Fairy Tail is definitely one of the most popular shounen anime and if you are thinking of watching it based on this fact alone, then I encourage you to read some reviews first. I have one small request, reader. Please try to keep your egos in tact and read the review before evaluating it. We all have our reasons to like or not a show.Thank you. Stay tuned.
I am still amazed at myself that I managed to watch all of this series, but that only indicates that there are some positives to it and I somehow enjoyed it all. What can be said about the story? Nothing really special, a girl named Lucy wants to become a wizard in a famous guild and after she meets Natsu, one of its members, she manages to join him and thus, they form a team and start on taking missions and embark on journeys. Natsu is trying to find his parent, a dragon who raised him and taught him rare magical skills and abilities based on fire. Although the concept of guilds, which is taken from online games is interesting, it is in no way original.
The story progresses in arcs with each arc being connected nicely with the next one and the transition between them feels smooth and logical. The atmosphere and the nature of each arc generally remain the same lighthearted and cheerful vibe following the vibe of the anime on its whole, except for some moments and scenes which need to be dark to show the contradiction between good and evil. Although, the story of each individual arc can be described as cliche, you could at least expect the execution to be masterful for a popular anime like this, right? No, they decided to shit all over the place with the word mediocrity, though there are some glimpses of good storytelling and directing in some arcs, but this is exactly what they are, glimpses. Individual elements of each arc are interesting but the story itself is unoriginal, although how it's told and executed is what counts the most and this show had the potential to be great, but they vomited it all out to appeal to the general public and/or their target group If this was their purpose than they nailed it. Linear, repetitive and predictable storytelling and the use of generic guidelines as in any typical shounen of this type leave no room for the element of surprise for some rare plot twists that might exist.Also the amount of fan service, aka huge breasts for almost every female and semi nudity for males, is staggering at the least. Generally, the arcs are short and leave no room for good development and the pace of each arc is out of place. I felt that some arcs needed faster pace but others slower, go figure. Some episodes are uneventful with no action and on top of that no story or character development of any kind. Dialogues are mediocre and superficial for the most part but there are comedic moments where combined with sound and animation made me actually laugh hard. The blend of action, comedy and drama is mediocre and as I already mentioned "Oh the potential!!!!".
Animation is one of this anime strong parts. For a long running show, it is pretty consistent in quality and is very good. Colors are bright and cheerful which suit the anime very much and they adjust well to the atmosphere and the mood of the scene. Facial expressions are distinct and well portrayed. The designs of characters are unique and suit their personalities quite well which in consequence make them somehow memorable. The only complain I had is in the moment of fight scenes which could be depicted better and in more detail.
My favorite part ironically or not was the sound. My gosh it was incredible!!! I actually searched and downloaded some soundtracks of this anime and I usually don't do that. The sad music and ost's in the epic moments of the anime are just amazing. OP and ED songs are really great you will love them trust me.Incredible is the fact that the soundtracks match their arc themes and the moments of sadness,joy,tension,mystery and action too damn well. There were parts in the anime that wasn't that melodramatic but with the right ost it actually managed to invoke from me a sad emotion. Also, I don't remember any misuse of sound, it was just perfect. Voice actors are all good and for the most part, fit well to the characters.
Fairy Tail's characters is another disappointing fact. We are introduced to a large cast of characters who are one dimensional and static. Main characters are flat and underdeveloped. I understand that combined with short arcs there isn't much room left to develop so many of them, but they could at least try. Every stereotype of this genre can be found in this series, from the typical hotheaded male protagonist to the evil villain who becomes good and changes sides and the fact that most of them remain the same throughout the series makes this show even more predictable. It's impossible to be caught by surprise when you expect for them to act based on their generic stereotype and they act exactly like that in any given situation. The villains of the show are equally as underdeveloped as the main characters. Of course, there are some exceptions and we can see glimpses of good development here and there which are later ruined to the bones. So much good development is so brutally destroyed, that it is frustrating even to imagine the potential of this series. Nonetheless, there are likeable characters whom you will want to cheer for but that doesn't change the fact that most of them are flat and superficial.
The last disappointing fact I want to mention, is the fighting scenes. Battle system is your typical "raw strength+power ups wins" concept. Almost no amount of thought or originality can be traced anywhere. Some abilities are cool, but that's it. The battles are won by overpowering the enemy and no strategical thinking is involved. Superficial and annoyingly tiring dialogues and monologues which ruin the pace of the story take place in every fight scene and I mean literally in EVERY fight scene. I know that concepts like friendship and comradeship are important, don't misunderstand me, but not when they are in excess and feel like they try to nail it in my brain with a drill and on top of that, at the expense of the story. Power levels are confusing as one reviewer stated. There are no trainings but main characters manage to win enemies they shouldn't be able to win like ever. Oh yea, I forgot the power of friendship and nakamas!!! Silly me.
Generally this whole thing can be summed up in 6 steps.
Step 1: A strong enemy appears. MC's are beaten up by the enemy.
Step 2: MC's yell about friendship and the power of nakamas.
Step 3: They power up emotionally and physically by the power of friendship and random stuff.
Step 4: MC's overpower the villain.
Step 5: No training of any kind whatsoever.
Step 6: New arc. Go to step 1.
When an anime can be summed up like this than in my books this is not good at all.
All in all, Fairy Tail generally has a vibe of positivity and lightheartedness. If you like characters that seem cool, raw power, mc's that overpower their enemies who rely on their friends and protect each other, if you like good animation with awesome soundtracks mixed perfectly to every scene, if you liked something like D-Gray Man or Bleach than you should watch this show and I am sure you will enjoy it very much. I definitely recommend this to children, as well. But if you are an experienced anime viewer or if you like intelligence, good story, plot and character development, if you like insane plot twists and strategic battle scenes with complex fighting systems or if you want to watch something of this genre but don't have much time than don't waste it on this and watch something like Hunter x Hunter or Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
*English is not my native language, excuse me for any mistakes. All feedback is appreciated.*
**EDIT** It has been pointed out to me that this review has an elitist tone, this was definitely not my intention and I don't consider myself to be superior or more intelligent than any of you.**