Title: Fairy Tail
Genres: Shonen, Fantasy, Adventure
Author/Artist: Mashima Hiro (best known for Rave Master)
Publication: Shonen Magazine
Start Date: August 23, 2006
End Date: On-going
Number of chapters at review: 68
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 68
General Overview: Lucy is a young mage who is looking for a guild to begin her magic career. By chance, she meets a member of the famous and outrageous guild Fairy Tail, who invites her to join. One plt twist follows another as we are swept along is this madcap adventure in a magical land.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
For those who are familiar with the likes of One Piece, Bleach, and Rave Master, the art should feel very home-like. The execution is well done though, and the detail level is medium; quite respectable for a weekly series, if nothing spectacular. Character designs are distinct and memorable.
In a lot of ways, Mashima's writing reminds me of Eiichiro Oda's work. A careful world builder, he slowly reveals the larger plot as the main storyline zips along. The twists are fairly unpredictable, and the shifts between major arcs are very smooth.
Mashima has done an excellent job of building a cast of memorable characters. He is especially good at writing strong women characters; Erza, in particular, may be my favorite female character of all time^^ Development is good so far, although it is early in the series to say for sure.
Fairy Tail is a story of following your passions, free from rules and restrictions. As you can imagine, this leads to some interesting consequences, that are explored in detail. Several secondary themes are present as well; "what makes a 'true' family", "appearance vs. reality", "freedom vs. regulation" etc.
While the character designs are not the most original in the world, overall, the rest of the manga feels fresh and new.
I admit, this score is mostly based on the potential I think this series has. Mashima's previous work, Rave Master, started of as a very generic and boring fantasy adventure, but as his writing matured, he turned into an excellent story. I cannot wait to see what he can do with a world not limited by that poor beginning. If you enjoy shonen at all, I advise checking this series out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Spoiler: Manga's images taken from earlier chapters to avoid spoiler, generally the art improves show
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