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Chapter Review: Fairy Tail (516)

+ posted by Kaoz in Manga Reviews on Dec 28, 2016 08:33

Fairy Tail - Chapter 516 Review by MLG Bradman

Irene vs Erza and Wendy (Part 1)

So we pick up from last chapter after Irene has finished explaining her past and trash talking with Erza, who states that she won’t hesitate to annihilate anyone who blocks her path to the guild, with Irene saying that she won’t either. Irene then reveals that the only reason she told Erza about her past is because she thought it might change her feelings towards her child, but that it didn’t. I personally liked this exchange, especially in regards to Erza’s part, she has always been like this and it is consistent with her development in the manga. As for Irene, it showed that regardless of relation she is still loyal to Alvarez and Zeref, which is a plus for me as I did have concern that she would hesitate against Erza. Following this, Irene raises her hand and casts an enchantment that creates numerous explosions of varying sizes, all of which Erza deftly dodges in her new armour. This is a slightly petty complaint, but I’d have liked for Erza to say what properties this new armour has, as at the moment it just appears to be armour that makes her look like a bunny. Erza goes to slice Irene, who uses her staff to block it, with Irene lauding her former status of royalty over Erza, earning her an earful of generic Erza dialogue. This is when Wendy (now in Dragon Force) blindsides Irene and strikes her with her magic, giving Erza an opening to cut her with her new swords. Wendy gets a cool piece of dialogue here saying that she can’t forgive someone who doesn’t love their own child, a line which I think shows Wendy’s development well as she suffered from abandonment issues throughout her childhood. After this, Irene changes the topic telling Wendy about the dragon seed and how it is inside her, with Wendy countering that Grandeeney kept it supressed, and Erza adding that it is likely the same case for Natsu.

Natsu’s Heart

The chapter then cuts to the inside of Natsu’s heart, where Natsu is trying to find Gajeel and Wendy. At this point it is revealed that Igneel has taken the place of Wendy and Gajeel as Natsu’s guide, as Igneel begins to explain what is currently going on inside Natsu’s heart. I have to quickly note that while this chapter has some pretty great art in general, the panel that introduces Igneel is flat-out incredible to me. At this point Igneel mentions that the dragon seed (a concept introduced in the previous chapter) inside of Natsu grows “with the darkness dragon slayers carry”. He goes on to say that there is a Demon Seed inside of him too, and that it is the proof of him being E.N.D. Following this he explains that the reason Natsu is dying is because the Demon Seed is trying to fuse with the Dragon Seed, and this is the reason that the Dragon Seed is beginning to grow again despite the fact that Igneel stopped it years ago. I found this particular part of the chapter very interesting as darkness has been mentioned a lot recently, by August when he was lecturing Jellal (though this is likely coincidental, for reasons I’ll explain later), and by Invel after he was defeated by Gray. While it’s not clear as of now what this darkness actually is, I think it actually reveals something quite sinister about Dragon Slaying Magic: much alike Devil Slayer Magic, it drives people who overuse the magic insane. From what Igneel says, we learn that the Dragon Seed grows with the “darkness” the Slayer carries, but it’s not made clear where this “darkness” comes from. A comparison between a Dragon Slayer who’s seed didn’t grow and one’s who did would be the best way to test this, and the only slayer who’s seed did grow has one key difference to the others: he didn’t have anything (e.g Parent Dragons) to stop the seed growing. This slayer is Acnologia. As of now, it is unknown what causes Dragon Slayers to gain “darkness”, but it does beg the question of whether the Dragon Seed itself releases it, and if that’s what the Parent Dragons suppressed.

With all of this being said, I do have some issues with the introduction of the Demon Seed. While it is said to be simplification by Igneel, one thing in particular frustrates me about this: E.N.D is supposed to be a demon. If the Demon Seed is similar to the Dragon Seed (which there’s no reason for it not to be), it should be inside a Devil Slayer, not inside an Etherious. If it turns out that E.N.D is supposed to be an Etherious with Devil Slaying Magic, being honest, I will not be pleased as it just feels like a rushed power up. In addition to this, it feels very out of the blue, especially as we already had the Book of E.N.D as a related plot device, something which has been stressed should not be opened, but if the Seed is what is triggering this change, then what is the Book of E.N.D for? The final complaint I have is slightly petty but… with this change, Zeref got cursed by Anksheram for planting a seed. A seed. Like I said, it’s a petty complaint but Anksheram cursing Zeref for planting a seed makes it sound like he/she is the God of Gardening rather than the God of Life and Death. This is just my opinion, but it kind of ruins the image of Anksheram for me.

Irene vs Erza and Wendy (Part 2)

After the section in Natsu’s heart, the chapter returns to the battle between Irene, Erza and Wendy, with Irene learning of the Parent Dragons and how they stopped the 5 Dragon Slayers from x400 from dragonizing. Irene, saying how she swore to avenge Belserion, then flies into a rage, distraught that after all she went through there actually was a way to prevent her dragonization. As Irene launches an attack on Wendy and Erza, Erza charges forward, yelling out for Wendy to enchant her. Irene is unfazed by this, using her magic to try and detach the enchantment Wendy placed on Erza, but is shocked when Wendy counters this by using the same detaching enchantment to counter-balance it. Following this, Erza splits Irene’s head open, but Irene enchants herself into Wendy, commenting how she now knows the truth of enchantment and why she had failed before when she tried to enchant herself into a baby Erza. Now in Wendy’s body, Irene stares down Erza, saying that she had been waiting a long time for this moment and that while her Magic Power has decreased substantially, it isn’t a problem. As Erza watches on in terror, the chapter ends.

In my opinion, this whole fight was incredibly bad, mainly due to the hype Irene had as an apparent peer of August’s and how she snapped when she learned of how it was possible to prevent dragonization. From the standpoint of power scaling, this chapter was horrific, Irene, someone who is supposed to be a peer of August’s and an elite high tier Spriggan, is actually pushed by Erza and Wendy. Erza, who had trouble with Ajeel, and Wendy, who had trouble with Bluenote and DiMaria. Being frank, this is terrible and one of, if not the, worst examples of power scales randomly changing to fit the story. Irene should have been destroying them more easily than August obliterated Crime Sorciere. This might actually have been excusable had Irene just been playing around with them, but she was enraged after learning she could have avoided dragonization. Had she snapped and not been thinking like Azula from Avatar the Last Airbender did during her final fight, I might have been able to accept this, but she had such a huge advantage and on top of that didn’t completely lose her cool. Overall, it just felt like the power levels were completely ignored, and I believe the chapter suffered because of it. Not to mention that it makes Irene look like a complete hypocrite given how just a few chapters ago she was telling Zeref to ignore his feelings.

Thoughts for the next chapter

With the above considered, I think there are two groups of questions to consider for the upcoming chapters, questions about the revelations in Natsu’s heart:
  • What are the similarities between the Slayer magics?
  • Where does the “Darkness” the Dragon Seed grows off of come from?
  • What triggers the release of E.N.D, the growth of the Demon Seed or the Book of E.N.D?
  • Is E.N.D a Devil Slayer in addition to being an Etherious?
  • Will there be a different guide for Natsu in the next chapter?
  • Will this reveal anything about Acnologia?

And questions about how Erza vs Wendy Belserion will turn out:
  • What will happen to Wendy and Irene?
  • How is Erza going to beat Wendy Belserion?
  • Will Wendy receive a power up from this, will Erza or will both?
  • Will Irene turn good?

Overall Rating

Ah, Hiro, you were on such a roll. Unfortunately, it’s culminated in a horrendous chapter and personally it’s made this chapter sting twice as bad. While this chapter has its ups, they are far too few in my opinion, and even then, most of the positives are more about setting up interesting plot points for future chapters. The only real positive I can give this chapter is in the corner of character development, specifically of Wendy, but due to some of Erza’s stale dialog and the sheer embarrassment Irene suffered in this chapter, even that is marred. It’s for this reason I can rate the chapter no higher than a 3 out of 10, and even then, that feels generous. What a morbid way too end the year…..

For another FT 516 review, click here.

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