Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 305 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
“Waiting for reinforcements” takes on a whole other meaning when you're Fairy Tail. Almost any combination of wizards on its own is enough to charge an army thousands strong, so the addition of just one more player in the game ups the chances of triumph exponentially. (At least until they reach the guildhall where the Twelve have assembled, but that's another episode.) And boy oh boy, does the cavalry come running at just the right moment this time – Team Natsu (plus Juvia) start the offensive by charging head-first into a veritable wall of Alvarez soldiers who cover the ground so thickly that it looks like a field of juniper bushes from above. Then just when they need help – Wendy! And just when they need more help – Elfman! And Sorano and Yukino! And random Fairy Tail members! And then once again, when all hope seems lost – Gildarts finally makes the most dramatic appearance of the episode.
As a plot device, Gildarts feels more like a last-minute weapon than a character. While I'd hesitate to say that Mashima originally designed him that way, the fact that he's consistently relied upon as a last-ditch scene saver makes him somewhat less endearing than other Fairy Tail wizards. That's not without its merits – everyone needs a last hope, of course, but it has also allowed Cana to be more than “hot chick who drinks a lot,” or at least to have more of a reason for that characterization. Erza, Natsu, and Gray all came to the guild as orphans and seemed to bond over that, but Cana was always aware that she had an absent father who wasn't even aware of her parentage; even when she did manage to tell him the truth, her coping mechanisms had been in place for a long time. Gildarts' powers would seem to extend into his personal life as well – he can break anything, including his family. That could give him plenty of room for development, but realistically speaking, there are so many characters in this story that a few have to fall by the wayside. Gildarts is definitely one of them, and that leaves him in his present position of plot device rather than full-fledged person – and to a degree, this relegates Cana to that place as well.
Character analysis aside, this is one of the show's better “getting there” episodes. While much of it is taken up with putting the players in position, there's still a lot of important information dropped. Perhaps the piece most worth remembering is that Fairy Tail essentially has a mole on the other side: Brandish. She may have gone with August and Irene to the meeting with Zeref, but before she does that, she makes sure to save Mirajane's life. The fact that August initially stopped Irene from torturing everyone's favorite Demon Soul user may also be significant. Yes, he shot her soon after, but he knew that Brandish sought him out acting on Fairy Tail's behalf, so he may have reasonably assumed that she would use her size-manipulation magic to save the woman's life. Even if he didn't think that, shooting her through the heart is a much faster death than whatever Irene had planned for her, so we could still say he was acting out of kindness.
Even though several of the dead Twelve have been brought back as Historia, Irene is still the greatest potential threat. This is a woman who doesn't hesitate to challenge anyone, including Zeref, and she's also perfectly willing to torture anyone who gets in her way – or possibly just because she's in the mood to do so. While we will eventually learn what brought her to that point, even without a motive beyond the desire to win, she's a frightening opponent, especially because she seems to honestly enjoy what she's doing. She's like a buxom magical version of the kid who enjoys pulling the wings off flies just to watch them suffer.
How will she hold up against Gildarts? That's now the major question, especially since Zeref is planning to pull Fairy Heart out of Mavis' newly mobile body. She's partially immobilized (magically speaking) at the moment, but that could change at any moment now that everyone's shown up. Only one thing's for certain: the battle to come is not going to be clean or pretty.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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