English Dub Review: Fairy Tail “Ikusatsunagi”

All evil gods must have hard to pronounce names.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

The forces of Fairy Tail have all but put a stop to the forces of Avatar, yet their leader, Arlock, continues to believe he can enact his sinister purification ritual. Natsu isn’t impressed, though, and continues the fight against Arlock. Though Arlock’s wall magic is powerful enough to stop most wizards, Natsu breaks right through his barriers and knocks Arlock to the ground with an iron dragon fist. Arlock, though down, isn’t beaten, and with his power summons “Ikusatsunagi”, a dark god of pure malevolence and catastrophic power. From the cloud emerges an enormous foot, connected to that of a titanic monster.

Ikusatsunagi begins destroying the forces of Avatar with its stomps. Arlock cackles madly, admitting that the “Purification Plan” is to have the followers of Avatar sacrificed, much to cultists’ surprise. Ikusatsunagi uses his enormous blade to crush the ground beneath him, but Natsu charges up the sword to face the demon godhead on. He preaches the power of his friendships while delivering a mighty fire punch to Ikusatsunagi’s face. He follows up his attack with a burning destruction fist. With that attack, Ikustatsunagi explodes into a rain of crumbling pieces.

Everyone, including the forces of Avatar, are in awe of Natsu’s power. Just as Ikustatsunagi falls, Gajeel and the forces of the Magic Council round up and arrest the remaining Avatar members. Following Avatar’s defeat, the newly reunited Fairy Tail has a heartwarming reunion with both its current and former members. After its all said and done, Frosh and Rogue show up at the battlefield, much to Nastu’s frustration, since he told Rogue to stay put and not put Frosch in danger. Natsu has visions of his past traumas and the potential corruptions of his friends, but it seems that Natsu’s actions have stopped that dreaded future from coming to pass.

Our Take:

Fairy Tail has taken an unfortunate turn for the worse in the past couple of episodes. While I was initially quite impressed with its return to being a fun, character-driven anime while reuniting its original cast, I’m finding myself repulsed by the awkward displays of shark jumping this episode delivered to us. In a word, the episode feels forced, like we’re jumping the gun on the whole Avatar plot and finishing that up way too soon. While some nice groundwork and intrigue was laid by having Gray acting as a double agent in the cult, all of that complexity has drained away for the sake of seeing Natsu just plow through everyone and everything that gets in his way. The result is an episode that wants to be a climactic finale to an arc but feels more like an awkward stop to a story that wasn’t fleshed out enough.

Avatar initially seemed like a compelling villain for Natsu and his reunited friends to ally against, but it seems that they were just a red herring. Once given screen time, their members turned out to be comical one-trick goofballs and their leader a cackling cynical stereotype. Having Arlock prattle on about how pointless it is for Natsu to fight him while Natsu absolutely demolishes Ikusatsunagi while proclaiming the power of friendship made me want to roll my eyes. That’s a scene that’s been done to death, and while its fine for a shounen to focus on the theme of power through friendship, the way its presented here is completely basic. This is the kind of thing you do in your show’s second episode, not its 283rd. If that wasn’t enough, Natsu’s power isn’t even challenged here, making this insanely powerful god enemy (Who comes out of nowhere, by the way) feel like just another low-level mook. If Natsu can take baddies like this down in one hit, then what’s there to challenge his insane power level?

Not to mention, the fighting itself is completely basic. Don’t expect new powers or cool animation sequences. Don’t expect new concepts or ideas. Don’t expect character growth. This is a strictly “Knock ’em down and move along” sort of affair. And, I don’t think I should have to say this, but that’s as boring as it gets. It looks like Fairy Tail still has a lot to do in this final season, but if it can’t get a handle on its pacing and plot, then it might be a final season that’s better off forgotten.

Score
4/10

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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