By Mashima Hiro
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Magic, Shounen, Super Power
Set in an imaginary world, the Earth Land, there exists a Mage Guild called “Fairy Tail”. Fairy Tail is stationed in the town Magnolia, residing in the Kingdom of Fiore, and is currently governed by Makarov, Guild’s master.
Lucy Heartfilia, a 17-year old girl, wishes to become a full-fledged mage and join one of the most prestigious Mage Guilds in the world, Fairy Tail.
One day, out of pure coincidence, she meets Dragneel Natsu, a boy who is transportation-sick, but very cheerful in nature. However, the thing she does not know is that Natsu is actually a mage of Fairy Tail.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
To start off, let me tell you that Fairy Tail is currently ranked 1st place on Manga Here, 2nd place on Manga Fox, 3rd place on Manga Reader, 5th place on One Manga (apparently One Manga is back!). Evidently, this title is one of the most popular titles out there. In fact, if you have browsed through any manga sites or stores in the past few years, you have probably heard of Fairy Tail! What makes this manga so good?
1. It captures the essence of Shounen manga.
Yes. Fairy Tail follows the typical Shounen formula, and did a marvelous job of it. In every arc of the manga, there is guaranteed to be some hot-bloodedness oozing out of the pages. Much like One Piece, a manga that Hiro tries to “copy”, Fairy Tail places simple-to-understand values like friendship and integrity as its central theme. In other words, it is inevitable that the reason for fights boils down to something like “I gotta save my friend!”, “for preserving the justice!”, or “I can’t lose!” . This is not a bad thing. This manga can be really poignant in conveying these values and creating stories that naturally draws out all kinds of emotions from the readers.
2. Plot Complexity
Of course, what else is there? If a manga (or any fiction for that matter) is good, most likely it have a well thought-out story and an amazing character cast. Then, it comes as no surprise that the story in Fairy Tail is awesome. Like any good story, there are numerous plot twists that readers can never predict how the story progresses.
3. Great Character Cast
I have to admit. The characters are not constructed to have complex personalities. That is not what you read Shounen for anyways. What I can say is that the main characters are extremely likeable because they are compassionate, determined, courageous, and have the single-minded goal to never give up to adversity. They have shown these qualities in various ways, even in the most desperate situations. Mashima has illustrated these qualities superbly.
4. Slap Stick Comedy
Pretty funny, and only thankfully happens in the comic relief part of the story.
Unfortunately, as an extremely popular manga, it suffers from the “never-ending-gotta-make-more-money” syndrome. Published in 2006, it’s been ongoing for 7 years now, and who knows when it is going to end.
Moreover, the quality of the story (in my humble opinion) has declined drastically recently. Put it this way. If I were to reconsider my top 30 manga again, Fairy Tail might not be in top 10, as epic as it was for the first 200 chapters.
To summarize, Fairy Tail is the epitome of Shounen genre manga, with an amazing plot and likeable characters. Its popularity is not unfounded, as few titles of the same genre can contest its epicness.
Now, for those of you who have read a lot of shounen already, you would probably disagree with almost every point. True, Fairy Tail is filled with cliches in every way. Also true, most “typical” shounens get tiring as readers read more and more, ultimately to a point that the plot in shounen manga becomes “formulaic” (whether that is actually true is up to debate). However, can you honestly say that you had not been overwhelmed by the hot-blooded epicness the first time you marathoned through Fairy Tail (or another really good shounen title)? In the end, isn’t that feeling of epicness what counts, and what makes certain shounen manga awesome?