Okay so i just got back into reading fairy tail. In fact i just read this chapter minutes ago. I read fairy tail up to the beginning of the current arc, before deciding to jump to the anime; after all that had worked out so well with naruto and one piece (in case no one got that, that isn't sarcasm. I genuinely prefer watching naruto and one piece to reading the manga.)
The problem is fairy tail had just began its filler arc. If you watch fairy tail then you would know that in all its many arcs, fairy tail has only ever had just one filler arc. That's an achievement for a long anime. In other words, fillers are rare in fairy tail.
But the problem with this filler was how bad it was. Most times, fairy tail has the bare minimum of animation, with this filler they were not even trying. And the story was just so horrible.
So i thought about it and decided that maybe it was better if i got back into the manga. So i have decided to start reading fairy tail from the very latest chapter, 317, and review it weekly.
But i am not just going to review fairy tail. You see, i am considering the possibility that many of you are unbelievably lazy. That isn't criticism. I too am lazy. I began watching one piece when it hit episode 425, and that was because it had spent two years after getting my hands on it unwilling to watch the damn show from episode 1. Before i knew it, it was no longer three hundred episodes, it was 425. But i pushed through my laziness to marathon one piece last year from episode 1.
But you might not be so hard working. Maybe you won't be able to pick up fairy tail chapter one and force your way through all 316 chapters. SO i have decided to make it possible for you to begin fairy tail from this very chapter, 317.
What i will do is catch you up on all things fairy tail, and not just on the character profiles, their specific magics and personal histories, but on all the arcs and important events of fairy tail's past.
Now i know that would make for irritatingly long reading so, obviously, i won't do it all now. No. That would go beyond the ten minutes i usually assign to this task of writing. What i will do is analyze and explain one or two of the most prominent elements of each chapter. In ten or so chapters, all fairy tail newbies should be caught up on all things fairy tail. More importantly, if you have never read fairy tail, you should be able to start off from this point and move forward without a problem.
Anyway, to the point; chapter 317, as the very informative image above explains, kicks off as the Daimatou Enbu come to a close. So let's pause, that is an epic sounding name, it also refers to the grand magic games, a tournament that pits all of Fiore's guilds against each other to determine the most powerful guild around. Guilds in these case are like clubs or societies of mages that serve Fiore in one way or another, though mostly through offering services that would require magical intervention for a fee. So basically they exist to go on magical quests. There are guilds and dark guilds, but let's leave it there for now.
The games are a new phenomenon to the fairy fail team. The last arc ended with the fairy tail team coming up against the great black dragon Acnologia. They and the island they were on were seemingly obliterated to nothing, leading to fairy tail's first time skip. What sets this time skip apart is that it was seven years long, that's freakin long.
More importantly fairy tail wasn't as much transported into the future as much as frozen. Which meant that everything in Fiore but the fairy tail team had changed. All those little boys and girls, friend or foe, had bludgeoned into amazingly powerful and competent mages. The older crowd had grown older and wiser, and suddenly Natsu and his crew weren't the big bad mages they once were.
Sabertooth, a previously unknown guild had risen to number one, mainly due to its own pair of dragon slayers. Fairy tail, now an old forgotten relic without its strongest mages for seven years was forced into the games to regain its old glory and reputation, though it was mostly for the money. And with all of fairy tail's heavy hitters back in action, they were ready to face new and old enemies, each of which had changed tremendously in the past seven years. The fun here was seeing how fairy tail would acquire seven years worth of growth to contend with its impossibly powerful enemies. A funny panel in the earlier chapters after the time skips shows natsu getting his ass kicked by a mage of fairy tail that any fan would have considered to be worthy of the term loser.
This is Lucy in case you don't get it
Back to the story, the chapter begins with the crew talking to the mysterious entity in the black hood, recently revealed to be LUCY FROM THE FUTURE.
The caps are for those of you who don't know that this is a big deal, so i will explain it. Another pause: On their first day back, fairy tail's heavy hitters are visited by Jellal ,Ultear and their group, Crime Sorcèrie, which is bascially a vigilante group of mages that fights evil. If that only seems mildly interesting, understand the context in which this group exists. Jella and Ultear are criminals, convicted of mass murder, attempted genocide and a horde of other crimes. Jellal was apprehended two arcs ago, while Ultear only fell into the hands of the magic council in the last arc. Both were condemned to life in prison. Both were great enemies of fairy tail. And when fairy tail was presumed dead, both broke out of magic prison with a couple of other criminals and began fighting evil or something like that; probably as redemption. That means they are like the magical A-team, saving the innocent while running from the law. Actually imagine a lesser Aizen broke out of jail and went to karakura town to fight hollows while Ichigo was presumed dead.
Anyway, Jellal warned fairy tail about the games, that they had been investigating a shadow pulling the strings behind the tournament for seven years now, and that the hidden force would make a move in those games. Jellal would enter the games on team fairy tail under the identity of his Edolas (parallel world) identity, Mystogun.
Through out the games, Jellal spots a hooded figure present in all the major battles, who, according to Jellal holds great power and from whom Jellal senses the power of zeref.
A note, Zeref is the strongest and most evil mage to ever exist. Many of the enemies the guild has faced have been indirectly or directly connected to zeref, including the black dragon Acnologia. Fairy tail did what it normally doesn't do in these cases; it dragged out the revelation over who this masked individual was like it was some big deal for several chapters before finally revealing it to jellal, then to the rest of us several chapters later, that it was Lucy from the future.
A few reasons why this is big. Firstly, Lucy is arguably the weakest mage in all of magnolia (the country/province/region/continent...whatever you want to call, that they all live in. Why did Jellal sense so much power from her. And why the zeref power.
You could argue that this is the future we are dealing with. So many things could have happened that could have given Lucy a potion of zeref's power. But this Lucy is from the future, three or four days from now. A couple of hours isn't nearly enough time for one weak ass mage to acquire so much power. Anyway, a bunch of mysteries are referred to; first Carla, Wendy the air dragon slayer's psychic cat remembers having visions of Lucy weeping and can't help but wonder how that is connected to future Lucy.
Then there is the eclipse project. This would be the insidious threat that Jellal and his group were investigating. Apparently for seven years some princess and her knight, Arcadios, have been using the Daimatou Enbu (love saying that in my head) to collect magic and now they have as much power stored as Etherion, a magical weapon possessed by the magical council that can destroy an entire country.
Part one of the Eclipse project is to go back in time to kill zeref, probably when he was much weaker. Part two is to use the magic as a weapon against the dragons.
Why dragons? Well Lucy had previous revealed that in a few days 10,000 dragons would descend upon their city of Fiore. That is TEN THOUSAND DRAGONS. If you don'y know fairy tail, then you don't know why that fact is shiver worthy.
In the last arc, when Zeref awoke, the Acnologia descended on the Island, the ancestral home and burial groounds of fairy tail, and where young fairy tail wizards were undergoing their S class tests.
In simply touching down on the sizable land mass, the dragon had the island quaking and shaking. Then, after swatting the fairy wizards aside, including its strongest hitters and their master, the great monster flew up and obliterated the Island. Now was this some great magical attack, or maybe a highly advanced weapon? NO, all Acnologia did was roar, and in that simple act it completely annihilated the island out of existence.
That was one dragon. Ten thousand dragons, that's simply...as awesome as it is ludicrous. If this doesn't compute, think of bleach when Aizen landed in karakura town, except instead of one, we have 10 Aizens. Or maybe the impel down arc in one piece, where instead of three admirals, Luffy went up against 100 admirals, all alone.
This is how epic the very idea of 10,000 dragons it.
More importantly however is the background. Eight years earlier, after teaching their adopted human children dragon slayer magic, Igneel, Grandine and metallicana vanished along with every other dragon out their. None has been seen since then. Acnologia was the first dragon to be seen since then. Where the hell are ten thousand dragons going to come from?
This fact is raised when Natsu wants to alert everyone of the danger but Arcadios and some others present don't seem to believe Lucy. Arcadios also notes that future lucy has been around for days now, but she is telling her guild that she only arrived. This isn't the only mystery availed to us. Jellal, who met future lucy a while back, also admits that Lucy's facts don't check out and he even denotes that either Lucy is lying or she could be a fake Lucy; this is based on the fact that Lucy herself doesn't really know what happens in the future. She speaks of waking up days later and jumping through the very machine used for the eclipse. Either way fairy tail has become so much more intriguing since i last read it.
But i can't rejoice just yet. Like kubo, Hiro has a way of setting up the most awesome conflicts and completely ruining them with cliches and cope outs...ignore that last statement. I don't want you to use that as an excuse not to read fairy tail.
Anyway, clearly Lucy is hiding something.Ten thousand dragons are coming. The eclipse project is underway and zeref might even be at the games but where is he. And if one dragon, Acnologia, can destroy a small country with a roar, what chance does the eclipse project stand against such a threat? Maybe it will take one dragon down, but then what?
And now to side events, Gajeel is fighting sabertooth's own metal dragon slayer, Rogue Cheney. Previously rogue made a most grievous statement to Gajeel before the battle. You see, several arcs ago, Natsu and Gajeel were enemies. Natsu, Erza and crew returned from a pretty hectic mission to fight their guild headquarters destroyed and most of their members hurt. This was the work of phantom lord, Gajeel's former guild. Fairy tail went on a rampage in phantom lord's HQ, which led phantom lord to retaliate.
All this led to the final showdown between Natsu the fire dragon slayer, and gajeel the metal dragon slayer. And man was it long and epic. And by long i don't mean in that weary drawn out manner that most DBZ (and some times one piece) battles usually are. Dragon slayers are interesting combatants. When they grow tired, all they have to do is eat their own elements to rejuvenate their energy stores. Bascially it is like fuel for the body. So this particular battle eliminated the element of fatigue, and came down to skill. The idea wasn't who would tire first, but more like who would be knocked out first. because if any of them was still awake, all they had to do was eat a little metal/fire and the battle would flare up again.
Anyway, natsu managed a narrow win and through a series of events, Gajeel joined fairy tail; though their rivary was never extinguished.In the games, Natsu and Gajeel were teamed up against rogue and sting, sabertooth's fire dragon slayer. Natsu wasn't impressed with these two former fans turned enemies. Even as grown mages he kicked their asses. They went dragon force mode, a form that Natsu can't naturally activate but which the two can use because they are third generation dragon slayers, while natsu is first generation. Natsu single handedly kicked their asses, while Gajeel watched in a corner, pretty much bored. This happened at a time when Fairy tail was at the very bottom of the games.
Then the games were stopped due to other events, then forced to resume with Gajeel up against Rogue. Rogue is unwise in telling Gajeel to his face that he isn't as strong as natsu and that the battle would be short lived.
chapter 317, Rogue is on the floor, already beaten, with Gajeel barely breaking a sweat. I have to admit, it was funny as hell. Anyway, Rogue is all sad and whatnot, speaking of how he worshiped Gajeel as a child and was intent on joining Phantom Lord just to emulate his idol.
Then phantom lord was destroyed and gajeel joined fairy tail. clearly the kid resented him for it and even saw it as weakness. Now he speaks of understanding why gajeel joined fairy tail, which was because of the friendship it represented. Here we are shown a flash of of natsu earlier on saying something angry at the sabertooth master over how he treated his nakama.
Now here i must say something about fairy tail. If one piece's straw hat pirates are one continuous picnic of fun laughter and adventure, then fairy tail is one big party. The guild's common room is one large bar, literally. Each day finds men and women piled into the dingy hall literally partying and hanging out. you have the drinkers filling their bellies with drink, sometimes from mugs, sometimes from upturned barrows. There is always some corner of the room having a feast or two, with platefulls and bucketfuls of fried mouth watering alimetaries. There are kids playing and practicing magic while a mage or ten suddenly engage in a passionate fight.
At any one time there is a mage or a team of mages returning from a particularily difficult mission, some victorious, some not so much; but each with a story to tell about the lands they have seen. And hiro will take the time to give each of these a name, detail their backgrounds, magic styles and past adventures. I tell you, if Natsu and Lucy were to suddenly leave, there are at least ten other characters that would make just as interesting subjects to follow as those two.
When it isn't the older mages telling stories, it is the younger ones looking for stories; usually mages like lucy who haven't paid rent, are about to be evicted, and are usually spotted scanning the boards for jobs to take to make some money. And even when they find well paying none life threatening jobs to take, there is the diffculty of finding mages to help you in the quest. Bascilly fairy tail is one big party trapped in an old castle and i can see why Rogue would admire that.
Gajeel plays the cheesy part, he points out frosch, Rogue's cat, as the friend he has always had. rogue ponders on sabrtooth's harsh ways and seems redeemed. or is he?
A voice emerges, telling Rogue to remember that Gajeel is his enemy. Rogue is confused, he doesn't know who is talking to him. Then he hears the voice emerge from his shadow; it orders him to kill Gajeel, promising to lend him its power.
A dark power has apparently descended on the games.
And that is all for chapter 317. If you haven't read fairy tail, i hope this informed you a little bit on what it is all about. If i haven't convinced you to read fairy tail, then i will try again next week when the next chapter is released. But if you are convinced, read this chapter. Things will become clearer with time.