Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 290 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
Even with a cast of characters as vast as Fairy Tail's, there's nearly always a purpose for each of them. Gajeel wins the prize this week for just spitting out (utterly without tact) precisely what Mavis needs to hear – that her so-called sin isn't really one, and that there's nothing wrong with loving someone. That Zeref has also plainly failed to learn this lesson and is now continuing to live wallowing in his own sorrows means that he could use a Gajeel of his own. Of course, his problems have been going on for much longer, and the hope that Mavis represented initially was the first he'd had in a long, long time, so if it wasn't for the whole “watch the world burn” thing he's got going on, he'd be a bit more sympathetic. But it also raises the question of why he really wants Mavis' body – the fact that one of his minions specifically calls her Zeref's lover (although “beloved” might have been a better word choice) means that Zeref has referred to her as such at some point, which implies that he still cares about her. Yes, he says that he wants her for the endless well of magic her not-quite corpse has been fermenting in, but it feels possible that he just wants Mavis back for non-conquest related reasons.
But without a Gajeel to point it out to him, maybe he doesn't even realize it himself.
Romantic speculation aside, this is not one of the series' most compelling episodes. Mostly that's because it's concerned with wrapping up Mavis' narrative and showing us that Zeref and his pals are about ready to launch their attack on Magnolia. That means that Makarov needs to catch everyone up on what he knows about the Spriggan 12, which is sadly not a whole lot. He only ever met six of them and knows the names of three more, which leaves the final three as a total mystery going into the fight. He's also pretty sure that Zeref has at least a little fear of Acnologia, the dragon who has continued to nurse his hatred of Natsu and isn't likely to listen to Zeref or anyone else when push comes to shove. If Zeref thinks he needs Mavis (or rather, Fairy Heart) in order to take the dragon on, that means everyone else is probably in a lot of trouble.
In the short term, however, what we get is an episode that is primarily talking, and not even particularly well-animated or illustrated talking at that. There are what feels like a lot of short cuts taken with the episode, with the most obvious being the way that the crowd scenes at the guild keep all less-important guild members as gray outlines. If the series hadn't showed us random members of the guild all along, this might not be a big deal, but by this point in the show we can all recognize plenty of background guildies, even if we don't know their names. Keeping them all as gray blobs is far too noticeable at this stage of the game and proves more of a distraction than anything. Likewise the incredibly simplified art used for the many distance shots of Zeref's round table stands out poorly, although in this case it's because the scenes almost look like storyboard sketches rather than finished art. While it's certainly better than skipping another week, and honestly this is the episode to take a few short cuts with given its content, it still doesn't make for as good a viewing experience as usual.
Fortunately our lengthy explanations appear to be at an end with this episode. The attack on Magnolia is more imminent than even Makarov realizes, and Fairy Tail is going to be pushed like never before. Everyone had better hope that whatever Natsu's got up his sleeve (under his bandage?) really is a game-changer, because they are going to need all the help they can get.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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