Cześć whores! As promised, we shall continue where we left off yesterday. Discussing the Shield's - currently wasted - potential. So let's just get stuck right into it.
Before we kick off, as August, Irene and Larcade haven't really done too much in the grand scheme of things, we'll be leaving them for the time being.
The Desert King is actually the easiest one of the remaining nine Spriggans to discuss in my view, as there wasn't really much wrong with him to be honest. The main criticism for him is; what does he do within the Empire?
In the first part, it was noted what roles the 12 had within Alvarez when not at war. Most were fairly obvious and some required a little bit of thought. Ajeel was one of the few where even a bit of thought did not inspire any worthwhile results. Based on his surname, his magic, and his appearance in comparison with his subordinates Bakel and Kareem, one can only assume that Ajeel is some sort of tribal leader of a group of people indigenous to an area within Alvarez. Think along the lines of the Bedouins, Yazidis and the Touaregs of Arabia and North Africa.
Drawing this comparison raises two questions though: How prominent is this possible indigenous group in Alvarez, and how politically significant are they if the apparent leader holds such political, military, and aristocratic power?
In terms of Ajeel's magic, it'd be fair to say that sand magic isn't exactly... riveting. Having said that, Ajeel has arguably had one of the better fights of any of the 12 so far, against Erza of all people. In fact I'd say that was probably the most entertaining fight to read that Erza's had since Pandemonium. Had it not been for Lucy stomping on Marin, and Bisca pulling off that shot with Jupiter, Erza would have been killed by Ajeel.
The only necessary improvement would be during Ajeel's pursuit of Team Natsu and Makarov. Instead of the magic car thing being destroyed as rapidly as it was in Ant Lion's Pit, the situation would have been far more enjoyable to read if: Those that had been on the outside of the vehicle where close to the point of being totally submerged; those still within the vehicle were being crushed because of the sand pit acting like a compactor, rendering Wendy and Natsu incapable due to their weakness; and finally Makarov using giant to destroy the vehicle completely, thus allowing Natsu to do what he did anyway. Let's face it, in situations like that, Natsu just has to be the hero...
If Ajeel ends up losing to Elfman and Lisanna though... We shall be revisiting this.
Much like Ajeel, Invel is a fairly straightforward case to go over though for different reasons. In the way that Ajeel was the compulsory hot-headed, obnoxious member of the group, Invel is instead the cool, calm, collected member. Despite this though, very little has been shown to explain why his persona is such. Obviously being a user of ice magic and holding the title of Winter General gives some explanation, but not enough to be thoroughly convincing.
Based off of what has been seen of Invel, we established in Part I that he was the Chief-of-Staff for the Alvarez military, an undoubtedly high rank in any military. We've also seen his ability to command a large number of troops too, being able to order the black carpet swiftly and confidently. What we have not seen though, is his tactical abilities, nor any underlings such as Major or Brigadier Generals to make up a 'Invel Squad.' This is more of a trivial matter that will be discussed in greater detail at a later date regarding the Squads.
Again, much like Ajeel, Invel's magic is pretty mundane; ice magic. He has been shown to be able to strategically alter the battlefield, as was shown when Fairy Tail's guild was shown atop an artificial glacier. However, his tactical ability could be further explored by creating further obstacles for Fairy Tail to get around in their assault on Magnolia. So far, tactical usage of his magic has been lackluster in that regard.
His abilities in individual combat have also proven to be underwhelming. After having frozen Juvia, Lucy, Natsu and Happy, as a means to provoke Gray, Invel could have used the encasing ice to destroy a limb - preferably Juvia's as she could likely restore it with her water body later.
Being able to induce freezer shock on ice is an impressive feat admittedly, however, Invel's limited display of this ability negatively impacts his perceived threat within the story. This is greatly evidenced by his usage of the True-Ice Kamui and how quickly it was beaten by Gray.
Ice Lock and Ice Slave were potentially Invel's most interesting abilities. Not because of what they did but the impact that they could have had. Ice Lock resulted in what was one of the most controversial fights by pairing Juvia against Gray in the history of Fairy Tail. Still better than Erza vs. Kyouka though...
There was little issue with the fight itself as it was a display of Invel's calculating nature, something we have not many chances to see sadly, nor was there too much issue with the immediate conclusion of the fight; the pair attempted to commit suicide. It is my view that there is no issue with Juvia utilising Water-Make Blood to save Gray's life, I take no issue with that.
Furthermore, I do not take issue with Juvia being revived by Wendy. Allow me to explain, it is not unheard of for people in real life being resurrected from death. Several cases are known of it happening, one such example was the woman about to be cremated who woke up within her coffin before it was to be put in the fire. It turned out she had fallen into, what I believe was, a cross between narcolepsy and a coma, so she appeared to be dead. Another case involved the Latvian owner of the luxury armoured truck business DARTZ. In the 1970's the owner was pronounced clinically dead in a hospital in China after having overdosed on alcohol, yet he was revived and is still going strong today. The most recent case, which can be viewed as it happened on facebook and maybe youtube, is of the South Korean student on I believe Bondi Beach in Australia. After having suffered allergy-induced heart failure, the student was clinically dead whilst lifeguards and a passing anaesthetist attempted and succeeded in resuscitating him. Another example, though not the one I was looking for.
Knowing this and the fact that magic is just that, magic, I see no reasonable issue with Wendy being able to revive Juvia. However, Mashima missed out on a great opportunity to develop Gray as a character in the long run. Instead of Juvia regaining conscious and instantly being concerned for Gray, a better option would have been to follow a path that Nakaba Suzuki took with the relationship of Diane and King in Nanatsu no Taizai/Seven Deadly Sins.
In Taizai, Diane lost her memories of King after being saved by him four or so centuries before the start of the series. She lost them again at the beginning of the current arc for whatever reason, something I was not impressed with admittedly, but that is besides the point. The point is, Mashima could have used the after-effects of Ice Lock to make Juvia suffer from a form of amnesia. Not to the point of totally forgetting about Gray but not the rest of FT, or even forgetting about FT in its entirety. Instead, it could have been a great plot point, induced by Invel, so that Juvia forgot why she felt love/affection/attraction toward Gray and her actual feelings toward Gray.
Right, based on how long the two simplest Spriggans to critique have been, the rest shall be split up into multiple blogs to do them the justice that Mashima currently hasn't. Next time we'll cover God Serena, Wall and possibly Brandish. So until then, enjoy your days ladies and gentleman, and see you next time!