English Dub Review: Fairy Tail “Pleasure and Pain”

More pain than pleasure, really.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Erza has just stepped in to stop Natsu and Gray from fighting each other. With tears in her eyes, she reminds them of their bonds as guildmates speaking the words of their deceased master, Makarov. In an instant, their anger for each other is forgotten, and the two of them lay off to regroup with their friends. Gray is knocked out from the exhaustive use of his power, but Natsu is still left standing.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, the mages of Crime Sociere are fighting against August, but his power is far too intense for them to even touch him. No matter what they do, he deflects their attacks with relative ease. Erza, meanwhile, is approached by Irene, who wants a fight with her. When Erza asks who she is, she ominously tells her that she is her, in a way.

Another member of the Spriggan 12 shows his face once more, Larcade Dragneel. He uses his strange powers of light to, um, “punish” the mages of Crime Sociere with his light magic. This strange power is able to enrapture anyone with feelings of pure bliss. Zeref demands that Larcade lay off because his magic ends up affecting his allies as well. This doesn’t stop him from upping his relentless pleasure attacks on the members of Fairy Tail, though.

August, who has just defeated the mages of Crime Sociere, explains to the his fallen foes that Zeref had a son, who turns out to be Larcade. This makes Natsu Larcade’s uncle in a strange, extended family sort of way. Kagura, who is able to resist Larcde’s power, fights back against Larcade and is able to push back against his magic through sheer force of will. She tries to end Larcade with a powerful strike, but he stops her blow with his fingers and overwhelms her with enough magic to bring her down. For the time being, it seems no one can stop this vulgar mage’s ability.

Our Take:

There are just some lines you don’t cross in a story. Certain concepts may seem like good ways to get viewer attention that ultimately just cheapen your plot and bring an air of cringe and awkwardness to the final product. Who could forget the tainted incestuous relationships of “Sword Art Online” and it’s second season? Or the disastrous rape scene in episode one of “Goblin Slayer”? The best shows know when enough is enough, or when to temper an idea from it’s unwashed origin into something more palatable. Fairy Tail doesn’t worry about crossing this line of lewdness, rather it charges over it at full speed, unafraid to remind us all that this show really is as juvenile as it seems.

Larcade’s “power” is the cheapest excuse for fanservice I’ve ever seen, and that’s in a show that finds new and exciting ways to lower itself every other episode. Apart from it’s sheer ridiculousness and vague definition of what it actually does, it’s only purpose in the story is to put the female characters of the show into lewd, scandalous positions for the amusement of the audience. I don’t want to moralize, because there is a name for stuff like this: hentai. If that’s what one wants to watch, by all means go for it, but shoving it into your action adventure anime to try and get some cheap ogles is just pathetic. Fanservice is one thing, but pornography is quite another, and this episode pushes it’s limits about as far as they can go.

And it’s not as if this “sexy time” break adds anything to the story. Rather, it detracts from everything going on-screen by wasting time. The pace is slowed down, the tension is lessened and the action is subdued because we have to take a break to watch half-naked women squirm their legs together in unholy ecstasy.

It occurs to me that the audience for Fairy Tail isn’t so much bothered by this as they are overjoyed by it. In a show that has episode after episode of obvious titillation, this will probably be viewed as just another part of the story. This only further demonstrates the weaknesses of the plot, since this bizarre episode comes immediately after the death of one of the show’s most important characters and the momentous fight between Natsu and Gray. But hey, when your storytelling sucks, I guess it doesn’t matter how much smut you cram into an arc. Do whatever you want, Fairy Tail, but leave me out of it.

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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