Thursday, August 15, 2013
Day Two Hundred and Twenty-seven - Fairy Tail: Pilot, "SHONEN FIGHTO!"
While I've seen (and grown bored with) both Naruto and One Piece, Fairy Tail was one of the few manga/anime titles that I never even tried. Not that I think I was missing all that much as the pilot doesn't impress, really, but it's a rarity to find a title make it over the Pacific that I haven't seen or read a little of... cause, trust me, I read A LOT of manga.
Anyways, Fairy Tail's opening episode follows a similar rubric as many anime (and that we've seen here on Couchbound before), a one-off intro episode that introduces several of the main characters without really plumbing their depths but definitely establishing their street-cred when it comes to powers and combat skills... as well as providing a small amount of background data on the fantasy world that they inhabit.
The more I think about it, the more Fairy Tail feels like a cross between One Piece and the Dragon Quest series of video games... and I don't just say that because the lead character Natsu seems to be on a quest to find an actual dragon. There's something about the art and character design that really reminds me of Dragon Quest 8. It definitely has a vibe similar to that universe, but with a few over the top characters that are vaguely similar to One Piece.
Being a Shonen Fight-o anime, though, it has quite a few annoying tropes that it studiously follows. There's the annoying talking animal sidekick, the über-powerful hero who initially presents himself as weak, and the easily influenced female lead (Lucy) who, despite seeming competency, quickly falls into a position where she needs to be rescued.
Take THAT, feminism!
Sadly, there's a lot of endemic misogyny in anime, and Fairy Tail is no exception. One of the other side characters (who you don't meet in the episode) is shown off as a bikini centerfold, so kudos to progress there... Lucy tries to ply her feminine wiles on a shopkeeper for a discount (and is angry that her antics only shave off a small percentage)... and, hell, the eventual plot of the episode revolves around slavers kidnapping dozens of buxom women from the town to sell off and, no doubt, ravish... though, it's never really said, just heavily implied by the date rape spell the main villain tries on Lucy.
There's not much to like about Fairy Tail aside from its generic boy's action anime tropes and devices. If you're a fan of shows like The Slayers, you'll probably find something to enjoy here, but it's all so much overpowered fluff to me. The character motivations seem a bit more grounded than the utterly ridiculous plots of One Piece, but not by much.
That said, shows like this are often immensely popular... One Piece being a prime example of extremely wide reaching in terms of its audience and fanbase. I guess I'm just an anime snob, though, as neither One Piece nor Fairy Tail are doing much for me.
At the very least, it's a plus that the series is presented with its original Japanese Dub, even if some of the jokes are lost in the English subtitles' translation (like the fireworks Tamaya shout).
My final verdict is that it's probably fun (and fine) for the older elementary and younger teen set, but don't look for depths to plumb, complex action, or witty dialogue. Fairy Tail is upper tier LCD... but still just LCD.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~