by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Fairy gone ?
Fairy gone hasn't proven to be especially good at any given hook for an anime series. Its animation is often ugly and flat, its characters are one-dimensional, and its obsession with the minutiae of its world-building only highlight its deeply generic and uninteresting setting. None of these criticisms were intended as a challenge for the show to outdo its own mediocrity – yet here we are, with “Fellow Traveler”, an episode that takes the cake for the single most boring half-hour of television I've watched all year.
For the past month-and-a-half, Fairy gone has been just okay enough to keep me interested in where things are going, but this episode doesn't even rise to Fairy gone's tragically low standard of being the kind of entertainment you can put on in the background while you fold laundry or something. It's truly that weightless, lacking in anything worth even half-paying attention to. We open with yet another extended world-building exploration that goes nowhere, this time about the five different dukes who were put into power after the Unification War. Most of them died horrible deaths after being suspected (rightly or wrongly) of treasonous intentions. Given how Fairy gone's political plotline seems to be advancing at a snail's pace, it's possible all of this hokum will pay off by show's end, but somehow I doubt it will end up being worth the wait.
Then one of the government's artificial fairies goes berserk and has to be put down, leading the Dorothea agents to split up and investigate while still hunting for the Black Fairy Tome. The gimmick for this episode is that the usual pair of Free and Marlya are separated; Free goes with Chase to investigate the artificial fairy, and Marlya accompanies Klara on the hunt for the Black Tome page. Free and Chase's B-plot literally amounts to nothing – they wander around not learning anything until the final minute of the episode, when Free just happens to bump into the guy who has information that might prove useful next week.
Marlya and Klara get the meatier part of the episode, though the increase in screen time doesn't amount to more impact, depth, or entertainment. The two visit a morbidly obese informant who eventually spills the beans on yet another secret auction where a man has recently won “The Black Four” pages of the Fairy Tome. Then they find the guy, chase him around, hop on a train, and eventually catch him with little effort. Outside of one mercifully fun little action beat where Marlya and Klara beat up the informant's goons, this plot offers little more than a few barely animated sequences of two women slowly running after some bland-looking guy for a while. It isn't exactly riveting stuff.
To make matters worse, the episode doesn't even bother to do Klara's character justice. She's another generally nice and competent member of Dorothea who speaks mostly in exposition. Her one flashback simply explains that she's a war orphan who owes her life to Nein. That's all. There's no real drama between Klara and Maryla to play with, no conflict for them to resolve outside of chasing some guy down for a while. It's as hollow a narrative as you can get, and Fairy gone commits to its execution with the usual amount of half-hearted energy. At least the soundtrack is nice, I guess.
That's pretty much it for this episode. We meet some more political figures, like the Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Fairies, but lord only knows when their inclusion in the story will manifest in some manner of real drama or intrigue. As with almost every other instance of lore-dumping in Fairy gone, this entire episode feels like it just exists to pad out the show's wiki. Telling an interesting story is apparently a secondary or even tertiary goal. Hopefully Veronica comes back into the picture soon. Her relationship with Marlya is the only thing Fairy gone has going for it now, and without some kind of shot in the arm, this show is liable to put me to sleep before I can even start writing about it.
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