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GUESS WHOSE BACK...again. =P
Yeah sorry for being away all but once again life just got busy for me and I haven't had the time to come back. I had planned to do a drawn version of my review after my last Omnibus but that didn't get off the ground (not to say I'm not still thinking about it though). And well, you know how it is. I finally was able to get some free time but, man, the manga just blew by me in that timeframe. So rather then just do the thing chapter by chapter in yet another Omnibus, let's just review the remainder of the Grand Magic Games arc.
So yeah basically Laxus puts up a good fight against Jura and comes out the victor. Erza manages to beat Minvera in a rather disappointing climax. Sting wimps out in the final moments of the match and Fairy Tail wins the games. Woot! But wait, The Rescue Team isn't back yet. Well they're still fighting the guards and Garou Knights. A shadow saves them just as they're about to be overwhelmed and it turns out to be...Rouge? Oh wait, it's a Future version of him and he's evil. Pretty unexpected but I wasn't complaining. He claims Lucy will close the gate which will prevent the cannon weapon on it from firing and letting the dragons run rampant in the city and eventually the world. He tries to kill present Lucy but Future Lucy gets in the way and sacrifices herself. Natsu fights Evil Rouge and loses but is saved by Ultear and Merady.
Lucy meets up with the Princess as they open the gate while the other guilds spread out around town for the dragon invasion. But then Lucy finds out from her spirits that, =GASP= THE GATE is where the dragons will come from since it's connected to the past. Seven dragons get through before they're able to close it, but Evil Rouge gets his dragons as he intended with his newfound power and attacks the city. Even with Dragons Slayers (which include a surprise appearance from Cobra, heh not so "not real" now are they, long ears?) they have trouble beating back the dragons. Natsu fights Evil Rouge, gets knocked back again. But conveniently one of the dragons is made of fire. Even more conveniently, the dragon was a friend of Igneel. So yep, Heel Face Turn and Natsu evens the playing ground against Rouge. As that goes on, Gray gets killed by a dragon minion, wait? WHAT! Oh no! A long time character has finally bit the dust! This changes everything in the...oh wait no. Ultear decides to use the ultimate power in her skillset to turn back time at the cost of her life...but only manages to do so for one minute. Well, that's a bummer.
But wait, it works! Gray is alive and manages to counter the killing attack. The rest of the guilds fight more effectively after seeing the minute ahead in the future. Lucy meanwhile finds her future self's diary which tells them they need to break the gate to stop the dragons (no time tither, no time traveling people and dragons). Conveniently enough Natsu lands the finishing blow on Evil Rouge and sends him and his dragon plowing into the gate. The day is saved, Rouge and the dragons disappear as well as Future Lucy's body (where, in a rather sweet moment, she's reunited with her FT members in the afterlife I'm guessing. Exactly why her parents weren't there I don't know =P).
After which we get a six chapter aftermath. The characters acting silly at a ball thrown in their honor. Sabertooth deciding to change for the better (Aww Jiennma still alive though. Boo) Finding out Dorenbolt wiped the memories of the council to keep the royal family safe. Cobra goes back to jail but delivers a vague warning about upcoming events. Ultear didn't die but just became an old lady and sends a note to her guild mates requesting to carry on without her (bummer, for reals this time) as well as Gray somehow knowing about this. FT returning home as the hometown heroes and getting their lavish pads back. That imp thing belonging to Zeref who decides "hey if the world gonna be corrupt and reject me, I might as well destroy the world" with Mavis pretty much stating to bring it on if he dares.
And the start of a new arc beginning with more silliness, another visit by Flare (who doesn't join Fairy Tail. Heh nice subversion there). A request from one of the founders of Fairy Tail and a frozen city, some starting antagonists in the form of treasure hunters and Minvera once more coming back into play, but as a really reals evil gal this time.
Whew, and there you have it, so what I think. It...was a decent finisher. Let's start with the last act of the games. As stated, I hated that after all that build up, Erza just didn't thrash the hell out of Minvera. Seriously with antagonists like this we want to see them PAY, and I don't consider a puny action-less scene of her getting tossed aside anywhere near that. I suppose that's why Mashima brought her back for the next arc since time constraints wouldn't allow for a big finisher but still. That said I did enjoy Laxus's fight which truly did feel like a struggle, his win was well deserved. The finale with Sting was...well I didn't hate it, cause let's face it, Sting didn't have the heart to really throw down against anyone with Lector's supposed death and he's still wet behind the ears. So staring down five battered but still determined veterans would break my fighting spirit too. So yeah I'll give Mashmia that one.
The reveal of Future Rouge and his plan. I don't know, I get F. Rouge's plan, it was a well intentioned decision that got skewed thanks to a loss of a friend. And indeed made for a good final boss to Natsu with the seven year power gap, especially with his power to control dragons. But his build up was so clumsy, save for the shadow that tries to corrupt the present Rouge. There's really no foreshadowing of his coming (heh "foreshadowing") and he just appears all of a sudden. Least with Future Lucy we got some hints. I also still have trouble seeing how controlling a thousand dragons would work against Acnologia. Dude became king of the dragons for a reason, wouldn't this just help him if he managed to kill F. Rouge?
In any case the final battles with dragons were up and down. On one hand I like seeing all the guilds work together. Liked see the Dragon Slayers do their thing especially artificials like Laxus and Cobra. The fact that the dragons were tough was certainly a plus (really it was stated at the end, they could barely put a dent in them. Really saying something if mook dragons could be that hard to kill). And hey Zinconis even made a return and was entertaining as ever. But with the zipping between battles, the story was so all over the place that made it hard to follow along. As well as the lack of progress that honestly made the battles pretty boring. And the friendships speeches, UGH! I know friendship is a main part of this series. It's how FT remains top in it's class, why most rely on them, yada yada. That's fine. But for crying out loud, I don't need dozens of chapters reiterating this. SHOW their determination, don't have them sprout on and on about it. Much as I've tried to defend FT from detractors, even I was with them on this one.
F. Rouge's finish was pretty cool though with Atlas practically punching Natsu toward him to deliver the final blow. And connecting it with the time gate made sense, I actually laughed when Lucy and Yukino were stating they couldn't break the gate and WHOOP here comes a dragon meteor LOL. The aftermath chapters were thankfully pretty quick (no doubt in thanks to the the two weeks of three chapters). Usual shenanigans at the ball, which indeed was very funny especially when the guilds started brawling over Yukino (was also sweet of Sting apologizing to her as well. But what the hell Gray? Just give Juvia a chance already @_@.) And finding out what became of Crime Sorcière as well as Larhar and Dorenbolt covering up the Eclipse matter. They gave some pretty good reasons for their actions especially since we know how strict this new council is and a public scandal wouldn't be good for the country. Nice to see they're also on good standings with Jellal and Meredy, after all if it wasn't for them, things could've went a lot worse.
Yeah I wasn't surprised Ultear was still alive as an old lady, least it's a dignified way to leave the story and her letter was very sweet. Knowing Mashima though, wouldn't be surprised if she got her youth back in some form or another. Nor was I surprised that Fairy Tail got their guild hall back (though I did laugh that Twilight Orge, whom FT kicked out of the tourney so quickly, was part of the group welcoming them back. Irony). But the good mood spoiled by Zeref reappering was a nice shift even moreso when Mavis showed up. I had a feeling they had some history together so it's nice this got expanded. Looks like a war's a brewing, just hope Mashima takes his time with the build up though.
And finally start of the new arc, meh. Nothing too interesting, a comedy bit but was nice to see Flare again. I do wonder if she'll play a role later on considering she keeps running into the FT group lately. Hell I doubt were even done with Raven Tail yet (I mean come on, after that pathetic build up and showing in the games. I want a full fight with FT, darn it). The talk about the Four Gods of Ishgal and meeting Warlot did bring some intrigue though. But otherwise were just starting things with a new area to explore and some new adversaries (as well as a returning one. Calling it now, Lucy's gonna have her revenge.)
So overall it wasn't the best arc, a lot of build up, a lot of let down but some good action at the very least and it could've been a bit shorter. But overall a pretty good read nonetheless.
Final Grade: C+