Fairy gone blends steampunk and fantasy together to deliver a political thriller with sharp nu-metal edges. This week, Nick and Andy discuss whether this new story from the author of Grimgar is more than the sum of its many disjointed parts.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
You can read our weekly coverage of Fairy gone here!
Andy, I know it's probably too soon to talk about JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
again, but I'm really surprised by this new direction they've taken with the show. Especially their approach to Stand designs.
Nick I'm sorry to tell you, but I know my Jojos and that's not a Jojo. What you've got there is a Persona.
Actually the term is Fursona but--
Aaaaaand much like this show, I am now Gone.
So yeah, Fairy gone
, the new original fantasy action show from P.A. Works
. I guess the response to last year's Sirius the Jaeger
was good enough they decided to go forward with another one? But instead of vampires, this time we're dealing with Fairies, making all the proper nouns in this show way harder to take seriously.
Don't worry though, it's pretty easy to follow since 90% of the dialogue is info dumps.
The short version is that there was a war, but it's over now and a few people still have some Deviantart in them as a result, leaving them with no place to belong. For our main duo, it's their job to police any other deviants using these powers irresponsibly in society.
Of course, they're also looking to resolve their own conflicts and tragic backstories. Marlya is trying to track down the last survivor from her village that was razed during the war. Meanwhile, our male lead is searching for a way to get revenge on his parents for naming him after their favorite swimming anime.
Ah, my mind didn't go to the swimming anime. This guy has a full-on Tomino name.
Or alternately, since he has a werewolf persona:
I'm sure all nine people who remember anything about Soul Eater
besides its first OP are loving that deep cut.
The resemblance is uncanny and those nine people can't deny it! Overall, the character designs in this show remind me of better ones and not in a good way. It's like Rage of Bahamut with all the fun facial expressions and emotion scraped off their faces.
Oh good, I'm not the only one who keeps seeing Nina every time Marlya's on screen. Like honestly, if she turned into a horny dragon, I wouldn't bat an eye.
At least that would be something worth seeing! I can't say I dislike Fairy gone so far, but it feels like the anime equivalent of a lesser Tales game; there's parts of better things in it, but so far it's simply borrowed from those better places and not added anything. Out of the four episodes we've gotten, I think a solid 50% of runtime has been exposition, and then 30% more is the same background buttrock looped over long scenes of floating CG monsters.
Yeah, Fairy gone wants to be a lot of things, but so far it hasn't committed to any of them. It's equal parts steampunk fantasy adventure, police procedural, and political thriller, but it switches wildly between those modes with very little grace. That wouldn't be such a big deal if the main cast at least felt compelling in their own right, but FG seems determined to keep the most important aspects of our leads hidden from us for the sake of mystery.
We still don't know why Marlya's village was burned, why her BFF abandoned her for a life of crime, or what any of the magic fairy book stuff is actually for.
Hold on, I take it back. They did do something original, which was prove that front wheel drive is for suckers. Front LEG drive is where it's at.
Hey, what's more steampunk than taking an existing, functional piece of technology and making it both less practical and stupider looking?
Watching these things try to take a turn and flip over because the back of the trailer is still on wheels is a thing of stupid beauty. And it says a lot about the show so far. Many mysteries have been introduced, but you can't help but feel like the reveals are going to be kinda convoluted but ultimately lame.
It's impossible to take the lore too seriously when the big central fantasy conceit is the word Fairy.
But even if the terminology weren't silly, I just have to question the choice to keep obviously important parts of Marlya's motivation out of sight. Each episode opens with flashbacks of her and Free's lives like it's drip-feeding info to us, but that's just making it harder to root for them because I still feel like I barely know either.
The supposed chemistry between them also falls flat, because they don't actually speak to each other much. They just flash back and look sad or grimace and then go "it's part of the job" at one another sometimes. That's why I was so thankful for episode three giving us the most Tomino-named Fujiko ripoff ever. She drags the show kicking and screaming into being entertaining when she's on screen.
Episode 3 is my favorite so far, and it's only partly because it introduces two characters who feel like they jumped straight out of Baccano!
I'm less crazy about the Durarara!!
characters it introduces in the next episode. Please go back to the fun thief thing and get wannabe Voldo out of here.
It is seriously weird how every single character is constantly reminding you of something that's not this show, like this shot of Bitter Sweet channeling Lisa Lisa. It makes me feel like I'm watching steampunk fairy fanfic
of other better anime.
"Reads as a fanfic
" is a good description, and not just because so much of the content feels familiar. Even the structure of each episode feels like a first draft that wasn't outlined beforehand, and the writer never went back to edit. For example, episode two is entirely about Free and his war buddy (who ironically does not
have the wolf fairy), who's now involved in fairy robot smuggling? I think?
But Nick. His family. He has no choice but to be a generic edgelord with a crow motif.
But then a full third of the next episode is dedicated to restating Wolfran's motivations that we already know, before dropping it all completely because now we've got a heist story involving Bitter Sweet and the bumbling fairy gangster. Then that
bit ends on a cliffhanger of said gangster being killed by this dude.
That dude better not be dead, because he gave us this blessed monstrosity.
God bless Pillywiggin. Too pure for this world.
This show may not look great, but at least the teeth on this bird look better than Sonic the Hedgehog's.
More importantly, said killer is never mentioned again in episode four, and his victim's disappearance is barely remarked upon before we're introducing more characters. It's also established that the macguffin they're all fighting over is a fake, and the people who had it know it's a fake, but they've arranged all of this for some reason?
Yeah, so he arranged a fake to lure out these three groups—and I don't know if Wolfran counts as a fourth faction?—uh, the plan is to lure out these groups, one of which was there to be handed the fake anyway but still manages to win the struggle for it, just to point out that it's fake.
It's such a dumb sequence of events that only existed so Free could get found out as a cop by his ex, and that wasn't even a necessary part of the convoluted scheme, it's just the only thing that seemed to matter by the end.
It's the kind of writing that can be engaging in the moment with solid enough delivery. Sweetie's jazzy chase scene is probably the most outright fun the show's been so far. But once you start thinking about the overall plot, it totally falls apart.
Right? This shot is great, but without any meaning it's just kinda there.
The series' lead writer is apparently the original creator of Grimgar. I was a fan of Grimgar, but that show mostly got by on being simple and down to earth, and Fairy gone is neither of those things. The result is something that feels like it needed a serious script doctor to re-structure it into solid genre fodder.
It's a shame, because there's no reason Fairy gone
couldn't be solid genre fodder. Sure there's too much magical technobabble, but it's not like it's lacking in places to go. The problem is it seems to be going everywhere all the time without giving us a reason why. Episode one sets up some class problems and breaks up an exploitative auction for what seems to be a revenge story. Episode two then decides this story is actually about coping after war. Episode three then decides it's about betraying the mob and mildly comic heist shenanigans. Episode four further complicates things by going the horror movie assassin route. I'm sorry but this ain't Samurai Flamenco
, and I don't know if the staff understands how disjointed this story has become.
Boy, did we not need these assassins.
"Sir, this is an Applebee's."
When I said these were Durarara!!
characters, I meant like way late in the story where you just get barraged with weirdos.
At least in DRRR
, its weirdos gelled with the setting at large. These two are so over the top and cartoonish that they're practically begging to be killed off next episode.
Someone put every anime serial killer quirk in a blender and somehow this bland bozo is the result.
Of course, this means he exists entirely to threaten Marlya enough that her childhood friend who is totally not Jeanne from Rage of Bahamut can show up out of nowhere.
I'm all for HERO KENZAN moments where an antagonist shows up to help the hero, but yeah this feels pretty contrived. If we actually knew anything about Marlya and Veronica's relationship outside of vague flashbacks of friendship, this might at least mean something, but right now it's just there.
Callbacks can be good! Calling back to a thing you just introduced to end your episode on a cliffhanger is not. Everything about Ver is completely shallow so far. I swear to god if her entire motivation is "I've killed people since we were innocent kids, so now we can't be friends anymore," I'm gonna flip a table.
I hope it's not that contrived, because for all my grumbling there's at least individual aspects of Fairy gone I dig. Like speaking of Grimgar connections, I'll take any excuse for another dozen new tracks from (K)NoW_NAME.
I joked about the show abusing its soundtrack, but it is good so I can't blame them too much for leaning into it. Especially when you're trying to make this PS2 fighting game look compelling.
Okay I guess we gotta talk about the Fairies, who despite the title are not Gone, even if I wish they were.
We've got wolf-that-yells-real-loud, straight out of Bloody Roar. Slicey Scarecrow. Burny Hands Persona.
And I do actually like Spy Frog.
The overall design of these fairies are weird and gaudy enough that if animated well, they'd probably be at least eye-catching. But with the cut-rate CG renders, every fight with them feels floaty and dull.
It sure doesn't help that they give up on having two fairies on screen at once most of the time, so instead we get back and forth shots of characters fighting each other's composite blobs. That really does not help how badly they clash with the rest of the art.
Sweetie's fairy in particular felt like an exercise in avoiding visibility. Thanks for explaining its weird ability to us, because it was hard to tell whatever this thing was doing at any moment.
It's not great, which is a problem when your whole fantasy conceit is built around them. Like any other issue with the show could potentially improve, but by all appearances we are stuck with the Big Bad Wolf and friends.
Friends is generous, though maybe the intended cute mascot could count.
Ultimately, that's where I stand with Fairy gone. I want to like it, but it seems determined to pull its few hooks just out of reach whenever I try.
I'll simply leave Fairy gone
to describe itself: