Animes only survive if they can stay interesting, and for many shows, that depends on how well they handle the end of an arc, especially a big one. But this also leads to its own problem — what is best to follow after an arc this big and this jam-packed with action and revelations? Apparently, for Fairy Tail, it’s yet another arc filled with action and revelations of course!
Let’s take a look at Volume 6 of Fairy Tail.
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
When we last left off with our heroes, Natsu was fighting Cobra in the sky, and the world was about to be destroyed, your typical anime fare. In a flurry of tears, flames and fighting, the arc ends as a show like this usually does, happily. Right after the world-ending threat is taken out for good, we begin a new arc, the Daphne arc, with three new episodes, where we find Natsu, Lucy, Wendy and Happy get trapped in the inn as a mysterious woman named Daphne unleashes a horde of Lizardmen, a Dragonoid, and sets Gray up to battle (and defeat) Natsu.
This DVD/Blu Ray runs for 11 episodes, finishing out the Oración Seis arc and starting the Daphne one. I have to say, the choice of what episodes goes into what volumes is meant to making consumers keep picking up more volumes, but the problem is that if you want to buy a copy of a specific arc, you’re sticking getting multiples, which is both costly and not necessarily effective.
I will say that this arc was one of the better ones of the series thus far, with a creepier undertone and a bigger scope. I know I marked the series down for it last time because it came off as confusing, but now with all the fighting, it’s just epic. Erza’s final battle with Midnight is the highlight of the finale for me, and the Natsu/Jellal vs. Zero fight is also particularly compelling, though it is to distract from the background characters taking down the larger machinery.
It is in these battles where you see the flaws in the animation the most. Battles are notoriously hard and time consuming to animate, even with the advent of computer animation. I can’t say I blame them for taking a shortcut here or there, but when it’s the big battle, where you’re supposed to showcase your best animation, not hide it behind messy blur effects. The animation is still as crisp as ever in the usual places, like slow and contemplative scenes, looking even better in Blu Ray, but DVD also won’t see a huge decrease in quality.
I am not sure where they are going with this arc with Daphne, but thus far I am not impressed. It also feel a little rushed to have something so intense happening after we had an almost world ending super battle. It feels like there’s no time to breathe and catch up, both for the characters and the audience, and since we don’t get the motivation in the first few episodes, its hard to be invested just yet, though there’s a hinting of some real drama with Gray and Natsu.
There aren’t any new characters to judge per se except for Daphne, and I find her just as irritating in English as I do in Japanese. Usually I don’t talk about the theme music that much for the show, mostly because it sort of just blends in for me with this series and because it constantly changes but I figure since we have the space that I should make a special note of it this time. The new opening theme for these episodes is Fiesta by a group called +Plus, and is a carnivale-themed rock song with maracas and heavy drum beats. For my taste, it doesn’t really get me pumped for the show but it isn’t a shrill ear worm that won’t let go, so its passable. The ending theme, Be As One by w-inds gets less of a pass for being yet another lilting piano ballad, which almost fits the tone of the arc but is not dark enough to be appropriate nor cheerful enough to be hopeful.
Overall, the prior arc ends in a bang, while the new one start with a whimper, which is a little disappointing. Still, the ending was enough to overshadow the last three episodes because of its quality. I’m not enamored with where they split the episodes up, and I wonder if it’ll do the Daphne arc a disservice but there’s no going back now. If you’re a fan of the show, you need to be sure to pick this volume up to get the end of one of the best arcs in the series thus far.
– Arc ends with great final battles.
– Good music overall.
– Strong writing for the Oracion Seis arc.
– Daphne Arc seems a bit much to follow the Oracion Seis arc.
– Some animation cheats are very obvious.