“Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to cut roast beef.” – Tom Robbins.
This second DVD set covers episodes 13-24 of what has so far proved to be a rather entertaining series.
For those yet to watch the series, Fairy Tail is set in the magical kingdom of Fiore, where wizards operate in guilds to solve problems people give them. The most famous (and destructive) is the Fairy Tail Guild. Amongst the wizards working for it are Lucy, a “Celestial” wizard who uses magical keys to summon constellation-connected spirits; Natsu, a “Salamander” raised by a dragon who can control fire and is accompanied by a winged cat called Happy; Gray, a wizard who can control ice and is always getting into fights with Natsu (as well as constantly stripping); and Erza, a fearsome female wizard clad in armour.
This collection of episodes continues on from the first, in which Lucy, Natsu and Gray went off to an island to help its villagers, against the guild rules, leaving Erza to try and get them back home to be punished. Out of the twelve episodes on this DVD, half of them are devoted to this storyline (one of which is mostly a flashback). Adding up the three episodes on the first volume that begin the story, that takes it up to nine episodes devoted to a single story. I personally do not mind this, although I would recommend that it is probably better to watch the single storyline in either one go, spreading it over the two collections, or either as over two roughly equal halves.
Out of the later six episodes, Episode 19 is a “Freaky Friday” story featuring some of the wizards swapping bodies, which does not seem to have any actual ending to it. Episode 20 is another flashback episode. Episode 21 onwards begins the next major story, in which a rival guild attacks Fairy Tail and Lucy finds herself the centre of attention.
It sounds like I might be having a bit of a downer, but I have rather enjoyed this series so far. There have been plenty of laughs, the main stories have been well written, and the animation is great. Yes, the transformation and spell-casting sequences are just filler, but given how many episodes are being made you can forgive them a bit for these time-saving measures.
Also, in terms of fan service I think Fairy Tail has struck the balance very well. While Erza has some rather revealing costumes, she also has plenty of costumes which cover even more than normal, and I personally think in this case that having a lot of armour can be just as appealing as having little. More can be better as well as less. Not only that, but with Gray’s constant stripping, you get to see plenty of male flesh, so there is something for people interested in the guys as well.
One other thing I noticed was the western influences in the show. The fantasy setting is obviously western. You cannot make a fantasy show without at least some Tolkien rubbing off. There are also some references to western comics. For example Erza in one scene wears adamantium armour.
So, this series has been good so far. Hopefully the completion of the current story will be as good as it has set out to be.