Irene shares her story with Erza.
Overview (Spoilers Below):
After a brief battle with Erza last week, Irene starts to share her story of being the Queen of the Dragons. Back in the olden days, she ruled over a kingdom where dragons and people lived in harmony. But everything changed when dragons from the west declared war and they became engaged in a terrible struggle.
Irene invented a new kind of magic to fight, but it altered people and some couldn’t handle it. Irene herself was affected and turned into a dragon because of it. She was cursed for centuries until a wandering royal came long and gave her her human form back. But the dragon in her still persists. She abandoned Erza in a town and went on her way. Erza tells her she’s glad it happened because that’s what got her where she is today.
Another Monday, another new episode of Fairy Tail. This week, we uncover the origins of Erza as her mother Irene tells a tale of the past when she used to be the Queen of Dragons in the East. That’s right, it’s a backstory episode. And a pretty boring one at that.
The story itself is lacking in surprises or suspense, and Irene’s rendition of the plot isn’t very good either, without much additional humor, witticisms, or additional insight into her thought process. Basically, Irene was queen in a kingdom that cooperated with the dragons who lived among them in the east. Belserion is one of the main dragons, and he shares a somewhat over the top bond with Irene that’s honestly really sweet in a way? I almost expected her to be carrying his child.
She turns out to be carrying Erza, the child of her and a neighboring general, who she married not for love but to resolve some territorial dispute. He’s super bland and just tries to kill her when he finds out she’s turning into a dragon while with a child. (But apparently, he keeps her locked up for three years first?) The whole thing is a little contrived and painted with a very broad brush. Even Belserion, the character whose death is supposed to mean something, ends up feeling like a missed opportunity. I barely know him, and don’t care at all what happens to him. (Assuming I didn’t miss previous episodes where he was introduced.)
The episode briefly cuts back to Natsu, who is still close to death. He’s freezing, and it seems like Lucy actually took the weird lady’s advice seriously, because she stripped her clothes off and is laying on top of him with Happy. Of course, this isn’t really working, and Natsu is still as under the weather as ever. He’s going on a spiritual journey of sorts inside his own mind. Even this short detour was more interesting to me than Irene’s story.
The dub this week features a whole lot of Irene, which could be good or bad depending on how much you enjoy her voice. Personally, I found it a little lacking as the episode went on, and wished that Erza would’ve broken in with more of her own thoughts or questions. Still, Irene’s response to Erza asking how she hasn’t aged struck me as being kinda funny: “You’ll find out, eventually.” That’s how you know it’s time for a long villainous monologue! “This is your mind, so quit being so shocked.” Natsu getting exasperated with his own mind is fun. Irene and Erza’s arguing zingers are quite good: “Your life was no gift, I promise.” Erza gets the final line in the episode, which is a move I appreciated. It was nice to let her have the last word in her own story: “If you hadn’t thrown me away, I might never have met my real family.”
Dragon Seed relays the story of Queen Irene and her downfall, as well as Erza’s beginnings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t manage to do it in an exciting way, and most of the episode ended up feeling long and monotonous, without much action or humor to break up the backstory. It’s cool that we got to learn more about Erza and where she comes from, but I wish the episode delivering this knowledge could’ve been better.