Fairy Tail – Season 2 (2010 – 2011)
Episodes 49 – 96
The magic and chaos of Fairy Tail returns!
Those delightfully enchanting, overly destructive, high-powered wizards from Fairy Tail are back for a second season in A-1 Pictures and Satelight’s anime adaptation of Hiro Mashima’s manga series, published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine since August 2, 2006. Starting directly where the previous season left off, Fairy Tail Season 2 sets its sights high with some weighty — emotionally and narratively — story arcs which pit our heroes against some truly powerful adversaries, raising the stakes a notch for our guild members. This season introduces some wonderfully new and fascinating characters — many of whom eventually become key members of Team Natsu, Fairy Tail’s mightiest team of mages — and truly builds on the extravagant world and rules set out in the first season. Helmed by the original series director, Shinji Ishihira, the second season predominantly looks and feels like the previous, following on with the rich colorful animation, great character design, perfectly timed laughs and harrowing heart-warming adventures that captured and captivated the hearts and imaginations of audiences worldwide.
Season 2 opens impressively, with the longest arc in the anime series to date, comprising of 20 episodes, titled Oración Seis. This arc sees the creation of The Allied Forces, a group of mages brought together to confront and defeat the Oración Seis, one of the three ruling dark guilds of the Balam Alliance — a non-aggressive pact between three of the most powerful dark guilds in the wizarding world. The Oración Seis are an extremely powerful dark guild comprising of six incredibly powerful Mages, plotting to retrieve the Dark Magic ‘Nirvana’ which is capable of turning ‘light’ or ‘good’ into ‘dark’ or’ evil.’ In other words, if this sinister magic is acquired, the Oración Seis will have the power to turn members of good guilds against one another and bring forth total chaos and destruction across the world. To wipe out the Oración Seis before they are able to seize the power of ‘Nirvana,’ the guild masters of the Fairy Tail, Blue Pegasus, Lamia Scale, and Cait Shelter guilds decide to band together, due to the immense power of the Oración Seis, and, as a result, choose to send several powerful members of each of their respective guilds to combat this mighty foe, thus creating The Allied Forces. Naturally, Team Natsu — consisting of hot-headed Fire Dragon Slayer Natsu Dragneel, blonde beauty and Celestial Spirit Mage Lucy Heartfilia, Ice-Make Mage Gray Fullbuster, crimson haired S-Class Mage Erza Scarlet, famous for her usage of Requip Magic, and wise-cracking winged Exceed, Happy — are Fairy Tail’s delegates, but it’s here audiences are introduced to a plethora of charmingly unique characters that expand on this magical world and its endless potential.
The most noteworthy of the guilds making up the Allied Forces is the Cait Shelter guild comprising of only two members, a 12-year-old petite girl with long, dark blue hair named Wendy Marvell, who eventually reveals herself to be a powerful Sky Dragon Slayer — like the other Dragon Slayers in the series, she has elongated canine teeth, thus her appearance gives her ability away quite early on, particularly to those who have an eye for detail — and Carla, a strict and serious white-haired female Exceed who is a close companion, almost a parent or guardian figure, to Wendy. The introduction of these two characters — who eventually join the Fairy Tail guild — add a fresh and interesting dynamic to the already robust Team Natsu, particularly for Happy, giving him a female counterpart in Carla to constantly bounce off — the two Exceeds are almost total opposites in everything they say and do and the chemistry between the pair is just wonderful to watch develop and unfold into something truly special by the conclusion of the season. Wendy’s eagerness and intense care for others adds a unique element to Team Natsu, as she displays characteristics that aren’t inherently present within the other existing members.
There are plenty of other great wizards introduced within this ark, both new and old, Gray’s former Ice-Make mage rival, a reformed Lyon Vastia returns as part of the Lamia Scale guild, as does pink-haired mage Sherry Blendy — initially seen as one of the antagonists in the Galuna Island arc. We meet the mighty Jura Neekis, who is one of the Ten Wizard Saints, known for his accomplished use of Earth Magic and four over-the-top male wizards known as The Trimens, who come from Blue Pegasus, a guild famous for the beautiful and fashionable men and women within it. The Trimens — a team of vain womanizing males from the Blue Pegasus guild who act like high class escorts, or hosts, and apparently have the ability to charm any woman upon first meeting — almost resemble a boy band right out of the late 90s, and supply much of the laughs and comedy within this story. Their leader, the rather short and stout Ichiya Vandalay Kotobuki, who has an apparent history with Erza, constantly hitting on the cherry-haired weapon mage — much to her disgust — harps on about his loony Perfume Magic while the rest of the boys parade around praising Ichiya and getting on the nerves of the Fairy Tail male members. Hibiki Lates from The Trimens possesses one of the most unique abilities seen in the anime to date, Caster Magic called Archive, which involves the use of Magic Databases, similar to that of computers, adding a surprising, but interesting technological element to the fantastical world.
This arc sees the return of another integral character from Fairy Tail’s past who intertwines the history of newcomer Wendy Marvell with that of Erza Scarlet. On top of these new protagonists, there are some unruly foes which Team Natsu must face and ultimately defeat; the young-male wizard Midnight — constantly seen sleeping toward the start of the arc — who believes his power is absolute, or, at least, greater than anyone else’s; the snake-like artificial Poison Dragon Slayer Cobra, who harbors great affection towards his large purple winged snake Cubellios; and Racer, whose outfit consists of a red and white racing suit and can harness the power of Vehicle Magic — a magic that allows him to summon vehicles and other vehicle related objects seemingly out of nowhere, subsequently controlling them and employing their specific characteristics to his advantage. This arc — while somewhat lengthy — is highly emotional, striking all the right chords at precisely the right times, action-packed and sprinkled with humor, tenderness and spirit; a hands-down, strong, no-bars-hold start to the second season.
Giving the Fairy Tail wizards a much-needed rest, the following arc, titled the Daphne arc, is considerably low key, being merely four episodes long. This is an anime-only arc, not seen in the manga and begins when Natsu, Happy, Carla, and Wendy venture to a mysterious inn on the outskirts of town to investigate a rumor regarding somebody who claimed to have met a dragon. There, the group encounter the quirky and energetic saleswoman, Daphne, who, at first, tries to sell everyone wacky diet food called Metamo-chan, but later exposes her true self when she reveals that — with Concealment Magic — she has in fact trapped the unsuspecting group of wizards inside the inn. Obsessed over dragons, Daphne — having seen a dragon in her childhood, which fellow villagers failed to believe was true — crafts an artificial dragon, which she names ‘Dragonoid,’ using Natsu’s Dragon Slayer power, to finally prove to everyone that dragons are real. All-the-while Gray Fullbuster bizarrely, and much out of character, betrays his friends and guildmates by siding with the narcissistic saleswoman. Following this arc is a number of light-hearted stand-alone episodes. Several highlights include the sweet Rainbow Sakura, which focuses on Lucy experiencing Magnolia Town’s annual Hanami Party for the first time, taking place during Sakura season where residents of Magnolia Town witness the yearly blossoming of the enchanted Rainbow Sakura Tree, while the hilariously entertaining Twenty-Four Hours Endurance Road Race, sees the Fairy Tail guildmates partake, and compete, in the annual endurance race, determine to win to avoid ‘the punishment,’ which is bestowed upon the last placers — Happy is just hysterically charming to watch in this wacky event.
At long last, the concluding arc in the second season almost makes everything witnessed beforehand worthwhile — if you’ve stuck around this far into the anime, this final arc will surly leave you spellbound and enthralled from start to finish — the Edolas arc. Put simply, the less you know about this lengthy 21-episode story, the better. It begins with the long awaited return of Gildarts Clive — who was somewhat of a father figure to Natsu while growing up — arriving in Magnolia Town and returning to the Fairy Tail guild with news that he had failed his hundred-year quest due to a meeting with a cruel Black Dragon. The story then escalates when Magnolia Town mysteriously disappears — along with everyone in it — except Natsu, Happy, Wendy and Carla. To save Magnolia Town, the remaining heroes travel to a place named Edolas, a parallel dimension separate from Earth-land. Unlike Earth-land though, magic in Edolas is not stored within a person’s body, but rather in magic objects, often in the form of Lacrima, which can be imbued into items to grant them specific magical functions. Wishing to attain an eternal supply of magic, we discover that a cold, cruel and power-hungry ruler, King Faust, has absorbed Magnolia Town with a magic called Anima, and encased them in a giant Lacrima. It is later made evident that zealous King Faust is secretly attempting to use the Lacrima to overthrow the ruling Exceeds — a race of cat-like beings who see themselves as divine rulers of the humans, guiding them according to the will of their queen, Shagotte — who reside in Extalia, a floating island above the capital of Edolas. Now, the remaining members of Fairy Tail — with the help of some new and old friends — must band together save their guild, Magnolia Town and the Exceeds, before it is too late.
The Edolas storyline sees some brilliant character work that ranges from light-hearted and fun to emotional and deep. There are also some fantastic new characters introduced and several pre-existing ones are opened-up and explored in a great amount of depth and detail. Firstly there is the return of reclusive Fairy Tail wizard Mystogan, and this arc delves into his mysterious identity and legacy — something Fairy Tail fans have surely been awaiting for quite some time now. It is also the first time short-tempered Iron Dragon Slayer Gajeel Redfox — the former Phantom Lord guild member — gets involved in one of Fairy Tail’s bigger, bolder quests. At the start of this arc, Gajeel, being the third Dragon Slayer in the Fairy Tail guild, is upset and perplexed upon noticing that both Natsu and Wendy have flying cat companions. Being a Dragon Slayer like them, he questions, and is troubled by the fact that he does not have a cat at his side, but the trip to Edolas — home of the Exceeds — may just be the right place for Gajeel to obtain a feline winged comrade.
The Edolas arc introduces audiences to the generally merry cat-like creatures, the Exceeds — some of whom include Nichiya, the madcap human-hating captain of Extalia’s Imperial Guard, and the lovable black-and white haired Minister of State, Nadi, who has a habit of incessantly waving his paw — adding a rich heritage and history to the Exceeds audiences have grown to know and love: Happy and Carla. There is a beautiful affectionate relationship that blossoms between Happy and Carla — as mentioned earlier — that examines themes of loyalty, friendship, family and belonging; a heartfelt bond that will evoke some powerful emotional responses and tender feelings — certain scenes will surely resonate with viewers long after they’re over. Triumph is another theme present within the arc, teaching the guildmates of Fairy Tail that no matter how small or insignificant one might feel — with determination and perseverance — everyone has the ability to overcome whatever formidable obstacles are thrown their way, as nothing is impossible with friends and family standing by one’s side. There are a tone of other brilliant characters introduced in this arc — it’s genuinely priceless witnessing the mayhem and madness that occurs between the members of Fairy Tail and their new found allies — but as noted earlier, the less one knows, the more exciting this story becomes, as spectacle and wonder surly await those who are caught off guard.
Edolas is indeed an epic arc; it may just well be Fairy Tail’s most dangerous, deadly and difficult mission to date. King Faust’s generals — the antagonists of story — are marvelously memorable and unique, from the short elderly Chief of Staff of the Royal Army, Byro — who utilizes various vials in combat that can be thrown at an enemy or consumed by Byro himself, one of which contains Octopus Liquid that allows Byro to transform into an enormous octopus-like creature — the goofy and often overly-dramatic Royal Army Captain of the 4th Magical Division, Sugarboy — who appears to have the ability to fly, or at least glide off the ground — and the large muscle-bound panther-like Exceed, First Division Commander of the Royal Army, Pantherlily. Then there is the well-endowed, provocatively dressed, crimson-haired female, known simply as the Fairy Hunter who is also a Royal Army Captain and shares a striking similarity to that of Erza, one of Team Natsu’s leading ladies.
While the Edolas narrative is quite impressive in all regards, the locations are equally as incredible and rather breathtaking. Edolas itself consists of many floating Islands, one of which contains the Royal City, a huge and remarkable metropolis built upon a circular plane, with the royal palace located in the center, decorated with a golden emblem — the symbol of the country. Within this city lies the dazzling E-Land, an amusement park designed for residents, complete with a variety of entertainment such as traditional carousels, train rides and a Hell Coaster — this serves as a backdrop to one of the finest fight sequences offered in this arc, and the anime in general for that matter. The colorful and sparkling Extalia is also located on a floating island above the Royal City and is densely occupied with various towns and villages inhabited by vibrant energetic Exceeds.
The heights reached within the Edolas arc are truly just superb — flowing with wonderfully rich character development, hard-hitting chaotic action, mesmerizing locations and some rather sensitive heartbreaking and touching moments — this is gripping storytelling at its absolute best. The musical cues and scores range from tender and warm to thunderous and grand, while the often vibrant up-beat openings — The Rock City Boy preformed by JAMIL featured in the Edolas arc being a particular highlight — and bittersweet closings — Be As One preformed by w-inds from the Oración Seis arc springs to mind — add that perfect blend of energy and liveliness to the overall feel, mood and atmosphere of the show.
The engrossing story arcs presented in this second season of Fairy Tail rightly build upon the intricate world fashioned in the first, thus truly cementing its place as one of the greatest anime shows of all time — undoubtedly my favorite. At its core, there is simply something in the Fairy Tail for everyone; young, old and in-between — one can literally find inherent meaning in a scene as an adult, while a child can interpret the same scene quite differently — as the show clearly operates on multiple levels. Fairy Tail isn’t afraid to be vociferous, compelling and charming, and with honest heart, one can’t finish this second season and not feel emotionally connected or drawn to some of the characters. After all is said and done, I find myself eagerly awaiting the return of Fairy Tail in Season 3. No matter what you’re into — admittedly not everyone is into anime or animation — do not let this gleaming gem, Fairy Tail Season 2, pass you by.
4.5 / 5 – Highly Recommended
Reviewed by S-Littner
Fairy Tail – Season 2 is released through Madman Entertainment Australia