5 Point Discussions – Fairy Tail (2018) 17: “Natsu Vs. Zeref”

by Sage Ashford

Team Fairy Tail sets out to continue fending off the invasion from the Alvarez Empire. But elsewhere, Natsu decides to finally put to use his secret weapon against Zeref–will it actually do any good? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. Ugh, Fairy Tail’s desire to indulge in excess fanservice has always been to its detriment, but this week cranks it up to uncomfortable levels. After knocking out Brandish last episode, Cana brings her to the guild hall, locking her up with seal stone to cut off her abilities.  While she and Lucy are away, Macao and Wakaba (the resident old men of Fairy Tail) point out how scantily clad she is, then start “joking” about tying her up in more sexy positions.  Lucy and Cana show up before they do more than get gross ideas, but they shouldn’t have had to do that. I’m not against bad guys being creeps, but having the good guys tease  assault/harassment doesn’t make you want to root for them in the least.
It’s worse too since Brandish is obviously being set up as some sort of sympathetic character.  Of course, leaving Brandish alone is almost certainly an invitation for her to make more trouble–especially since they somehow lost track of Marin after Lucy stomped on him–but one thing at a time, right?

2. Once we get away from the creepy old guys, we’re given an update on the movement of all the players in an arc that’s becoming increasingly more complex in terms of who’s doing what. After calling all the guilds in Fiore to help fight alongside them last episode, this episode shows them all splitting up to face off against these massive armies. We waste several minutes introducing guilds like Blue Pegasus, Mermaid Heel, and Sabertooth again, with dramatic intros which left me concerned everyone’s just going to get washed and it’ll all be up to team Fairy Tail to save everyone anyway. The intro implies things won’t be this way, though it’d be totally believable if they weren’t since it isn’t like Fairy Tail hasn’t embarrassed all of these guys at one point or another anyway.

3. While Mavis is deciding which Fairy Tail members will go to help which guilds, at some point they all realize Natsu left ages ago. Not long afterwards, it’s revealed he’s flown off to face Zeref and his own contingent of forces head on, which is large enough that it belongs in the beginning of a Super Sentai compilation film.  There are some really great moments here of showing Natsu basically soloing an army that’s a million people strong–including him straight up tanking an onslaught of magical blasts and blowing them away with a giant flame blast from his mouth.
All of it made me wish A-1 Pictures cared more about the animation quality of the series, though I got distracted from that when I realized Natsu literally murdered like a thousand people.  That photo above doesn’t say “blown away, Team Rocket-style”, it says complete immolation and nothing less.  A scene earlier Zeref’s talking about how Fairy Tails greatest weakness is they don’t kill, then seconds later here’s Natsu turning the ground into straight up molten lava and leaving a mysterious giant hole where some troops are meant to be.

4. Natsu’s secret weapon? The last embers of Igneel, the legendary fire dragon’s power.  Zeref comes down from his ship after seeing Natsu blow up a thousand people, deciding Natsu just might be strong enough to grant him the sweet, sweet release of death if he’s so powerful he’s killing mooks without putting effort in and not even caring that he’s done it. The fight goes in an entirely different direction than you might expect, with Natsu dominating for the portion we get to see, entering something known as Fire Dragon King mode to give Zeref the beatdown he’s been looking for.
Zeref is pretty positive death is coming, but I’m not so sure. For one, we’re nowhere near this season’s episode count. But more importantly, shonen series center on utilizing the power you’ve gained on your own journey to achieve difficult goals.  Though Natsu’s trained to use this, it’s not his power–it’s Igneel’s. And an ability like that (especially when it’s not permanent) can’t get the job done.

5. Next Episode: The strange thing about the preview for next week is the contrast between the scenes and narration. The narration is all about Natsu vs. Zeref’s battle, but the screens focus on the battles with Alvarez going on everywhere else. Either there’s a major spoiler in what happens for those two, that fight isn’t lasting much longer, or both. Natsu learning his true origins should shake even a blockhead like him, so it’s doubtful he’ll be able to actually bring himself to kill his brother.
Fairy Tail is available for streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

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