Erza’s tragic past is explained and Zeref is nearly revived by the R-System.
I think this was a really nice arc to dive into Erza’s character. Similar to Gray and Lucy it seems that Erza also didn’t have a very cheerful childhood. Being stuck in a slave camp for years would be tough enough, but the fact that she had to live with the lives of her friends as hostages would be horrible. It’s amazing that Erza could handle all of that and still be such a key part of Fairy Tail.
I actually liked how they deepened the friendship between Erza and Gray with some flashbacks. They certainly had arguments, but Gray was one person who could see how pained Erza was. I think he stopped bothering to fight her all this time less because he was afraid (which certainly would be part of it), but also because he just couldn’t bring himself to fight with Erza. It’s nice to add some depth to the relationships between the characters at any rate.
One interesting part of this arc was in regards to Juvia. It wouldn’t shock anyone that she fell for Gray during their fight, but it’s pretty impressive that she decided to outright join Fairy Tail after the incident with Phantom. Well the fact that she is cute and really trying to fit in should help avoid too many issues with the other members. Besides only Lucy and Gray really saw her when she was an enemy so there aren’t too many problems. The hilarious thing was how she saw Lucy as a love rival and was really aggressive towards her. It’s a good thing they teamed up in that fight since it should help a little in building their friendship.
Natsu wasn’t a huge focus of this arc, but he really had his moments. Hopefully his fight against Jellal will help erase that stupid loss against the owl man. It’s not like Natsu has now jumped into the upper echelons since it was a temporary power boost that he can’t replicate very easily. Eating Etherion was a risky move that ended up saving the day. Still it was thanks to Simon that he got the chance to do that. Regardless it was a pretty nice fight between the two and a pretty fluid one compared to earlier in the series. Not having a cut-scene for every move really does help make things more entertaining.
I feel for Erza during this arc since she had so much on her mind and a very difficult fight before taking on Jellal. Still she had some great moments and showed off some nice armors during this arc. At least now she can move forward without having to worry about her friends being trapped.
Still the council will be a mess after this incident. Being betrayed by 2 members is bad, but the effects of the Time Arc will make it a painful process to rebuild. Still this should at least teach them to run some better background checks on their members.
In the end this was a pretty good arc overall. It had some nice battles and background on one of the main characters. While there were some Erza x Natsu vibes I really don’t consider that having much potential as a pairing. Erza seems to see Natsu more as a person with great potential and Natsu sees Erza as a comrade he looks up to. I suppose anything is possible, but I just don’t think it’s very likely.
Once again Zeref plays a pretty big part of events. Taking over Jellal just threw everything into chaos for Erza. First it was that flute and then the chance almost arrived to get revived by the R-System. It’s a good thing that tower was destroyed since if Zeref could create monsters like that flute then he would be truly dangerous if brought back.
With some parts of the manga omitted it seems like the series is planning to wrap up after the next arc. Still this was a good arc and the next should be if handled well.