Appreciate all the kind words last post. I'm not mad, its just a little annoying getting comments like those. Still no ill will.

Chapter 291: Naval Battle

What Went Down: 4th Day of the games beings with Naval Battle where the participant fight in a sphere full of water and have to knock each other out of the sphere with a special rule in place that the last opponent knocked out at the five minute mark gets less points. Lucy fight for FT A while Juvia fight for Team B. The battle's pretty even until it eventually comes down to Lucy and Minerva. However Minerva shows her sadistic streak by pummeling Lucy and preventing her from leaving the sphere till the judges force her to stop. Lucy is badly injured Sting finds this amusing.

- First Half of the Battle

Oy Mashima more fanservice? Well I suppose we had a section of the games without it, so I guess we were due. It was pretty much a girl free for all save for Quarto Puppy's member. Poor guy, but this group has more or less been cannon fodder since the games start save for Bacchus. I kinda doubt their gonna start making waves now.

Seriously why does Lucy even have Aquarius again. She's been nothing but a burden save for the times Lucy can use her effectively and even then its only because Lucy know Aquarius well enough to use her power. But when needed for a serious battle (such as against Angel or here for example) she takes off and never gets called out for it. Just ugh, this is...nah, has become a very annoying one note joke that has long since stopped being funny. Aquarius needs to be knocked down a peg and I'm really hoping Mashima changes this in the future.

But moving on, there wasn't really much in the way of battle, the other girls mostly just dodge and not even bothered to counterattack. I like that Juvia managed to knocked out three in one hit. But as usual her fangirling of Gray gets her in trouble in the game thanks to Minerva. Silly but rather sad too.

- Lucy vs. Minerva.

As soon as she showed up at the beginning I knew this wasn't gonna be pretty. But good grief did Minerva go out of her way to prove it. First and foremost she was just playing around the whole time and could've easily knocked out every one from the get go. And yet doesn't bother too. Just floating there with that smug grin on her face. Then once its down to Lucy and her, she deprieves her of her keys and starts wailing on her. A defenseless opponent who can barely even fight back, and won't even let her leave the sphere. The real kicker is Sabertooth laughing as Lucy gets thrash. So, they've upgraded from smarmy opponents to just out and out unlikeable pricks.

I suppose this is to give us someone to hate for the reminder of the arc since Raven Tail is out of the picture. But just comes so clumsily seeming how at best Sabertooth came off indifferent as they watched other opponents. So now they think its fun to trash their opponents. Seriously I don't know where Mashima trying to pinpoint with these characters but I hope he gets it down soon as we move on.

Final Grade: C

It wasn't a bad battle and I don't mind that Lucy's resolve got subverted or getting beaten by a stronger character. But the sudden "evil switch" in Sabertooth is a little hard to swallow this late in the story.

And poor Lucy, second time she's competed and got thrashed for her trouble. I can only imagine this won't do well for her self-esteem when she comes too. But maybe...that might work toward Aracadis's favor in the future. In the meantime Sabertooth just made this personal and it wouldn't surprise me if the next few bouts against them will get very, very brutal.

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