Welcome back to Fairy Tail my friends, a fun little manga series about the adventures of Natsu and Lucy, Wizards of the Fairy Tail Guild. Last time, Natsu saved Lucy from being sold as a slave by a narcissistic date rapist and agreed to let her join Fairy Tail.
Today’s outing gives us our first introduction to the guild itself.
Fairy Tail Chapter 2: Summary
We open with Lucy standing outside the Fairy Tail headquarters, excited to finally see the place she’s wanted to join her whole life. However, what Lucy quickly learns is that Fairy Tail is less like your typical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as she was expecting and more like a hybrid of Xavier’s School for the Gifted and Unseen University, meaning that it is as full of unique and diverse individuals with equally unique and diverse powers as it is with rampant drunken debauchery.
Natsu, being Natsu, immediately starts a bar fight with the guy who gave him bad info about Salamander, causing the whole place to join in and leaving Lucy dumbstruck.
It is here that we’re introduced to several new characters, most notably Mirajane, Fairy Tail’s poster girl, bartender and resident shape shifter, Gray, an ice mage with a rivalry with Natsu and a belief that wearing clothes in public is more a suggestion than an actual requirement, and Loke, a pervert.
However, the bar fight is quickly broken up by the arrival of Fairy Tail’s guild Master, Marakov. While at first the Master appears as an enormous Shadow Monster, he quickly reveals himself as a rather diminutive old man. The old man has just come from a meeting of guild leaders in which several concerns regarding the… um… activities of the guild wizards were brought to light.
Naturally, the scene plays out not unlike a Festivus celebration at the Costanza house. The charges include public nudity, theft of underwear, assault on one’s employer, claiming a massive unpaid bar tab as a business expense, seduction of the daughter of a senior council member and as of yet unspecified damages to a talent agency, and we haven’t even gotten to Natsu yet. Natsu’s screw-ups include, destruction of at least seven private homes, a historic clock tower, a church, a section of the castle of an important lord, an observation station and most recently, an entire harbor when Bora’s private yacht smashed into it last time.
The underlying theme of all this being, everyone in Fairy Tail is a massive screw-up, and they have thoroughly pissed off the council with their antics. And as far as Marakov is concerned, the council can eat sh*t. Marakov didn’t get where he is today by letting those in authority hold him back, and he’s not about to let the Wizards in his guild be held back by it either. His philosophy is a simple one: Follow the path you believe in, that is what it means to be a Fairy Tail Wizard. And thus, the drunken debauchery continues. Huzzah!
Later, after Lucy has officially been made a member of Fairy Tail, complete with a spiffy new tattoo, we get introduced to the mission board, advertisements for various odd jobs that require magic to complete that wizards accept and collect a cash reward for upon completion. A little boy named Romeo approaches Marakov, worried that his dad, Macao, hasn’t returned from his mission. While the Master assures Romeo that his father will be fine, Natsu can’t stand the sight of a child feeling abandoned and immediately walks off on a rescue mission. It’s also here that we get our first piece of backstory for Natsu. Remember Igneel, the Fire Dragon mentioned by Natsu in chapter 1? Apparently, Igneel not only taught Natsu everything he knows, but also raised him as one of his own. However, one day, Igneel just disappeared, never to be seen again. So, as one can imagine, Natsu’s not about to let that happen to another. Touched, Lucy joins Natsu on his mission.
After some motion sickness antics, Lucy and Natsu’s cart arrives on the slopes of a frozen mountain. What we soon learn is the exact nature of Macao’s mission, hunting down and eliminating a monstrous ape creature called a Vulcan. And our chapter ends with said Vulcan attacking from out of nowhere.
What Works in Fairy Tail, Chapter 2
While there’s considerably less action here, I found I enjoyed this chapter a lot more than chapter one. We get introduced to a lot more characters and get a sense of what Fairy Tail is really like, specifically, the fact that they’re a bunch of idiots, drunks and goof balls.
I also like the idea of the mission board. It makes the idea of being a wizard seem more blue collar and working class, which is a unique take on things.
Marakov is a fun character and his entrance is striking and memorable, (though at the time I’m writing this I’m half way through the fifth volume of the manga and have yet to see him take that form again) and his speech is absolutely hilarious, especially when he gets to Natsu and lets out a beleaguered sigh.
What Doesn’t Work
One complaint I have is that during the culmination of the big bar fight, we tease the various Fairy Tail Wizards using their powers, but we don’t actually get to see them. Hell, I only know that Gray is an ice mage because I’ve read far enough ahead. I think it’s a missed opportunity to show off your characters and their powers in a quick and natural way. The exception is Mirajane, whose shape-shifting abilities are humorously revealed when she transforms into the wife of some guy who was hitting on her at the bar.
Finally, the Status quo takes shape and our guild is introduced, and done so in a fun and entertaining fashion.
On Lucy’s Sexuality and Manipulation
I’ve been asked to comment on Lucy’s use of her sexuality to manipulate people from the last chapter. I can say that I certainly do not condone that behavior and believe that it plays into some negative female stereotypes, which, for a manga likely aimed at teenagers, does not set a good example for our readers. However, I believe that the writer did not write Lucy in this way to make a negative statement about women, but rather, to make a negative state about Lucy specifically.
See, this chapter actually helps to establish a theme among the characters of the series. While most literary wizards such as Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Glenda the Good Witch, Etc. are depicted as larger than life figures and stand tall above the non-magic users of their respective universes, the wizards of Fairy Tail shown to be flawed and imperfect for the most part, just like anyone else. Natsu is a headstrong moron, Gray is an unapologetic exhibitionist, Loke is complete pervert and of course, Lucy, while good-hearted, is incredibly vain and at times manipulative.
As I said, I don’t condone that behavior and understand that it can turn many prospective readers off, but it is nonetheless a part of who Lucy is as a person. One can also take comfort in the fact that later chapters will introduce a much stronger female character later.