Finally, the Phantom Lord arc. This is what I've been waiting for ever since the anime started. For one simple reason, one simple fight. Which one you ask? Only the funniest, and most eccentric, and somehow romantic fight out there! But I'll get to that later.
The arc starts off with Fairy Tail having been destroyed by a rival guild, Phantom Lord. Natsu and several others want to retaliate, but Makarov forbids them, saying that a destroyed building isn't worth the trouble inter-guild warfare would bring. Of course he immediately changes his mind when three of their guild members are attacked and crucified to a tree.
During the attack Makarov faces Phantom Lord's master, Jose, but is ambushed and drained of his magic power. Discouraged, Fairy Tail retreats, and Natsu, having heard that Lucy was kidnapped by Phantom Lord, goes to rescue her.
This arc focuses on Lucy's back story, as the entire war is being fought by Phantom Lord to retrieve her, having been hired by her father. The arc culminates with Phantom Lord's mecha guild (just go with it) attacking what's left of Fairy Tail, while the wizards try to fight off their attackers.
There are several fights, the accident that killed Elfman and Mira's sister Lisanna is beautifully animated and incredibly well portrayed. There's a moment where all the sound goes dead in the flashback right at the moment where the berserk Elfman's monster form fist impacts with her body. It's a very stark image, as usually that's the kind of injury that shonen characters shrug off. But the way it's animated displays exactly how terminal that attack was for her. I'm not afraid to admit, I cried watching that.
But of course that wasn't what I had been waiting for all this time. With episode twenty five I finally got that fight. The Juvia vs. Gray fight.
This episode is easily as funny as it was in the manga. Juvia's voice actress, unfortunately her name isn't on wikipedia for some reason, is both a credible threat, a schoolgirl in love, and a woman scorned. Usually within two minutes of each other. She really pulls off the character, including her wild mood swings, that range from love sick to homicidal. If I have one criticism, it's that the anime hams it up a bit too much, both in the voice work and the animation.
Personally I'm more one for subtlety in comedy. It seems like the animators knew how funny this was in the manga, and are obviously trying too hard to top the manga.
The battle continues with several more awesome fights, including the anticipated Natsu vs. Gajeel, the Iron Dragon Slayer. What shocked me a bit about this part was that in the manga Gajeel is throwing knives at Lucy who is chained to the wall, when he throws one to actually hit her Natsu jumps in through the floor and stops the knife. Gajeel then says he knew Natsu was there, meaning Lucy wasn't in any actual danger. In the anime however Gajeel skips throwing knives and just goes straight to beating Lucy up. Not so sure "I knew you were there" works so well under the circumstances.
After the two final battles between Natsu and Gajeel, and Makarov and Jose, the arc ends with a sort of epilogue episode, episode twenty nine, where Lucy goes back home to deal with her father personally, telling him that if he tries to use his money and influence against Fairy Tail again that they will consider him an enemy.
Episode thirty has a filler feel to it, but it really isn't, it's taken directly from the manga, and not an omake this time. Besides the Juvia/Gray fight this chapter from the manga is one of my favorites just because of how funny it is. It's still funny in the anime, but again it feels like they are trying too hard. But I guess I can't complain too much, it's still funny, which is what matters. Also, I was quite amused when they gave Bora, the villain from the first episode a cameo, and retconed his motivations from the first episode from kidnapping girls for slavery, to forcefully recruiting Pun-Up models. Still not exactly a very kosher thing to be doing, but it does make him much less of a scumbag in the anime continuity. Lucy's reaction to finding out what she'd assumed he was doing was incredibly funny. So I have to give this episode points for that at least.
And with this I am close to caught up with the anime, just five episodes off, but I should have those done by this week, so I can start reviewing each new episode when it comes out on Mondays. That'll give me some kind of consistent posting pattern at least. I know I try to get a post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but that's usually pretty flexible, and having something consistent like this will help me. When Bakuman starts airing I'll be doing the same, as soon as it becomes available on Crunchyroll. I'll also be doing the same forFuturama, so expect more of those soon.
I'm also going to try and fit more book reviews into my schedule as well. I still don't have a specific focus for my blog, but so far books, anime, manga and sometimes movies, seem to be my focus. Which is an absolutely terrible focus because it isn't focused at all.
But anyway, expect consistent updates on the Fairy Tail anime every Monday, baring those days where an episode didn't air. I'd review One Piece every week, but I'm a bit behind in that anime, and the amount of time it would take to catch up and force those reviews into my schedule really wouldn't be good for the time I have available. For now two weekly anime/tv show reviews, soon to become three in the fall (not sure when exactly) will probably be doable on my schedule.
For the rest of this month I have mostly book reviews scheduled, with a few anime reviews lined up. I don't know if I'll have anything written for this coming week, I have two reviews scheduled, but those aren't really for this blog, I'm going to pick up reviewing a few more anime soundtracks for the anime instrumentality blog, since I have quite a lot more content compared to when I reviewed the Fairy Tail OST. Meaning there's more here for people to read and come back if they come to my blog from that other site. Other than using some time next week to work on those I'm also going to use my time to spend more time writing my book, as well as reading some of the books I have scheduled for reviews. So wish me luck, book reviews aren't like manga reviews. I can't exactly just open the book and write the review while I'm reading it, like I do with manga.
Check out my blog for more reviews. Burning Lizard Studios