Fairy Tail: Final Season
Episodes 278-279

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 278 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?

How would you rate episode 279 of
Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018) ?

Welcome back to Fiore, continent of magic and home to the guild Fairy Tail in the city of Magnolia! Or, at least it was – just about a year ago, Makarov disbanded the guild and everyone went their separate ways. Now Natsu and Happy are back from their year-long training and ready to get the guild going again – and the little fact that it no longer exists is in no way going to stop them. Luckily Lucy has been keeping track of where her former guildmates have gone, and together the three off them set off to find everyone and get the band back together again, starting with Wendy, who has joined Lamia Scale in the city of Marguerite.

Of course, this means that everyone has to want to get the band back together again. Wendy isn't sure she does. She's made a new life for herself in Lamia Scale, and more importantly, she has Shelia, her closest non-Fairy Tail friend, and she doesn't feel good about just leaving her. While she does eventually come to terms with the fact that Shelia is her friend but Fairy Tail is her family, the fact that the very first person Natsu and Lucy reach out to almost refuses them says a lot about the amount of time that has passed. Wendy was part of Team Natsu when the guild was operational, a major piece of Lucy and Natsu's adventures since she joined the guild. That she even considers sticking with the new life she's built post-Fairy Tail says that the guild may not be as important to everyone else as it is to Lucy and Natsu. For the two of them, it is unquestionably their family, the one place they never doubted they could (and would) eventually come back to. Look at where we find them at the start of the new story arc (technically the end of the previous season): Lucy has devoted her life to keeping track of where as many people are as she can, using her new journalist job to help with that, and Natsu has exactly zero doubts that he would be welcomed back after a year-long, largely unexplained silence with open arms. “Moving on” is not an accurate description for what either of them have been doing.

It makes perfect sense, given their characters, as does the fact that Wendy does eventually realize that she really does want to go home. (And can we just take a moment to appreciate what an amazingly good friend Shelia is?) But what about someone who came to the guild later, like Gajeel, or who was always a bit more stand-offish, like Gray? A year can be an awfully long time, and people do change. The emotional shock of the guild's dissolution may have had very different effects on the other members, which is something that next week's episode is going to begin exploring. Lucy and Natsu have gotten stronger and Wendy and Carla have as well, but who's to say that everyone else followed the same basic patterns?

Luckily Fairy Tail is adept at not only keeping things moving (this in no way felt like twenty-three minutes per episode), but also at tempering the more difficult bits with humor. Bluenote's mage noticing how much stronger and more frightening Natsu has grown this week is kept from feeling too ominous by the fact that at that particular moment, Natsu is holding Shelia up by her shirt and berating her for stealing Happy. Lucy's relief at Natsu and Happy's return is kept a little lighter by the way she and Natsu fall right back into their regular relationship, and Loke's proud preening over Lucy's new star dress skill lightens up the danger of the fight for Marguerite. Both episodes aren't afraid to have weightier moments, but they also don't wallow in them, which helps to maintain the balance of the story.

These really are “get things going” episodes at their heart. This week's indulges in some flashbacks, both to Wendy and Shelia meeting and to the whole Acnologia debacle. Both are important (especially the latter) and inform what's going on at the moment, but they also serve as ways to remind us of where the characters are coming from without resorting to a full recap episode. There's definitely more Wendy than anyone else this week, but given that we opened with Lucy and Natsu (and ended with them last season), that's fine even if she's not your favorite character because we need to be reminded that her core strength is emotional. She's a strong fighter, yes, but ultimately Wendy is driven by her concern for others, and she'll always put them before herself. She wants to go back to Fairy Tail and she doesn't want to disappoint Lucy and Natsu, whom she says she sees as siblings, but she also sees Shelia as needing her more. Her brief arc in these two episodes does a good job of reminding us what guides her as a character – and why it's so important to those who love her that she be happy herself.

Next week we'll find out what Juvia, and possibly Gray, have been up to during the guild's hiatus. (I say “hiatus” because Lamia Scale and the Bluenote wizard's reactions indicate that no one thought it was ever truly gone.) It looks like we're in for some heavy revelations.

Rating: B

Fairy Tail: Final Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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