Monday, April 20, 2015

Fairy Tail Chapters 429 & 430 Review - Code Blue & Purification Ritual

And so begins Part 1 of the double-review barrage!

With Hiro Mashima giving us 8 chapters in 4 weeks, the first 2 gave me so many mixed feelings I'm unsure if I finished today feeling hyped, disappointed, confused or just overall creeped-out. It's a bizarre double-chapter filled with twists and turns, some more predictable than others. And I'm going to stop procrastinating now and just down to it.

Aww nice but... Does Lucy seem off to you here? Or is just me?
With the duo in prison and Virgo gone, you'd be forgiven for getting a bit of Deja Vu from when Natsu was in a prison cell with Lisanna during the Tartaros Arc. As they try to figure out what is going on with Gray, Goumon appears and we get some dialogue from him to experience his weirdness. He's cosplaying as Zeref apparently, he bows to thin air... for some reason, and he has a Kanji on his read that he thinks reads as Zeref.... Seems like a typical fan to me.

I wouldn't mind the Guild visiting the East sometime in the future.
Anyway, now it's time for the scene which really creeped me out. Another torture scene, but with a different feel to it. For starters, when the torture scene in Tartaros happened, it was Erza instead of Lucy. Secondly, it was simple but effective whipping while in this case, it's a rather disturbing method involving having a goat lick off the skin of feet. And thirdly, they just did it in Tartaros but here, we get a lovely description of how it works. And I don't know if it's my huge dislike for feet, or because Lucy and Natsu kept doing funny faces to try to lighten the mood but this scene actually gave me more shudders up my spine than the Erza torture scene.

It's not a funny scene so... so stop trying to be funny! Please!
Just before the goat can begin, Goumon loses patience and raises an axe to split Lucy in half.... Then he is frozen by Gray! Yes, one of my main theories was correct. He is a double-agent who is only pretending to be bad and he has a lacrima.... No, that's a smartphone. Okay... And apparently, he can perfectly control his Demon powers. And the person he is going undercover for... is Erza?!

Oh god, smartphones in Fairy Tail... If they start playing Flappy Bird on that thing, I'm committing suicide.
Ok, so now it's time for a big escape! As they leave the Guild, Erza tells them how she learned about Avatar a while ago with help from Jellal (who is noticeably absent this week), and Gray had been going to Porylusica for help with training the Demon Slayer Magic. Oh and Erza has a cape. I felt that was important to mention.

See? I told you it was still there. Stickers have no effect on symbols!
It turns out Gray is still determined to destroy E.N.D but he's not obsessed enough to actually join a Guild like Avatar. Then comes the big question that makes us EXTREMELY fortunate not to have to wait a whole week to get answered: Why did you not tell Juvia? And this one is going to piss off quite a few fans. In fact, it already has.

A perfect representation of Tumblr this week.
Erza told Gray not to. To protect Juvia from getting involved or targeted, the goal was to let as few people as possible know about this mission. They didn't intend for this mission to take 6 months and Erza does feel sorry for Juvia, but the "purification ritual" came up and things changed. It turns out the ritual isn't anything as convoluted like Face was... Avatar are just gonna kill a bunch of people in the hopes of luring Zeref.

.........Maybe it's a good thing Avatar never met their idol.
So to put it simply, the mission was to wait until every branch of Avatar joined up then Gray and Erza would beat the crap out of them. Genius! Oh and we get a wee bit of banter between Lucy and Gray, that has actually inspired GrayLu shippers to live on and remind us they exist. Fair enough, I ain't judging. I just never really saw the chemistry but this is a funny page so... enjoy, shippers! We're the Fairy Tail fandom! We're nice!

In the shipping department's defence, that is a cute blush.
And finally, the original Team Natsu is fired up again! Off to Malba Town where the head of Avatar is with his army. They all do a mighty charge down the road to attack the innocent town, but are stopped by Team Natsu! Natsu and Gray being their usual selves, Lucy putting on Taurus bra and trousers, and Erza riding a goddamn badass horse like a holy knight of death!

Opinion: You know how in the Tartaros Arc where I got fed-up with Erza winning like a champion and somehow managing to defeat Kyouka like an overpowered bitch? Yeah, I'm over that now. That page at the end was the perfect example of why Erza is just so cool! It's really fun to get hyped over her again, when she's not going too overboard with her strength of friendship, or crying over he-who-shall-not-be-named.

Don't lie. You were fangirling over this moment as much as I was.
Speaking of Erza, I wonder what she was up to. Was she hanging out with Crime Sorciere? Seems unlikely considering the bullshit logic of "you walk the light path, I walk the shadows" blah blah blah. Personally, I was hoping she was with her little protege/sister Kagura and the rest of Mermaid Heel. She'd have fit in quite well, I would imagine.

If you did not imagine the original anime's main theme during this moment, you simply do not possess a soul.
Like I said before, the torture scene felt really creepy and extensive. Maybe it just needed to be 100% serious or maybe just less detail next time or less focus on feet, but it makes me uncomfortable and not in the way I like to feel when reading fiction. On the other hand, if that was the intention to make me disturbed, then Mashima did it perfectly. Although if that was his goal... Why funny faces? Hmm...

I'm going to try not to vomit...
Gray is a double-agent and damn it, I'm conflicted. I agonised over whether or not I approve of this and I came to this conclusion: Yes I am. A friend of mine told me she felt the Gray-undercover plot was a bit too thrown-together as a way to get Erza back in the plot, which it is on some level I suppose. On the other hand, I prefer this path to the extremely predictable path we could have taken. The "Natsu convinces Gray to be good again" path, which Naruto spent over 400 chapters working on. We would have known Natsu would convince Gray, so making us go through all that would have been pointless, unless it offered something really new. And if Gray's "evil" monologues were any indication, I don't think that was going to happen.

*unhappy shuddering*
Gray left Juvia because Erza told him to... Tsk tsk tsk. I know people should be upset with Gray but Erza made a big mistake by underestimating Juvia like that. She can take care of herself, and I am begging Juvia to be angry. At least be upset at Erza and make her apologise, please! Don't "fangirl" right away... Please Juvia. You've not let me down recently. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Don't bring Goumon back. Ever.

Manga Rating: 4/5

Character of the Week: Gray for successfully trolling his own fans, making a friendly (but unlikely) ship giddy again, and for saving us from an unnecessary subplot.

Predictions: Remember last week when I was unsure if Avatar sucked or rocked? Yeah, they're as screwed as someone being stabbed by Kumagawa (if you don't know who he is, piss off and learn about him then come back and face me with a new love). Erza vs Briar for the rank of goddess, while Natsu and Gray attack the head and plow through Jerome and the others. It's going to be fun but quick madness. And just as Avatar's army seem too big to deal with, Gajeel will appear to kick ass too.

Best Part: Team Natsu!

Worst Part: Goumon...

Well, that's interesting. Why have we never seen this daughter before? She seems like fun.

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  1. The torture was somewhat creepy in my mind too. Also Erza really is a motherfucking boss, I got hyped over that one page (I'm all Fired Up)

  2. I was disappointed when Gray didn't shatter Gouman when he was iced... Anyway's loved the 2nd chapter more and Erza looks so bad-ass. Golden Week is next week so no new chapters but what can you do.

    Is it just me or are more technology devices being included into fantasy shounens these days?

    1. Maybe we'll get lucky and Goumon's blood will be frozen and he'll never move again or something. And yeah, the 2nd chapter was much better. Really got the hype up after the feet/axe scene.

      Another Golden Week? Awwwwwwwwww.... Probably for the best since I have work to do but still....

      It's not just you. I'm noticing it too, and I don't like it. Phones, laptops and the like should not be incorporated into so much fantasy. It'd be like having Light Yagami sing "Life's a Happy Song" at the end of Death Note.

    2. Fairy Tail already does have technology like cars or "archive". I nearly forgot since theyve never apeared again. But the only time Fairy Tail had something that could be called strategy was in the oracion seis arc with archive. So if having smartphones means that they can communicate and that the plot can be more complex then I think that's a good thing. buuut somehow I believe the smartphones will disapear soon

  3. I .... kinda like Goumon actually. I don't know what it is but I found him entertaining. The torture scene didn't bother me... like at all. The ridiculousness of it is probably why. I'm sure it probably is a legit form of torture but the faces and outlandishness just made me fine with it.
    Erza's horse is awesome. I shall name him Marrowflank in my head so that he sounds like a beast worthy of carrying her into battle.
    Also yes, the All Fired Up scene was epic. Best part of the two chapters!

    1. Yeah it's a real torture procedure, which makes me realise that Mashima is studying tortures in his free time. Huh.

      Erza's horse shall hence be known as Marrowflank.

  4. There is something I don't understand. Gray isn't evil, so why would he have killed Frosch

    1. That's a good point.... Maybe it's an accident that's coming our way. Or the Devil Slayer Magic isn't as controlled as he thinks. I don't know.