Only one member of the Spriggan 12 army remains standing. But he’s August, the strongest member of them all! Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It means a lot. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. With Irene down, her Universe One spell is canceled, restoring all of Magnolia and their country as a whole to its normal state. I love that Universe One was the villains’ way of pushing back after their initial assault on Fairy Tail was denied, and now that it’s over things almost immediately return to the state they were before the spell was activated. Brandish decides to leave now that she’s worked out Lucy and the guild (mostly) aren’t bad people, taking Dimaria with her. Neinhart was defeated by Natsu, canceling his recreations of God Serena, Bloodman, and Wall. Jacob Lessio is laid out by one last hit from Mirajane, and Elfman and Lisanna manage to take out Ajeel again. Plus Larcade and Invel are gone, leaving only one man left standing. (More on that later.) It was a tad anti-climactic how easy Jacob and Ajeel went down after coming back, but they were both beaten once already, and it feels fitting they go down again when the person responsible for their last gasp is defeated.
Speaking of Ajeel, what’s up with the scene with him and his grandfather? Ajeel’s grandpappy shows up after Elfman and Lisanna knock him down again, and he’s talking about how much the war has cost them, only to look surprised when Elfman points out how every war is costly. Is that really the angle we’re taking? Ajeel backs off because up until now he’s never viewed the people Alvarez has defeated as actual people? It’s not a bad story angle, but they took an incredibly lazy route to get there.
2. It’s a little unexpected for Gray to be the first one to reach Zeref, but it’s certainly fitting. As mentioned during his showdown with Natsu, Zeref is responsible for all of Gray’s suffering, Deliora, a Zeref creation, killed his parents and his mentor. He’s certainly in no shape to fight the second strongest mage in the show but he deserves this opportunity to confront the master of his misery.
I did like that Zeref isn’t playing the usual card of a villain who causes so much trauma to individuals for years and doesn’t remember any of it. It sounds cool because a villain is meant to be callous, but ultimately it means the villain isn’t doing their homework on who might be trying to kill them and why. Zeref flips that idea on his head, doing research on all the major members of Fairy Tail to have an idea of exactly who he’s up against. It makes sense in the context that Zeref originally wasn’t a bad guy either, so he lacks much of the ego a villain would need to be self centered enough to ignore everyone and everything around him.
3. August has been around for 20+ episodes now and we still have no idea who he is or what he does. We do know he’s the last surviving member of the Spriggan 12, so by shonen rules he’s the strongest member of the Spriggan 12. He’s got enough energy in him to cover the entire city in spiritual pressure magical energy, but that doesn’t matter ’cause Gildarts is finally here to make himself useful. Gildarts is the tropey Big Gun we see occasionally in shonen anime–a guy so powerful his mere presence would easily shift the tide of the battle in favor of the heroes, but they’re rarely ever around for whatever reason, or they’ve got some “reason” they don’t interfere. Other examples of this include Hiko Seijuuro from Rurouni Kenshin or Evangeline for the vast majority of Mahou Sensei Negima.
We know Gildarts has an upper limit to his strength though–he tried to throw down with Acnologia for a quest once and wound up losing a leg, and arm and a piece of his torso. Similarly, if August could’ve beaten Acnologia on his own they wouldn’t be fighting Fairy Tail in the first place. So they’re both at an undisclosed level of absurd that’s not quite what the real big bad is capable of, and stand as the respective strongest members of each side of their group. Gildarts tries to throw around his Crush magic for an easy victory, but it doesn’t quite work–August seems able to replicate all of his abilities, something hinted at in his battle against the Oracion Seis. Having Cana show up near the end is also awesome, because this series hasn’t focused anywhere near enough on the relationship the two of them share, though with her present there’s a chance this is probably going to lead into telling doubtlessly family-related backstory.
4. This week’s episode ends with the rather annoying cliffhanger of Zeref explaining what his true goal in all of this has been. 400 years of work and almost 320 episodes of development, and Gray learns Zeref’s plans off screen. C’mon, there’s like maybe a dozen episodes left in this arc–shouldn’t we be talking about his end goal? Presumably it has to do with maybe making everyone immortal, since Fairy Heart has so much power.
Nonetheless, Zeref threatens to kill Gray to incite Natsu to fight him seriously one last time, but Gray’s having none of it and decides to cast a Lost-version of Ice Shell, the very spell Ur used to seal Deliora. It’s fitting, though these sort of last ditch, ultra powerful hidden moves never work on the enemy.
5. Next Episode: The next episode preview makes a big deal of how Lost-type versions of a spell erases not only a user’s life, but their very existence as well. Still, despite Gray being well into the casting of this spell, the fact that Natsu dominates a good portion of the preview kinda gives away that Gray’s not especially in any danger. Well, not from the spell at least…but since he’s half dead and Natsu just barely survived all his recent battles they’re going to have issues bringing Zeref down even in a hand to hand battle.
Fairy Tail is available for streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.