There seems to be an art to how anime adapters converting still-continuing manga material. They make the fights more flashier, give the talkative moments more oomph with music and camera pans, and actually provide, you know, color
. But filling up those episodic twenty-something minutes can be a real hassle when figuring out the amount of manga panels should be put in. For a while now, One Piece found a solid system of using one chapter of the manga for one anime episode with an appropriate amount of story exposition and more leniency in Oda's energetic comic book pages. But Fairy Tail is still in the relatively new phase of having to slow things up so it won't eventually catch up to the manga version. It's been a great ride so far (and from the two episodes since this one, it's a rhythm that will at least continue for a little while longer). But here we have episode 84 of the fun, fantasy anime Fairy Tail that was twenty-something minutes of...mostly filler.
Liked this moment in the manga but wanted even more of it? Well boy do I got good news for you!
But "filler" as it may be, it wasn't a painful experience for the most part. We got to see just how our captured Fairy Tail wizards are doing in the prison and even had a sweet flashback scene between a younger (and oh so more adorable!) Wendy and Charle. But the main crux was focused on the old cat couple that Happy and Charle bumped into as they were escaping to save their friends. It was basically a comedy routine between goofy, joyous Happy attempting to do labor in thanks along with the short tempered, old-man feline.
Fun was had, but not necessarily memorable
fun. It almost felt out of place that after Happy showed himself to have some actual character depth in the previous episode, he wouldn't be emotionally tortured for a little bit longer (but more of that certainly applies in episode 85). Really - as much as I'd love to capture all my feelings into words here - it's ultimately one of those shonen anime episodes where it's all too clear that it was all based on a shorter amount of manga pages than usual.
A moment that pulls on the heartstrings is still pure in even the most filler-filled episodes
But as unimpressed as I was for 90% of the episode, the other 10% was just so heartfelt and important for the series, it just cannot be missed by fans. Realizing at the end that the older cat couple was just keeping face to not have their son, Happy, feel sad that he would be leaving them potentially forever, was practically tearjerk-worthy. And with all that music and directional feel brought into the anime version, it made all the usual anime filler feel worth this awkward moment of conversion.