katmic (Level 10)

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I really don’t understand Fairy Tail these days. I mean, I understand the kind of manga I am dealing with, but even removing it from more serious categories of manga doesn’t rationalize chapters like this, which seem so wasteful. If Hiro is pushing towards a specific end, I am yet to understand it, that is beyond continuing to ruin what was a really great story.

THE CHAPTER:

Face rises across the land. Minerva and Erza’s battle comes to an end as a surprising ally enters the battle field.

MY THOUGHTS:

Here is the thing; Fairy Tail is a story largely revolved around the idea of Nakama as some sort of empowering element; and that explains why so many of these arcs turn out the way they usually do.

But the Tartaros Arc is turning into a disturbing facsimile of the Daimatou Enbu arc; what turned the Daimatou Enbu saga into something less than impressive was the waste, the way Hiro created interested plots and threw them down the toilet, a stark example being Sting and his sudden decision to give up on an easy win.

At one point I thought that to be the worst thing to ever happen in the entire Fairy Tail, that is until these events in chapter 388, that basically saw Minerva receive the same very typical very cheesy Fairy Tail redemption usually assigned to less interesting villain.

SERIOUSLY? This was what we had been anticipating reading all this time? This is the epic Minerva/Erza showdown Hiro has been teasing since the last arc? Hiro gave us a glimpse of what could be earlier in the year, made threats of something new to come the next time Erza and Minerva clashed, possibly hidden demonic powers that might bring Erza and her Nakagami armor to her knees, possibly bringing about a surprise twist in the final outcome.

THIS IS THE DEMON MINERVA WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR? REALLY? I am…stunned at how these arcs and plots are starting to feel recycled; and I feared this would happen during the Daimatou Enbu, a justified fear after almost every villain in the tournament turned into a Natsu wannabe following the Fairy Tail mantra.

Except Hiro did the unexpected and presented MInerva as a truly immovable villain, one who wouldn’t be shaken by Fairy Tail friendship magic, and who couldn’t stop till she had laid waste to Erza and her crew.

…I just don’t get it. I understand what Fairy Tail is, and this rant isn’t about the series’ repetitive use of Nakama power related solutions such as this. My irritation is aimed towards Hiro’s continuous teasing, basically dangling one potential story only to deliver another less satisfying version.

This came out of nowhere. At no point was it ever hinted that MInerva would be undergoing this very sudden very unwarranted shift in loyalties.

I am so enraged by the events of this chapter that I am forgetting to mention Sting and Rogue, who ended chapter 388 with a bang. That is one surprise that was appreciated, because I am finding myself suddenly very uninterested in reading anything about any member of the Fairy Tail Guild. Except for maybe Gray. And Lucy and Wendy.

RATING: 3/10, one needs to ask. Does Fairy Tail have any actual villains to speak of? One might mention Zero but he was more insane than evil, and Hades made a recent shift from dark to light. Zeref has already proven that he posses some modicum of goodness in him, a light Natsu will no doubt bring out.

That doesn’t leave anyone that I can think of.

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This was brutal, and surprisingly so, even considering the lengths to which Shinobu Ohtaka has gone in past arcs; I have found some difficult to enjoying these flashbacks, mostly because the stakes haven’t felt real enough to me for quite a while, not like they would usually feel with our usual cast of characters.

Yet that didn’t negate the impact of this chapter, which, I suppose, is going to have epic consequences with regards to the war against David.

THE CHAPTER:

Solomon and Ugo attempt to escape their self made trap even as David launches an assault against their home.

MY THOUGHTS:

Chapter 229 was all over the place, starting off quite dull, entering some really muddy waters and then coming out ahead in one of the manga’s most brutal and gut wrenching scenes. There was a point in the chapter were events seemed like they were starting to turn down a clichéd path.

Ugo’s ability to lift the barrier puzzled me; because even his genius doesn’t explain his ability to overcome a trap that took centuries to create; the gibberish in between didn’t help matters. I don’t think we needed a step by step description of exactly how Ugo went about breaking the barrier.

Even as a means of proving his genius, it was unnecessary, and I didn’t buy. That being said it made for interesting progress, watching Solomon basically prop Ugo up as the greatest wizard the planet had seen, not because of any ostensible magical ability, but due to the wonders he had proven capable of achieving through the power of his brain.

One might look at this as an interesting shift in the development of these characters; we have spent so much time watching Ugo fawn over the might of Solomon, it is interesting to understand how highly Solomon views Ugo. It explains their friendship and a lot about what we know of Aladdin’s Ugo and his relationship with the young magi.

There was that moment as Solomon and crew were racing back home that I thought of the scenes we were about to witness, specifically the final clash between father and son that would see the city saved and justice delivered, before the city finally came into view. I expected devastation of some sort, but not an utter obliteration of the city.

This more than changes everything. For one thing these events give credence to revelations made in chapter 222.5, about David’s ability to foresee the future; that he foresaw his son’s rebellion, the force that he would raise to stop him and created a means to utterly crush him places David a few pegs above the all knowing Aizen.

This is a villain like we haven’t seen in Magi. Seriously though, this wasn’t just any little old massacre. David obliterated everything, the home and the communities that Solomon and crew had spent the past decade creating, a life and families that now lie in ruins.

What this is going to do to Solomon’s will, one can only imagine. We can already presume that this is going to lead into the fated Alma Toran tragedy, of which this is a portion. After all most of his followers are likely to lose faith in him, no longer viewing him as that divine creature beyond reproach and in whom they will choose to trust.

Seriously, this changes everything. After that last scene, with Tess’ last words, it suddenly makes all the sense in the world, how some of these powerful and initially righteous people could fall into depravity. Those that were making presumptions about Sheba’s role in Al Tharmen might have to reconsider their position

Because if there is one thing we know about Gyokuen, it’s that she’s crazy. And if there is one recently prominent trait we have come to learn about Arba, it’s the violent nature she might be harboring beneath her calm exterior.

One can imagine the events of this chapter pushing her over the edge. Magi has taken quite the turn in chapter 229, and one has to wonder how this tragedy will translate into the golden days of Solomon we saw in Aladdin’s visions near the end.

RATING: 7/10, despite a few hiccups at the start, this chapter really shined at the end.

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Lots of talking in this chapter, and I can’t say it progressed the story beyond making lots of inferences and hinting at a bunch of potential future plots; not a bad chapter though, containing that great noblesse humor I have grown to love, and some touching moments.

THE CHAPTER:

Rai’s revival triggers a spectral appearance, sentiments are exchanged as Rai’s revitalization is explained

MY THOUGHTS:

This chapter spoke more about Noblesse’s future than I gave it credit on my first reading; admittedly these are little more than assumption. But considerable portions of the manga have placed emphasis upon Rai’s fleeting mortality and the precarious nature of his existence.

I guess it is symbolic that a being whose power revolves around blood manipulation would need to draw upon his own life force to exact his duties as a Noblesse. Part of me wasn’t happy with what seemed like a return to the status quo, muzzling Rai’s power once more under a life threatening consequence to using his abilities.

It all feels like an attempt by the authors evade having to deal with the power house that Rai is, and the difficulties of creating credible threats in the presence of his overwhelming strength; a cop out in fact, because I was looking forward to following a fully powered Rai in action, no longer held back by life threatening restrictions.

And I still can’t say I am happy with the Manhwa’s decision to keep the leash on. Yet one might consider what the story is trying to hint at. Rai isn’t likely to survive to the end of Noblesse.

Certainly the Manhwa is called Noblesse and should logically follow the progress of the Noblesse; but the Lord’s inability to revitalize Rai seems to predict the Noblesse’ eventual end, the idea that Rai’s position and power have set him on a collision course towards a painful death, under the thumb of his abilities, most likely in an effort to save his friends.

That would make for a tragic turn in the series, and one that seems even more likely to come about with the clear indication in chapter 326 that there is no permanent fix to Rai’s condition. But maybe this is great set up on the author’s part, an opportunity to finally develop all those peripheral characters that surround Rai, usually quick to fall and hence requiring his aid and who will now have to step forward to protect their master from the need of having to put his life on the line for innocent human lives.

Over all interesting stuff, at least in the context of the over arcing story. Raskrea’s moments were nice to read, allowing the Lord an opportunity to finally put to rest her bitter feelings towards her father.

RATING: 7/10, a character driven chapter that I can appreciate.

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Wooo! Now this is why I read shonen manga, the opportunity to experience the sorts of brief surges of excitement one is bound to get from reading great battle manga chapters such as this.

THE CHAPTER:

Meliodas continues to defend against a fierce onslaught, seemingly losing his footing even as he puts in play a conniving counter.

MY THOUGHS:

This is what I want from battle oriented chapters in shonen manga; certainly it might seem like I have spent several weeks complaining about shonen manga chapters placing way too much emphasis on fights. And indeed battle chapters, unlike battle oriented anime episodes, can get quite old and irritating, monotonous in following the blow by bow moments of a given fight.

Unless they actually go about accomplishing something during or at the end of the fight oriented chapter in question; which is what we got this week. Chapter 81 was convincing in portraying the pressure elicited from combating three holy knights in one go, the art descriptive of the epicre natu and scale of the battle; all in all keeping events dynamic and shifting the advantage between sides all the way to the last moment.

All in all a battle worth a few bitten nails, and continuing to delve deeper into the Deadly Sins mythos; well, doing more scratching than digging, but at a pace that I can accept if the chapters maintain this level of excitement and interest.

There were some actual twists in this chapter that I didn’t see coming.

RATING: 6/10, okay not mind blowing but most definitely better than the last few chapters. Margaret is proving to be a more interesting character in her few short appearances than her sister Elizabeth, who is basically the Lucy of Nanatsu no Taizai.

Scratch that, I am actually starting to like Lucy.

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Not what I expected. I am not sure what to think or even feel about this chapter, because one portion made very little sense to me, while another, mostly the end, changed the atmosphere of the arc into something darker and even more exciting.

THE CHAPTER:

Solomon and Crew bring the might of their strength against David and the Orthodox Magicians. As victory finally comes into view, the true nature of David’s plan finally takes shape.

MY THOUGHTS:

This was not terrible; and I say not terrible because Magi hasn’t been the most exciting series to read for some time now. And this chapter maintained the problems I have encountered with the manga in the last few weeks, yet while managing to inject some excitement into this war.

I finally understand why the extreme length of this flashback is proving to be so unexciting. It’s a flashback; essentially this is the past, and as such I simply cannot bring myself to get excited over these events. Certainly I would love to know the eventual fate of Alma Toran, Solomon and his people, yet the outcome of the war doesn’t interest me because, again, this is the past, it happened already, and isn’t likely to have an impact on the present beyond what we already know.

So really, chapter 228 did the best it could do, in actually proving exciting with regards to the conflict of wits and power between father and son, turning an easy victory into what might prove to be quite the gut wrenching defeat.

So, yes, actually good chapter, if only in showing Arba and Solomon’s determination to bring the Orthodox magicians to an end, as well as David’s genius planning ; however the first portion of the chapter was, well, quite cheesy, unnecessarily verbose and quite dull in fact.

RATING: 5/10, more exciting than what we have seen in a while. Yet Magi is still very strangely paced.

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