What You Need to KnowFairy Tail is written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima of Rave Master fame. Initially he wanted to just make ten or so volumes before moving on, but he admitted in one of the volumes that he's having so much fun with it that he's still writing for it to this day. The series has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine since 2006 and is currently up to 21 volumes with Del Rey currently up to volume 11 in U.S. localization. In late 2009, an anime series has been produced that is still ongoing with over 35 episodes currently in broadcast.
The StoryFairy Tail itself is the name of one of the guilds where magic-compatible folks go on missions for money and defend against the "evil" guilds of the world. Along the course of the manga/anime the main characters in the Fairy Tail guild go on various adventures where the powers of their magic skills and their friendships are properly tested.
What to Expectmagic" are the stuff that make up the generic fantasy stories that were old-hat even decades ago. But the magic (pun intended) of Fairy Tail isn't in the foundations of the society, but rather everything that happens in the fantasy-based society. It's easy to see why Mashima had so much fun with this series that he decided to continue with it: the storylines and characters here are both overflowing with imaginative creativity and is just a ton of fun to watch. Each character has their own unique perk that sets them different from the rest, but over the course of the series the actual depth of their persona shines resulting in a cast that is lovable and very memorable. For the people out there who don't want to start a new shonen series with long story arcs, I wholly recommend that you check out Fairy Tail. Even the bigger storylines like the "Tower of Heaven" arc only last about three volumes, but each still have plenty of action and emotional weight behind them to stand out. There's plenty of humorous shenanigans that go on in Fairy Tail, but there's also some genuinely touching moments as well that never get too melodramatic. In other words, Fairy Tail has all the makings for a great shonen series, but also has the kind of fine pacing that usually turns people off from stuff like Bleach or Naruto.
The Main Characters of Fairy Tail
Natsu Dragneel: AKA Salamander, Natsu is one of the rare wizards who has the mythical "dragon slayer" type magic with him, particularly the fire version. He wants nothing more than to have adventurous fun with his friends in Fairy Tail, but is also looking for the dragon who raised him, Igneel.
Lucy Heartfilia: The newcomer to the Fairy Tail guild who quickly makes friends with Natsu and the others. She is a celestial mage who is able to summon celestial beings with the power of her Zodiac keys.
Gray Fullbuster: Even though he's good friends and teammates with Natsu, the two have a great rivalry, possibly because his magic is ice while Natsu's is fire. Gray is also known to be more comfortable not wearing clothes, so he'll often be not wearing a shirt without even realizing it.
Erza Scarlet: Essentially the tough member of the group with a short temper, but has plenty of power to standout. Her magic is the ability to change her armor from a suit with great weaponry, to a sexy swimsuit depending on the situation.
Happy: A talking cat with wings who was hatched from a mysterious egg by Natsu during his childhood. Since then, the two have been two-peas-in-a-pod. Think Scooby-Doo and Shaggy.
Should You Read or Watch?Crunchyroll that takes down episodes that have been around for a month. The manga on the other hand has been given a loving localization from the fine folks at Del Rey that is honestly the best work I've seen from them. Everything from the Japanese honorifics, to the correct English-translated names from Mashima himself, to the fantastic translator's notes, makes the manga version an undeniable must-buy for Fairy Tail fans. But whether you choose to either watch or read Fairy Tail, you'll still get a fantastic experience all the same.
Overall if you've been looking for a new series to get into that has the never-ending fun and great storytelling like One Piece, but in easier-to-swallow story-arc chunks, I can't recommend you try out Fairy Tail enough. I compare Fairy Tail to how Dragon Quest VIII was for Japanese PS2 RPGs: an entry that doesn't have the most original premise, but does everything within it so well that it stands out above most others.