WARNING: Contains spoilers to previous collections.
At last we come to the end of this 328-episode long series, as the wizards of the Fairy Tail guild do battle against the strongest of all foes.
For Natsu, this means taking on Zeref. At first it looks as if he will not need to, with Gray casting the Iced Shell spell on Zeref to imprison him in ice forever, at the cost of Gray’s own life, but Natsu stops this in time to prevent Gray’s ultimate act of self-sacrifice. Natsu ends up battling against Zeref alone while Gray, Happy and Lucy eventually meet up with Mavis, who has the Book of E.N.D. on her, having stolen it from Zeref. They can use the book to prevent Natsu from dying in the event that he does defeat Zeref.
Gildarts and Cana are still battling August, the last of Spriggan 12, a wizard with seemingly unstoppable powers – but there is one thing he does not understand: the love between parent and child, like the one Gildarts has for his daughter Cana. The family manage to figure out how to stop August, although in the end it is a more humbling sight that stops him. For Erza and Wendy, it is the horrifying sight of Acnologia. The most deadly dragon of all still has a strong desire to destroy the world in general and the Dragon Slayers in particular. However, in flashbacks we see that Acnologia was long ago a human doctor who healed dragons, including one called Acnologia. When the original Acnologia learned that dragons were using magic to slay humans, he went berserk and almost killed the doctor. In revenge, the doctor went around slaughtering not just dragons, but also the humans who helped them. After so many years, all he craved was destruction. He even forgot his original name and decided to adopt the name of the dragon that originally caused so much chaos in his life.
As magic has no effect on Acnologia, the plan to defeat him is to make him collide with a rift in space-time, but this doesn’t work either. What instead results is Acnologia being able to control space-time himself. The power makes him so uncontrollable that his personality splits into two: his dragon side in Magnolia, causing random destruction which every wizard in the land has to stop by teaming up; and his human side in the rift, from which he summons up all seven surviving Dragon Slayers. This leads to the final battle between Acnologia and Natsu, Wendy, Gajeel, Sting, Rogue, Cobra and the most recently revealed Dragon Slayer – Laxus.
It is obviously hard to sum up the end of this series without giving away too much, but personally speaking I think that the final conclusion to Fairy Tail is an enjoyable one. Every character in the series has their part to play, which is especially true when Lucy has to cast a spell to defeat the rampaging dragon Acnologia, as it involves having to get magical energy from every wizard in Magnolia. This results in a touching scene where practically every living character in the series appears as they all help her.
However, it has to be said that, despite this being the end of this version of Fairy Tail, it is not the end of the adventure of the guild. Fan will know that sequel manga, 100 Years Quest, has been out for a while, and the anime ends with the characters setting out on that quest. Will we be seeing more from them in future anime too? We are certainly going to be seeing more work from the original creator of the manga Hiro Mashima as his latest series, the science fantasy Edens Zero (or as the cynics would describe it, “Fairy Tail in space”) begins in April, and you can read my review of the first manga volume here.
Regarding the extras in this last collection, there is a short feature looking back at the top five moments of the final season, as well as the textless opening and closing. Out of the two, the opening theme by BiSH, “More Than Like”, is my personal favourite over “Exceed” by Miyuu.
Regarding this review, it feels that it’s time to take stock of the entire thing. There are only a few of these long-running shonen series that I’ve reviewed in full – the fact that they are so long and that there are not that many is part of the reason. There are only so many of these series to go around all us reviewers at AUKN. In terms of series that last over 100 episodes, the only ones I have covered in full are this and Yu-Gi-Oh! (I do review One Piece too, which is ongoing; Hunter x Hunter, which is currently being released on Blu-ray; and I have previously covered World Trigger which has yet to reach 100 episodes but is likely to do so.) Fairy Tail does however have just about everything you need for a half-decent shonen series: a wide range of characters, plenty of action, the occasional comedic moment, and frequent dramatic scenes. The production has been good, in terms of the quality of the animation and the performances.
The biggest sign as to how much I like the series can be summed up with a single remark: I want to go back to start and watch it again. Having now seen the entire anime, I want to remember exactly everything about Point A to learn how we get to Point Z and beyond. This may take a while.