Fairy Tail: Final Season
Episode 288

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 288 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?

If there's one thing you can say for Laxus, it's that the guy sure knows how to make an entrance. This is one of his more spectacular entries on the scene, particularly since this time it comes as he's saving Team Natsu, Mest, and Makarov from Ajeel, another member of Zeref's Spriggan 12. Ajeel's a sand wizard, with the ability to manipulate that substance and bonus dehydration powers, two things no one presently fighting him is equipped to deal with. (Wendy maybe, but she's down for the count because of motion sickness.) While Juvia's water magic may have been the best bet for saving everyone, the range of Laxus' lightening makes him the right guy for the job – and luckily Gajeel, Levy, and the rest have successfully found him with Blue Pegasus. In an excellent show of support from that guild, they've rushed to Alvarez using Blue Pegasus' special anti-motion sickness skyship just in time for Laxus to play Zeus.

It's definitely a relief, but also the most excitement in the fight against Ajeel, which otherwise feels a little truncated. Yes, that's in large part because Mest is about out of teleportation spells and the use of a car to get close enough for him to get them safely onto Sorano's ship means that Lucy, Makarov, and Gray are the only fighters available (Erza has to drive and Wendy and Natsu are motion sick), and while they're all powerful, none use a type of magic particularly suited to fighting sand. (Although Gray could freeze the sand so that it makes a delightful crunching sound when walked on!) That means that we only get brief scenes of powered-up Gray and Lucy's Sagittarius star dress, which looks a little like Leafa's from SAO, before Ajeel nearly kills them all.

Laxus' well-timed arrival also helps to cement Makarov's attempt to protect his “kiddos,” as it once again reaffirms that Fairy Tail's greatest strength as a guild is their bond with each other. When Laxus and the Thunder Legion show up, Makarov knows that it means that he's really a part of both the guild and their smaller family group, and that means a lot to the man who risked alienating everyone by dissolving Fairy Tail the year before. He and Laxus personally have had a rocky time of it as grandfather and grandson, so having Laxus come when he was most needed shows Makarov that he did something right there. Given how badly he feels about the reveal that nothing he could have done will prevent Zeref's coming invasion, that's a reassurance he needs right now.

That's especially true since he's now going to have to explain the guild's past to them in order to prepare them for the truth about Lumen Histoire and Mavis. Fortunately for him, Mavis herself steps up at the end of the episode to take over the truth-telling (and now may be a good time to refresh yourself on Fairy Tail Zero). Next week is going to be dark.

But before then, let's talk about Hiro Mashima's naming problem. This week's villain is named Ajeel, and one of the members of the guild who shows up to save everyone from him is Gajeel. Then there's Natsu's dragon-dad Igneel, and a few more similarly named characters I'm probably forgetting about. It's true that this is a long-running shounen series, which means that it's much more likely to have a ton of named characters than some other genres/demographics of manga, and with a few characters having more than one name (Mest/Doranbalt, Mystogan/Jellal, Spriggan/Zeref…), things are going to be more complicated. But do there have to be so many names that sound so very similar? It's one of the things you're taught not to do in creative writing classes because it can be confusing and/or annoying for the reader. I suppose I should just be happy that Gajeel wasn't fighting Ajeel while Igneel looked on and get the tissues ready for next week's recounting of Mavis and Zeref's tragic past.

Rating: B-

Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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