Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Author: Hiro Mashima
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $10.99 US
Rating: T (13+)
Release Date: Available Now
For Erza, this is what happens when the past collides with the future.
Having been a dedicated Rave Master fan, Fairy Tail should have been a manga series I should have jumped on from the very beginning but somehow I missed my chance. That, folks, was one of my biggest mistakes because picking up Volume 10 of Fairy Tail, I could see that I was missing out on a series that isn’t afraid to have fun but also tell a meaningful story that makes this series a worthy read.
Picking up after the events of Volume 9 when Natsu, Happy and Gray make a most interesting discovery about one of their own who is actually bound to Lucy as a Celestial Spirit, the handsome playboy that is Loke is more than happy to serve Lucy. He even hands her passes to an exclusive and expensive beach resort so all of them can enjoy some vacation time after such a difficult mission that included Erza Scarlet.
It’s great to see the Lucy’s team having some fun for a change and they have a blast on the beach. In the evening, they all decide to meet in the resort’s casino where Gray encounters Juvia from the now disbanded wizard group called Phantom. Since she has a major crush on the wild wizard, she tells him she now wants to join Fairy Tail … most likely just to be close to him.
Unfortunately, a most odd-looking fellow who looks like a gangster thug made of LEGO shoves a gun down Natsu’s throat while another thug appears at the blackjack table as a replacement dealer and reveals himself to Erza. Meanwhile, Gray and Juvia are attacked by a much bigger foe and just before Lucy could make her move she is tied up by a cat-like girl. Just about the only person who recognizes these four attackers is Erza who the man named Sho calls “Big Sis.”
With the other Fairy Tail members out of the way, Erza is taken captive by this group and is whisked away. Lucy discovers that the rope that is tied around her is magical but help comes in the form of the resort’s visitors that – during the attack – have been imprisoned in playing cards. One of them is able to cut through Lucy’s ropes and she gathers her friends together to begin a pursuit to save their comrade as well as Happy who was kidnapped and given to the cat-girl named Millianna as a gift.
As it turns out, all four know Erza from her carefully guarded past and all four consider her a traitor for having not only betraying their leader named Jellal but also leaving them. It seems this Jellal has finally built the massive tower known as the Tower of Heaven just as he promised and now Erza is to become the sacrificial lamb in a ritual connected to the tower that is capable of making an impossible feat possible. Of course, in order for it to work, a person must die and Erza is the one chosen for this task.
While Lucy and the others reach the Tower of Heaven, Erza’s past is revealed to us as Erza opens up in a way that is so unlike this fierce warrior-wizard. You see, Erza grew up a slave to a religious group that forced men, women and children to build the Tower of Heaven for the purpose of resurrecting a dead deity. Unfortunately, beatings were an everyday occurrence even for child slaves like Erza and her young friends that include Sho, Millianna and a boy named Jellal.
One day, an escape attempt by the children resulted in Erza getting punished and when Jellal rescued her only to get captured in the process, this event awoke a rebellion led by Erza. Sadly, something happened in Jellal’s cell that changed everything and when freedom was one the confrontation between Erza and Jellal didn’t end well. In the end, Jellal ended up taking up the mission to finish the Tower of Heaven and seeing Erza’s refusal to help as an act of betrayal.
Now, Erza is faced to find Jellal and put an end to his plan that is seen a dangerous by a council that sees the Tower of Heaven a threat to all the world. In the wrong hands, it becomes a weapon of mass destruction. Oh yeah, you can bet things are going to get interesting and heartbreakingly awful for Erza.
It’s good to see a dramatic storyline in this series and Mashima-sensei doesn’t get too carried away that he loses the humor he injects in every volume. Thankfully, there are bonus manga stories as well such as one story that has Lucy thinking that maybe Natsu is romantically interested in her. It’s downright hilarious.
In its tenth volume, Fairy Tail spins a deeply touching tale that makes this a story arc that isn’t just about madcap action and the usual wizardry antics. Then again, the series has progressively become a fun, exciting and well written and Volume 10 is a good example of how Mashima-sensei is more than capable of balancing drama with his brand of humor. The next volumes promise to be very interesting as Erza faces the demons in her past. Considered us hooked on this manga series now.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
After obtaining free passes to a beachside resort, Lucy and her fellow Fairy Tail cohorts that include Erza Scarlet. Unfortunately, their fun in the sun and a nice night at the casino becomes a bitter walk down memory lane for Erza who becomes the target of powerful magic-users who know her tragic past well. Taken captive, Lucy, Natsu, Gray and Juvia stage a rescue as their friend’s past is revealed.
Hiro Mashima’s art has strayed a little from One Piece manga-ka Eiichiro Oda’s influence and developed a style of his own and that’s a very good thing since he‘s really talented. You just have to love his character design and the action in the manga looks really good.
Volume 10 of Fairy Tail shows that the series just keeps getting better with each volume and with more emphasis on character development it is hard to ignore how entertaining this series is becoming to the point of rivaling Rave Master. We definitely cannot wait for Volume 11.
Review copy provided by Del Rey Manga