Here is the thing, i haven’t been having the greatest fan of fairy tail in the past few weeks. While the chapters haven’t been exactly bad, there have been several disappointments that have left me craving for an epic fairy tail chapter to rejuvenate the excitement i held for the manga one or two months ago. I am none the less a fairy tail fan and will indeed continue to watch fairy tail until it ends, or at least i think i will. Who knows what Hiro will do in the times to come to completely alienate me from the series.
That aside, this post isn’t me trying to ask myself why i am still reading fairy tail (at least i don’t think so), like i am trying to convince myself that fairy tail is a good manga. As far as i am concerned, fairy tail might have its failings, but it is indeed a good manga. And i have come across a number of opinions on the internet disparaging fairy tail, so many in fact that i suddenly realized that whenever i stood up to defend the series, my arguments were always more along the lines of ‘fairy tail is better than you are giving it credit’
Basically i am always ready to defend fairy tail, but what i have never taken into account is why i defend fairy tail. So i say that fairy tail is a better manga than most people say, Why? Why do i read fairy tail? Why do i consider this manga to be a more impressive piece of work than many otaku believe?
Originally i wanted to approach this from the side of ‘why fairy tail doesn’t suck’ where i would basically locate those complaints that most critics aimed at fairy tail and counter them. That proved to be difficult, so this is going to be basically me explaining why i read fairy tail, which in turn will attack the question of why fairy tail doesn’t suck. So for all of you that have spent an age hating on fairy tail and simply do not understand why us fans bother, this is why we or at least i as a fairy tail fan read the manga despite all its faults.
---1-The Cast- I have always been a big fan of series with large cast and that is what fairy tail provides, a massive cast of characters and mages of all shapes and sizes (literally) with a diverse selection of personalities, abilities and backgrounds. Granted Hiro doesn’t make the best use of them. During any given arc, the action is usually restricted to a select few characters, specifically Erza’s group, but that doesn’t mean the rest of them are ignored.
Hiro does his best to give us as clear a glimpse into the lives of this multitude of mages as possible within his limited space. I like how Hiro, at least a hundred or so chapters ago, would start off each chapter by giving us a brief biography of each of the characters, specifically there full names, their backgrounds and specific form of magic, many of whom you would have never noticed before. It was a fun little way of letting use know who was who and without having to go into lengthy arcs, explanations and dialogue to make to make this information known to us.. Hiro is worth complimenting for the task of creating so many mages from one guild, putting that much time into giving them unique and distinct personalities and assigning to each of them a unique type of magic.
And while they never play a major role in the arcs, Hiro makes sure never to keep them too far. During the tournament they were always in the stands, cheering on the fairy tail team as they did their guild proud. Hiro always takes the time to switch the scenes around, using the likes of levy and bisca to shift the plot away from the central scene, to tell the story through a variety of other angles, making sure that a fairy tail chapter is never really restricted to one place, to one set of voices narrating the entire plot, but instead allowing other voices to jump in and contribute to the progress of an arc.
Basically despite the fact that they aren’t the most active group of people, they keep each chapter fresh and dynamic. You never know from which perspective you will follow the given plot. It also creates that whole ‘nakama’ atmosphere fairy tail speaks so often about.
---2-The Humor- strange individuals like to compare one piece and fairy tail. And while i usually disagree with them, what is clear is the fact that both series are funny. Sure i might not have beenparticularly happy with last week’s first chapter, but i am willing to admit that it was funny. Most manga have this problem where if nothing is happening, in other words when a chapter is fairly random and has nothing whatsoever to do with the primary plot, it will get boring. As fans we are interested in reading happening chapters, when something new occurs and the plot progresses. When that doesn’t happen, when a manga series decides to grace us with a chapter of nothing but downtime, we lose interest or at least get bored. Not so with fairy tail. Fairy tail, despite what is happening, always manages to inject some humor into the plot and that sort of thing will make the events of a chapter feel much less of a waste of time.
Even when you have to read a chapter revolving around the characters having a party or preparing to have a party, at the very least you will laugh. And when you consider the fact that all manga eventually reach a low point, when they are not at their best, it is comforting to consider that at the very least, each fairy tail chapter will get a chuckle out of me. In fact that was my biggest complaint with the dragon war; Hiro was simply injecting too much humor and while he is usually able to compliment his jokes with the events of a serious scene, this time he was simply ruining the mood.
I like to laugh and fairy tail gives me that. Hiro might not be the best at determining how and when to use humor but you cannot deny that he knows how to make us laugh.
---3- The Art- I will not go so far as to say that fairy tail is amazing art wise; there is however no getting around the fact that the manga is consistently drawn. The first time i came across fairy tail, i remember thinking that i hadn’t yet come across a manga that wasn’t only well drawn but so easy to read. Fairy tail is unbelievably easy to follow. Every image within every panel is drawn to flow seamlessly with every other image in the next panel, allowing for a more fluid picture to evolve.
The first time i read fairy tail, i remember being amazed at how easy the battles were to follow. Every panel has as much detail as you need it to have to give you an acceptable idea of where exactly you are. i remember reading chapter 338 last week, during the feast, and thinking that if this was bleach, we would get really close shots of Ichigo or whichever primary character was in play while everything and everyone else would fade behind a black or white background. Hiro had no problem adding those little details in, including shots of the partying crowd in the back as the primary characters interacted. I like that in a manga, a mangaka that doesn’t skimp on the details and provides us with as clear a picture of a scene as possible.
And when he really puts his back into it, Hiro will do some really amazing shots, usually large wide spread images. The fact is, it might not be the best or one of the best art works i have seen in manga, but fairy tail’s art and thus Hiro’s art is none the less brilliant.
---4- The world- I like the fact that the fairy tail world is so solidly developed. It is an intricately designed fairy tale of a world, with a (fairly) consistent set of rules, with a clearly distinct magical system with a fairly solid mythology. It is the sort of self contained and self sustaining world that many a manga never achieve. I like the fact that if i closed my eyes and thought of fairy tail, a specific image would jump to mind. Sure we might not have seen so much of the country or the world for that matter and i might have no idea what anything outside of Fiore looks like, but if you told me toimagine it, to draw a picture, describe what that external world would look like , i would be able to do so.
And that is because, despite his flaws, Hiro has done an impeccable job of creating a world wholly distinct from any other, that is a concept of its own, filled with magic and which can only seem to grow. I love the feeling of magic generated by the concept of fairy tail. Fairy tail is basically a fairy tale and it gets that idea across clearly. This world is rich in unique concepts and ideas, though the pitfall is that Hiro simply isn’t using it to its fullest. I have said it before; if Oda or Kishimoto were doing fairy tail, with its preexisting ideas and concepts, they would create a world class manga story.
As it turns out though, it feels like Hiro isn’t fully utilizing it, especially when you consider the fact that any idea or element that is introduced in any arc is immediately forgotten, never to be revisited again after that arc’s end. We are talking about a ton of characters that Hiro could better utilize to make his overall story that much richer, but he chooses to drop everything in the, choosing to move on to a whole new set of concepts and elements. Hell, even Natsu’s power ups don’t survive beyond an arc.
---5- The magic- there is not denying that fairy tail has a unique magic system. The magic itself isn’t really that intricate or quantifiable, and it wouldn’t really qualify as a system. It is more wonder than anything, sort of like how a magician on stage makes a flock of birds disappear. You do not really know how it was done, what sorts of ki or force he was summoning and how he was utilizing it to achieve…all that mumble jumble alot of better made magic systems tend to explain. It is more of ‘here is what i am going to do, here is a little idea of how i might have done it, but mostly, be amazed’.
In a way it is less accurate to say that i am impressed with the magical system and more likely that i am impressed with the different forms of magic utilized in fairy tail. Once more i am amazed by Hiro’s creative capabilities, to create so many different forms of magic, each of which somehow manages to be unique, not only in terms of comparison with other fairy tail magic, but in comparison with other magic and powers displayed in other series. Sure, we know that Natsu is a fire mage and he can shoot, manipulate, generate fire and all that. But Hiro takes it a little further in allowing Natsu the ability to eat fire for nourishment as well as the other unique ways he will do his thing in battle.
It is great fun to watch a new villain make his entrance, anticipating just what sort of power he will display and how Hiro will engineer his capabilities to stand out a little differently from anything that was yet to be seen in fairy tail. Basically i like the diversity of magic because it makes the fights that much better to watch. Watching Gildartz and blue note stinger fight was that much more fun to read because of the fact that blue note manipulated gravity while Gildartz utilized crush magic. The idea of how these two would clash wasn’t clear to me and watching the battle was more like solving a mystery that simply watching a brawl. How two magic forms will clash and work against each other is part of why fairy tail fights are fun to read.
---6- The wackiness- In this regard i admit that i do see the comparison between one piece and fairy tail. Fairy tail is a wacky show about wacky characters doing wacky things. I am amazed at some of the most silly of concepts and characters Hiro will develop in his many arcs. I am reminded of sugar boy, a character in Edolas who was dressed as a knight, in pink armor, not only endowed with the ability to makes things soft, but also enabled to fly, except that he couldn’t fly more than three or four inches off the ground. That meant that each time he is in flight, a portion of him usually his chest was scraping the floor, making his armor as much protection for him against the earth as it was against enemy attacks.
It is such antics, such panels that i find to be absolutely silly and quirky, and one of the elements that keep me interested in fairy tail. This is a crazy series in more ways than one, which, i guess, makes the jokes that funnier.
---7-The Simplicity- as much as i will rant on once in a while about how fairy tail simply fails to hit the deeper notes of its stories, i cannot really complain because that is what fairy tail is about. It was meant to be fun and cheery and as such very simplistic. There are no complex ideals to ponder, not disturbing philosophies to ruminate, no intricate plot twists and story lines that will leave youscratching your head as you try to figure out what is coming next.
Fairy tail at its core is exactly what it looks like, a fun little show about good Vs. Evil. Good guys go out, good guys find bad guys, bad guys do bad things and good guys beat the peanuts out of the bad guys. It is that simple and most times, you will have fun watching these events happen. Someone has said that to watch fairy tail and enjoy it, you need to stop thinking, to stop trying to work out how events will turn out because chances are you will predict a majority of the story; what you need to do is sit back and enjoy a kick ass show about a group of mages fighting bad guys.
It is no death note, but it will entertain you if you let it. At the end of the day this is a fairy tale, and as such when it is all said and done, every turn will close with a happy ending; but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy watching those happy endings happen. Basically fairy tail is fun if you give it the chance it needs. If you attack it like any other serious manga series, it will not work for you. Sure Hiro has proven himself capable of weaving some impressive mysteries. But none the less if you sit back and let fairy tail do what it does best, be fun and simple, you will enjoy it.
That is hard advice as i too get frustrated with some plots because i will eventually over think them, but that doesn’t mean i still don’t enjoy fairy tail.
---My last and final point- It’s awesome- there is not denying the fact that fairy tail is awesome, at least to me it is. There is a reason why, before the thousand year blood war arc, i ranked fairy tail higher than bleach. And that is because at its best, fairy tail can be that good. The story is unique, having guilds with mages of different styles taking on jobs, not for the fun of it, not foradventure per say but to make money and make ends meet.
The characters at their best make for interesting reading. I am still shocked that Hiro managed to pull that much drama out of Cana. She is one of those consistently drunk characters you never give much thought to.The plot is properly paced and Hiro never forgets to throw in a twist or two along the way. You might be able to predict how an arc will end, but the journey to that end will constantly surprise you. It has great magic and the fights are epic. And the art, as mentioned above, is brilliant. There is no denying the fact that Hiro knows how to draw a fight and to illustrate the effects of the different magical styles. And of course the manga is so easy to follow and read.
You could say that Fairy tail’s biggest problem is how it ends its arcs. So many of its finales are the same and you can tell that a happily ever after ending is coming. It’s like Hiro puts all his effort into making the journey a brilliant one, actually breaking one or two shonen rules and really catching you off guard, only to let the ball drop at the end. It should be the other way round. Hiro doesn’t give most of the more interesting characters time to shine or even get involved in the plot. And i wish every fight wasn’t solved with a power up or nakama power. Plus there have been some plot holes, some explanations of events that have not made sense. I still refuse to believe the whole eclipse gate business. None of what was said made sense logically.The focus on Natsu in every arc and the fact that each arc must end with his involvement is irritating.
But here is the thing, even with all those problems, you can enjoy fairy tail, which is why it is awesome. Sure it has it faults, glaring faults in fact, but that doesn’t detract from its entertaining value.
So here is what i have to say in conclusion, if you are not already, READ FAIRY TAIL.