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Fairy Tail 11 Paperback – September 25, 2012
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Years ago, Gray and a fellow apprentice Ice Mage name Lyon worked and learned under a woman named Ur. She was quite powerful, so much so that even years later, folks talk of how powerful she was. She died not just saving Gray from a poorly thought-out revenge against the demon who killed his family, but ensured that the demon would be sealed forever in a tomb of living ice created by her own body.
Years later, Gray discovers a plot by Lyon to melt the ice and free the demon so he can fight and destroy it. By so doing, he can prove himself better than his teacher, and surpass her. I know what you're thinking. Is this guy nuts or what? I don't know why he was so obsessed with beating his teacher that he made the poor moral choices he did, but that was the basic plot. Gray had to try to stop him from his goal in order to save the lives that the monster would undoubtedly kill.
After all of this is over, as the adventurers return to accept punishment for their actions in accepting the quest beyond their ranks, they discover bad news in another guild trying to start a war with Fairy Tail in their absence. This group isn't exactly nice, but their agenda is a lot more personal then it seems, and will place a particular member of Fairy Tail in danger.
Don't worry, despite what I described above, I have left out much spoilers. The story is honestly fun, and it is fun how the author both lays the groundwork for future stories, and wraps up current arcs so neatly. Well, it's fun, but also kinda annoying in a way. The author, Hiro Mashima, admits in the afterword to these early volumes, that he had no idea where he was going for sure. He just takes stuff and later on makes them Easter eggs and Chekhov's guns, or puts them there in case he thinks of something.
The series is over now and ran a long time, so it worked out, but the lack of forethought, especially this early, is kinda jarring and annoying. Also annoying to some, though not to me, is that there is no drawn out battle really. The good guys fight, figure out what to do and win. The fights are rather quick, which is contrary to much *shonen* fair. Some might like them and others might find them anticlimactic. It's up to personal taste, obviously.
I'm looking forward to seeing where things go with this arc. Should be interesting. I don't know if the characters, other than Natsu and Gray, are really developed enough to comment on, but those two, though fighting a lot are true Companions, which is cool to see since I like camaraderie and fellowship in stories. I hear the mangaka had the power of friendship as an important plot point, which I like.
Definitely enjoying working my way through these.
Rating: 5/5 Stars.
But I'm still working out how I feel about Lucy. She tends to always only sit on the sidelines and wonder about how cute she is....so it would be nice to see her actually develop. Everyone else has gotten some, but she's still as plain as ever.
Final rating: 4.75/5 stars
As everyone rushes to stop the giant lacrima from crashing into Extalia, the King plays his final trump card and it's up to our three Dragon Slayers to stop him! The action in this volume was great, featuring some breathtaking and remarkably drawn panels. The story revelations were interesting and finally answered some questions that we had been asking for awhile.