katmic (Level 10)

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Aaaaaaah, Hiro went ahead to do exactly what i was praying he would do his best to avoid.Suddenly this arc looks like it is going to take a more comedic cutesy turn.

THE PLOT:>

Last week the hunters bested fairy tail. This week find out that, following Natsu’s disbelief that mere humans without magic could defeat magical opponents, the hunters are not as average as assumed and are actually champions of the hunter guilds’ version of the Daimatou Enbu, making them fairy tail’s equal at least as far as accolades are concerned. Gray still manages to steal the moon drip which they go on to pass around among themselves as they avoid the hunters until it gets to Happy’s turn.

The exceed drops the bottle, causing panic. But as predicted it only melts a small portion of the ice on the ground and from beneath Natsu hears a voice using his enhanced senses which he says is familiar. He runs off to find it as everyone else follows, eventually colliding with the mage that was with Minerva on her first appearance in this arc. Before Natsu can react, the mage reverts him to his younger self, making him less of a threat.

Elsewhere Erza grapples with her tiny size and searches for a solution.

MY REVIEW:>

First the good bits: i am starting to like Sylph Labyrinth. They are proving to be very capable mages. I actually didn’t realize it last time that the hunters were human. I assumed they were somehow manipulating magic through their gadgets. The fact that they managed to hold fairy tail off so easily without magic makes them that much more impressive. I liked the bit about the hunters’ tournament, proving that they are just as capable as fairy tail, who are magic champions.

It took everyone way too long to figure out the fact that the moon drip was too little to prove useful. But i liked the comedic elements it injected into the scenes, especially when happy dropped the bottle and he asked Natsu to spank him. Erza’s scenes were funny enough, especially when she was imagining how different her life would be if she couldn’t revert to her normal age.

What i didn’t like was the age reversing bit. I am starting to fear that this is going to turn into a chibi arc. And i am not saying that it automatically means Hiro will mess up. Just that i have never seen a chibi related arc or saga execute well on screen. I will commend Hiro though. I still can’t predict where this story is going and that is good. If there is one place fairy tail goes wrong, it is when it becomes too predictable to be enjoyable.

I am starting to think that the enemy mage shrank Natsu and Erza because he heard from Minerva just how dangerous fairy tail was. That makes him seem weak though.

RATING:>3/5; overall a decent chapter, even though i didn’t like where it seemed to be going.

Highlight: Happy’s dropping of the bottle, the reactions of everyone.

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So i am doing Beelzebub reviews now. Why, you might ask? Well it’s because i have been catching up with the manga for the last two weeks and in those 60 or so chapters, i have come to realize just how EPIC this manga is. I have been holding onto hope for so long that the anime would return; like bleach fans i will have accept the truth and move on. That aside, this new arc that began around13 or 14 chapters ago is simply blowing my mind. Having only watched the anime, i am only now realizing just how serious the story can get outside of the anime’s more goofy side.

Anyway, chapter 214:

THE PLOT:>

In the last chapter we had learnt a little bit more about Takamiya and his relationship with Lucifer. She had come in a box as a present from his father(strange!), awoken by Tamiya’s touch and gone on to massacre everyone. Takamiya, in an attempt to protect everyone from the lord of demons, had chosen to lock himself up for a considerable length of time (maybe years). Zenjuro, Oga’s master saved him from that loneliness, teaching him to become a spell master to contain Lucifer’s demonic rage.

In this chapter, Oga’s less than impressed with what he sees as nothing more than Takamiya’s self pity and search for sympathy. He denounces Takamiya as a dumb sulking brat who he doesn’t have time to accommodate seeing that he already has a child (baby Beel)of his own to coddle. Takamiya immediately senses a change in the previously defeated Oga, noting a rise in his already peaked demonic power. Running on all cylinders as he terms it, where Takamiya believed him to have been running on fumes for a while now, Oga unleashes a zebul crest so large it covers the entire sky.

The power released from the crest blinds most combatants and leaves Lucifer on the floor jerking. Zenjuro is quick point out that despite its appearance, the unleashed power is neither a crest skill or a black technique, both taught to him by Zenjuro, but an entirely new skill, one of Oga’s own creation, called annihilation energy. The battle commences, with Oga initially seeming to unleash a severe beating against Takamiya, that is until the crest disappears and Oga’s power recedes.

It is here that Himekawa appears, having somehow taken Baby Beel from Oga. He confirms his theory that taking baby Beel from Oga breaks the link between the two, leaving the delinquent without any demonic aura. Himekawa simply states that he cannot afford to let Takamiya, who is still awe struck by the surge in Oga’s demonic power, lose.

MY REVIEW:>

So if you haven’t watched or read Beelzebub, here is the basic idea.You have a school, Ishiyama high, overrun by delinquents. Out of them all is Oga, a delinquent of delinquents, widely known for his brutal strength and violent nature when pressed, which is surprising for a freshman. One day as he is walking home with best friend Furuichi (the super pervert) he notices a baby floating down the river. He picks the baby and quickly learns that he has just unknowingly formed a demonic contract with the child.

As it turns out the child is Beelzebub, son of the emperor of demons (a cookie incompetent character to say the least) and Oga has been chosen to take care of the child as his father in the human world, raising him up not only to be strong ruler but to prepare him to take over the world for his father someday.

Oga as the strongest most vile human in the area had drawn baby Beel and his keeper to him. Along with the naked child, who always sits on his back (and hence earning him the name child rearing badass), comes Hilda, his very violent umbrella wielding demonic nanny (and Aoi’s rival, at least on Aoi’s part) and Andadelion (i spelt that wrong) a strange large man in boxers and a vest whose torso can open up to reveal a portal.

With a colorful collection of characters, many of them delinquents intent on ruling Ishiyama high (my favorite being the MK5 (mood killers five), hilarious fellows), Oga mainly has to contend with the crazy adventures that follow his life as a delinquent, first obsessed with finding an opponent stronger and more fearsome than him so that he can pass baby Beel onto them, having to contend with baby Beel’s electrocuting tantrums (he can’t be more than a few feet away from Beel or he dies) and then eventually having to deal with the demonic elements following the child such as beel’s older but more childish brother.

Back to this chapter, this arc has been a joy to read, not merely because it has been action packed but because it has been so consistent without sacrificing the comedy the series is so good at executing. We are talking about 17 or so chapters so far of absolute action packed and highly comedic quality.

We didn’t get to see much of the other battles. Last time we saw them, Aoi and Kanzaki, now Oga’s Ishiyama saint generals (i love this new twist), were contending with two of Takamiya’s court and they were losing, probably because the demonic energy flowing from Oga was waning.

Toujo had revealed his number 4 crest, a surprise for him and everyone else, creating a big mystery. If Toujo is number four, who the hell could number three be? That is the question yet to be answered as, with regards to what we have seen so far, no one that we know of has professed loyalty (knowingly or unknowingly) to Oga.

The battle with Takamiya, which has been quite dynamic and unpredictable so far, took a surprising turn. Oga was not at all sympathetic to Takamiya’s tale of solitude, and chances are he wasn’t listening considering that ‘vague’ comment he made. IN this chapter the battle took a heated twist as Oga achieved a mind blowing power up. This is a shonen manga and so one could say that this sort of stuff is expected from time to time, whenever the hero faces a greater enemy.

But in truth this i did not see this coming, not with what we had seen Takamiya do so far. One has to consider the fact that even as Oga was starting to push him back, Takamiya was yet to unleashany of his spells, at a point where Oga was going all out with his crest skills, and then black techniques. And i must say i loved that massive crest that had my jaw dropping as much as it did those in the story.

The explanation was simple. We have seen Oga use his crest techniques to the max, especially his zebul blasts. This Zenjuro referred to as white energy which he helped Oga perfect. Later on Zen introduced him to the black techniques, basically fusion energy as he called it, which he had made incredible use of in his many building obliterating fights; the most recent had been the battle with jabberwock at the new demon school where he had first introduced his ‘daddy switch’, displaying the fusion in fusion energy as his and baby Beel’s minds and powers seemed to interchange, allowing Oga access to Beel’s full demonic powers, unfiltered by things like contracts.

Here it is seems like Oga smashed both fusion and white energy together to create his annihilation energy, an entirely new technique. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of it as Himekawa decided to somehow separate Beel and Oga.

I have to say that i am still torn about Himekawa. In the beginning i was with most fans saying that he was simply playing Takamiya and was actually planning several steps ahead to bring about the downfall of an enemy (i think the delinquents called themselves the something ghosts, i don’t remember) that Ishiyama couldn’t beat. But really, Himekawa didn’t know about demons or the fact that someone was lending out crests to delinquents before he joined Takamiya. He couldn’t have seen the demonic threat involved and that normal humans like Aoi would be fighting demonically charged opponents.

I also disagree with those that are alleging that Himekawa is actually the one with the number three king’s crest. He couldn’t have joined Takamiya’s crew without displaying Takiyama’s own king’s crest. I doubt it is possible that he has two crests at once. No, i do not think Himekawa is playing games like most people. He said it himself a while back, he has never really been a member of the gang like Kanzaki and the rest. I believe he is after power and he has found it in Takamiya. I will not rule out the fact that he is trying to locate the Solomon company, the group kidnapping demons and disseminating king’s crests to juveniles. But this is Himekawa we are talking about; chances are he has betrayed his friends. Though i am curious as to how the painting of baby Beel’s mother falls into the plan.

From what i can see, Oga is in big trouble. Maybe Takamiya won’t kill him. He expressed gladness a few chapters back at the joy of finally getting the opportunity to go all out against an opponent. Beating Oga to a pulp wouldn’t satisfy him when Oga can’t fight back. But then again Lucifer might not care, and i doubt he has full control over her. But Oga will not give up even without baby Beel by his side. Furuichi is still dead and it can’t be more than a few hours to dawn. I doubt Oga will give up on a fight that might save his friend so easily.

It would be awesome if Furuichi revived in time to help Oga stop Takamiya. True the majority of Behemoth was single handedly defeated by Takamiya, but Furuichi hadn’t yet summoned their top two players, Jabberwock or even Behemoth himself. I have hope for Furuichi; despite being a silly comedic element in the cogs of Beelzebub, he has grown on me in the past few chapters, first with the tissue arc and that EPIC chapter 207; i also enjoyed the fairly touching chapter that finally showed to us why someone fairly normal and law abiding would be best friends with a thug like Oga.

MY RATING:> 5/5; This chapter was epic and kept up the fast pace of every other chapter in this arc so far. At 17 pages it was fairly short, yet so much happened. I wonder is Zenjuro will interfere in his pupils’ battle. True it is just a brawl between a bunch of high school delinquents but as Zen told Oga before he went to save Furuichi, Lucifer was the demon lord of demon lords, an entity that was once at war with the emperor in her attempt to remove him from power. Baby Beel, Oga’s contractee is that emperor’s child, which means that in fighting Takamiya, Lucifer’s contractee, Oga is placing himself in a war that had waged millennia ago and would rage once more with Lucifer’s appearance.

I expect this arc to only get better with time. Sure it was stated that Takamiya was at the top of the new hierarchy of delinquents in the school, but as we saw ten chapters ago, there are still three or four other individuals that can still pose a threat to Oga. He might have beaten Nasu and could even beat Takamiya, but that doesn’t mean his war is over. Sure he has no interest in what he sees as their little squabble to determine who will rule Ishiyama high school. But before the school was destroyed the first time, he was at the top, and as Furuichi said, they all believe that whoever puts him and the old guard down (who already lost by the way) will automatically become king in a battle that he isn't even involved.

I love this new dynamic that has been created, pitting Oga against foes he has never faced before. I expect the Solomon company to use the other gang leaders as well, during which we can only expect Oga’s retinue of saints to grow. This is going to be Beelzebub's most epic arc, even more epic than the business with Behemoth and Baby Beel’s brother.

If you haven’t read this manga, you should start. On the surface this story is basically a comedy and it continues along this path for sometime in the beginning, before the action and serious plots sneak in. I can’t believe something this good was cancelled.

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Zetman was one of the very first manga i ever read and the first one to keep me awake at night because of the addictive nature of its plots. I remember before this i had read Evangellion and Veritas, and after those i came across a variety of less than impressive manga before finally settling on Zetman which impressed me not only with its story but its great art. Before this is remember being blown away by Veritas’ rather clean artistic style, until i came across Zetman and it blew Veritas’ own impressive art out of the water.

Back then i didn’t have access to internet, so i read Evangellion and then Veritas in my school’s computer lab. SO one could say it was the first manga i took home with me and up to this day i can still remember why i thought so highly of it as a truly quality manga series, not merely in terms of the art but an amazingly touching story.

THE PLOT:>

The story kicks off at the end. Two great heroes, ZET and Alphaz are facing off in battle. From this point we are taken back through time to their beginnings, and the story that placed both allies of justice at opposing ends.

Jin Kanzaki is a genetic creation of the Amagi cooperation, an organization responsible for unleashing a plague of monsters known as players. The players can take the form of man and have done so since their creation is keeping with a strict set of rules designed to ensure that they and their kind continue to exist in the shadows. Until now that is.Once unleashed they take the shape of monsters with a thirst for human flesh.

Jin was created with the express purpose of destroying the players, a being as close to humanity as possible but who could transform into a near indestructible entity known as ZET, a force that would be hailed as the hero that would save humanity.

Kouga Amagi is everyone’s dream child, smart, wise, handsome, hardworking, dedicated, all the things that allow him to stand out among all others even those older than him as a true heir to his father and grandfather’s legacy at the head of the Amagi corporation. But Kouga has no interest in this particular destiny that has been chosen for him, to continue down the corporate path; Kouga has always idolized the famous TV hero Alphaz and ever since his child hood, he has wished for one and only one thing, to become Alphas, to become a hero that would rise to the call of humanity’s need and save the innocent.

The fates of these two men intertwine as they each seek to protect mankind, with each facing his separate set of obstacles along the way; Jin a child barely capable of understanding the harsh world he and his ‘grandfather’ must endure on the streets, confused about his true nature, the circular symbol burnt into his right arm and the insidious past his only family is clearly attempting to hide from him; Kouga, healthy, wealthy, in possession of everything that anyone might ever want, except for the support of those around him, who will constantly disparage his attempts to find his calling as a hero.

By the time this story comes to a close both individuals will have to question the meaning of heroism and justice and determine what it means to fight for good. Where Jin will struggle to fight through the clouds of hate and vengeance growing within him against those than have caused him so much grief in their attempts to acquire his power, Kouga will have to come to terms with the true face of his family, their role not as heroes but villains in the big picture, as the fates of both slowly draw towards each other.

MY REVIEW:>

This is one of those manga series i might not have read if it wasn’t for boredom. I remember reading Evagellion, enjoying its promising progress and grimacing painfully at the rather dour end that resulted. I was intent of locating another manga that would wash the bitter taste of the mecha series away. Veritas did just that, until its end also left a less than satisfactory and sour taste once more.

In searching for something that could make me forget that irritating finale, i came across zetman in various forums. Most spoke highly of it but i couldn’t bring myself to bother. Nothing about it sounded particularly enticing. Even the title, zetman, sounded like a cheap villain from super sentai, and the poster displayed a very cliché design for the superhero ZET. Basically i was not too keen on it and instead jumped to fairy tail.

When i decided to give this manga a true chance a few months after, i was amazed at how deep, unique and none cliché the story was. Even the cheesy look of ZET was explained. The Amagi cooperation in zetman also makes anime, and in engineering ZET, they designed him to look like one of their successful anime super heroes, which was an interesting twist; reminds me kick ass for some reason.

Let me just say that i am yet to get over my anger over the fiasco last April. TMS entertainment had the audacity to release an anime adaptation of this great manga; and while they did a good job of getting me excited, what they did to the manga was nothing short of evil. I only watched the first episode before deciding i couldn’t sit back and watch these people butcher one of my favorite manga stories ever.

Those that did watch it, my brother included, justified my fears over what an atrocious piece of work this 12 episode anime was. And normally that wouldn’t be enough to sway me, at the very least i do not drop anime after one episode because someone else said it was bad unless i have given it a good attempt at 4 or 5 episodes. But with zetman, that wasn’t necessary, not after what i saw in the first episode.

Here is the thing. Zetman isn’t merely a great story, it has the best starting i have ever read in a manga. While the rest of zetman was great, those first 20 or so chapters were nothing short of genius; beautiful, sad and tragic, the sort of back story you rarely get, perfectly paced and concise. These were 20 chapters of Jin’s childhood, showcasing his hard life as a kidof 10-12 years, stronger than most humans, violent when he had to be, and very protective of his grandfather during their lives on the street.. This was the backbone of Jin, it showed us who he was as a character and created a base for what he would become later on. When you see Jin do what he does later on, you can trace his behaviors all the way to the start.

What did the anime do with that? you might ask; well they fitted all 20 chapters of absolutely crucial story telling in a 2 minute flash back in the beginning, A TWO MINUTE FLASH BACK. We are talking about a story absolutely necessary to zetman, and…TWO MINUTES… if i was a cussing man i would have a few choice words for that studio. Good thing i am not.

After those first 20 chapters, we get another 20 or so chapters of Jin in his early teens, not too old, not too young but none the less a child finding his way in a hard world, and those too proved crucial in building the character of Jin. And what did they do? I do not think we even hit a minute this time, more like few seconds flashes here and there. When i first saw those first 15 minutes of the anime, i thought i would explode. WHAT THET HELL WERE THEY THINKING? To discard Godorou’s (his grandfather) story like that and…never mind Godorou, WHAT THEY DID TO AKEMI? Those are characters whose impact on Jin’s life would echo on through all 180 chapters, and for them to be treated to a few seconds of screen time when Katsura thought it necessary to show their back story in such detail and to give us several chapters of Jin’s life with these characters…unforgivable.

Most zetman anime fans who have not read the manga do not understand why i rage against the anime so heatedly. To them zetman was an okay anime they would watch if it progressed to a second season (hopefully not). They obviously do not understand that they have not experienced the true zetman story. The true zetman story is nothing short of brilliance in its action packed, yet dramatic and ultimately tragic telling. And that is what irritates me. These people will not bother with the manga because they think they already know the story, and they do not.

Enough raging against the anime WHICH SHOULD BE SCRUBBED OUT OF EXISTANCE. If Fate Stay/Night is getting another animation this year or next year, why shouldn’t zetman? I for one would love to see a true telling of Jin and Kouga’s story.

Okay, now i am calm. If you didn’t infer it from my rant above, the story of zetman is brilliant. It is about superheroes, two of them in fact. One was born to be a hero, one is determined to make himself a hero. One is haunted by the consequences and sacrifices of saving innocents, another, in trying to achieve his dream as a hero cannot forget that one day he met the other, and in turn met a true hero, one who, no matter how hard he tries, cannot forget him and will find himself measuring each and every one of his actions against what he believes the other, the truer more righteous hero in his eyes, would do.

There is an evil corporation that brought about evil and now wants to fix things. They will stop at nothing to get at ZET, there creation even as those among their own ranks seek to protect him and whose only dream for him isn’t to see his rise as a super powered mutation, but to enjoy and live life as a normal human. Jin and Kouga live larger than life existences that more often than not will affect the peace of those around them.

Even though he has it all, Kouga cannot help but admire Jin. Jin might have nothing but to Kouga, he has everything that the wealthy fellow wants. Jin holds a hate towards himself where Kouga sees nothing but light. Both are at odds as to what the true nature of justice is. Even as kouga struggles to prove that his own sense of justice is the truth, he can’t help but recognize that in doing so, he isn’t actually disparaging Jin’s sense of justice, but merely unwilling to admit it to himself that he doesn't have it within him, power, will, mental strength, to carry out Jin’s form of justice, the true righteous justice, instead choosing to forge for himself a path that his weaker will can accommodate. It is this weakness that haunts him and which others take advantage of.

This manga is mature and does not hold back in terms of visuals when it tries to get a cold hard lesson across. I am reminded of Kouga… AHHH I CAN’T STOP RANTING AGAINST THE ANIME. What they did to Kouga’s character in the anime was just as irritating, nothing short of injustice…that mini arc with Kouga and his murderous would be mentor Jirou was as crazy and brutal as it was intriguing story telling that kept me at the edge of my seat AND THEY JUST…AHHHH…

There is no way the anime can expect to bring about the same depth in character development as the manga when it is so intent on skipping many of the events that created the relationships between some of these characters.

This manga is unpredictable and the story will run towards any direction at any point in time. Fortunately it is only as brutal as it needs to be. Sure when there needs to be blood there will be, but there is no Spartacus level gore when there doesn’t have to be. The art is amazing; most times it felt like i was reading art pieces in a museum with words attached to them. If there is one manga that does not need color, it is zetman. It is perfect as it is. The characters are deep, dynamic and continuously evolving. Jin might be the main character but he isn’t the primary focus.

There are a ton of characters each of which gets maximum exposition, each playing a key role in the plot and rarely ever present as filler. The action is also great, especially when displayed with Katsura’s brilliant art.

Basically Zetman is a must read. It has as much action as you need to follow a manga, but more importantly, it has a deep, complex and dramatic story that will draw in anyone that gives this manga a decent attempt.

RATING: 7/5, exceeded my expectations. The manga has been stuck at chapter 188 for a long while now, i wonder what is happening.

HIGHLIGHTS: I do not remember as much about zetman as i would want to, it has been a while since i read it, but the Akemi and Godorou arcs were my favorites. Though the Kouga and Jirou arc is a close contender, finally bringing Kouga’s struggle to become a hero to the fro. Jirou was the sort of madman you rarely see in manga; he shined as a villain trying to be the hero but doing better as the villain; he was cold and determined in his vengeance.

The first time Jin transforms into true ZET was epic, though the action scenes when he would transform into white ZET were more unpredictable. The introduction of the different levels of players and the EVol organization, a company of powerful players that do not fall to the hunger than other players succumb to created a nice change in the pace of the story. I liked the fact that Katsura kept Kouga at the front as a character, just as important as Jin. His struggles with his family’s failures, that as a hero he would have to fight against their own works and their determination to keep him out of it was intriguing to watch.

Zetman, created by Masakazu Katsura, premiered as a one shot in shonen jump between 1989 and 1994. It made its formal appearance as a mature series in 2002 in the weekly young jump.

Katsura surprised many with the mature action packed Zetman seeing that all his earlier works were romantic comedies, usually shojo’s revolving around the trivial problems of teens. Katsura is good friends with Akira Toriyama and he is the person to thank for coming up with the idea of fusion for Akira’s dragon ball z series, an idea he floated during discussions for one of their collaborations on another series. He played an important role as designer for Tiger and Bunny.

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I am really starting to regain my faith in Fairy tail. Obviously that makes me naive because anyone that has read fairy tail extensively knows that Hiro never does anything new. None the less i am choosing to have hope in this new arc.

I enjoyed this chapter. Story wise, we didn't get anyway, but not every chapter of a manga series is able to create a natural pacing in story while constantly making new revelations. For now i am comfortable.

THE PLOT:>

Thinking about it, little happened. The chapter starts off with fairy tail pursuing sylph labyrinth for the moon drip. The dialogue here i mostly comedic. The hunters complain that they went through quite a lot to acquire the moon drip and it wouldn't serve their interests to give it up so easily.

They eventually stop fleeing and engage fairy tail, proving to be a formidable force. Fairy tail quickly realizes that they will have to take the fight seriously after the trio deflects there attacks.

Elsewhere Erza does a bit of investigation, discovering that the giants had been heading into the mountains when they were frozen, clearly armed and ready to fight against something.

At the mountain top, she discovers something and before she can react, she finds herself transformed a younger version of herself.

MY REVIEW:>

As i mentioned above, this was a fun chapter, compounding upon the quality of the last six chapters. The art was great and again i am not sure if it's me who has never paidmuch attention to fairy tail art or Hiro has really kicked his skills into another gear.

The story stalled in this chapter to focus on the action and that didn't bother me because as far as action chapters go, this was pretty good. I liked the uniqueness of the different mages, the giant fist like gadget and its potency against Natsu's flames, the sword with the stretching abilities, perfectly complimenting the sword skills and agility the mage wielding it displayed against Gray's ice attacks, and the sniper attacks that debilitated Lucy's arrow based summon.

I was afraid these guys would prove to be no different from the Garou knights, all talk and no bite. But i was pleasantly surprised when they put up a good fight. And, as mentioned above, the art in these action scenes was superb. One of the reasons i enjoy reading fairy tail is how fluidly displayed the action scenes are.

I do not know what to think about the Erza twist.

If all the characters end up reverting to their child like selves, i will not be happy. Those sort of clichés do not impress me. Clearly this is linked to the eternal flame which i assume Erza found located behind ice. whatever the case, i hope Hiro has a good story in store for me.

So far i have nothing to complain about.

MY RATING: 4/5, this was a decent chapter, short and concise. I cannot complain.

HIGHLIGHT: The fight between fairy tail and the hunters. Lucy looks like she is in for a beating once more. I am curious as to how they are going to deal with the sniper.

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Here is the thing, i haven’t been having the greatest fan of fairy tail in the past few weeks. While the chapters haven’t been exactly bad, there have been several disappointments that have left me craving for an epic fairy tail chapter to rejuvenate the excitement i held for the manga one or two months ago. I am none the less a fairy tail fan and will indeed continue to watch fairy tail until it ends, or at least i think i will. Who knows what Hiro will do in the times to come to completely alienate me from the series.

That aside, this post isn’t me trying to ask myself why i am still reading fairy tail (at least i don’t think so), like i am trying to convince myself that fairy tail is a good manga. As far as i am concerned, fairy tail might have its failings, but it is indeed a good manga. And i have come across a number of opinions on the internet disparaging fairy tail, so many in fact that i suddenly realized that whenever i stood up to defend the series, my arguments were always more along the lines of ‘fairy tail is better than you are giving it credit’

Basically i am always ready to defend fairy tail, but what i have never taken into account is why i defend fairy tail. So i say that fairy tail is a better manga than most people say, Why? Why do i read fairy tail? Why do i consider this manga to be a more impressive piece of work than many otaku believe?

Originally i wanted to approach this from the side of ‘why fairy tail doesn’t suck’ where i would basically locate those complaints that most critics aimed at fairy tail and counter them. That proved to be difficult, so this is going to be basically me explaining why i read fairy tail, which in turn will attack the question of why fairy tail doesn’t suck. So for all of you that have spent an age hating on fairy tail and simply do not understand why us fans bother, this is why we or at least i as a fairy tail fan read the manga despite all its faults.

---1-The Cast- I have always been a big fan of series with large cast and that is what fairy tail provides, a massive cast of characters and mages of all shapes and sizes (literally) with a diverse selection of personalities, abilities and backgrounds. Granted Hiro doesn’t make the best use of them. During any given arc, the action is usually restricted to a select few characters, specifically Erza’s group, but that doesn’t mean the rest of them are ignored.

Hiro does his best to give us as clear a glimpse into the lives of this multitude of mages as possible within his limited space. I like how Hiro, at least a hundred or so chapters ago, would start off each chapter by giving us a brief biography of each of the characters, specifically there full names, their backgrounds and specific form of magic, many of whom you would have never noticed before. It was a fun little way of letting use know who was who and without having to go into lengthy arcs, explanations and dialogue to make to make this information known to us.. Hiro is worth complimenting for the task of creating so many mages from one guild, putting that much time into giving them unique and distinct personalities and assigning to each of them a unique type of magic.

And while they never play a major role in the arcs, Hiro makes sure never to keep them too far. During the tournament they were always in the stands, cheering on the fairy tail team as they did their guild proud. Hiro always takes the time to switch the scenes around, using the likes of levy and bisca to shift the plot away from the central scene, to tell the story through a variety of other angles, making sure that a fairy tail chapter is never really restricted to one place, to one set of voices narrating the entire plot, but instead allowing other voices to jump in and contribute to the progress of an arc.

Basically despite the fact that they aren’t the most active group of people, they keep each chapter fresh and dynamic. You never know from which perspective you will follow the given plot. It also creates that whole ‘nakama’ atmosphere fairy tail speaks so often about.

---2-The Humor- strange individuals like to compare one piece and fairy tail. And while i usually disagree with them, what is clear is the fact that both series are funny. Sure i might not have beenparticularly happy with last week’s first chapter, but i am willing to admit that it was funny. Most manga have this problem where if nothing is happening, in other words when a chapter is fairly random and has nothing whatsoever to do with the primary plot, it will get boring. As fans we are interested in reading happening chapters, when something new occurs and the plot progresses. When that doesn’t happen, when a manga series decides to grace us with a chapter of nothing but downtime, we lose interest or at least get bored. Not so with fairy tail. Fairy tail, despite what is happening, always manages to inject some humor into the plot and that sort of thing will make the events of a chapter feel much less of a waste of time.

Even when you have to read a chapter revolving around the characters having a party or preparing to have a party, at the very least you will laugh. And when you consider the fact that all manga eventually reach a low point, when they are not at their best, it is comforting to consider that at the very least, each fairy tail chapter will get a chuckle out of me. In fact that was my biggest complaint with the dragon war; Hiro was simply injecting too much humor and while he is usually able to compliment his jokes with the events of a serious scene, this time he was simply ruining the mood.

I like to laugh and fairy tail gives me that. Hiro might not be the best at determining how and when to use humor but you cannot deny that he knows how to make us laugh.

---3- The Art- I will not go so far as to say that fairy tail is amazing art wise; there is however no getting around the fact that the manga is consistently drawn. The first time i came across fairy tail, i remember thinking that i hadn’t yet come across a manga that wasn’t only well drawn but so easy to read. Fairy tail is unbelievably easy to follow. Every image within every panel is drawn to flow seamlessly with every other image in the next panel, allowing for a more fluid picture to evolve.

The first time i read fairy tail, i remember being amazed at how easy the battles were to follow. Every panel has as much detail as you need it to have to give you an acceptable idea of where exactly you are. i remember reading chapter 338 last week, during the feast, and thinking that if this was bleach, we would get really close shots of Ichigo or whichever primary character was in play while everything and everyone else would fade behind a black or white background. Hiro had no problem adding those little details in, including shots of the partying crowd in the back as the primary characters interacted. I like that in a manga, a mangaka that doesn’t skimp on the details and provides us with as clear a picture of a scene as possible.

And when he really puts his back into it, Hiro will do some really amazing shots, usually large wide spread images. The fact is, it might not be the best or one of the best art works i have seen in manga, but fairy tail’s art and thus Hiro’s art is none the less brilliant.

---4- The world- I like the fact that the fairy tail world is so solidly developed. It is an intricately designed fairy tale of a world, with a (fairly) consistent set of rules, with a clearly distinct magical system with a fairly solid mythology. It is the sort of self contained and self sustaining world that many a manga never achieve. I like the fact that if i closed my eyes and thought of fairy tail, a specific image would jump to mind. Sure we might not have seen so much of the country or the world for that matter and i might have no idea what anything outside of Fiore looks like, but if you told me toimagine it, to draw a picture, describe what that external world would look like , i would be able to do so.

And that is because, despite his flaws, Hiro has done an impeccable job of creating a world wholly distinct from any other, that is a concept of its own, filled with magic and which can only seem to grow. I love the feeling of magic generated by the concept of fairy tail. Fairy tail is basically a fairy tale and it gets that idea across clearly. This world is rich in unique concepts and ideas, though the pitfall is that Hiro simply isn’t using it to its fullest. I have said it before; if Oda or Kishimoto were doing fairy tail, with its preexisting ideas and concepts, they would create a world class manga story.

As it turns out though, it feels like Hiro isn’t fully utilizing it, especially when you consider the fact that any idea or element that is introduced in any arc is immediately forgotten, never to be revisited again after that arc’s end. We are talking about a ton of characters that Hiro could better utilize to make his overall story that much richer, but he chooses to drop everything in the, choosing to move on to a whole new set of concepts and elements. Hell, even Natsu’s power ups don’t survive beyond an arc.

---5- The magic- there is not denying that fairy tail has a unique magic system. The magic itself isn’t really that intricate or quantifiable, and it wouldn’t really qualify as a system. It is more wonder than anything, sort of like how a magician on stage makes a flock of birds disappear. You do not really know how it was done, what sorts of ki or force he was summoning and how he was utilizing it to achieve…all that mumble jumble alot of better made magic systems tend to explain. It is more of ‘here is what i am going to do, here is a little idea of how i might have done it, but mostly, be amazed’.

In a way it is less accurate to say that i am impressed with the magical system and more likely that i am impressed with the different forms of magic utilized in fairy tail. Once more i am amazed by Hiro’s creative capabilities, to create so many different forms of magic, each of which somehow manages to be unique, not only in terms of comparison with other fairy tail magic, but in comparison with other magic and powers displayed in other series. Sure, we know that Natsu is a fire mage and he can shoot, manipulate, generate fire and all that. But Hiro takes it a little further in allowing Natsu the ability to eat fire for nourishment as well as the other unique ways he will do his thing in battle.

It is great fun to watch a new villain make his entrance, anticipating just what sort of power he will display and how Hiro will engineer his capabilities to stand out a little differently from anything that was yet to be seen in fairy tail. Basically i like the diversity of magic because it makes the fights that much better to watch. Watching Gildartz and blue note stinger fight was that much more fun to read because of the fact that blue note manipulated gravity while Gildartz utilized crush magic. The idea of how these two would clash wasn’t clear to me and watching the battle was more like solving a mystery that simply watching a brawl. How two magic forms will clash and work against each other is part of why fairy tail fights are fun to read.

---6- The wackiness- In this regard i admit that i do see the comparison between one piece and fairy tail. Fairy tail is a wacky show about wacky characters doing wacky things. I am amazed at some of the most silly of concepts and characters Hiro will develop in his many arcs. I am reminded of sugar boy, a character in Edolas who was dressed as a knight, in pink armor, not only endowed with the ability to makes things soft, but also enabled to fly, except that he couldn’t fly more than three or four inches off the ground. That meant that each time he is in flight, a portion of him usually his chest was scraping the floor, making his armor as much protection for him against the earth as it was against enemy attacks.

It is such antics, such panels that i find to be absolutely silly and quirky, and one of the elements that keep me interested in fairy tail. This is a crazy series in more ways than one, which, i guess, makes the jokes that funnier.

---7-The Simplicity- as much as i will rant on once in a while about how fairy tail simply fails to hit the deeper notes of its stories, i cannot really complain because that is what fairy tail is about. It was meant to be fun and cheery and as such very simplistic. There are no complex ideals to ponder, not disturbing philosophies to ruminate, no intricate plot twists and story lines that will leave youscratching your head as you try to figure out what is coming next.

Fairy tail at its core is exactly what it looks like, a fun little show about good Vs. Evil. Good guys go out, good guys find bad guys, bad guys do bad things and good guys beat the peanuts out of the bad guys. It is that simple and most times, you will have fun watching these events happen. Someone has said that to watch fairy tail and enjoy it, you need to stop thinking, to stop trying to work out how events will turn out because chances are you will predict a majority of the story; what you need to do is sit back and enjoy a kick ass show about a group of mages fighting bad guys.

It is no death note, but it will entertain you if you let it. At the end of the day this is a fairy tale, and as such when it is all said and done, every turn will close with a happy ending; but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy watching those happy endings happen. Basically fairy tail is fun if you give it the chance it needs. If you attack it like any other serious manga series, it will not work for you. Sure Hiro has proven himself capable of weaving some impressive mysteries. But none the less if you sit back and let fairy tail do what it does best, be fun and simple, you will enjoy it.

That is hard advice as i too get frustrated with some plots because i will eventually over think them, but that doesn’t mean i still don’t enjoy fairy tail.

---My last and final point- It’s awesome- there is not denying the fact that fairy tail is awesome, at least to me it is. There is a reason why, before the thousand year blood war arc, i ranked fairy tail higher than bleach. And that is because at its best, fairy tail can be that good. The story is unique, having guilds with mages of different styles taking on jobs, not for the fun of it, not foradventure per say but to make money and make ends meet.

The characters at their best make for interesting reading. I am still shocked that Hiro managed to pull that much drama out of Cana. She is one of those consistently drunk characters you never give much thought to.The plot is properly paced and Hiro never forgets to throw in a twist or two along the way. You might be able to predict how an arc will end, but the journey to that end will constantly surprise you. It has great magic and the fights are epic. And the art, as mentioned above, is brilliant. There is no denying the fact that Hiro knows how to draw a fight and to illustrate the effects of the different magical styles. And of course the manga is so easy to follow and read.

You could say that Fairy tail’s biggest problem is how it ends its arcs. So many of its finales are the same and you can tell that a happily ever after ending is coming. It’s like Hiro puts all his effort into making the journey a brilliant one, actually breaking one or two shonen rules and really catching you off guard, only to let the ball drop at the end. It should be the other way round. Hiro doesn’t give most of the more interesting characters time to shine or even get involved in the plot. And i wish every fight wasn’t solved with a power up or nakama power. Plus there have been some plot holes, some explanations of events that have not made sense. I still refuse to believe the whole eclipse gate business. None of what was said made sense logically.The focus on Natsu in every arc and the fact that each arc must end with his involvement is irritating.

But here is the thing, even with all those problems, you can enjoy fairy tail, which is why it is awesome. Sure it has it faults, glaring faults in fact, but that doesn’t detract from its entertaining value.

So here is what i have to say in conclusion, if you are not already, READ FAIRY TAIL.

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