Fairy Tail: Final Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 320 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?
Second chances are fickle things. They're probably not as rare as folk wisdom would make it out to be, but just because you might get one doesn't mean that it will turn out exactly as you think, or want, it to. Given that Fairy Tail is suddenly rife with them, that's definitely worth remembering, because Anna is the living proof that you really do have to be careful what you wish for.
In her case, she basically gave up all chance at a normal life with her family in order to bring the five dragon slayer children four hundred years into the future to an era with more magic in the environment. She placed an unbelievable burden on her descendants (which might imply that she left her own child behind in the past in order to carry her wishes forward, although it could have been a niece who did so), and virtually nothing turned out the way that she planned or expected. Not only did the five kids scatter when Layla opened Eclipse, depriving her of her entire purpose, but Layla died soon after fulfilling the ancestral Heartfilia duty. This means that it truly was a burden – even someone as powerful and strong as Layla couldn't survive having completed it. Her words to Anna, that she did it in part so that Lucy wouldn't have to inherit the family duty, also carry this implication – for the Heartfilia women, it wasn't a glory or an unobtrusive family thing, like who got Grandma's teacup collection, it was a curse passed down from Anna. When she learned that Layla had died, that's what Anna realized. We can only imagine how she felt and how that was compounded when she realized that Zeref had warped so badly in the time between when she left and when she arrived. It's probably why she looks and sounds so tired as she's telling Erza, Wendy, and Jellal her story – yes, she's got a wrinkle or two showing she's aged, but her demeanor is that of a woman who has exhausted herself but knows that she's got to keep going despite it. Her “second chance” did not pan out remotely as expected.
And wow, do we get to hear a lot about it. This is all important information that Anna's relating to the audience via her conversation with the three onboard Christina, but what worked in the manga as a chapter or two of exposition becomes one of Fairy Tail's talkiest episodes to date. Even when we see Layla and Anna interact in 777 it's pretty much all talking, and while Aya Endo and Aya Hirano do a great job with the voices, it doesn't make for the most exciting episode. In all fairness, this is really gearing up for what's going to happen next with both Zeref's plans for a second start at life and what Lucy will do with the book Mavis gave her. So the good stuff is coming, and we need to hear how this is going to affect it, but this is not the most thrilling episode Fairy Tail has ever done.
What it does do is remind us that Zeref has been around a long, long time and he knows more than anyone gives him credit for. I think that people continually underestimate just how desperate he is – for so many of the characters, Zeref has just been the Bad Guy that they don't always remember that he's a person too – and one who spent most of his life losing everyone he cared about and fighting his own descent into madness. Mavis was the last person who loved him, and a piece of him knows that what he's doing could destroy whatever vestiges of that remain – essentially killing his second chance with her.
But there are still eight episodes left. That means that not only is there time for things to get more exciting again, but also that there's plenty of time for that even more elusive mystery: we've often been told that the third time is the charm.
Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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