Okay, let me just begin by saying I've been reading Fairy Tail for years now, and I've been a fairly big fan of it ever since I started, slowly turning it into one of my favorite fandoms. And when I heard it was becoming an anime I was overjoyed by this news, I had been looking forward to it for a while, but there was one thing I was looking forward to even more, and that was the start of the Fighting Festival Arc. For those of you who don't know this arc is all about Laxus, the grandson of the master of the guild, demanding that Fairy Tail finally start acting like the rough and tough guild it is meant to be, so he has set up a tournament where each member of the guild will have to fight one another and only the last member standing can run the guild.
This Miss Fairy Tail Pageant means you'll get plenty of this, but don't worry, its all fairly clean and in good sport
Now this episode is the episode that kicks it all of. Now the reason I love this arc is because while tournaments are rather cliche in anime series, they do give great chances for lesser known characters in a series to show off what they can do. And in Fairy Tail there are dozens, DOZENS, of great characters who only get face time for one line ever four or five episodes, so this is the arc that lets us finally see what they can do. It also is a great example of how Fairy Tail not only has great action but lovely relaxation casual periods in their story. I for one enjoy when characters have calm down periods and we get to see them in periods of leisure and what they do when they don't have to save the world. In this episode we start off with seeing the annual Harvest festival and we see how Fairy Tail likes to party during this time of year, and that means holding the annual Miss Fairy Tail Pageant. And yes, for those of you who are hoping it means what you think it means, yes it means what you think it means. Lots of excuses to show off the ladies of Fairy Tail in various skimpy outfits, if that doesn't get this series more fans then I don't know what will.
But this isn't just cheesecake excuses to show off women in bikinis, it plays a point. It sets up a hostage situation which is how Laxus convinces everyone to take part in this battle of his. From there the battle begins, and in the manga we still mainly stick with the primary characters and the secondary ones only get one panel or so of fighting. However, as we all know, in an anime you have to extend stuff as long as you can for fear of the dreaded filler arc being needed. That means in this arc in the anime we'll be able to see far more of these characters showing off their powers and personalities, and even though only one of these battles happens in this episode, it does prove my theory is correct.
However this episode isn't perfect. Even though the Beauty Pageant does have a point, it still is a few minutes of just "look at these pretty ladies" and even though we do see extended fights, they still are a bit shorter than I'd hoped. And at the end of it all, this episode is great for setting up the new arc, but it just sets it up, and those never really get you as deep into drama or suspense as you can get in a story. In other words this was a great appetizer, one of the best appetizers I've ever had, but its still just saying "Stay tuned for the Main Course." However, if this is any indication, it'll be one hell of a main course.