WARNING: This chapter contains major character death !
Whoa, things really did pick up quickly for the chapter. I complained about the lack of dark serious moments and what don i get ? Ironically the most fanservicey character in the series getting brutally mauled by dragons. Damn it Mashima, you're going too far with the whole dark nature now, last thing i want to see is one of my favorite characters turned into swiss cheese ! Who says Fairy Tail can't be dark ? When Mashima meant darker , he really met darker !
Seriously, last week Sakura becomes Erza level badass in Naruto and now we see Gray ,a major character actually die within Fairy Tail. This is no longer a coincidence, Kishimoto and Mashima switched places because the tone of both series have started to mirror each other more. Naruto suddenly has side characters useful and badass again and started using women right and Fairy has a much darker, more serious tone and now killing off characters for once or at least trying to kill off characters.
Our cover starts off with ironically enough Gray, geez looking at it again it seems more like a middle finger to the many fangirls of Gray. The cover even states that Gray doesn't know what the future brings, i have a joke for that but it would be in very bad taste , anyways moving on.
Our chapter begins with Erza and Jellal, i'm pretty sure alot of Jerza fans like myself would be happy with this moment here,Especially Carrot. Anyways Millianna isn't too happy with seeing Jellal right there still finding him responsible for alot of stuff he's done in the past . Millianna doesn't look too happy about this, either that or she's jealous Jellal is stealing Erza from her XD.
Millianna then recaps everything Jellal has done to them. Jellal did kill Simon, he did held Erza's friends captive within the tower and did try to resurrect Zeref so i can't personally blame Millianna for holding a grudge against Jellal, if i was her and had no knowledge of his nature on anything of that sort, i would be pissed that Erza would defend one of the worst criminals within Fiore but really what does she hope to gain fighting Jellal by herself ? First of all she has to get past Erza and i don't see how Millianna can beat Erza even in Erza's severely crippled and magicless state let alone able to handle a Former Saint Wizard who's at 100 % and second of all she'll be wasting magic and given the threat of the dragons, not something you want to do.
Anyways before Millianna can do anything, Ultear appears to set the record straight.
Hey wait a minute, wasn't she dealing with Rogue not long ago ? Geez Ultear, you really chickened out didn't you ? Kinda lame Mashima , i really wanted to see Mirevana stop Ultear and we can get bitch on bitch action but no.Anyways despite the 180 turn on not killing Rouge, Ultear makes it up more with her taking the fall for Jellal by admitting to her past sins.
Ultear admits that she was the one who controlled Jellal from the shadows back in the days she was within Gilmore Heart and obsessed with finding the One Magic and how Hades used her to seek out Jellal as a valuable asset due to his domain magic powers which could be of great use to them . She also takes responsibility for Jellal's actions while he was brainwashed, not the least being Simon's death and the construction of the Tower of Heaven and pulling a Lelouch Vi Britannia move as if she was still a villain all this time despite reforming her ways shortly after Tenroujima .
Erza then explains that Ultear was also led down a dark path to Millianna and all of them reflect on the dark reality of this world. I personally do wish we see Erza healed up and fighting alongside Jellal and Millianna, we need Erza being a badass again and Jellal is long overdue for his epic moment as well and i'm curious to see how Millianna fares against these miniature dragons.
Well one would be asking, if Millianna was there, where in god's green earth is Kagura ? Well right here
We finally get some panel time with Kagura and she seems to be resheating Archenemy after hearing about Ultear's words and the truth. Mashima ,if you kill off Kagura, expect me to hunt you down. Also please show more Kagura damn it, we need more badassery from her.
Meanwhile we cut to Ultear monologuing to herself about why she didn't take her chance to kill Rouge but she pussied out because she can't bring herself to kill an innocent person due to Natsu saying a previous chapter saying that "We'll be the ones going down the wrong path ". While i can complain about Ultear listening to a complete idiot like Natsu and not acting within her vicious nature, i'm not going to because this was actually a decently done character development moment, that and we still get our dragon battles. Also if you think about it, if Future Rouge dies along with Present Rouge, the dragon Slayers won't get a power boost killing their dragon opponents and they'll all be fucked when Acnologia finally makes his appearance and humanity would still be fucked either way . I'm still mad we didn't get our catfight between Mirevana and Ultear , wouldn't that be pretty cool ?
Speaking of Sabertooth , we cut to Rouge reflecting on the words of dragon he's fighting about him causing all this chaos when Sting comes running bringing his dragon with him and basically pulling a Natsu on us and acting like an idiot. We then learn that the Dragon Rouge was fighting was Revire and Scissor Runner is Sting's opponent . Then we see Sting and Rouge do something that they haven't done within 30 chapters, actually be badass as they plan to kick the dragons ass together in this epic pose.
Meanwhile while Ultear is being emo and blogs about how she can't kill Rouge Merdery and Juvia finally meet each other again and Gray manages to shield them from an incoming laser with Lyon chasting the two girls for nearly getting hit. Gray them seems to be confessing his feelings for Juvila when then this happens !
Crap, yeah that look like it hurt but this is Fairy Tail right ? Marakov surrived didn't he ?
- Turns next page *
Gray is shot multiple times within the chest and his right arm is nearly severed in quite a brutal fashion, shit that looks painful as hell but survivable by Shonen standards as long as there's a skilled enough healer right ?
- Turns last page *
HOLY FUCKING BATSHIT HELL ! THEY KILLED GRAY! YOU BASTARDS !!!
No seriously, what in the flying fuck just happened ? Gray was shot in the head ! Is this even Fairy Tail ? When i said last week Mashima was being more like Kishimoto, i didn't mean it this way. Hell this is something Oda would do. This can actually rival Ace's untimely death in the moment of sheer ,soul crushing tragedy levels.
Hell given we spent more time with Gray than with Ace and Gray actually has a confirmed love interest with him, in some way this is seriously more tragic than Ace on an emotional level, at least in my opinion . Think about it, we spent 90% of the story with Gray, we got to know him well and have a arguably bigger connection with him than Ace and i'm not saying Ace's death wasn't tragic but let's be fair, we only know him and seen him for 2 arcs and while he did grow on us, he didn't become that close with Luffy as Gray has with Natsu and the others, also as much as i would've loved Ace to be part of the Strawhats , he was never part of the strawhats.
However here's the reason why at the same time this isn't as tragic as Ace's death despite the connection with Gray being a main character, this is Fairy Tail , it's token them this long just to start killing off characters and i seriously doubt he's going to start with one of the four main characters of the plot this early within the final chapter,especially to low tier fodder baby dragons . Also people are forgetting that Ultear exists and she has time powers and as proven within the timeskip to affect humans, hell she saved Natsu's life by healing him with her time magic not long again so i doubt she doesn't have the power to bring back the dead because let's face it, Gray is still fucking dead ! Unless he's Hidan or Aizen, i don't see him walking off a headshot.
Yep Mashima really did go overkill mode to prove he wasn't fucking around this time around and yeah it's pretty hard to argue that a headshot can't kill you, especially when you're body is looking like 50 Cent after being shot 9 times however we still have Ultear. Gray's death is still less impactful than Ace in the way theyre might be a chance for him to be revived or that was a clone, Ace on the other hand, you know he's dead no sooner Akinau's fist went through his heart. As strange as it sounds, One Piece takes death alot more seriously than most Shonen. Granted not many people actually die in One Piece and the only real notable death's so far are Ace and Whitebeard but they do the deaths the best in the regard that you know they're dead and nothing would bring them back. In Bleach, they can't write anything right and the deaths they actually do write we don't care about ( Seriously who gives a shit about Sasabike ) and in Naruto, death is meaningless as proven with Edo Tensei and Rinnegan .
Still whether Gray dies or not in this chapter or the next , it has definitely set the overall tone of this entire arc. It has finally moved away from the comical aspects and got into the really gritty and morbid territories of a final arc. We moved from the campy fanservice of 330 and 331 to the lighthearted bonding moments of 332 and 3334 and now we're in the " We're not fucking around anymore " zone of this chapter and removed any pretense of a good guy shield. This chapter is an excellent heartbreaking twist of emotional and definitely raises stakes and makes you want next week to come so you can see how much further and darker Mashima would go.
Overall : A +