Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 318 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
For all that Fairy Tail isn't necessarily doing a great job with current events, whenever it comes to the past, it tends to step it up. That's the case with this episode, which reveals the fact that Mavis was pregnant when she died (or at least was put into stasis in the crystal), something neither she nor Zeref was ever aware of. Precht, the one who discovered the pregnancy, ultimately abandoned the baby in the forest, unable to reconcile the fact that Rita died because of Mavis' curse in his mind, vaguely horrified that Mavis and Zeref had a child (or that they had that sexual a relationship; he has to remind himself that Mavis is, in fact, an adult despite appearances), and then alarmed by the amount and type of power that the infant has. Dumping a baby in the wilderness is never a nice thing to do, but I can sort of see how he ended up doing it, even though I don't agree with it.
In any event, this is the underlying past event for August's question to Gildarts and Cana – what is the deal with the love between parent and child? He claims it's the one thing he's never understood, and backs that up with the repeated question of why Zeref never loved his own child. The episode tries, and largely succeeds, to convince us that Larcade is the baby abandoned by Precht before finally at the last revealing that it was actually August who was left in the woods all those years ago. Although Zeref eventually found him, he never realized that August was his son and therefore, to August's mind, never loved him, at least not as a parent loves their child.
There's something very sad about that, because awareness that he and Mavis had a child might have saved Zeref, or at least tempered him. Or, on the flip side, it could have made him much worse because his Curse of Contradiction might have killed August and sent Zeref over the edge sooner; but ignoring plot implications like that, it's still a bitter cup to swallow for all three family members concerned. August's fight with Gildarts is now showing him precisely what he missed out on living with a father who didn't know their relationship, because both Gildarts and Cana are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that the other survives, Cana's grumbling notwithstanding. Finally understanding that, more than Gildarts figuring out his secret and weakness, is what brings August down, because he's finally truly aware of what he never got.
All of this is awful for Larcade too, not to put too fine a point on it. He's lived his entire life believing himself to be Zeref's son only to find out at the last that he's just a demon from the Book of Zeref and be attacked by the man he thought was his parent. In that way he's even more a victim of circumstance than August or Natsu, because both of the latter still can hold on to the identities they grew up with, whereas Larcade's has just been ripped away from him. It goes to show that Zeref never loved either of his sons as sons – which, given his curse, may also be the only way that he could keep them alive this long. His attack on Larcade, in that case, is a sign of how far he's fallen away from his rational, caring self – he can't even manage to keep up mild affection anymore, much less think about anyone beyond himself.
This is moving us in the direction of a resolution to the fight. We've still got a season's worth of episodes to fill, and manga readers know there is still enough story left to do that, so the question becomes how much weight is going to be given to each plot point that lies ahead. Mavis has just called Lucy, Gray, and Happy out to meet her in order to pass along some sensitive information, which means that Lucy's likely to get the chance to prove once again that there's more to her than fanservice – and as one of the few major players not currently in recovery from major wounds, now is a really good time for her to shine.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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