Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fairy Tail - Why It's Not Perfect

Written by Shiggins


Requested by Aquaconda T, it's Fairy Tail's turn to take a hit or two. Yes, the reviewer of Fairy Tail is going to be mean and criticise the shonen series starring Natsu, Lucy, Gray and Erza. Over the past few years, Fairy Tail's popularity has exploded and gone beyond anybody's expectations. And while I do love it and consider it one of my favourite series to read right now, I am a great man and therefore, I can use my vision to see the flaws. So here they are, just for the taking!

Problem #1: The manga had a lot of trouble with it's art at the beginning.


Boobs, Glorious Boobs!

Fine! I'll talk about this bloody one first, since people never shut up about it! Honestly, the haters are more obsessed with Fairy Tail's cleavage display than the actual readers... Anyway, long story short, too much fanservice.

Well... At least they do remember to make guys flash their fanservice a lot too. Yay for equality.
Bath scenes are obviously the most frequent one, with quite a few notable scenes showing much more than a dignified amount of skin. Honestly, it's nearly shocking that we haven't seen any nipples or... other places. To be fair though, that's probably because of the magazine's rule, and Mashima definitely pushes the limit to get away with as much as he can.

...Yeah, basically.
These days, Mashima manages to combine his love for nudity with a bit of comedy, but some things are just too distracting. And sorry senpai, but those boobs are too big to not notice. Nudity can literally be forced in during a big battle, or more recently, a war! "Oh look, people might die... but Lucy, get in the bath!". It's eye-rolling, cringe-worthy and such a drag. Not that I'm against nudity or whatever, but make it factor into the plot. Or if you make it funny, reduce the amount of times it happens!

I can complain about the fanservice all I want, but this chapter is still one of my most read reviews, even to this day. So... Awkward.

"Nakama Power"

Friendship is the most important ever! That is what almost every series out there will tell you. You can overcome hardships and villains and love and basically whatever shit life throws at you, so long as you got a bro or a gal to give you strength. And while it's already an old concept that we just accept, Fairy Tail seems to take it to the next level.

...I dunno how to explain this either.
Let's just state the obvious here; The best fights are the clever ones. Seeing a character get put into a tight situation, then adapt and create a strategy using their own abilities is very satisfactory, while seeing a character win because "I got friends" is not. And while it is true that Fairy Tail doesn't always do this, especially during recent times, it still likes to rely on the cliché every now and again.

I blame Shikamaru for my utterly high standards for battles.
If a character wins a fight, it should be for a reason that works within the story. Like every Shonen, the occasional "Deus Ex Machina" does appear to make a fight end quicker, like when Jellal suddenly got golden flame powers, but it's not that problematic. No, the power of friendship is considerably more frequent, and it's a bore honestly. If it was friends coming in during a fight to provide support, like it sometimes is, that would be a different story.

"Because she's Erza..."

Oh like I haven't bitched enough about this one already. This is basically the "Nakama Power" complaint, but taken to a new level. The character of Erza is impossible, as she will always gain the win and I can't think of a fight she's truly lost. At least, not in recent years. And that's fine... up to a point.

...................................................Ugh.
Erza is a badass and I love her, but the limit has gone from "overpowered" to "she'd survive Goku smashing her through the planet because she's Erza". I want to like Erza more than I currently do, so I think a loss or two might be exactly what we need. Her Nakagami armour is one of the most random things she has come out with, which I took an immediate dislike to because it resembled the childhood tactic of "my shield blocks everything so I win ha-ha". And if you still think we didn't go too far...

The Pointless Entry 

Have you ever tried to convert someone to Fairy Tail before? Tell them that the series is a lot of fun and they would definitely enjoy it, if they gave it a chance? I have with a few people, and they all gave me the same answer. They got bored during Galuna Island or Lullaby and gave up. And I can relate, because I gave up during Galuna Island as well because honestly, the first few arcs are boring!

Except this moment. Galuna Island is meh, except this hilarious moment.
When writing a story, you never want to start off boring. Your most boring moments should be in the middle, since most people remember the beginning and ending the best, and that's what draws them in. When Fairy Tail begins, it really struggles to keep your attention. The only running story seems to be Seigrain/Jellal and Ultear, but the focus mostly went towards random plots that are... mediocre.

Wow... I suddenly realised how much I actually miss Mystogan.
For me, Fairy Tail's true potential begins during the Tenrou Island arc when Zeref is finally introduced and we meet Ultear's boss, Hades. While arcs like Phantom Lord and Oracion Seis are interesting enough, that's mostly due to the characters and their relationships, and not the plot itself. An arc like Edolas could easily be lifted out, and there would be virtually nothing you'd miss because all that happens is the explanation of Mystogan.

I'm not saying the series is bad or anything, it's just lacking in anything worth value until Phantom Lord, thanks to some truly impressive battles and interactions with Gajeel, Juvia and more. I've probably only rewatched the Galuna Island and Lullaby arcs once, and since those are the first few arcs of the series, that's not a good sign. Thank fuck for Zeref, E.N.D, and the surprising amount of shipping. Speaking of which...

Just Kiss Already!

I will never understand how manga writers can do this for so long. When a character says "I love you", it shouldn't take 400+ chapters for the protagonist to respond! Naruto is a massive offender of this, forgetting Hinata's confession until the end of the series, but Fairy Tail is probably the biggest pain when it comes to this.

Aww, what a tender, loving and heroic moment... Let us never talk about it again.
Let's be realistic here. You can say "but what about this panel when they smiled at each other? That clearly means an eternal love that can't be shown in any deliberate way", but we all know the truth. Gajeel and Levy like each other. Elfman and Evergreen like each other. Juvia likes Gray and Gray almost definitely likes Juvia. Natsu and Lucy... probably but we'll see where that goes. With these ships and far more out there, why can't we just confirm at least one?!

One of the most potentially funny arcs in Fairy Tail history... if we just made them make that thing!
If you want a series to end with the main hero kissing the girl, not a problem. I totally get it. However, wouldn't it be great to see a series confirm the relationship and create humorous or, heaven forbid, sweet scenes because of it? Like I said earlier, so many manga series ignore that possibility to create unnecessary tension, but Fairy Tail is the thorn in my side because there are so many! Mashima clearly loves romance and I would probably be a lot more able to stomach the fact that nobody says "hey, want to grab lunch together?" if we just had one couple be confirmed! Just one! It's so frustrating, especially since Mashima is such a tease!

Him...

I don't like Jellal.

Sigh... I'm going to get so much hate for this one.
Probably the most controversial opinion I can have about this series, I dislike the popular character Jellal Fernandes and if you've read my reviews in the past, you'll notice that quite quickly. While I do admit I can be a bit unfair to him, I do have reasons for it and I might as well explain them here, since I don't want to waste a review going on a rant about a character I know many people like.

He's overpowered. Probably seems a bit unjustified considering Natsu is too overpowered as well, but Jellal always rubbed me the wrong way with it. He has a golden flame to suddenly "Dragon Force" Natsu, and he has this super-duper attack that wiped out the entire badass group of Oracion Seis, and he is so like totally awesome, you guys! So what's the problem with him being overpowered? Probably because... He never uses it in a way I feel is right. I mean, let's think about it this way; Jellal was at the battle against the dragons after the Grand Magic Games. Why didn't he attack Future Rogue? Someone else can protect Erza, but you could have ended all this by jumping up there and clearly being the badass you claim to be!

THIS is the badass Jellal I want!
However, that's a minor and easily debatable point. No, the number one root of the problem I have with Jellal can be summed up by when I used to like him; The Tower of Heaven arc. Back then, Jellal was the biggest villain of them all, and he was such a bastard! And I loved it! He had slaves, he destroyed Erza's childhood, he caused so much grief and misery, he killed the lovely Simon, he did so much... and how did they fuck it up?

Man, she's going to be PISSED when she hears the excuse of why she's the "bad one" in this fight.
Well, when he came back from the dead, I got a bit excited. Jellal returning from the dead to cause havoc had promise, but then he had amnesia. Amnesia... Amnesia... Motherfucking amnesia! One of the worst and most overused plot devices in fictional history! Oh but it gets worse, because then he's a teary-eyed gentle boy who wouldn't harm a fly. And then it turns out he was never a villain in the first place! He was a good boy who got possessed, so when he restores his memory, he's still a good guy. Huge wasted opportunity to actually develop the villain into a hero and just retcon him, only made worse by his constant self-degradation. His constant talk of walking the path of darkness and he can't be with Erza because she walks the path of light makes no sense, because he didn't do anything wrong! If you had been the villain, I would have blamed you but you weren't! Ultear was! So your whining about something you didn't technically do! You don't even do things that would count as "darkness" so just... just shut up, Jellal! JESUS HAROLD CHRIST!

....but that's just my own opinion.


On a Last Note...

A lot of people were probably waiting for me to talk about the "nobody dies" complaint and I just want to say... I don't like that one. I like that Mashima enjoys writing his characters, and that he enjoys bringing them back as much as he can, always leaving room for a big fun return that could create either drama, action or comedy. I also would like to point out that some characters do die, including Simon, Zancrow, Igneel, all of Tartarus... There is a lot. Considering how many characters there are, I doubt a lot of people would be happy unless a massacre happened and that's just ridiculous to suggest for multiple reasons. And honestly, fuck the people who think like that. If you want something depressing that kills off every single character, go read a Greek tragedy. If you want it to be "realistic", then don't read manga.

How DARE this magic manga featuring dragons, superpowers, talking cats, counterpart dimensions and ghosts of mages that started entire Guilds not give us the realistic portrayal of death and war?! I am shocked and appalled! This series is clearly full of false advertising!
A death should only happen if the writer sees a reason. And so far, Mashima has the best reason to keep them alive; He enjoys writing them. If he does kill off a character, he'll have a reason for it. Just like Kishimoto, who almost always had legitimate reasons for murdering his characters. That's called being a good writer. If someone says "but they should die because then blah blah blah", a smart writer ignores that and goes with the path they feel is best and have planned out. It's why Sasuke didn't die. It's why Itachi did. There needs to be a reason, and it needs to be part of the plan. Not because "it's realistic" or "because I, as a fan, think it could possibly...".

Any I missed out? Was my rant a bit too much? (Probably, yeah.) Or do you have any suggestions for other articles? Let me know in the comments below,




Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere or go to his tumblr page http://otakugajeel.tumblr.com/

12 comments:

  1. not bad but i disagree with the whole writers not killing off characters cause they like to use them. i feel that kind of thing has to be plot and story related not the authors reasons. i don't think people really care for minor character deaths especially those who don't appear as often. it also has to be done in the right way too. probably one of the reasons people can recall jiraiya, Minato, and Kushina's deaths easily cause of how it was done.

    personally I just don't think Mashima has it in him to kill any main cast let alone anyone in Fairy Tail and always finds the excuse to say they're barely alive somehow. I'm putting my hopes on this Zeref War Arc since Zeref noted how everyone in Magnolia can't bring themselves to kill anyone they fight. and i do like how there are still people think Natsu is gonna close the book on Zeref and keep forgetting that even now Zeref is pulling Natsu's strings and that's his end game. to finally be killed and doesn't care what happens after that.

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    1. I suppose so, and I don't disagree with you. I just personally dislike being told "you should kill this character because of reasons". I like when an author makes their own choices and doesn't give in to fan demand, since a lot of the times fans don't actually know what's best for them. Of course, if the author isn't able to kill the character for whatever reason, that's another story. I personally have never felt like Mashima intended to kill a character then got cowardly and brought them back or whatever. I feel like he never planned to kill these people, because it's not in his plan to do so, but that's just me.

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    2. basically he's still looking at things like he did for rave master. honestly i was expecting makarov to die since a man of his in all things consider(both realistically and how his health has been through the series when you look back on the Laxus arc) since this is usually the kind of arc where old generation characters tend to die off for fighting off a younger kind of opponent that outclasses them somehow and to also say they want the youger generations to have a good future or something to that effect.

      kind of amazing mashima wasn't some kind of hentai manga artist before this since all his attention the naked women is almost on the dot. reason i say almost was cause as you said he's likely being put on a limit and is one reason the current anime season annoys me a lot.

      lastly i think despite the request this should have waited till Fairy Tail was over. i mean yeah it's got plot holes already for this but i feel series that were already done like naruto and dragon ball made sense for you to be blogging on this. doing one on a series that's still on going more or less feels like those who requested it may have or have started to give up on the series. oh and i may have missed it in your blog here but i think you forgot to mention how mashima either chickened out or missed opportunites on certain things to the fairy tail series that we though he'd touch up on like what he had planned for bringing back lisanna after being declared dead or that whole thing with makarov and his son.

      by the way what's your thought on Zeref at them moment. since from my point of view despite everything so far it doesn't look like anything is going against what Zeref wants. feels like everything is all going according to his plan and we still don't know what said to acnologia when they talked.

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    3. I only read some chapters of Rave Master. Never finished it, although personally I want a remake of the anime. Haru looked great in that OVA with Natsu. As for Makarov, the series does seem to be hinting at his death coming soon in this current arc, although that does seem the more obvious route... we'll find out soon enough I'm sure.

      Well, I know the guys who made Fate, Medaka Box and Hellsing did hentai before they did those series. Just a fun fact. And I suppose you could just say he's good at details. Naked or not. But yeah, limits need to be set.

      True. I do think it's probably more efficient to talk about series already past, but I got the request and I thought it sounded like a fun challenge so I wanted to go for it. If anything, I still managed to find some compliments to this series amongst my problems, so I hope I didn't detract anybody from reading/watching it. It is still worth a read or two.

      I still believe Ivan will return, so I didn't mention that. As for Lisanna's death, I mentioned that in another past article called "What You Might Know". To put it simply, I hear far too many rumours about it to be fully sure and so I didn't put it here. Some say he chickened out, others say he was made to by the editor or the animation director, others say that was the plan all along... Nothing concrete enough for me to fully state it with confidence.

      Personally, I'm in love with Zeref right now. And I think all of this is exactly how he predicted. He's not scared and he's not angry. He knew Mavis would be able to fight back, and he's keeping a cool head because he knows he'll win this in the end. Zeref is tortured and contradicting himself, and that to me is bloody brilliant. As for Acnologia, my best bet would be he promised Acnologia an amazing fight against Natsu, because he is Igneel's son, and he wants them to fight because that might awaken Natsu's E.N.D side.

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    4. guess in the long run Natsu and Lucy will end up having a mix of a celestial dragon demon type of kid. lol well at least the fighting is more interesting than harry potter since all one needs to do is separate the wand from a wizard a then bang you win. wizards in mashima world you gotta have the physical ability to fight and spiritual awareness to use magic.

      i am curious about Brandish though. from her reactions she straight up hates Layla for some reason and in turn Lucy. either Brandish met Layla and feels cheated out of something which suggests Brandish is likely in her 40's or one plot twist is that Brandish is an illegitimate child of either Layla or Lucy's dad making her Lucy's half sister and feels completely abandoned because of Layla in either case since those are the only likely scenarios i see happening. no matter how it's explained it's likely one of those scenarios in a nutshell.

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    5. They bloody better!

      And Brandish is an odd one, yeah. I can't wait to find out what it is though, since I've been curious about Layla for a long time now. And also, who doesn't love Brandish?

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  2. Dear Mr Shiggins, would it be okay if I posted my thoughts and theories about Fairy Tail on this website in the comments section? I was going to ask you on your Tumblr blog, but the word limit for asks meant that this wouldn't work. It is a rather detailed theory concerning Natsu and Wendy which I've thought up, though hopefully if you read it, you'll find it interesting.

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    1. Of course. Drop a theory anytime you like.

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  3. ...Dang. I've admittedly got to agree with you on most of those, including (gasp!) Jellal- who I WILL ADD is one of my favorite characters in the series. So you aren't going to be calling me biased from that!
    Erza... yeah. Her last fight wasn't all that bad to be honest, but there's just so much hate about it going on that I'm actually starting to overanalyze it myself. Sigh... But at least she and Jellal match! "The Star-Crossed Lovers of Battlefield Supremacy" or something.
    ....When "boobs" is the least of a series' problems, then I think it's time for some re-examination.

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    1. Don't leave the series though! Love it because it is flawed! Perfection is overrated!

      It's hard to admit your beloved hero is annoying at times, isn't it? I love Kakashi but I wouldn't call him perfect. Just very very very very close to perfect. Erza is great and I can see why some people kinda like Jellal, so I accept it.

      Just because there is hate going on, doesn't mean you should let it ruin you. When you hear loads of hate, you usually need to take a second and realise that they are just a loud minority. I used to think the Naruto fandom was just hate, but I was proven wrong. Haters are sad people, don't let them ruin what you love.

      Stay with Fairy Tail, my friend. And it will stay with you.

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  4. Not bad. I agree with most of your points. I disagree with your opinion of the Galuna arc. It properly introduced us to Gray, gave his great backstory and introduced us to the future members of Lamia Scale among other things. With death, it wouldn't be so bad, if Mashima wouldn't constantly try to trick the reader. He done it with Erza, Wendy, Natsu, Gray, and especially with Makarov who was death teased at least three times.

    If there's stuff I would add, it would be:

    1. The Villains-Mashima's formula for them is very formulaic. They aren't really interesting. They appear in one arc. Most of them are generic and there really isn't any meaningful interactions with them. Future Rogue encapsulates much of what's bad about Mashima's villains, but that's a rant for another day.

    2. Anti climatic Conclusions-Mashima likes to hype up villains and then have the heroes beat them with little effort to make them look cool. Even if a character is proven to be powerful, they often lose via asspull like Kyoka. Though this really applies to stuff from Tenrou onward, IMO. Many fights pre-time skip was great. This doesn't just apply to fights. Many story revelations aren't well handled. For example, randomly killing off the dragons at the end of Tartarus after not really properly introducing us to them. Another would be The reveal of who killed Frosch and how it was handled.

    3.Protagonist Centered Morality-A lot of times it feels that friendship is meant to benefit Fairy Tail. Fairy Tail is never allowed to be wrong. Fairy Tail can literally do anything they please and they'll always be right. It's infuriating that the story goes on and on about friendship even though Fairy Tail's members never actually talked with each other after the guild disbanded. It's especially egregious when you have Natsu acting like an egotistical, sociopathic hypocrite doing things like attacking Gajeel when they were supposed to be fighting Gajeel, trying to kidnap Wendy, etc. Again, that's a rant for abother day.

    Hrm. That was a bit more rant than I expected. Anyway a lot of this stuff is my opinion. I love to see what you think about it.

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    1. I was never extremely warm to Gray, (no pun intended) and I just disliked Galuna Island. Personal preference though.

      1. When I think of formulaic villains, I half-and-half agree with you. Characters like Hughes or half of Hades' guild were mostly boring, but I tend to like the range and their personalities more than any backstory they might have. Characters like Cobra or Jellal do manage to keep attention, possibly due to returning for more appearances. It's not like that with everybody, but I can't deny I've enjoyed a few villains. As for Future Rogue, I think his main appeal isn't what he was like, but who he is and why. As hinted in the Avatar Arc, I don't think we can fully decide on F.Rogue until later, due to him clearly having a motive to turn to such dark methods. Probably a controversial opinion though.

      2. Probably agree with the battles here. A lot of final battles aren't as good as they should be, and I think that might be down to time. Battles in Fairy Tail never usually last longer than 3 or 4 chapters, which is good as it keeps a fast pace, but obviously it can cause a negative reaction of feeling rushed or forced. As for the reveals of the twists and turns, I don't mind it too much. Again, it can feel rushed sometimes, but I've seen a lot of series spend 3 chapters just trying to reveal one big twist, and FT usually brings out what it can when it feels it should. When do we find out Gray kills Frosch? Right after we find out Gray is "evil", which works because they might be connected. I felt that worked as a good bluff. (Mangas love to bluff us)

      3. Hmmm... Don't know what to think about this one to be honest. Since they are the main characters, and aren't murderers like many villains, it does make sense for them to be in the moral right. I do feel that the reason they didn't keep in touch, besides for a few like Gray and Juvia or Laxus and his gang, was more of a "growing up" session. Learning who they were by themselves and what they could do without having to rely on each other. Everybody got stronger, learned new skills, did different things, made new friends... I think they all saw it as an opportunity to start a new life. Does it suck that Levy stopped being in contact with Lucy? Absolutely. I won't defend that, but I do at least see some argument for some of the interactions. As for Natsu, he's a dick. Him and Gajeel are rivals, like him and Gray, so that's why they often argue and fight, but I don't know if sociopathic is fair. He's very childish, he does tend to say sorry, and he never does anything wrong when he realises it's wrong. Like kidnapping Wendy, which is definitely not a moment the series wanted you to take seriously anyway.

      Oh wow, you made me rant too! Been a while... Doesn't feel half-bad.

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