Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 313 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
Sometimes not knowing your family history is a good thing. If you're Erza Scarlet, however, the history you've created with your own hands will always be more important than what some bitter, angry woman who's been stewing in her rage for four hundred years says about your biology. That's her reaction in a nutshell after Irene pours out her story this week, and it probably helps that it's clear that she meant to hurt Erza with her revelations. In some ways it confirms the worst expectations a presumed orphan can have – it lets her know that she was hated and resented by her biological mother and therefore deliberately abandoned. For Irene Erza was (and is) the reminder of everything that went wrong in her life: the terrible backlash of dragon slayer magic, the destruction of her kingdom, the death of her best dragon friend, and the betrayal of her husband, to say nothing of the irretrievable loss of her humanity. That's Orphan Fantasy Nightmare #1 in what's essentially a tale type in children's literature (which, if we're being academically technical, Fairy Tail's source manga is with its young adult/middle grade demographic), and Irene's story is particularly cruel.
Erza, however, is stronger than that, and no mere storytelling convention is going to bring her down. Mostly she seems to be surprised that her mom is over 400 years old; the actual horrors of her life and her resentment of her child just sort of fly right past her. That's because Erza doesn't need some crazy angry lady waltzing in and claiming (biological) parenthood – as far as Erza's concerned, her real father was Makarov, her brothers and sisters are her guildmates, and Irene can take her genetics and go. The only thing she owes the woman is maybe her thanks for abandoning her so that Erza could find her true family and be happy.
That's Fairy Tail's theme spelled out – family is who you decide and biology can take a hike. It may seem a little anticlimactic in terms of Irene's reveal, but since we already knew that, especially when it comes to Erza, the real piece of Irene's story that we needed to know was the origins of dragon slayer magic and what it does to humans. When humans use a dragon's power, they grow a “dragon seed” inside of them, and that can cause major physical problems for them. In Irene, it eventually turned her into a dragon; in others the results were different. But that's our big clue as to what's really going on with Natsu right now, as well as the truth about what Brandish thought was a tumor – there's a very good chance that it's actually Natsu's dragon seed, and he's having a particularly bad reaction to it not only because of how he's been using his powers, but also maybe because he's not, technically speaking, strictly human in the first place: he's E.N.D. All of the other dragon slayers are fully human (at least, as far as we know), so their use of the magic stemming from childhood may have combatted the issues Irene and her contemporaries faced. Natsu's more of an unknown quantity, though, so he could be in more danger.
Irene would probably scream in rage if she knew she was providing such valuable information, even if no one is yet in a position to realize that she has. And honestly, it's difficult to blame her for her generally angry disposition – apart from the fact that she was pregnant for four hundred years, which has to be a special sort of torture, she really did see her life fall completely to pieces in a very short span of time. Since, as we've established, Fairy Tail exists in a psychotherapy-free world, she's had no way to cope with any of this, and semi-nice as Zeref was still when she met him, he's hardly in a position to help her with her issues. All she can do is rage at a world that treated her badly and try to have her revenge.
But Erza will not be taking part in it. She's her own woman, and not even finding her biological mother is going to shake that truth.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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