Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 301 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
Neinhart's Historia of Corpses is a very powerful attack on both a physical and a psychological level. Mostly it relies on the horror at having to face not only your own worst enemy for the second time, but also someone you killed. It does, however, have one major flaw that Neinhart, with his belief in basic human frailty, has overlooked: it requires its victims to face someone they've already beaten. Mind you, it takes a very strong person to remember that little detail when face-to-face with a (re)living nightmare, and that's another flaw in Neinhart's strategy – most of Fairy Tail isn't just physically strong, they're strong in their belief in themselves. It's even one of the defining features of the guild, ever since Mavis founded it, and I'd argue that no one exemplifies it better than Erza Scarlet.
She not only overcame unbelievably difficult odds as a child, but she also went through hell over the man she loves, finding and losing him again multiple times. As one of the older children in the guild, she took on Natsu, who can't have been an easy babysitting job. And not only did she come through it all, but she came through and landed on top – of pretty much everyone. Simply put, Erza has unwavering determination and belief in herself, and even though she's in a terrible place with three undead foes come back to haunt her, it's not hard for her to remember the salient detail that she's still here because they aren't. And if she did it once, she can do it again.
Gray's journey to defeating a returned Ur is similar, but his relies on all of the ways he's lived his life since Ur lost hers. While Lyon hasn't really been able to process the loss of his mentor, everything Gray's done with Fairy Tail, most especially dealing with his father, has allowed him to gain some perspective. He's learned not to blame himself for Ur's death, recognizing that she went into it so that he could have the kind of life he's had. If that doesn't mean that he's now Ur's equal in physical and magical strength, it certainly does mean that he's reached her level on a more emotional scale. Simply put, Gray's had a chance to grow up and deal with his pain, and that's given him the distance to see that Ur as she was in life would never have acted as she is under the influence of Neinhart's spell. Therefore he can rationalize her as not actually being Ur, giving him the perspective needed to not only defeat her specter, but also to help Lyon come to the same understanding. In this way, Neinhart's Historia of Corpses isn't just another trick whipped out by the bad guys to show how powerful Zeref's minions are, it's a way to demonstrate how strong Fairy Tail members are in ways that aren't just about beating people up, with or without magic.
That's important for their friends as well. Shelia's loss of magic doesn't have to mean that she's given up her future, she's just given up a future, and Wendy's not going to stop being her Sky Sister just because she's no longer a wizard. A Lyon who has come to terms with Ur's death can understand that; previous Lyon might not have. Because of Erza's triumph, Kagura can see beyond her blind hatred of Jellal and the physical ghost of Simon, while Jellal realizes that his magic doesn't have to be something shameful. Plus Kagura feels guilty about giving Jellal mouth-to-mouth and kisses Erza without any explanation to make up for it instead of, I don't know, cutting off her lips or something or just letting Jellal die. That's a selflessness and maturity (albeit with some weird elements) that she's learned from her friend.
Of course, Neinhart's defeat and the retaking of Hargeon doesn't mean that things are over yet. When Neinhart puts together who Erza is, he mentions an “Irene,” foreshadowing something major to come in future episodes. Brandish tells us that Irene is the absolute most powerful member of the Spriggan Twelve, even more so than August, who Fairy Tail has previously been warned about. That means that even with Dimaria shamed, Wall gone, and Neinhart out of commission, there's plenty to keep worrying about. And you know what they say – things have to get worse before they can get better.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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