Anime series often take a turn for the worse somewhere around the 60 to 70 episode mark. It can spell the doom for a long running series if the characters fall into predictable patterns, repeated arcs, and, of course, the dreaded filler episodes that drag everything out. Thankfully, we haven’t devolved into the usual tricks yet with Fairy Tail since there are still a lot more characters to develop. So many, many characters.
Let’s take a look at episodes 49-60 of Fairy Tail in the Volume 5 DVD/Blu-Ray.
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
Picking up where we last left off, the series begins with the Oración Seis arc, ending somewhere in the middle in a not-so-cliffhanging ending.
The jokes are still funny, but where the series shines is in the character develop of the group itself. Unless shows like Naruto, this show understands that real drama doesn’t come from long extended boss battles but from the interactions between characters. Of course, having big, flashy powers and tragic backstories certainly helps keep the pace moving along. In this part, we meet the Dark Guild Oración Seis, who steal a young healer, Wendy, from the Allied Forces coming to get them to revive Jellal, the man who knows how to activate the magical item known as Nirvana, which can completely swap light and dark. The run ends with Natsu in a major aerial battle while Nirvana grows ever stronger off the Earth’s magic.
While the plot itself is not the most original, and extended-episodes battle heavy (which is one of the most tiresome of the anime tropes in my opinion), of plots, it manages to hold my attention even through all the twists and turns of endless characters fighting. Guild politics may be interesting but it’s when the fate of a fictional world that’s at stake, it becomes way more enthralling. Still, the huge amount of characters in the cast that are all pieces in this master clock of a plot can get overwhelming, confusing, and down-right annoying.
In terms of the voice acting, the quality remains the same. For most, the voice actors fit the age and tone of the character well. Wendy was not as annoying as I feared but she sounds a little too old in the English dub, not enough to be jarring but it did seem a little off. Carla the cat though could not be more spot on. The Trimens are either over-enthusiatic or under-enthusiastic and I can’t make up my mind which is more annoying. The Oración Seis members all sound solid, even if sometimes their dialogue requires a second listen to understand that (blame the plot for that, not the actors) though Cobra is by far the best.
The animation has also not changed much, with strong animation with little cuts here and there that aren’t noticeable if you don’t look too hard. The new character designs are well done and distinctive, which makes them a lot easier to tell apart and also adds a level of discovery to the first few episodes, since they all appear at once. The opening and ending themes are cute, but not particularly catchy or exciting, though the animation for each song is cute and fun.
The series remains good but great, with strong plentiful characters that fall into the same narrative tropes that make other animes a chore to watch. Still, Fairy Tail has a penchant of keeping these arcs short and concise, which will be a blessing since this one is a doozy. Honestly, while I don’t love this particular slice of the overall opus, it’s still solid and should be watched, if only because of its relevance to the rest of the series.
– Strong character design and animation.
– Good arc narrative.
– Strong voice acting.
– Too many characters at once.
– Overly complex at time.