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Kagura is one of many characters who are introduced in the Grand Magic Games arc for the first time, and the only memorable one from outside Sabertooth. She gives off a very "don't mess with me, or I'll burn down your village" vibe, which we got a taste of early on in the series from Kagura's rival herself, Erza. Over time, Erza mellowed out, but it seemed like for Kagura that stick was shoved up pretty deep. Arguably the angstiest character in all of FT, with more emotional baggage than an Oracion Seis group therapy session, it was hard to like Kagura at first. With her oft-lauded swordsmanship skills, it was easy to write her power off as mere hype, thinking "pff, Erza's got this on lockdown." After all, we thought, if someone as weak as Lyon and his sidekick Mr. Eyebrows didn't even die during her battle with them, how tough could she be? Supposedly she doesn't "reveal her true strength for just anybody," but then why the heck are you in a tournament, you goof? >____>
Still more reason to loathe Kagura came when it was revealed that she actually hated Jellal. I didn't even know that was possible. Most of us assumed it was because she was in a suspiciously all-girl Guild and that their attempts at recruiting Erza were being halted by her affection for a hot guy that made Kagura and Millianna furious. But as we came to find out, this wasn't the case, and that the stick up Kagura's well-defined derrière was actually a pretty good reason to hate someone. Most of us who love Jellal and happily, or perhaps reluctantly, as the case may be, ship him with Erza like to forget that Jellal used to be evil. And once he got amnesia we thought "Oh, well he doesn't remember it so he's forgiven." :) Or, "Oh, Ultear was actually behind it
Unfortunately, this meant that Kagura became the unlucky one millionth person to be connected with the Tower of Heaven fiasco, but whatevs, it's not like I'm
The battle we were all waiting for finally came during the last round of the Games, and unlike Gray's fight with Rufus, Laxus' fight with Jura and Orga, the Dragon Slayer fight and soooo many others, this one was not a let down, and not to be missed for all the boxer-briefs in Jellal's bedroom. Just kidding, nothing is more important than that. But it was cool anyway. To up the ante and somewhat distract from the point of the battle in the first place, Minerva-sama was there. A three-way battle between Fiore's strongest women certainly made the battle 10x more epic, and the fact that Mavis was confused (the proverbial wrench in her plot-armor clairvoyance) made it all the more delicious. Although Minerva-sama was awesome, her presence was getting in the way of closure for Kagura, so she captured the crazy cat woman nobody likes and made the two battle it out like a true "King". The ensuing part two was mind-blowing and had lots of angst, and in true Erza fashion, she tries to bring Kagura back to side of good as only Erza can, but Kagura is having none of it.
In a last-ditch effort to clear the air between Kagura and her hubby, Erza offers herself as a sort of sacrifice/scratching post for Kagura to take out her rage, since by some sort of sophistic logic, Erza is somehow actually responsible for Simon's death. Kagura, confused by Erza's words, goes into full-on catfight mode and draws Archenemy, which, we are told, will bring disaster. Only not really, the buildup was a total let down; some buildings blew up, but after that Archenemy was just a sword and Erza apparently didn't care. After a crazy battle, Erza saves Kagura from some falling debris that for some reason Kagura couldn't dodge, and Kagura is indebted to Erza yet again and apparently (we hope) gives up her grudge on Jellal. But then she gets stabbed by Minerva-sama, who takes the points from Erza like the mastermind that she is. In addition, in a move that confuses me, Minerva-sama tortured Millianna because she was bored. Dick move, Minerva, dick move.
As one would expect, Erza is beside herself with rage at Minerva's tomfoolery and now has to carry Kagura's as well as Jella's emotional baggage. Through her eventual
Kagura's subplot with Erza is actually one of the few things that salvages the GMG arc from being a complete waste of time. Her turnaround isn't clumsy at all, and it actually takes a realistic amount of time and angsting before she becomes one of the "good guys" (not that she was bad before, but she wanted to hurt Jellal, which puts you on Santa's naughty list).
Kagura is also one of the better designed characters from "other" guilds (again, besides Sabertooth) and it's actually sort of obvious that Mashima really put in effort to distinguish her from earlier characters. She wears a very dapper military coat (an interesting choice considering her bust) that makes her look like an officer of the Holy Britannia Empire. This contributes to Kagura's serious air and her undrawn sword that she carries with her everywhere reinforces her "don't mess with me" vibe. While I imagined she'd be a brunette in the anime, her purple hair isn't all that bad, and is a dark shade of purple that you don't often see in anime (usually it's lighter). Combined with a stunning pair of yellow eyes, Kagura is a surprisingly exotic sight despite her serious manner, and combined with her conservative dress makes her one of the more attractive and certainly the classiest and most tasteful of Mashima's heroines/anti-heroines. Her admittedly adorable headband with the little bow that makes her look like a bunny says "I'm formal, but I'm also here to party." Lol, except that's not true. But it is a hold-over from her childhood and perhaps a reminder of why (and for whom) she fights in the tournament.
Kagura was the only non-Sabertooth character introduced during the GMG arc which had any amount of depth, and a surprising amount of it too, considering how many other things Mashima had to nurse at the same time plot-wise. Hopefully, Kagura will be an interesting guest character in future arcs, with further development and some interesting battles. I was actually glad to see that her sword proficiency wasn't totally overstated, and she was actually able to hold her own against Erza. So hopefully she won't slide into irrelevancy like Lyon and be a gag-only character who isn't considered that strong anymore.
the time for battle has passed,enjoy life's bounties.