by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Fairy gone ?
Now that the “Mystery of the Malfunctioning Robot Fairies” has finally played out, I was hoping that Fairy Gone might be able to shake off its doldrums and become fun again, and what do you know? I was right! Well, sort of. The first half of “Rolling Stones and Seven Knights” delivers the usual Fairy Gone brand of tedious exposition: Duke Hybranz is getting rewarded for saving the prime minister, so he's asked for one of the legendary Fairy Weapons that belonged to the Seven Knights in the war. These things come with names like “Painsealer”, “Fratanil”, “Verosteal”, and “Aliadra” (though my favorite belongs to the giant sword that the equally ridiculously named Beevee Liscar wields: “Gaddfacs”). The Duke, being the obvious conniving villain of the series, is in cahoots with both Beevee and Wolfran, but Dorothea doesn't know that, so this week the agents are tasked with transporting the Duke and his Super Weapon back to the duchy. When Beevee's crew ambushes the train, the Dorothea agents find themselves in a desperate fight for survival.
The words “desperate fight for survival” should clue you in that this episode is leagues more engaging than past episodes, because we know the characters involved in the conflict and the stakes are more intimate than “political figures may or may not be assassinated by a random engineer you don't care about”. There's still a limit to how much we can be invested in all this drama, which causes problems when Fairy Gone attempts to wring some emotion out of the episode's final scenes, but I've been wandering the desert of boredom for so long that I'm not about to scoff at a glass of water, even if it is half-empty.
It also helps that Marlya is once again being treated like the main character of the show. We still don't get much, mind you – there are a couple of obvious shipping moments between her and Free, which is fine I guess (though we all know only one woman can fill the Veronica-shaped hole in her heart), and when the train crashes, the episode stops to remind us that Marlya is “cursed”, and a guy named Victor taught her how to hunt as a child before he died of Tragic Backstory Disease. In any other show, I'd be rolling my eyes at such forced attempts to convince me that Marlya is interesting, but I'm taking what I can get at this point in Fairy gone. I still think its ridiculous that Veronica has done nothing but stand silently in the background for the past five weeks, since the show is infinitely more interesting when she and Marlya actually interact – outside of Marlya and Free's budding whatever-it-is, Ver and Marlya is the only other relationship in the entire show with any trace of flavor.
Thankfully, after all that exposition gets knocked out of the way, we get some honest-to-goodness action, which is surprisingly well done. There are a few awkward cuts that feel like they're missing a beat between them, but the animation is noticeably improved in most places, especially in the fight between Beevee, Ozz, and their Fairies. If like me, you've forgotten who Ozz is, he's the bald guy whose been kind of nice when he shows up. I hope that's enough for you to suddenly care about this guy, because like every other Dorothea agent in this fight, Ozz gets his ass handed to him. After getting riddled with bullets, Beevee decides to take “mercy” on the permanently wounded warrior by gutting him with Gaddfacs as Ozz collapses on top of Marlya. Ever the decent guy, Ozz makes sure to take the full brunt of the strike to keep Marlya safe.
Strangely, the episode cuts to credits right as the blade strikes Ozz, which would make sense if the scene didn't immediately continue after the credits so Marlya could watch Ozz die and dramatically scream his name. It's a clumsily executed scene, which undercuts the point the show is obviously trying to make; here's yet another nice guy who died taking care of Marlya, and now Marlya is going to feel even worse about herself. It's a shame that Fairy Gone never bothered to make Ozz an actual character; then the man's death might really have hit with the impact it's aiming for. As it stands, Ozz's sacrifice is yet another checkbox to be ticked in Fairy Gone's “List of Things Imitated From Much Better Anime, Without Style or Confidence”. At least the action has picked up – if Fairy Gone is going to continue to be a tepid time-waster, it should at least toss in as many explosions and ridiculously named swords as possible.
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