Hello all and Happy New Year as we kick of the manga season of 2012. Hope your holidays were plentiful and that you're in the mood to get back into the swing of things. I know I am, let's review!

Chapter 265: The Flower Blooming Capital, Crocas

The Skinny: Team Natsu arrives at Crocas, we learn the rules and "conveniently" only Team Natsu will be participating in the games. Everyone goes their separate ways. Erza checks into the hotel, Charle and Wendy visit the castle of the city unaware they're being watched. Gray and Lyon (or rather just Lyon) make a rather ludicrous bet involving Juvia. And Natsu, Lucy and Happy finally meet Sting, Rouge and their Exceeds...who are revealed to be total assholes. Oh and they apparently killed a dragon which make them "true" dragon slayers.

My Thoughts: Not a bad chapter but not a perfect one. I'll get the bad out of the way now, I hate the excuse they used for just using Team Natsu for the games. Okay Mashima their the central characters, I understand that but don't keep using them for every main event in your story. I know that this Team trained to take on the games but really I just couldn't help but be annoyed by this just as the Team were the only ones to fight Hades at the end of the Tenrou Island arc. Really its okay if you change up your roster now and then, Mashima. We won't mind, we want to know of the other characters!

Now for the good, love the humor between Gray, Lyon and Juvia. But sheesh Lyon is such a cock-blocker, he might as well have a sign that says "I Want Juvia For My Girlfriend". I was surprised Gray was actually taking an interest in defending Juvia. Could it be he's really starting to care for her? Hmm. Juvia also looked cute, glad she changed into a new outfit too.

Of course the latter half was all about the tension, first we got some gremlin thing tailing Wendy and Charle, most likely some creature from Raven Tail. And Sting and Rouge reveal their true colors as nothing more then a bunch of cocky fighters who think they're all that over slaying a dragon. Heck even Happy and their Exceeds don't get along right off the bat. Course if these two chide Natsu over failing to stop Acnologia (without even knowing the full details. Natsu wasn't exactly in the best of shape when that happened) then its obvious they're in for a rude reality check. Basically think Cobra only if he actually met a dragon and split it into two people and you got these characters. Curious of the whole backstory of being trained by and killing their dragon. Was it truly for power or another reason entirely?

Overall I dug it. We finally kickstart the tourney arc and the heroes meet their adversaries. Some shocking revelations and great tension abound. Curious that the FT never seem to join the games when there was a specific event that was perfect for one of the members. Coincidence? We shall see.

Grade: B-

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