Fairy Tail: Final Season
Episode 328

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 328 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?

There was a movie I loved when I was little that was unquestionably bad. But even The Pirate Movie had one song that stuck with me, and the ending of Fairy Tail's anime adaptation calls it to mind – “Give me a happy ending, every time.” After three hundred and twenty-eight episodes, fifty-one of which I've had the pleasure of writing up weekly, the saga of Lucy, Natsu, Happy, and the rest of the Fairy Tail guild comes to an end here, and as a happy ending connoisseur, I am pleased to say that it does a very good job of gathering up all the threads and bringing things to a satisfactorily happy ending.

Equally important is the way that it successfully carries its series-long themes through to the very last moment, which is much more complicated than it sounds like. From the very first episode, “a place to belong” has been a major component of the story, with Lucy ostensibly just looking for a guild to join but really looking to find someplace where she can be accepted and happy in a way she hasn't been since her mother's death. Although she later finds post-mortem reconciliation with her estranged father, at the time she feels adrift and without family, and that's what Natsu's immediate acceptance of her helps her to find. Over the course of the series, she and Natsu specifically form a tight bond, one that extends to a degree to the rest of the guild (watching Lucy befriend Erza, Levy, and Wendy is equally important), and the separations from him Lucy endures hurt her in ways that nothing else can. Although Natsu isn't someone who expresses that kind of softer emotion particularly well (and I'd almost say that he's uncomfortable with them), the final scenes of this episode show that he's gone through the same issues, even if he was the one who initiated the separation. When he tells Lucy that whatever he was going to say doesn't matter because “they're going to be together forever anyway,” the implication for the romantics is that he cares about her just as much as she does him, and that in his mind he doesn't need to say it yet, because he's done with the separations. He's always been more of an actions than words guy, anyway.

It's also worth noting that the group who sets out on the 100 Years Quest at the end is comprised solely of the original Team Natsu: Lucy, Natsu, Happy, Gray, Erza, and Wendy. This is the core group of friends Natsu is referring to when he tells Acnologia that he doesn't need to be king of anything, because he's got his friends. If Fairy Tail as a guild is one big extended family, these six are an immediate family, the closest group in a larger one. It's a bit like the way that Mirajane, Elfman, and Lisanna are all a smaller family within the bigger one, and while there may be extensions to it (Elfman and Ever; Erza and Jellal), the core remains the same. Family, as the series has been telling us all along, is what keeps us going, no matter what. Almost all of the villains were driven to the point of evil and/or madness by the lack or loss of family, and that Acnologia is the only one not to have a redemptive moment, dying as he still calls for more death and making his realization too late, is important.

And does a redemption get much sweeter than Mavis and Zeref's reincarnations? If I may be forgiven for quoting another childhood movie, “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while,” seems to sum them up. That they are clearly not one-year-olds when they meet, but rather appear to be the ages they looked when they died implies that some power recognized the sadness and perhaps unfairness of what happened to them in life, and decided to give them a second chance. It's honestly my favorite part of the ending, followed by poor Wendy's embarrassment when she overhears Levy telling Gajeel that she's pregnant.

Fairy Tail's final season hasn't always looked beautiful or paced itself well. Like almost any other long-running shounen action series, it has made some questionable choices with how much time to devote to fights versus plot and character. But in the end I think it really pulled through – everyone is, in fact, brought to tolerable comfort or outright happiness, or is at least on the road to finding it. More importantly, we are left believing that even though the story is over and the credits rolled, the world and the characters still live on. That's one of the most significant duties of an author, and that Fairy Tail accomplishes it in both manga and anime truly shows how much Hiro Mashima has grown as a creator over the course of the series.

Of course, there is a sequel manga, and with luck we'll get to see it animated in the future. But even if we don't and you don't have interest in reading it, I think that we can largely say that is a good finale to the story.

Thank you for giving me the chance to review it weekly. It's been a pleasure.

Rating:

Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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