It took a long time and several try-outs before I really started to watch Fairy Tail. First I was somewhat disturbed by the extremely cutesy and simple characters and the seemingly gag-driven dialogue. That was a mistake. Even if it is gags galore a pretty part of the time.
The longer I watched the more depth and personalities everyone got, and they became more likeable too. The gags are not too disturbing (except the fart joke episode, that was just nasty, or maybe my kind of low humour isn’t so Japanese). I love most of the music choices, though. Like every time there is a rowdy fight in the Fairy Tail hall (and that happens a lot), they fight to Offenbach’s Cancan music. And the time Lucy thinks Natsu is in love with her some small parts of The Maiden’s Prayer is played, and a little Vivaldi springs up here and there. Pun intended. Not to forget the theme song of the Magical Council, The Habanera from Carmen. And among the strangest soundtrack choices, like ever, when Land of Hope and Glory suddenly breaks out in strange places. Wonder why?
The Fairy Tail bunch is certainly both quirky and rowdy; loves to fight and break things, but they are fiercely loyal and never give up.
The story is somewhat predictable. I mean, male protagonist, MP, meets bad guys, get pummelled, stands up, tries again and wins. Or female protagonist meets bad guys, gets pummelled, loses half her clothing and gets rescued by MP. Or rescues MP. That could happen – well, I’m sure it did, maybe, but I can’t remember. Or Erza rescues everyone.
But the magic and the world itself are cool, and the characters very loveable. Of course everyone loves the cuddly, nutty Natsu and Grey who suddenly takes off his clothes all the time. In the manga he’s wearing less and even strips naked sometimes, but in the anime he’s wearing long shorts, which lessens the funny side of it, since there is no real shock value in someone suddenly appearing in knee-long shorts. Or Elfman who tells everyone who does something cool that they are a real man (even women). And Ezra, who is the strongest female character. Lover her huge wardrobe of different armour and weapons (that she of course carries around and changes into in a split second). Even if the armour often seems to lack midriff protection. Zodiac spirit magician Lucy is another story. I found her quite annoying in the beginning. But she doesn’t come along as quite as retarded as many shojo girls. She’s starts off a fairly weak leading character (but fortunately grows stronger and more likeable as the show goes on). There are lots and lots of characters, so it took a while for me to keep them apart. Otaku fact: sometimes I make lists of the characters in anime or manga I like.
I love the magic, though. Magic is always good. And the magic is not the same for all, there are lots of different kinds of magic, from Lucy, who makes contracts with spirits of the zodiac and get them to help her, Natsu, who uses dragon magic and eats fire, Gray who uses ice and Ezra, who calls forth a multitude of weapons (and outfits to match each).
One thing I always find fairly disturbing is the unnecessary panty flashes and boob views. Fairy tail has a lot of those. Not that unexpected in a shounen manga, where it’s more rule than exception. There is even a special term for those things (panchira, a.k.a. panty flashes in manga). Well, it can be done in a slightly respectful way or just be damn creepy. It’s not creepy here. And it follows a lot of cliché tradition (hey, Hollywood) in the way girls fight and somehow manage to lose more and more clothes, while the scraps of cloth still manage to cover the important parts. Sometimes I stop watching anime where the sexist crap is too blatant. Highschool of the Dead was one of those, even though some of my fav voice actors were in it. But it made me feel a bit queasy. Maybe it was the zombie theme, though. A story where you have to kill your classmates since they suddenly try to eat you doesn’t mix well with trying to look up the skirts of the still living…
Apart from a relatively sexist presentation, Fairy Tail clears the Bechdel test with a good margin and has a lot of strong female characters.
Some of the fillers eps in this one are quite funny, strangely enough. If you, like me, have followed Bleach and Naruto slavishly for years, fillers can be something of a red flag. But then again, some of the regular Fairy Tail eps are a little bit long-winded and quite frankly just boring. I mean, there must be more ways than one to do fighting.
In the arcs where the story is quite good, it might had been better with not as repetitive and a bit shorter fights. But the anime took off again in the last arch where there is a huge tournament (I love games, competitions, and development/training in anime) and now, in season 2 it’s much better.
Still, Fairy Tail is not one of my absolute favorites but it’s fun to watch when you’re in the mood for something light and cheerful.