FAIRY TAIL VOLUME 2 – MANGA REVIEW

 Fairy Tale Volume 2 Cover

Written by Gretchen Silversted

Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Author: Hiro Mashima
Genre: Graphic Novel (Fantasy/Adventure)
MSRP: $10.95 US
Rating: T (Ages 13 +)
Release Date: March 25, 2008

I have a confession to make: Rave Master was one of my favorites to the point that I still take out a volume from my overstuffed bookcase and read them all over again. As a fan of Hiro Mashima, I found myself really anticipating the release of Mashima’s Fairy Tail series that has finally reached our shores. To top it all off, in a first for Del Rey Manga, we not only get one volume of this highly-anticipated series but also the second volume on the same day. Fairy Tail Volume 2 continues what will sure to be a true manga classic.

Volume 2 of Fairy Tail picks up directly after the events of Volume 1 and it is in this volume that we get a clearer sense of what being part of a team in the Fairy Tail guild of wizards. Lucy, our cute and likeable fish-out-of-water, wondered if she had joined a mad house instead of a guild in the first volume but after her first real quest with Natsu and Happy she has come to see that Fairy Tail might have it’s problems but the members of this guild have hearts of gold and the souls of heroes.

The first volume ended with Natsu and Happy bringing up a new quest that involves a rare book their client wants them to steal from an eccentric named Duke Everlue. It so happens that the murderous Everlue is in need of a sexy blonde maid and Lucy thinks she fits the description. Upon arriving to the town, the seemingly wealthy client mentions that the book they are looking for is special and while it legally belongs to Everlue the book wasn’t meant for him. So Lucy, dressed up in a cute maid outfit, rings Everlue’s doorbell only to find that the egg-shaped Duke doesn’t find her attractive at all. In fact, his idea of attractive is greatly distorted. The look on Lucy’s face when she’s told that she’s ugly is just pure comedic gold.

Of course, Natsu’s not-so-brilliant backup plan is to break into Everlue’s mansion and it is there that the three begin search for a book titled “Daybreak.” When they do find it, Lucy discovers that the book was penned by one of her favorite authors of all time and that something is not right about the book. Pleading with Natsu and Happy, Lucy runs off to read the book while her companions are left to defend her from Everlue’s hired goons … professional hired bodyguards known as the Vanish Brothers. As Natsu battles the brothers, Lucy’s discovery of the book’s true worth shocks her to the very core.

In a climatic battle for the book, Lucy – who is a Celestial wizard – summons a crab spirit that offers a haircut instead of assistance in combat. Again, Lucy’s Celestial spirit summons prove to be hilariously unhelpful (although the Rave Master fan in me is dying to see Plue in action again). In the end, the trio win the fight and return the book to the client. Lucy divulges the secrets of “Daybreak” in an emotional scene that once again deals with fathers and sons (much like the first volume does). Mashima is great at playing up the comedy relief but the emotionally charged scenes just hit the right cords without seeming cheap or forced.

Returning to Fairy Tail, though, a mysterious figure enters the rowdy tavern where Natsu and his voyeuristic rival, Gray, fight again. It’s a shock to Lucy that this fierce young woman wearing armor puts every wizard in their place and even causes both Natsu and Gray to tremble with fear. It turns out that this Fairy Tail wizard – who brought down a giant monster single-handedly is in need of help. This armored wizard named Erza picks Natsu, Happy and Gray to join her on a mission and so Lucy decides to tag along.

It seems that Erza, while in a tavern, learns that a dangerous band of wizards are in search of a powerful magical item known as Lullaby. In the wrong hands, this item can cause the deaths of hundreds and so it us up to the team of Fairy Tail wizards to find Lullaby right away. On the train to the possibly whereabouts of the item, Natsu (who passed out on the train after Erza knocked him out) is left behind only to be confronted by one of the members of the dangerous wizards. Natsu finds out that Lullaby is a flute capable of killing anybody within earshot.

Erza and the rest of her group go after the train as Natsu battles the wizard that reveals to him that he is part of the Eisenwald guild who hates Fairy Tail and everything it stands for and that a Death God will soon lead them to their ultimate plan. Volume 2 ends with the group in what will no doubt be a massive confrontation between the two guilds. With so much at stake, each member of Fairy Tail prepares themselves for a battle to the end. Whoa, now that is a cliffhanger.

This volume is slim on the bonuses, although the Translation Notes are still a lovely behind-the-scenes deal worth reading. In his Afterword, Mashima says he was making up the story as he goes and that this is what he’ll be doing in future volumes. Still, for a talented manga-ka like Mashima, the story doesn’t feel unstructured so if the series continues just like this volume you will not hear me complain one bit. Even the brief Preview had me salivating for more.

As much as I loved Rave Master, I find myself loving every single page of Fairy Tail even more and I will certainly look forward to more volumes. Mashima’s writing and art have always been excellent and this series proves this point so here’s hoping we get more Fairy Tail love. Really, I can’t recommend this series enough.

REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: 10/10
I liked the first volume but this second volume has everything you can ask for in a manga. There are memorable moments that true stand out (like the true meaning behind “Daybreak”) and the cliffhanger ending will have you awaiting the next volume.

ART: 10/10
Hiro Mashima is a master of his craft for a reason and his work on Fairy Tail is one of his best yet. Kudos to you Mashima-sama.

OVERALL: 10/10
Fairy Tail Volume 2 delivers on all fronts and will make you glad you love manga. If the first one was a worthy introduction than this second volume is a sign that this series is destined to be a true fan favorite. Kudos to Del Rey Manga for releasing this one at the same time as the first volume.

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