The story takes place in a world where fairies possess and dwell in animals, giving them mysterious abilities. By removing the organs of a possessed animal and transplanting them into humans, fairies can be summoned as an alter ego and be used as a weapon. Such individuals who used fairies as war tools were called "Fairy Soldiers." Once the war was over and they completed their roles, the soldiers lost their purpose. Some began working for the government, some joined the mafia, and some even became terrorists, as each chose their own way to live.
Nine years have passed since the war. The protagonist Mariya is a new recruit of "Dorothea," an organization which investigates and suppresses fairy-related crimes. Amidst the unstable political situation, criminals with lingering wounds from the war and past conflicts emerge and engage in terrorism as an act of revenge. This is the story of Fairy Soldiers, fighting for their own justice in a chaotic postwar world.
Like an undetected tumor, Fairy Gone wormed its way into the popular seasonal anime before it began airing. Soon enough it became clear this show would be nothing but a cancer. I just wanted a dark fantasy anime filled with fun action scenes! Was that so much to ask for? Instead, what I got was a borderline unwatchable train wreck.
“Once upon a time, fairies were used as tools for war.”
This tagline and promising poster art were the bait at the end of P.A.Work’s fishing rod, and they successfully baited me into watching it.
Unfortunately, this is not about an army of Disney Tinker Bell fairies
wielding rifles. What we got was closer to a cheap Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure knock-off; suspiciously the fifth part of Jojo was airing at the same time as this. Each main character is a soldier possessing one of these fairies: which are super-powered monsters that can be summoned at will during fights. They are the gimmick of this show, nothing else is original. Although the fairy's had enigmatic designs, they are animated with janky CGI at a low frame rate. The fairies look like otherworldly monsters, which fits their alien way of moving, if only it weren’t nauseating to look at. The fairies are tied to each user’s life, if it is injured, the user will receive damage as well. If it is damaged too much then it will need to recover before the next summon. These rules are frequently at play during fairy fights, which adds to the tension and the consequence of death or serious injury. When Fairy Gone is at its best, the soldiers fight each other in sword duels or rifle shoot outs while their fairies mirror their fight on a larger scale. There only a handful of these fights though; usually the protagonist is injured, preventing her from summoning her fairy. The fairies have abilities useful to each soldier’s specific fighting preference; the sword fighter has a werewolf brawler, the rifleman has a fire wielder, and a sniper has a long distance lookout fairy. If action and fairy fighting were the focus of this show it may have been good. Unfortunately, P.A. Works prioritized mind-numbingly boring dialogue rather than action. That brings us to the elephant in the room, the exposition dumps.
At the end of every episode, I was always left overwhelmed by all the information that was dumped onto me. After reading through the Wikipedia summaries for the sake of this review, I can say that there is definitely a story! But it’s only the skeleton of one. There’s no substance, no delivery, there is still no reason to care about Fairy Gone. If you told me this show was written by a robot, I would believe you. It’s like the P.A. Works anime machine went down a checklist of all the necessary parts to a political fantasy story.
1. Name the main guy something cool, like Free Underbar… Genius.
2. We need some giant edgy monsters to fight each other in epic duels, just call it supernatural.
3. Add a femme fatale and name her Bitter Sweet, because she is bitter and sweet. Damn, give these writers a raise.
4. Make the main characters trust the femme fatale so that she can betray them, then repeat that cycle a couple of times. People like twists, right?
5. Add politics to appeal to the intellectuals. Do any of our writers know how to write political drama? No? Just wing it.
6. Make a villain walk through a barrage of bullets while whistling and chuckling like a lunatic, for five minutes straight, without getting a single scratch on him. Logic be damned!!
“Show, don’t tell” is a rule all great stories follow, and if they don’t they end up like Fairy Gone. We are given dozens of names of places, people, and things, with no reason to care other than the hope it will be important later on. The exposition dumps are paced so slowly, but then the transitions from one location to the next are so breakneck fast that you’ll spend most of the new scene figuring out what’s going on. To the show’s credit, much of the information does get reincorporated later. Are you likely to remember everything by the time it becomes important? Not likely. I know I didn’t. I could only manage to recognize certain character names as they got introduced in person, rather than by a narrator. Once a previously named character meets the protagonist, she gives a sliver of information to know the basic outline of what is happening. Dialogue this repetitive usually makes a show worse, but without it, the story would be incomprehensible. Some context is better than none, I suppose. Some of the info dumps are just a bunch of random old dudes discussing politics for a while. At the beginning, there are some emotional stakes in the show worth caring about, but it is quickly forgotten.
The protagonist, Marlya, has one interesting motivation, her relationship with Veronica. She is a fairy wielder fighting for the enemy. Her fairy is so badass, it enters people’s wounds and blowing them up inside out. Through flashbacks, we find that they were childhood friends, separated during a chaotic invasion, leaving them on different sides in the aftermath. If Fairy Gone had played to its strengths, it would have developed the duality between Marlya’s choice to defend the greater good opposed to Veronica’s goal to seek revenge against the government. Needless to say, it did not develop this relationship past the first episode. Marlya acts determined to speak to Veronica and mend their friendship, but it never happens. A plotline the second season will likely address. The rest of the story feels deplorable, you could read a Wikipedia summary instead and lose absolutely nothing. There is no benefit to watching this anime, it looks so bad that you would be better off just reading about it.
P.A. Works is known for their beautiful artwork and consistent animation, neither of which is anywhere to find in this anime. At first, there was some good background art here and there. Early on there was greatly detailed forestry, overgrown moss covering dilapidated castles, dynamic lighting as the time of day changes. But that’s as far as my praise for the art will go. It wasn’t anything special, but it was detailed. The visuals quickly devolve into a mess of awful animation. Zoom shots are used ad nauseam to convey motion, sometimes so poorly that you can see the big ass pixels all over the screen! Character designs are off model 100% of the time unless if the shot is a close-up. This is a huge problem from the start of episode one until the end. Even in the first shot of the opening, Marlya’s face looks weirdly disproportionate and missing details of her normal design. Calling the lazy character art a distraction would be an understatement. There’s no way to enjoy anything without being reminded how ugly everyone in it looks.
An opening is meant to show off the best visuals to get you hyped, but it shows the worst of it, foreshadowing the rapid decline in art quality. The song is pretty good though, it could do without the Engrish and rap/talk-singing. I wish the rest of the soundtrack was as good, but it’s generic and forgettable. The whole OST contains only a couple of songs replayed over and over. As for the ending song, it’s much better, great vocals and piano backing. The ED begins just before the end of each episode as if to signify that something epic just took place, but I was always left thinking “That’s it? Really?” I watched the ending credits every time trying to piece together what I just watched and why the show thought it was so important.
[Final Score: 2/10]
Fairy Gone is the bankruptcy of creativity. It is not a real anime. Rather, this show is a giant block of shit molded to look like a real anime. How could I possibly care about this piece of crap if even the people making it didn't even care? If you managed to watch this show until the end you likely fall into one of these three categories: you are in denial, you’re REALLY skilled at selective blindness, or you wanted peaceful slumber. Or you are like me and you were curious if it would get better. Let me spare you the trouble with a quick answer—it only gets worse.
I want to say congratulations to P.A. Works. Congratulations on making an original anime that I found almost as lifeless as Glasslip. Mind you, that’s an impressive feat. I’m a big fan of P.A. Works when it comes to their work so saying this wasn’t easy. But man, Fairy Gone is a show that I wish I watched on an airplane so I can forget about it after I land.
P.A. Works seems to have two modes for their projects: it’s either really creative that makes a supreme impression or something that looked like it could’ve be written by a college dropout. As a fan of
P.A. Works, I’ve seen anime that were great, average, and terrible. Fairy Gone gets the honor of being uncharismatic trash. Because to be honest, even when there are garbage like Glasslip out there, that show managed to deliver some unintentional humor. Fairy Gone’s humor is just…gone
At first glance, I may sound a bit outspoken about this original show. Fairy Gone’s premise and story concepts sounds interesting on paper. I mean, just read that thing on the MAL page. “Once upon a time, fairies were tools of war”. When you get an impactful statement like that to start off a synopsis, it sounds like a deafening roar for potential. Even the setting sounded creative enough for world building. My initial vision for the show is a tragic, memorable fantasy war story with meaningful characters and breathtaking plot. After watching the first few episodes, a voice told me I was dead wrong for it managed to drop the ball week after week and after week. To get a general idea, we meet the main female protagonist Marlya Noel, a girl who survived and lives in the aftermath of the War of Unification. With an ability to see fairy primordials, she has one goal in her mind and that’s to find her childhood friend, Veronica. It doesn’t take long for the audience to meet Veronica as she debuts in the very first episode. Her true goals are a mystery but involves collecting pages of a mysterious artifact known as the Black Fairy Tome. It doesn’t help that the show throws info dump about the war at you with a lot questions that needs answers.
But backtracking a bit, Fairy Gone isn’t that confusing as a show together. I mean, we have anime about supernatural organizations with main characters dealing with tragic pasts in recent years. Bungou Stray Dogs, Kekkai Sensen, P.A. Work’s own Sirius are just a few to name. What makes Fairy Gone troubling is its oversaturated character cast with a weak set of main stars. I’m not going to lie, Marlya doesn’t give me the impression of a special snowflake despite her unique gift. There are scenes in the first few episodes that makes her feel helpless compared to some of her comrades. On the other hand, there’s Veronica who will no doubt make us wonder why she exists. Unfortunately, I don’t really get Veronica as a character. On the surface, there’s the childhood relationship between her and Marlya. As explored through some flashbacks, it’s told through with words and scenes to make them look like close friends. But do we care? I’ll be honest because I don’t. It feels way too scripted that follows some sensational dialogues and face expressions. Somehow, the show seeks to make a memorable impression of this character relationship. When in reality, it missed the mark by a long shot.
In the present, we also meet characters like Free Underbar who partners with Marlya during their missions. Joining them in the Dorothea branch also includes Klara, Serge, Lily, Robert, Oz, Nein, Chima, and some doctor’s name I can’t remember. Oh right, Eleanor Need. Mind you, this is just one branch consisting of characters with given names. With such an oversaturated cast, most of them are left in the dust with little screen time compared to the main stars. It’s a shame because our main characters can’t carry the show at all with their uninspiring personalities. You can bet that none of the others can either.
Fairy gone more or less follows a war story with its themes. Director Kenichi Suzuki previously worked on titles such as Drifters. However, it’s definitely not charismatic as that show. To be fair, Fairy Gone losses its energy almost whenever a character opens their mouth. The dialogues sounds so scripted that I can’t imagine how much I can endure after every week. As time went on, even some of the fights begins to look scripted although it does manage to bounce back occasionally with its cinematic performances. At the very least, P.A. Works seems to have a tolerable budget to work with this anime given the overall animation quality. On the other hand, I do wish they stop overusing similar music every episode during the big fights. It makes it look more like an AMV than a fight at all.
This is a disaster. It’s a disappointing disaster considering what potential it had. When Fairy Gone was first advertised with its trailers, narratives, and key visuals, I was hoping to see another worthy show to join P.A. Works’ original lineup. Instead, forget about all that because this is one of those anime that failed with what potential it had. There, I just saved you many boobless hours.
Every so often there comes a show that flys under the radar for one reason or another. Usually it’s about a niche thing that a select handful can truly appreciate. Sometimes it has a slow start and then evolves into something fascinating. Whatever the case, every season there is unfortunately a show that fits those monikers. This seasons victim is Fairy Gone.
Early on Fairy Gone definitely had some potential. The story being set up seemed to be one of revolution with loyalty and relationships being tested with a hint of vengeance. Throw in some supernatural elements and Fairy Gone had the makings of a
Fairly Good story (pun somewhat intended). Over the twelve episode first cour run however, Fairy Gone was a letdown. The story that it had set up for itself was seeming abandoned. Episodes would start off making reference to something that you received no background on. They would skip around tackling different subjects in their world with no explanation as to why they are important. In order for people to get invested in a story you must first flesh it out, something the writers of the show must know little about. Even with a weak story, shows can be saved by having interesting characters.
Unfortunately for Fairy Gone they take their same approach to fleshing out a story to flesh out their characters. In the beginning episodes we are introduced to our main cast. We get to see their goals, aspirations, and grudges. The potential is there for some character interactions and development. Twelve episodes in and there is little to no development to speak of. Heck even some of the characters that we saw within the first couple episodes are never seen or heard from again. Instead we get random filler characters that are thrown at us and all of a sudden we are supposed to care about them. Spoiler alert, nobody cares about them. One, they have no development. Two, they have no story. And three, they are robbing the screen time away from far more interesting characters. This is not how you write in characters.
For now I am done ranting and would like to move on to the good things about Fairy Gone. Above I said that Fairy Gone is an overlooked show that doesn’t get the appreciation that it deserves even from someone like me that just spent two paragraphs berating its story and characters. Despite all this Fairy Gone does do some things right, even exceptionally well. One of those things is the art and animation. The art has a darker more serious tone that is grounded in its world. It doesn’t feel out of place for what it is trying to represent. As for the animation I feel it deserves some high praise. Each episode features fluid animation especially during fight scenes. CGI is used but it’s mostly only used for the fairy’s which honestly don’t look great but also don’t feel terrible either. They are just kind of meh I guess.
Going back to the nicely animated fight scenes, I must mention something that made me impressed. Whenever there is a fight scene, which happens at least once per episode, there is an insert song that plays over it. Anime have done this in the past but usually it’s the OP or ED and they only do it one time over the course of the series. This isn’t the case with Fairy Gone. Each fight is given its own original fight song which when combined with the amazingly fluid animation instantly makes watching the episode and the series for that matter feel worth it. The opening song and ending song are equally as good with the OP getting me hyped for the episode while the ED just puts me in a good mood even if I know the story is going nowhere.
Overall, Fairy Gone will probably be panned by the anime community as a boring, lackluster show making my review seem like a needle in a haystack. I do hope they fix the issues in the next cour so that it can have some relevance in the community or risk being gone from memory. (Pun intended)
OK, so the first part is over. While 24 episode anime could get better by doing something with the plot, those 12 episodes that we have on hand are just bad.
First problem: The plot. While it started like your typical adventure with goals for MC to achieve, it ended more like some "slice of life cop story" - simply put, nothing contributes to the main plot and nothing moves it. MC did not even get a bit closer to her goal, most of the cast simply does not have a goal to begin with. Yes, authors try to convince us there is some scheming and
politics involved, but they look like child's first fan fiction.
Second problem: The world: mismatch of styles, you have legged and wheeled vehicles, you have robots with medieval cannons and infantry with 20th century guns and heroes with swords. If I am to put aside the style, there arises a problem with world presentation: you are bombarded with dozens of organisations, and even more names, but the problem is - most of them will never appear again. Even some "big dudes" who are supposed to be major figures in the world appeared a few times and were never heared about after that. What was even the point? Oh, and from this comes another problem:
Third problem: The characters. Cause there are so many of them, even the MC crew are never given any development. We get all the story from uninteresting flashbacks, while characters themselves sometimes behave nothing close to those flashbacks. As example: cool army dude who survived on the frontlines and is tough as nails can't beat anyone in main story. And that is not even the worst part of the problem, main villain is given powers and skills, but wins battles not by using them, but by turning everyone around him in stormtrooper. A waste of potential, if you ask me.
Fourth problem: The art. CG is terrible and looks out of place, 2D can give you sometimes a fine image, but sometimes it goes into "where did my budget go" area, with faces and figures simplified to a laughable result. It could be ok if it only occured in mass scenes, but with 2 or 3 characters on screen simplified faces made with a few lines look really terrible.
The only good thing: music. Yes, this is the only point that felt satisfying. But good music in an action anime is not able to pull it from the pit of its problems.
Overall: this anime is disappointing: it was an original, it had a potential, interesting timeline + interesting powers, but the execution of every single idea failed miserably. I recommend avoiding this one and saving yourself time.