Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 286 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
Fairy Tail is usually fast-paced enough that it doesn't indulge in “getting there” or “transition” episodes, so this week's offering, which definitely has transition elements, is an exception. By the end of the half-hour, things are fully on a forward trajectory again, so it's really only the first half that counts as the characters being brought to where they need to be to get the story moving. That goes for both teams who are out planning to get Makarov back: Team Natsu + Mest is sailing to Caracol Island, the half-way point between continents and Team B is headed for where Laxus is presumed to be hanging out with his Thunder Legion pals. They get the less exciting portion of the story, although it's worth noting that Levy is with them (and if you ship Levy and Gajeel, there's a cute moment there), because she's the real brains of the operation. Not only does she understand why Erza left everyone else behind, but she's the most likely to be able to aim Team B in the right direction when it comes time for them to help out, something that Gajeel, their de facto leader, is perhaps not awesome at. Since Levy is basically the one person Gajeel will listen to, that makes Levy invaluable.
But first, Caracol Island. If you doubted that the Alvarez Empire was bad news before, the fact that they've essentially invaded peaceful resort town Caracol and set up a blockade should definitely give you a bit of a clue; that's rarely the act of a non-aggressive nation. They seem to be justifying their actions with the fact that they're looking for a spy (the one Mest is also trying to meet up with), but it's easy to see that they're abusing their power pretty badly. This starts out when Natsu spots a little boy crying because the soldiers took his daddy away and culminates in the arrival of Marin, a jerk of an Alvarez wizard who destroys a man's livelihood because he thinks it would be funny. Sadly for him, he makes one very serious mistake: he got between Erza and her sweets.
It's funny how most of the episode (and the end of last week's) featured everyone telling Natsu to remember not to go flying off the handle because they needed to be infiltrating rather than storming the Empire. That's not because Natsu isn't a major risk on that front, but rather because no one in Fairy Tail has a particularly good grasp of slipping in under the radar, except maybe Gray. Sure enough, the minute the soldiers threaten to hurt the little boy, everyone (except Mest) immediately snaps, blowing their cover very completely. Not that we can blame them – standing around while a child is run through would be inconceivable for most people, and certainly out of character for the children Makarov raised. We like Fairy Tail as a guild because they won't stand by while something like that is going on, and if that means that Mest should have thought this through a little better before deciding that they were the guild to infiltrate Alvarez, so be it.
Speaking of Mest, if you forgot that he has a major (and vaguely creepy) crush on Wendy, surprise! That's back this week. It's in humorous conjunction to the way that Erza and Lucy manage to get the group into the town in the first place, with the amazing magic of breasts. Wendy could probably use the ego boost after she realizes that lolis don't do it for the guards, but I'm still glad Carla's with Wendy because I don't think she shares Mest's feelings. (Not that he'd act on them, but still.) Mest aside, seeing Team Natsu work together again is a major highlight of this episode; even if the fights are short, it's just nice to have the original gang back together to defend the poor man's mango gelato stand.
Things are about to get more serious, however. Marin's boss Brandish shows up at the end, and as the vaguely horn-like protrusions from her head suggest, she's bad news. Add to that the fact that Marin has kidnapped Erza and Lucy and captured Mest and things are going to get worse before they improve. It's a good thing Fairy Tail is up for the task and more than spoiling for a fight.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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