Fairy Tail occupies a strange place in shonen anime history because of its extreme divisiveness. While highly popular at a time when it was coming out, the story quickly became stale in the eyes of its fans (as well as non-fans familiar with its clichés). Many people started comparing it with One Piece due to their similarities, while others criticized the power system, or lack thereof.
However, what if we were to tell you that Fairy Tail is often hated on more than it deserves? Yes, there is a lot to enjoy about this seemingly simplistic show once we get past all the valid criticisms. The story revolves around a group of mages in a guild who take on odd magical jobs in an enchanted land, but the show’s greatest aspect often shines through elsewhere.
Strong female characters and 9 other reasons that makes Fairy Tail a fantasy shonen classic
The majority of the distinctive characters in Fairy Tail are Fairy Tail guild members. Each character has a unique quirk that ties them to one another. Natsu might be characterised as a comic figure who also has emotional complexity. There are other characters besides Natsu, including as Lucy, Grey, Erza, and Happy. The sad pasts of all the characters—especially those of Natsu, Grey, and Erza—help to shape who they will become in the future.
The entire cast of the anime has fantastic character growth. Every challenging task or Evil force they face develops their character and brings forth the best in them. The friendly rivalry between Natsu and Grey, their scary companion in Erza, Mirajane’s motherly yet badass attitude, Levy’s scholarship, the gradual progression of Gajeel and Laxus and the slow development of Juvia are all amazing aspects.
2. Female characters
While the fanservice is often criticized in Fairy Tail, the blame often overlooks the development of female characters. Fairy Tail has arguably some of the best female characters in shonen who even manage to surpass fan-favourite faces of Bleach, One Piece, Naruto, My Hero Academia and Dragon Ball in terms of feminine power.
Erza has often ranked at the top of popularity charts due to a combination of her martial prowess, indomitable force of spirit and empathy. Often taking down some of the strongest adversaries of the Guild, she is scary for Natsu and Grey but also cares deeply for them. Similarly, Mirajane’s take-over magic and Juvia’s firm dedication are potent points of contention in their own right, while debating the best female character. Even Lucy, who gets a bad reputation due to her playing the role of damsel in distress steps up in the final two arcs and proves instrumental in the defeat of all the biggest villains.
3. Engaging villains and sensible redemption arcs
Zeref and Mavis are two of the most tragic characters in anime. They are stuck with a curse that specifies how anyone they love with die, and they fall in love with each other. Can anything be more tragic? Zeref does not undergo a redemption arc, not really, but it is his compelling backstory and inability to surpass his fate despite his philanthropic interests that make him a tragic, Faustian incident. It is truly fitting that they meet their end while sharing one final kiss.
Acnologia is another great villain whose backstory and turn to revenge is rooted in a tragic tale where he lost his people. He does not truly get redeemed either but other villains do, or at least show nuances to themselves. Brandish, Jellal, Gajeel, Laxus, Cobra, Ultear, Sting, Rogue, Minerva and Flare are all great antagonists who manage to become allied to the light side over time, with their redemptions being both fulfilling and sensible.
Fairy Tail is not one of those animes= that consistently focuses on battles and a serious atmosphere throughout the entire series. The entire series of Fairy Tail is filled with awesome jokes. It can quickly transition from comedy to serious fight.
Character rivalry, utterly ridiculous battles that break out in the guild peacefully, and bizarre recurring gags add pleasure to this lovely story with mediaeval elements.
The ending encapsulates the idea that the story has teased all along, that the main character of the story is not Natsu but the entire guild and its allies. In the ending, enemies, old and new who have allied to take on a common threat because of their shared interests and emotions, find a way to defeat Acnologia, both in his physical and astral realm. Who leads the charge on both sides? Why, Lucy and Natsu of course!
Natsu makes the finishing blow by combining the powers of all the dragon slayers, showing he would have been unable to win alone. Acnologia’s defeat, the final kiss of Zeref and Mavis, the resolution of the story and the hopeful glimpses into the future (Gajeel and Levy are even expecting a baby!) makes the Fairy Tail story truly hit where it matters.
6. Magical powers
Magic is one of the most common markers of a shonen battle anime even though it goes by various names at various places. While not having a rigid magic system, Fairy Tail manages to have an interesting storyline by showcasing characters with their own unique abilities. In one arc, there appears a girl who can use paper bits to suck out their enemy’s magic. There is Dragon-Slayer and God-Slayer magic, and various categories are even among them. People can control the elements, but eat them to get stronger.
There are people who can transform into demons, transform their bodies into the water, play with light and shadow, change the geography of a continent through a mere spell, use playing cards to pull off extreme feats and more. There are magical flying cats who can transform into muscular panthers, and in one scene, a character can even destroy a meteorite.
7. High-stakes battle
Power-ups are what intensify fantastic fight scenes. There will always be a stronger character than you, thus being the strongest character doesn’t always pay off. You need to constantly developing your skills if you want to defeat these powerful adversaries. Natsu, the lead character of Fairy Tail, has the ability to use Fire Dragon Slayer Magic.
He boasts some of the best power-ups in the series and is unquestionably one of the strongest wizards. “Dragon force,” “hidden fire form,” and “Multi Dragon force” are some of Natsu’s best power-ups. As you watch the battles, you might experience goosebumps. Fairy Tail is a story that genuinely supports the shonen formula, despite the Power of Friendship’s frequent criticism for being used as a deus ex machina to win battles. Anyone can defeat anyone else, such that a kid such as Sherry can take down the time goddess Dimaria.
8. Likable characters and dynamics
Some friendships that begin as rivalries turn into unbreakable bonds. Both Gary and Natsu are colleagues in the Fairy Tail guild. Since they were young children, they have both engaged in conflict. Since Gary’s magic element is Ice and Natsu’s magic element is Fire, they will unavoidably clash. But their squad is made stronger by this bond of rivalry. Because it is hard to stop them when they fight together to defend what is important to them.
Their desire to stop each other from dying in battle leads them to try and sacrifice themselves. Lucy’s love for Natsu and their developing friendship is another great aspect of the anime. The story delves into relationship organically and brings them out over them. Gajeel and Levy finding love in each other, Juvia and Grey admitting their feelings, Laxus’ slowly developing affection for Mirajane and the bond between Erza and Jellal despite the latter starting off as a villain – all these are great reasons to get into the series.
9. Soundtrack and music
It goes without saying that the soundtrack and background music make up a significant portion of an anime. One of the best soundtracks belongs to Fairy Tail, and the background music featured Pop, Rock, and even Rap genres. Shouji Hata, the sound director, did a fantastic job at capturing the emotions. The opening tunes are excellent and perfectly synchronise with the screenplay’s pacing to keep you engaged in the story. With its melody, the background score creates numerous breathtaking moments amid fight scenes.
The Celtic score blaring off with instrumental parts in the Dragon Cry score as Natsu powers up, or the wholesome slow beat of Snow Fairy, the hopelessly hopeful opening in Masayume Chasing and the upneat tone of The Power of the Dream are all great things to look forward to as the gang gets together.
10. Heart and family
Even the staunchest critic cannot deny that Fairy Tail has heart. There are numerous elements in Fairy Tail that motivate the audience. Watching anime teaches you many valuable life lessons. The “Value of Friends and Family” was the lesson in life I took away from it the most. We learn the joy of friendship through fairy tales. Lucy felt as though she had joined a large family when she initially entered the Fairy Tail guild. She was generally given the fortitude to carry onward in life by a family she never had. As they watch this anime, viewers will feel at ease.
Family returns over time, when Laxus redeems himself in the eyes of his grandfather and finds his family in his guild rather than the father he had misguidedly followed. Erza’s sacrifice before her mother and the bond between Cana and Gildarts even caused the two strongest wizards of Alvarez to kill themselves as they realised that despite their superior battle prowess, they can never truly have a better life than the Fairy Tail wizards. It is moments like this that speak to the endearing long-lasting quality of Fairy Tail, and why you should not let the criticisms demotivate you from following the series.