Laxus creates a dangerous situation for Fairy Tail in his attempt to become the Master.
I think it was pretty obvious by the end that this arc was intended to be the end for the Fairy Tail anime. We had the cameos from various characters in the crowd, Lucy had her little monologue, and you have Laxus walking away with tears. If it wasn’t for the scene with Ultear and then with Igneel one might have ended the episode thinking that was it. Before the last couple episodes there were a handful of things that were cut out that would have hinted at arcs beyond Fantasia. Of course the reality is that the team probably did think they were going to end it there before that decision was changed. Now we keep moving into the next arc.
Of course I’m happy the series is continuing on since it has picked up steam and quality along the way. It’s improved far beyond the cut-scene attacks Natsu was using in the first few episodes. The irony is that this is actually where I stopped reading the manga. So everything from here on is going to be fresh for me.
Anyways now to talk about the actual arc in question. Fantasia was similar to the Phantom Arc in that it took the focus back to the guild. You could say the main focus was on Laxus and Makarov in this arc. But really it was more about Fairy Tail and the bonds between the members. Of course more simply it was a good excuse for some battles between guild members. It certainly matched up to the other arcs in danger with the Thunder Palace and the berserk Laxus.
Laxus really was an extreme character from the beginning. In his first appearance you got the feeling he was an incredible jerk. Refusing to help during the Phantom Arc just helped to cement that opinion. So it really shouldn’t have surprised anyone when he did something crazy like set up these horrible games and threaten death on the guild and the city if he didn’t get his way. I think the most surprising thing in this arc was that Fairy Law failed. I mean you knew that it couldn’t kill everyone, but it seemed like someone would have to stop him from using it. The idea that someone who went that far didn’t really want anyone to die is pretty weird. I mean he almost killed Natsu several times and if he hadn’t been saved that would have been it. It was the right decision to expel Laxus. No matter how he might have felt after the fact he still went far beyond what the line of what could be forgiven. Honestly the Raijin Tribe should have gone with him since they all did horrible things. It might have been under orders, but they had the free will to decide to hurt their fellow guild members anyways. It’s kind of sad how Laxus’ father getting expelled and being the grandson of a great wizard just completely twisted Laxus. He couldn’t see anything beyond the need to be recognized for his own power. Hopefully travelling alone will help him mellow out further and become a more complete person. Staying in the same guild with his grandfather probably wouldn’t be good for him long term anyways. Of course Laxus having Dragon Slayer magic wasn’t really talked about much beyond the episode in which he showed it off. We don’t know where on earth he learned it, though we can speculate it was from a dragon like Igneel.
Beyond Laxus a lot of big things happened in this arc. We finally got some more hints about Mystogan. Of course hints is all that we have right now. It’s clear he looks exactly like Jellal although according to Mystogan he isn’t Jellal. Of course Siegrain also said he wasn’t Jellal and that didn’t turn out to be true. Still with the different voice I’m inclined to believe him though it brings us back again to the “Jellal has a twin!?” development. This is pretty tough on Erza who has so many emotions tied to Jellal even now.
Another important part of this arc was Gajeel. He goes from the main opponent of Natsu in the Phantom Arc to an ally that saved Natsu’s life this time around. If it wasn’t for Gajeel’s help Natsu would have died and many more would have suffered from Laxus having gone crazy. It’s funny that they make you think that maybe he is still a villain with his communications with Makarov’s son Ivan, but it turns out he is acting as a double agent. You have to wonder how bad Ivan is if Makarov is actually going so far as to use Gajeel to get information on his location. Anyways Gajeel showed a more comical side with that singing performance and showed some kindness in protecting Levy from Laxus. Considering he is the one that injured her in the Phantom Arc that’s quite the shift he’s undergone. I’m looking forward to seeing his character continue to develop as he spends more time in Fairy Tail.
We also got an interesting step forward from Mirajane. It was clear during the Phantom incident how far she had fallen from an S class mage who had been a rival of Erza. This arc she did take some steps forward in being able to fight again and show what kind of power she still has. Freed was just completely blown away from the insane strength that Mira was using. If she hadn’t held back at the very end he would have died for certain. You really do hope that Mira can regain some of who she used to be even if it’s a slow process.
There were a lot of battles fought during this arc. You had great victories from Lucy who showed what kind of power she really does have. A powerful spirit like Loke really makes the difference for a Celestial Mage. Of course you can’t underestimate the courage Lucy has to fight on the front lines instead of at the back like the majority of Celestial Mages probably do. Then of course you have some ugly losses like with Gray. I mean losing in that kind of fashion really was weak after he had such a strong showing in the previous arc. Of course you have to recognize the insanity that was the fight against Laxus. You had Mystogan, Erza, Gajeel, and Natsu all fighting him at some point. Of course the first two pulled out for their own reasons and it was left to the Dragon Slayers to settle things. Really it seems like the only reason they won was that Laxus used up a ton of magic in that failed Fairy Law move and that Natsu is ridiculously determined. Of course if Gajeel hadn’t taken that last attack Natsu wouldn’t have had the chance to win.
One can’t talk about this arc without giving credit to Levy. Without her Natsu and Gajeel wouldn’t have had a chance to fight and this would have ended badly. It’s not just power that settles things.
Also Makarov almost dying reminds you that sooner or later a successor has to be chosen. I think Erza really is the only obvious candidate at this point. Natsu is becoming a stronger character, but obviously he isn’t the leading type.
Overall this was another solid arc. I’m glad the series is going to continue on. Hopefully the series can continue to up the quality and become what fans of the manga were hoping for when it was first announced.