Fairy Gone – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: From the director of Drifters, and the creator behind Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions, comes a war-torn world on the brink of calamity. Able to summon fairies as alter-ego weapons, former soldiers become government dogs, mafia members, and even terrorists in search of purpose beyond the battlefield. Who will maintain the peace they all fought for nine years ago? (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Fairy Gone is a mess. While the first episode offered promise, little work has been done to endear viewers to our leads, making it difficult to care about anything they do. The complex plot of political intrigue and the threat of a return to war is interesting, but without people we care about at the center of events it all feels distant and unengaging. The show is so much more focused on delivering development after development that we never slow down and get to know anyone, especially as the cast greatly expands in the later episodes, making for a large mess of characters who all feel paper thin.
Linny: Fairy Gone feels like yet another case of style over substance. You have interesting, unique designs and exciting concepts but zero character work to sell the heart of its story. It is so obsessed and preoccupied with showcasing its unusual creations and its political plot that the characters end up getting shafted. It doesn’t help that soon the unique elements of the show get marred by laughably cliche villains; the kind that spout nonsense and laugh like maniacs. Nor does it help matters that we get characters and villains with names like Free Underbar or Bitter Sweet that come off sounding so silly to a English speaking viewer and end up making it hard to take such characters seriously. Fairy Gone also has this incessant habit of introducing several characters every episode not only through dialogue but with actual text onscreen, giving off an aura that they’re meant to be significant only to then never refer to or show those people again, ultimately making all that introductory pomp feel pointless. If this is an attempt to make up for the lack of character exploration and set up, it’s a sad and pointless effort.
Tom: Further dragging things down are the periodic animation mistakes. There’s at least one instance where characters are clearly seen running into a narrow street/alley only for the next few shots to re-contextualize the location as a wide, empty street. It’s jarring and confusing. Honestly Fairy Gone’s greatest asset is the action, which melds the 3D work with the 2D and creates a few memorable sequences that become the highlight of the production. But if you need more than spectacle, Fairy Gone isn’t a good choice. Right now the series is floundering, and unless it does a hard shift towards exploring its wealth of characters, offering insight into who they are, why they are the way they are, and instill them with better dialogue, Fairy Gone is likely to remain something best left as forgotten.
Linny: Despite the credits and early episodes putting a lot of emphasis on Fairy Gone’s female lead, Marlya Noel, she begins to feel like nothing more than just another pretty face. Not only does she suffer from a cliche tragic heroine past (orphan who then even loses the people who took her in and is vilified as a bad omen by the village people), the rest of her story is limited to ‘searching for childhood friend turned evil’. We never get to see her grow or showcase any other reason why she is featured as a lead. For all intents and purposes, Free Underbar, a former soldier turn special agent, is the true lead and Marlya could be relegated to catalyst character at best. Yet Marlya features heavily, in my opinion, solely to be a pretty face to attract the attention of male viewers and further speaks to Fairy Gone’s lack of convincing characters. Ultimately, Fairy Gone is a show best picked up by those who can find unique designs and political drama enough to carry a show even if the cast themselves are paper thin or cliche. The show just does not offer anything in terms of deep characters or character development and that could prove to be a major disappointment for everyone else.