I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sometimes a good arc can change everything in an anime. While that arc appears to be just on the horizon, it’s enough to get me excited for this new storyline where some aspects are already feeling rather suspicious and it looks like we’ll finally be moving away from the standard “Let’s summon this dead person” model that seems to plague this series.
Let’s take a look at Fairy Tail Volume 11.
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
This DVD covers episodes 121 – 131, right at the tail end of the Tenrou Island arc into the Key of Starry Sky arc. After the interesting twists and turns in the story from the last review, the biggest one is yet to come. At the very tail end of this arc, the entire Fairy Tail guild on the island completely disappear. For seven years. They come back to find the guild is small and that Lucy’s father is dead. Because, you know, why not throw in some emotional roller coasters. It is soon after things go back to normal, with some unnecessary filler episodes thrown in, we meet Michelle Lobster, who comes barring something mysterious from Lucy’s father and immediately gains the trust of the guild just a new mysterious guild shows up to start trouble.
This volume finally see a little of what I’ve been wanting in the last few arcs: lasting and major character development. And all it took was a time jump where all the main characters didn’t age but everyone else did for convenience sake, but who am I to complain? I’m just glad something more surprising and interesting finally happened. I will say the death of Lucy’s father is a very potent moment and really serves to strength the bonds between her and Natsu who are literally just biding their time until they become a couple. It’s all just shades of Haru and Elie all over again. Still, it was a scene that was handled well from a series that doesn’t often pull emotional punches.
No major change in the animation style, though the newest character, Michelle, has a character design and facial expressions that make my skin crawl. I genuinely think that they are running out of good character designs, but that’s a rant for another review. There is a new opening and ending theme: The Starting Sky by +Plus and Glitter (Starving Trancer Remix) by Another Infinity ft. Mayumi Morinaga. The opening is way to energetic to fit the hopeful and pre-adventurous tone of the animation it overlays, which makes it feel very jarring and over the top. The ending, however, is a pleasant surprise with a lovely female vocal and some cool piano music thrown in that makes it entertaining but calming. Even the chibis, still there in full force, fit the theme and tone of the song.
There aren’t a ton of new voices to contend with here except for Michelle Lobster for the most part, as none of the newer characters get tons of screen time. Her case is actually a unique one for me: typically I either like or dislike a voice, with no degrees in between. However, while I feel the Japanese VA Yukana Nogami is a better fit for the character, there is something very charming about Tabitha Ray’s portrayal and as a relative of Lucy’s, they even sound kind of similar. They both equally pleasant, though if you favor lower registers, you’ll like the English dub better. The issues with the dub feeling out of sync or chemistry from the last review is basically gone, maybe it was just the strangeness of the arc or just a weird timing issue but it feels more cohesive now.
This latest volume of Fairy Tail has a lot of surprises, despite the presence of filler episodes. It starts on a high note with the disappearance of the guild and ends on the promise of some big adventures and important answers, in what will be a Lucy-focused arc. This volume rapidly restored my faith in the direction of this series, and hopefully you guys will feel the same. I am not giving up on this series yet.
– Good ending theme.
– Good dub and sub.
– Good story and character development.
– Bad opening theme.
– Michelle’s character design is bland and ugly.