[Dropped after twelve episodes.]
One following me for long will look at the title of this post and say, “Well, duh!”
Fairy Tail is one of those popular battle shounens that the typical anime fan picks up because it looks flashy and fun, two things the show probably is for those who don’t have a lot of experience with anime as a medium. Even to those who are accustomed to the ever-expansive (sometimes) pastime, Fairy Tail can seem like a nice series to turn one’s brain off to and enjoy the zany interactions between characters and the journey towards the ideal self, or wealth, or whatever these characters want to do. Back in 2013, I gave the series a shot, and despite my much smaller arsenal of viewed anime under my belt, I could only make it to a single cour for a standard anime series.
The reasoning behind my decision is likely what one who knows my taste in visual media would expect: characters are too simplistic, the plot moves at the pace of a person with only one arm—no legs—climbing a mountain, and feels overall inconsequential. Experiencing the thrills of adventure is one of the more subjective perspectives of the adventure-loving individual, such that one perceives what makes a good adventure differently from others. Fairy Tail does little to distinguish itself as one, from my viewpoint, due to (if I’m recalling correctly) its almost random setting placements from episode to episode. Characters are introduced with no foreshadowing or subtlety, and when they are established, their personalities fall in line with the one-track mindsets that shounen and harem anime in particular are prone to.
There has also been quite a fair amount of criticism with the show using an abundant amount of sexual fan service. With these kinds of productions, aimed towards male preteens and such, I can only conclude that these decisions are all but expected—though I concede that doesn’t make them justifiable. Going further, Fairy Tail is by no means Death Note; the use of sexual fan service isn’t something that would turn me off (completely) as the atmosphere of Fairy Tail is generally goofy and light-hearted. I’d be far more irritated by its blatancy in soiling the mood of a series more somber in its intentions. Grave of the Fireflies does not need a cameo appearance from the ladies of High School of the Dead, capisce?
I mention the series is a battle shounen, yet I say nothing about the battles. Ironic, but soon to be dissolved. Frankly put, they’re boring and uninteresting—redundant as the two together may seem. Boring because there’s nothing on the line and the context of there being 170 episodes puts the stakes of an epic battle in episode four or five into jeopardy. Uninteresting because the manner in which the battles progress leaves little to imagination. Again, bear with me as it has been five years, but the most I can remember is that battles are often settled with some deus ex machina/random hidden power-up scenario that gives the hero the timely advantage. I hate that in shounen, because it always seems to happen often in shounen, but I hate it in most other cases, as well. I suppose the effects were pretty enough, but the entire design of Fairy Tail does little to titillate the audience to keep watching, whether with fantastic powers or literal tits.
One of the things I’ve had to learn in my time as a human being is to accept that people have their tastes and those tastes dictate what is produced in business. So long as they absorb money like Kirby’s suction powers, shounen series such as Fairy Tail or Naruto or My Hero Academia will continue to get season after season after movie after spin-off after pin-ups. For a long time, I found it detestable enough to be spiteful towards the whole medium for it, but holding on to that hatred does little for me in the end. So now I continue to hold out hope that if I continue to write posts like this and support those I feel deserve to be produced in larger numbers, something in the industry may change—or change enough to pop out a “good” product or two. Fairy Tail is one of many manufactured titles that rose to the top because battle shounen are king. Whether it’s truly “worth” anything means little to its success or popularity.