Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 315 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
This was another one of those episodes where I was torn between a 2.5 and a 3 for a rating. In favor of the lower grade was the fact that everything really just came too easily for everyone – Erza's amazing overpoweredness, Wendy's pitch-perfect sword enchantment, Irene's change of heart, Natsu's solving of his problem, fixing the land – if it had been any easier, someone would have just snapped their fingers and said “Abracadabra!” The simple resolution to several weeks of fighting just feels a little hollow, like someone realized too late that the pacing needed a kick in the pants.
But the thing is, none of those issues – or at least most of them – ignore the central themes of either sword and sorcery fantasy or Fairy Tail itself. In fact, they work quite well within those strictures. Irene's actions to end the ongoing battle between herself and her biological daughter especially are thematically sound; “family” is the single most important thing to Erza, and that which Irene threw away when she got caught up in her own angst and issues. Central to this is the way that she convinced herself that she could not enchant herself onto infant Erza. The way she initially phrased it made it sound as if she did not have the magical capability to overwrite Erza's soul with her own, like she wasn't powerful enough. But this week she remembers the truth: she would not do it after realizing that Erza was an innocent who had nothing to do with Irene's own problems beyond the fact that she was born to Irene. Irene's problems and traumas belong to Irene alone, and she realized that she had no right to use them as an excuse to use Erza. But she also knew herself well enough to understand that if she tried to raise her daughter, she'd probably try to do it at some point any way. So giving Erza up was truly the best decision she could make.
That sounds a little suspicious when we think about what Erza went through with that whole tower fiasco, and it definitely feels uncomfortable to say “Well, at least she got Makarov, Fairy Tail, and Jellal out of it!” But I'm fairly certain that that's how Erza herself would see it – when Wendy, with her usual empathy, asks Erza if she's okay after Irene kills herself, Erza's response is that ultimately biology means nothing and that her only parent was Makarov. So what Wendy was sensing was Erza's pain at losing her father, not her mother; something that poor Erza then has to tell Wendy. It's a fitting end to the whole Irene mess, really – within Fairy Tail Erza's role really is that of older sister, and it's the older sister's job to tell the younger things like this.
Conveniently, Irene's demise also undoes her Universe One spell, putting Fiore back together, turning the princess back into herself, and getting the injured out of that cold basement where they were being treated. That's pretty standard fantasy genre fare, even if it does feel way too easy for our heroes – when the caster dies, oftentimes their spells are broken/curses lifted or however you want to see it. It's also nicely symbolic if you think about it – Natsu's back on his feet, and he and Lucy are starting back out as a team (with Happy, who I think many of us haven't quite forgiven) from their home, ready to take back their guild.
Yes, technically it's just Lucy's home, but with the amount of time Natsu and Happy spend there, I think we can just go with the feet-on-the-ground symbolism here.
And Natsu does have his feet firmly back on the ground, heading in the direction he needs to go in. His battle within himself ended up feeling a bit anti-climactic, but it's also a very Natsu conclusion. Basically it was akin to a scene in Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad when Granny Weatherwax is surrounded by mirrors and has to point to which image of herself is real and Granny says, “That's easy” and points to her physical self. Natsu's choice is between what others see him as (dragon, demon) and what he sees himself as – human. Where someone like Irene would get lost in the reflections and be uncertain as to who or what she truly was, Natsu is simple enough to just say what he's always felt – it's easy. It perhaps doesn't make for exciting viewing, but in Natsu's case, the simple answer is usually the correct one, and in this case it's also the answer that's going to get the story moving forward.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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