Monday, June 13, 2011

fairy tail

I started reading Fairy Tail when it was released locally, around 7 months ago. It had been at least five years since I last bought manga from the newsstands. When I saw Fairy Tail was going to be released, it felt appropriate to rekindle that long forgotten habit. The first manga I read was Groove Adventure Rave, from Fairy Tail's own Hiro Mishima, about 10 years ago. I used to download it from a scanlation group called MangaHelpers back then. In that site few months later I found One Piece, which ended up becoming my quintessential manga series.

Fairy Tail reads just like One Piece-lite. It's entertaining in a generic shounen sort of way. It doesn't engage you completely the way Jump series do (such as the aforementioned One Piece, Eyeshield 21 or even Hikaru no Go), but I admit I was looking forward to next month's release after finishing each volume. I admire its concise fight scenes, most conflicts so far (just finished vol.7) haven't stretched further than I felt it was necessary, but at the same time it lacks brilliance. Something the series I can't help but compare Fairy Tail to (One Piece) has in spades.

I'd say it's a great introductory shounen manga. I'm not sure if I would recommend One Piece to a newcomer, since it sets an awfully high standard for a shounen manga, and it might lean a tad too heavily on the emotional side - far more than most shounen manga, and that might be deceiving to a newbie. Fairy Tail is more direct to the point. It's an adventure shounen manga that's filled with...well, actual adventures, instead of emotionally-draining, heartwarming (or at times heart-wrenching) moments of heavenly inspiration. It doesn't feel like a masterpiece, but it's been a pleasant read so far. And, to be honest, One Piece only evolved into a true manga masterpiece with the Usopp-Sanji-Nami backstories in the Capt. Kuro, Krieg and Arlong sagas, respectively. I'd love to be surprised by Fairy Tail.

My biggest complaint is the rampant abuse of female fanservice. Young girls with impossibly thin waists and watermelon breasts get old after a while. Particularly when there's no serviceable muscular manly men in sight, I'd say only Elfman and Laxus scratched that itch. Gray would have, if only he was older, or larger, or both (I sure appreciate his stripping antics).