In the fourth volume of Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, Natsu and his party set out to protect the Wood Dragon from falling into enemy hands. Now in this fifth instalment, the battle continues as our heroes are faced with both friend and foe alike trying to get in their way.
Natsu has temporarily been killed by the ghost Wraith, who plans to eat his soul. As Natsu finds himself in a place between heaven and hell, he’s greeted by Zeraf and Mavis, who teach him a way to beat Wraith at his own game! Now Natsu can fight in a ‘spirit form’ all of his own, but Wraith isn’t going to go down easily when there are plenty of powerful wizards in town for him to possess.
Elsewhere, Erza is still trying to grapple with the infatuated Jellal (I’m sure he’s going to have many regrets when this weird brainwashing is over!), and even if she can get away from him she’ll have to fight Luxus before being able to save the Wood Dragon’s Orbs from danger.
On top of that, Wendy is trapped in a cocoon and struggling in her fight against a tricky member of Diabolos. Things are so bad that one of the Orbs under her protection is destroyed, which makes it even more important that she prevails and doesn’t let any more fall into the hands of this evil guild.
While this volume doesn’t bring this arc to a conclusion, it does feel as if we’re reaching the end as the fights begin wrapping up. There has been a lot going on this time around and the manga cheerfully hops between characters almost every chapter. This can be confusing if you’re not reading the book in a single sitting (nor are able to remember everything from the previous instalment) but it does make for a compelling read.
One of the things that bogs down shonen manga for me are fights which go on forever (looking at you, Naruto!), so I think the decision to rotate through the cast manages to alleviate that. We aren’t given chapter after chapter of the same battle and since some are winding down as time goes on anyway, it feels like we’re making more natural progress.
It also has to be said that I appreciate the divide between our heroes fighting fellow Fairy Tail members and those fighting enemies from Diabolo. This variation keeps things interesting all by itself. Hopefully, by the time we get to Volume 6, the plot will begin moving, but for now, I’m okay with where things are going.
Having said all that, I do have one complaint this time around, which is Natsu’s new ability to turn into a spirit. This feels like a strange power-up to give our hero and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something author Hiro Mashima drops after this arc since it doesn’t particularly fit Natsu. I’m all for some temporary new skills since they freshen up the battles, but I’m not sure I’m going to be as interested in the series if more things like this start being included.
Of course, the most important thing is that the series is still a great deal of fun. Despite being wary of Natsu’s spirit form, I did find the chapters centred around it entertaining. If nothing else, Mashima knows how to make the best use of his characters to entertain the long-time readers of this franchise.
Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest Volume 5 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Kevin Steinbach. The translation reads well with no issues to speak of. Volume 6 of the series is currently scheduled for release on the 15th of December.
Overall, Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest Volume 5 offers another entertaining entry in the franchise. Although Natsu’s new power-up is a bit silly it does add an interesting quirk to the battles in these chapters and I certainly appreciate the effort to keep the fights new and exciting.