Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 299 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
The episode title this week is in the grand tradition of titles that don't give a crap about spoilers. Like “Death of Shido” and “Goku's Not Dead” before it (or something close to those titles), “Natsu, Revived” is more interested in just slapping a title on things and moving along. Of course, we could make an argument for this and the Goku one as being more about reassuring younger viewers who may be anxious, which isn't a bad thing when you think about the intended audiences for these things. For us older viewers, however, it's funny at best and a spoiler at worst, or at least an amusing trend to look at.
Despite that, Natsu's revival is saved for the final third of the show. Part one is Wendy and Shelia's fight against Dimaria, part two is Jacob showing up and spiriting away whoever's still at the guild hall, and then in part three Lucy and Natsu fight back. It makes for a good distribution of the action, never lingering too long on any one fight or plot point but still giving us enough to allow for an emotional impact. Not that I don't wish that the first part wasn't longer, because great as it is to see Natsu up and moving, Wendy and Shelia's scenes are more compelling. Natsu and Lucy are the primary protagonists of the show, so really there wasn't much doubt that they'd get back in the game sooner or later. Wendy and Shelia, however, are in the midst of acting out of the series' major themes, that ultimately friendship and family are the most important things in life and how they form the characters' true strength.
That's what old-but-not-dead Ultear acknowledges before the scene shifts back to the guild hall: she says that if she had been raised more like the Sky Sisters, maybe she, too, could have had their strength far before she found her own compassion. It's also what makes the fact that it is Shelia, not Wendy, who makes the sacrifice of her magic so important. Although Shelia is a warm and good person, she hasn't historically had the strong familial bond that Fairy Tail as a guild fosters. Wendy making the choice to give up everything to save someone is par for the course for a Fairy – Natsu almost did the same thing this very season. But for someone not a part of Fairy Tail to take their selfless way out is more remarkable, and in Shelia's case, it's also a sign of how important Wendy has become to her. No matter how you read their relationship, Wendy's love and happiness are more important to Shelia than her own, and that's why she is the one who gives up her magic. It's not that Wendy doesn't feel the same, but that Shelia hasn't been internalizing Fairy Tail's methods is what makes her sacrifice so significant – the only place it comes from is herself.
Having an aftermath scene would have meant a lot for that sacrifice, and I'm very sorry that we didn't get to see more of how Wendy reacted in the aftermath. The brief moment with Ultear definitely helped, but the shift over to Jacob's arrival at the Fairy Tail guild hall does feel like a bit of a letdown after it. Fortunately things do pick back up quite quickly, with more last-minute saves than any one episode deserves. Between Wendy's enchantment barrier, Lucy's entrance, Natsu's entrance, and Horologium's quick save, there's a lot of in the nick of time moments, and if you don't stop to think about how many, it really keeps the action moving. Lucy and Natsu taking advantage of Jacob's prudery is a particularly entertaining piece of that, and there's even a little equal opportunity fanservice with naked Natsu laid out on the floor with a strategically placed Happy preserving his modesty. (And Lucy's later. Happy: for when you don't have clothes.) The art has largely improved this week as well, with Dimaria still taking the cake for weird animation, specifically for the scene where she looks like she's walking in a hobble skirt.
The Twelve are falling one by one, but there are still plenty of them left to be a problem, and Jacob in particular is not going to go down easy. With a couple more mostly-unseen members approaching the fights, it doesn't look like things are going to slow down for anyone any time soon. For us, that's a good thing. For Fairy Tail? Maybe not so much.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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