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Chapter 284: Pandemonium
What Went Down: The third day of the games start as does the third event. Laharl makes a appearance as a guest judge this time out (Thank god. I could not stand Jason for one more panel) who also brought Doranbolt along so he could see that the FT mages he left on the island were alright. The third game's event is Pandemonium where a building full of monsters is set up. The contestants are to enter and fight as many as they can to gain point with a special gimmick called "Challenge Right" that allows them to challenge any number of monsters though what class of monster they get (from D to S and even then the weaker one are still pretty tough) is random. Erza goes out for her team (with Cana going for Team B as Jellal didn't want to be seen with a magical official watching over the games) and gets the first pick when drawing lots. She challenges all 100 monsters...and manages to take them down much to the shock of everyone.
Cheers and Jeers: Well uh wow that was certainly an unexpected ending now wasn't it. Just...wow.
Okay getting ahead of myself here, I'm glad we're finally in the third part of the games after three chapters of exposition and meaningless fighting (as cool as it was). Lahar and Doranbolt's appearance was a nice surprise too. But seriously when is Doranbolt gonna get over his guilt, not like the Magic Council fired their nuke on the island. He did all he could and the fairies are alright. Let it go dude.
Cana...not exactly someone I would pick for the B-Team. I'm glad she getting some use in the series again but I get the creeping feeling she just gonna be cannon fodder come the battle portions. The rest of the chapter was once again more exposition on the game i.e. padding. Oy, again Mashima? I know most of the time its a deadline thing but this time it just felt so unnecessary. There was nothing that couldn't be told within two pages and then going on with the games. A better set up would be some of the lesser competitors go then Erza claims the rest of the monsters. Done. Some of the unknown characters get screen time and FT still get to be badass. But no, we have to hear the judge drone on and on about how to play the game. Waste of really needed space.
The end though REALLY made up for it. Just the look on everyone faces when Erza challenges all 100 monsters, fights them and still comes out standing on top. Indeed, Titana hasn't lost a step over the two years. But now that begs the question, will she have enough energy for the battle portions? I know she a determinator but even she has her limits. A set up for a tougher fight perhaps? Hmm.
Overall, as much as I loved the ending. I really hated how the whole exposition took up most of the chapter just to be completely useless in the end. Not to say I'm not looking forward to the next portion but I'm hoping its better paced then this one.