Greetings, everyone! First of all, I apologies sincerely for my long absence from the Wiki. Reasons being, we'll get to that. Second, SPOILER ALERT! If you either are anime-only, not caught up in the manga, or haven't seen Dragon Cry, I advise you to cease reading this instant.
Well, Series 3 is finally here. I'd call it "season 3" but the way Funimation split them up makes it difficult. Any who, it's here. Took a little longer than I thought (2 years since series 2, then again having a feature film released in between is understandable; Mashima and the animators have a huge workload as it is), but "destiny arrives all the same, and now it's here. Or should I say," Zeref is ;)? First of all, I'm sad the animation hasn't changed. I, along with a few other fans of series 1, weren't pleased with Series 2's animation. Series 1 was bright and colourful. Series 2 had less colour saturation (especially during the Tartaros arc) and the character's designs were changed to something closer to the manga. I have no problem with the character designs. While the lower-colour saturation was understandable, given the darker tone the story arcs were taking, it made the show feel gloomy. My biggest disappointments were the animation for Acnologia's Dragon form (a huge downgrade from his appearance in Series 1) and Igneel's death scene (when I read it in the manga I literally cried, in the anime, I felt they adapted everything wrong in terms of musical score and shots. I was expecting the music to be more in the same vain as Simon's death scene in "Tower of Heaven", Mufasa's death scene in The Lion King, Pademe's death scene in Revenge of the Sith or "The birth of Sandman" from Spider-Man 3. And when Natsu screamed "I will live on! I'll get stronger! And I'm gonna grind Acnologia into Dragon-dust!", I was expecting this music: https://youtu.be/OXT2EG1cb1E?t=331. This is Igneel's death we're talking about. It should've gone over-the-top. I don't know, am I the only one who felt ripped off?).
I saw Dragon Cry last August in a theatre with my brother and I felt the animation was the hybrid theory, a perfect blend of the two animation styles, if not, closer to Series 1. After seeing the post-credits scene, I was SO hyped for Series 3. Then I saw the intro...:(...the f**k?! Moving on, the anime version of the "Avatar" arc is almost nearing completion with a few episodes to go. A few questions on my mind for two years now. Will there be anime-exclusive story-arc in between "Avatar" and "Alvarez Empire"? Series 1 and 2 had anime-exclusive story arcs. Series 1 had two (one I hate; the other I don't mind). Series 2 had one I have mixed feelings for. They were mostly made to leave space between the anime and manga in terms of adaptation. The anime adapted 1-3 manga chapters per episode. Mashima had enough stress already. I'm sure there were other reasons. I just don't know exactly what they were. "Key to the Starry Sky" had that Cobra-Cubellios storyline, something the manga never got into for some reason. With the manga ending last year (sort of, we'll get to that), what other reasons could they have for doing any filler?
i. Fan favourites - Something "Avatar" and "Alvarez Empire" lacked were fan favourite characters. The majority of characters have been absent between the last chapter of "Tartaros" and the last chapter of "Avatar", but after that, "Alvarez Empire" was the final story arc. Some of us may not be satisfied with some of our favourite characters being absent till the last minute. The manga readers probably don't have a problem with this, but a two-year hiatus can leave the anime followers hungry. If the anime series won't have a filler arc, then it'd be just the "Avatar" and "Alvarez Empire" arcs, the manga versions of which gave some characters little to no appearances. Even before the "Sun Village" arc, the "Eclipse Celestial Spirits" arc gave episodes with individual characters just goofing around and whatever.
ii. Explanations/expansions - The "Key to the Starry Sky" arc gave us an appearance of the Oración Seis after the seven-year time skip, one or two years before they even reappeared in the manga during the "Grand Magic Games" and "Tartaros" arcs. We were given a bit of incite on what happened to Cobra's eye. I'd like to know how/when Fairy Tail got the modified Jupiter Cannon, among other unexplained events.
iii. Backstories/flashbacks - Out of all the characters in the series, the ones we didn't get flack backs of details of their lives were Gajeel, Levy, and Acnologia. Granted, Natsu didn't get full backstories (they were left mysteries until the E.N.D.), but at least we got to see some incite of his childhood days with Igneel and his first few days joining Fairy Tail. We never got to see flashbacks of Gajeel's childhood with Metalicana or how he first joined Phantom Lord. I don't know about Levy, but more details about Acnologia's life is something we'd all like to see. Even Mashima regretted not giving him more development. Some filler should fix that (unless Mashima decides to write an Acnologia origin story prequel spin-off in the form of a manga series, anime series, or even an anime movie. That'd be sick!).
iv. Callbacks/alludes - As the series extends longer, the anime occasionally references/alludes certain elements from the first few story arcs. "Key to the Starry Sky" had f**king Erigor appear, meanwhile he hasn't appeared in the manga since the "Lullaby" arc. During his fight with Eclipse-Taurus in the "Eclipse Celestial Spirits" arc, Natsu mentioned that time he punched Taurus in the "Macao" arc. In the episode "What a True Heart Weaves", when Erza used that...Strawberry Armour...the Forest Vulcans horde came running toward them attracted to women (an allude to the "Macao" arc when a Mountain Vulcan kidnapped Lucy) and strawberries. Filler in the "Tartaros" arc alluded the events in "Tower of Heaven" and "Tenrou Island". Series 2 even alluded events from Series 1 that weren't in the manga. The anime version of the manga chapter "Message of Fire" had Lucy's doll, Gonzales from the "Key to the Starry Sky" arc. Being the "final season", Series 3 should allude events in Series 1 & 2 when the anime series comes full circle.
v. Delaying the inevitable - Again, adapting only two story arcs from the manga, the first two chapters of one of them were adapted into the last two episodes of Series 2, making it feel shorter in the anime, and the other story arc being a roll-o-coster war arc that was longer than the "Grand Magic Games" arc that the anime split up with a hiatus. We want more time to see these characters we've known since the beginning before the E.N.D. Pun intended.
If you want an example of what I'm talking about, a year or two ago, I wrote a blog detailing an idea I had for an anime-exclusive story arc set between "Avatar" and "Alvarez Empire" which I titled "Neo Phantom Lord". It alludes events in "Lullaby" and "Phantom Lord" among other story arcs and has characters like Kageyama, Boze, Sue and Jose Porla. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend checking it out. A lot of commenters enjoyed it, some saying they would've loved to see it in the anime. I wrote an earlier version of it, but...we don't talk about it... I hope an anime-exclusive story arc similar to this happens. Kind of unlikely, but I can have hope. Mostly because, of all the antagonists in the series, Natsu never met Jose face-to-face. Not once.
Granted, it doesn't have to be an "original" anime-exclusive story arc. The Dragon Ball Z movies, Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' are canon with the series and the first 27 episodes of Dragon Ball Super were episodic retellings of the movies, with some details altered, scenes added, and dialogue expanded to cover two 13-14 episode story arcs. Dragon Cry is canon with Fairy Tail. Erza even mentioned the Dragon Cry in one of the last few chapters. Sonya even appeared in a flashback. That got me thinking. Is Series 3 gonna have an episodic retelling of Dragon Cry? The pacing in the movie was a bit uneven. It felt like some scenes were missing. Like, why were Gajeel, Lily, Levy and Juvia in the Stella kingdom? If only they made it a 2 hour movie like You-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dementions. An episodic retelling of Dragon Cry would fit perfectly. Aside from mentioning the Dragon Cry itself and Sonya appearing in Acnologia's flashback, Natsu was left shaken after his "Dragonize" transformation. I'm starting to think this kinda connects to the struggle with his identity he went through after Zeref revealed to him that he's E.N.D. Given that, I don't know if a retelling would/should be 13-14 episodes but I feel it should be at least 6-10 episodes. If they don't, it'd be sad if they add insult to the injury and remove Erza's Dragon Cry line and Sonya's flashback cameo altogether.
Another thing they could do in between the "Avatar" and "Alvarez Empire" arcs: adapt the light novel, Trouble Twins. It'd connect to the series perfectly. Kids resembling Yajee and Jutla even appeared in the Alvarez chapter, "The Two of Us, Forever". Series 2 adapted one of the light novels "After the Grand Magic Games, Each Individual Day". Series 3 could do the same.
But considering the "Fairy Tail: 100 Year Quest" sequel manga, is this really the "final season"? Mashima is busy with his new manga "Edens Zero" (which might as well be called "Fairy Tail A.E."), but that isn't stopping him from writing and storyboarding the sequel for Atsuo Ueda to illustrate. I've read a few chapters and I do admit, it fills the void the ending to the "Alvarez Empire" arc left in some fans. Will Series 3 end directly with "Alvarez" or will it adapt "100 Year Quest" afterwards? Or will we have to wait until after another hiatus? Or will the sequel manga more likely be adapted into an anime movie?
Regarding the sequels and spin-offs Fairy Tail is getting, "Happy Adventure", "City Hero" and "100 Year Quest", two I'm surprised haven't happened yet are a "Next Generation" sort of thing set a decade after "Alvarez", focusing on the children of Natsu, Lucy and other Fairy Tail members, and, again, an Acnologia origin story.
My thoughts anyway. What are yours?
That's how I usually end my blogs, but I have one last thing. I'll probably get laughed at for this, but I've decided to attempt writing my own screenplay adaptations to the Fairy Tail series. I assume it's obvious by now that I have aspirations to one day adapt Fairy Tail into a live action feature film. I've written blogs about a hypothetical adaptation schedule on how I believed the story arcs should be adapted and sort of a dream cast of who I thought would be good casting choices. But after all the criticism the "Alvarez Empire" arc received, I've decided to take some initiative. And before you ask, no that's not why I haven't been on the Wiki the past year and a bit. The reason is that I'm attending a two-year program at George Brown College, which pretty much robs me of any free time I had. So, don't expect more blogs from me that often. Other than that, I'm dead set on this. I'm actually gonna try. As soon as I finish, I'll let you guys read them if you want.