Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Thoughts on Fairy Tail

Experience: Chapter 1 - middle of volume 10.

I don't get Fairy Tail. I always see very vocal fans and I see that it sells pretty well, but I just don't get where its popularity comes from. I find everything about the manga to be mediocre; nothing is terrible, but nothing is great either. My guess is that its popularity comes from people who want a shonen manga to read but don't like or either dropped One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, or Fullmetal Alchemist; thus, they find Fairy Tail and just kinda settle. I know that's pretty harsh, but after reading through 9 volumes, I just found myself unsatisfied by the content and annoyed by the fact that other manga do the shonen genre better.

Well, first off, let's begin with what I like about the manga. I like Erza. She is a great character. From her older sister attitude towards the other guild members, her awesome magic ability (and the cool armor designs there-of), to the fact that she is the strongest character in the guild, and her actually good backstory; Erza is leagues better than every other character in the manga, who are all just OK. And that's about it. Erza is the only great thing I have to say about the manga.

Everything else is mediocre. The art, the character design, the story, the backstories, the action, etc. FT can manage to have some emotional moments, but most just come across as trying too hard; Hiro doesn't take enough time to establish the characters for them to be really effective. The action is probably the best of the mediocre material, as it can be drawn pretty well; the only problem is that the action in FT revolves around magic, and it just never feels difficult for the characters, as they rarely put much of themselves into the combat, its mostly the magic; Erza is an exception to this rule due to her armor ability.

Something that may be giving FT a decent edge with the competition is that it contains the most fanservice of the action shonen manga out there. It's everywhere, and its not played up for laughs, its there for the ecchi. Though, the fanservice content should come as no surprise to anyone who read Hiro's previous series: Rave Master. Personally, I find the fanservice to be quite unnecessary; it's also the type of fanservice I don't like where men are constantly ogling the women.

I also find the general content of the manga to be pretty childish. Most shonen manga I've read bring up serious and mature themes and messages in their stories, such as racism in One Piece, segregation in Naruto, and lawful evil in Bleach, but FT just never feels like it's stories have messages to tell, as they're more based around the characters and their feelings. The results are stories that feel very small in scope and effectiveness.

The end result is: Fairy Tail is a very casual manga. I can see how it can be popular, as it doesn't do anything poorly, but it really doesn't have any great strengths either.

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