What a twist…not.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Irene has imprisoned Maryjane with her magic and is holding her captive after the extraordinary defeat of her Irene’s minions. Irene tortures Maryjane, leaving her powerless to fight back, while August and Brandish arrive to speak with her. Tension brews between Irene and August because of Irene’s reckless use of “Universe One” without the express permission of Zeref. Regardless, August informs Irene that the Spriggan 12 is to gather once again and meet with Zeref.
Zeref is over at Fairy Tail HQ, where he’s facing his old friend Mavis once more, but his assistant uses his freezing magic to paralyze Mavis because of the relationship she and Zeref once had. Once that is done, Zeref leaves Fairy Tail to meet with his elite corps once more. Soon, Zeref arrives and the core groups of people arrive as well. A new member, Larcade Dragneel, reveals himself and his curious ability to manipulate souls so it would seem. The Spriggan 12 are now finally assembled, not just those that haven’t been defeated, but those who have as well, and those who have died but been brought back as Historias to fight with the rest of the Spriggan 12 as well. With their combined might, they’re certain that the forces of Ishgar have no chance.
Meanwhile, Natsu and the other core members of Fairy Tail are rallying with the dawn to fight back against Alvarez. Erza mentions the stakes that they’re going up against, but Natsu isn’t deterred by the challenges ahead of him. He and the rest of his friends charge forward to face the forces of Alvarez head on.
They take out soldiers in the Alvarez forces but are stopped when God Serena arrives with his dragon-based abilities to stop Fairy Tail. Fairy Tail reinforcements show up, but Serena’s ability to use the different Dragon Slayer magic seems too much for Natsu to handle. However, the magic is apparently shattered at the last moment, just as a new arrival reveals himself to the battle. It’s none other than Gildarts, the Supreme Fairy Tail mage who has decided to come help turn the tide of this conflict.
Yeesh, Fairy Tail just can’t figure out how to shoot straight, can it? Not for nothing, but it’s pretty depressing to see a show this beloved reveal that it really has no idea how to tell a compelling story in its final season. What was once an anime comparable to “One Piece” or “Naruto” in its long-form storytelling is now little more than a soap opera with magic involved. It feels like anything can happen, which means that whatever happens completely lacks weight or integrity. I never have any idea of where the characters are, what the power levels of different people are, or what the very rules are of this world when I’m watching these episodes. There’s no rhyme or reason to it and so it loses the kind of emotional weight it wants to evoke when a fan favorite like Gildarts comes in to try and be a badass and save the day.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Where does this show get off reviving every defeated member of the Spriggan 12 into its ranks? What better way is there to completely negate the conflicts that have led to this point than by arbitrarily bringing once-dead or beaten characters back into the fold that have no business returning from the grave. This is terrible in part due to the lazy storytelling and this “Historia” business that allows the Spriggan 12 to just revive anyone it wants to in the cheapest plot point imaginable. This sort of thing drives me crazy. It’s completely disrespectful to those that have come along for the ride this long and only serves as a weak way to create some temporary tension that will never be as good as seeing these villains for the first time.
The main thing you’re supposed to get excited about this time around is Gildarts’s glorious return, but it’s too enshrouded in bullshit to get hype about. You can’t sacrifice the integrity of your storytelling in every other part of the episode and then just decide to pull a big twist like this. It’s obvious and pathetic to watch, as it feels like the showrunners are just searching for any twist they can to get people to watch this nonsense. I consider myself at least a little bit of a fan of this show, who really enjoyed Gildarts, but even I find myself disappointed by this shlock.