching in his own way. And I'll be buggered if that's not what we got again.
|Seems like a fairly standard reunion to me.|
This chapter begins with Gildarts about to fight a monster when he's interrupted by Natsu and Happy. We see them laugh, they argue, they tell stories and the amount of hilarious facial expressions we see are pretty brilliant. There's also quite an interesting scene where Natsu seems to be telling Gildarts everything that happened to Igneel and the Tartaros arc.
|No joke here. Just saying this is easily the best panel of the week.|
The next morning, the two of them have a friendly one-on-one and Natsu manages to send Gildarts flying quite a distance, which we see is a nice comparison to when they first battled properly in the Tenrou Island arc. After Natsu gets swallowed by a monster and Gildarts saves him by destroying the mountain, Natsu is too scared to continue the battle.
|E.N.D, everybody! Truly, the demon of death Zeref intended!|
The two then shake hands and have a parting of the ways. Gildarts imagines the face of his old love, Cana's mother, and has a goofy smile as he keeps walking. Later, he's bored so decides to... uh... have private reading but when he opens the bag, it turns out to be nothing but remains of food and actual travelling supplies. Then we see Natsu and Happy discover sexy magazines... and Gildarts catches up for another funny fight!
Opinion: Well, that was a lot better than I had prepared myself for. Last week, I was so sure we were going to get bombarded with a travelling arc, where we see Natsu wander about with Happy, give us some awkward jokes, meet some random one-time characters then fight a boring foe before moving to the next town. (So basically, the Ice Trail spin-off). Next week, we get a timeskip which makes me happier than sad because that means I don't have to see my beloved characters disappear forever.
Gildarts is a lot of fun as always although I'm still bitter over how he didn't make an appearance during the Tartaros Arc. I think one appearance from him could have solidified the arc's greatness. That being said, Gildarts and Natsu together definetly have a father-son relationship that I would love to see properly explored within the future of the series.
Manga Rating: 3.5/5
Character of the Week: Gildarts for being a dad when Natsu really needed one.
Predictions: A special 33 page chapter! A timeskip! We get to see our beloved characters again! Hopefully, the Guild won't just be repaired right away but the idea of seeing characters developed and with new designs could be a lot of fun. (Levy better have new clothes at least...).
Best Part: "Father" and "son".
Worst Part: Probably the only appearance of Gildarts we'll have for some time.
|It's times like this I get really jealous of Japan.|
And now, let's have a look at something we've not had in what feels like forever: A pure-comedy side chapter! Yes, Claydragon has brought a wee omake to my attention and I'm bored so let's give this one a whirl. Oh and to stop you getting your hopes up so much, the title of this chapter is surprisingly misleading.
|When I begin my campaign for Miza instead of Jerza, this will be the banner.|
So where is this comedy chapter set? If you're a long-time fan of Hiro Mashima's work, you won't gasp in shock when you realise the setting is... The baths! More specifically, the ladies' side of the baths! (I'm not complaining or anything but I am surprised Mashima has never tried to make jokes involving the men's side...Ah well.) It's here in the baths we see Mavis, or more specifically her ghost, enter the bath and enjoy the water.
|"Ooh. So that's what puberty looks like..."|
This is what makes Lucy asks if Mavis can actually enjoy the water. A wee bit of banter follows from Wendy and Erza where Mavis reveals she technically doesn't, and Erza gives us a display of why people like the baths (and it's in this near-erotic page I remember why Hiro keeps focusing on the girl's side...).
|What a classy motherfucker! He just struts in!|
With Mavis revealing she can actually feel some heat or cold, and no I don't think that'll ever come up again, Erza gets the genius idea to bring Natsu in to heat the water up to a huge level. So Natsu is called in, literally just strutting his stuff like a boss, and is calling it a "battle" against Mavis. As he's about to do it, Lucy slips on soap, bangs into Erza, they both fall in, Natsu goes supernova, and both girls are burned. Mavis is happy and Lucy yells at Natsu.
|I can't wait to see the anime somehow extend this into a 20 minute episode.|
Opinion: "Meh" is the word best suited here. Compared to Hiro Mashima's other comedy work, this one is sadly nothing special. It had the usual casual attitude towards nudity, which some would consider healthy and others would consider perverted, as well as some more adorable Mavis and Erza being goofy.
So why did I bother reviewing this one? Probably because I've not had a casual FT chapter to review in so long. The Tartaros was great and filled with emotion but I need my gentle time too. It's like when you binge-watch Game of Thrones and want to relax by checking out some Friends. And yes, I did just make that comparison (although I personally find GoT difficult to deal with at times).
Manga Rating: 2.5/5
Character of the Week: Erza for showing her rare, dorky side that I actually find adorable.
Best Part: When I giggled at Mirajane getting harassed.
Worst Part: When I realised I giggled at Mirajane being harassed.
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere or go to his tumblr page http://otakugajeel.tumblr.com/.