I’ll confess, Fairy gone’s marketing had me pretty skeptical coming into this first episode. Nearly every season has one or two “grim equals mature” action shows, and I tend to bounce off them harder than anything else in a season’s roster. But though Fairy gone boasts a pretty grim premise and even a nu-metal soundtrack, it actually feels like a pretty sturdy action vehicle so far. Premise aside, Fairy gone seems far more Garo or Rage of Bahamut than Akame ga KILL!.
The episode starts off slow, spinning its wheels as it relays too much exposition regarding the “War of Unification” and Fairy Soldiers. Fairy Soldiers are just soldiers who can summon some kind of fairy avatar, i.e. Stands, and over the course of this episode, we’re introduced to three main fairy-bearing warriors. Free, a former soldier who now monitors fairies for the government, Veronica, a vengeance-minded girl who crashes the auction he’s guarding, and Marlya, who only wants to reunite with her childhood friend Veronica. Most of this episode is taken up by a rolling battle-slash-argument between the three of them, laced with flashbacks to Veronica and Marlya’s tragic childhood.
Once the exposition is covered, this episode actually moves quite efficiently through its initial setup, letting the course of the battle naturally introduce most of the show’s main variables. The story being told is a familiar one, but the show manages to create a pretty convincing rapport between Marlya and Free, in spite of them only sharing a handful of conversations. I’m also a fan of a great deal of this show’s art design – the character designs echo the show’s Rage of Bahamut-esque storytelling, and there were a fair number of richly detailed backgrounds as well.
It’s not all good aesthetically, unfortunately. While I liked many of this show’s individual designs, the overarching art direction and ultimate composite was abysmal; nearly every scene was obscured through either a grey filter or natural shadows, squandering the show’s visual strengths. The show’s color palette essentially ranges from “dark, muted red” to “dark, muted brown,” so my greatest hope going forward is that a greater diversity of environments allows the show to actually embrace its own strengths. Additionally, while the show did a commendable job of attempting to integrate its CG fairies with its traditional animation, they still felt like a big distraction during its fight scenes.
On the whole, while Fairy gone has a variety of issues that prevent me from giving it a wholehearted recommendation, this felt like a fine starting point for a fantasy-action adventure. If you’re looking for an action show and want something more reminiscent of explosive blockbusters than shonen manga, I’d definitely give it a try. You can also free Fairy Gone anime watch online and free anime download.
Like an undetected tumor, Fairy Gone wormed its way into the popular seasonal anime before it began airing. Soon enough it became clear this show would be nothing but a cancer. I just wanted a dark fantasy anime filled with fun action scenes! Was that so much to ask for? Instead, what I got was a borderline unwatchable train wreck.
“Once upon a time, fairies were used as tools for war.”
This tagline and promising poster art were the bait at the end of P.A.Work’s fishing rod, and they successfully baited me into watching it.
Unfortunately, this is not about an army of Disney Tinker Bell fairies wielding rifles. What we got was closer to a cheap Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure knock-off; suspiciously the fifth part of Jojo was airing at the same time as this. Each main character is a soldier possessing one of these fairies: which are super-powered monsters that can be summoned at will during fights. They are the gimmick of this show, nothing else is original. Although the fairy's had enigmatic designs, they are animated with janky CGI at a low frame rate. The fairies look like otherworldly monsters, which fits their alien way of moving, if only it weren’t nauseating to look at. The fairies are tied to each user’s life, if it is injured, the user will receive damage as well. If it is damaged too much then it will need to recover before the next summon. These rules are frequently at play during fairy fights, which adds to the tension and the consequence of death or serious injury. When Fairy Gone is at its best, the soldiers fight each other in sword duels or rifle shoot outs while their fairies mirror their fight on a larger scale. There only a handful of these fights though; usually the protagonist is injured, preventing her from summoning her fairy. The fairies have abilities useful to each soldier’s specific fighting preference; the sword fighter has a werewolf brawler, the rifleman has a fire wielder, and a sniper has a long distance lookout fairy. If action and fairy fighting were the focus of this show it may have been good. Unfortunately, P.A. Works prioritized mind-numbingly boring dialogue rather than action. That brings us to the elephant in the room, the exposition dumps.
At the end of every episode, I was always left overwhelmed by all the information that was dumped onto me. After reading through the Wikipedia summaries for the sake of this review, I can say that there is definitely a story! But it’s only the skeleton of one. There’s no substance, no delivery, there is still no reason to care about Fairy Gone. If you told me this show was written by a robot, I would believe you. It’s like the P.A. Works anime machine went down a checklist of all the necessary parts to a political fantasy story.
1. Name the main guy something cool, like Free Underbar… Genius.
2. We need some giant edgy monsters to fight each other in epic duels, just call it supernatural.
3. Add a femme fatale and name her Bitter Sweet, because she is bitter and sweet. Damn, give these writers a raise.
4. Make the main characters trust the femme fatale so that she can betray them, then repeat that cycle a couple of times. People like twists, right?
5. Add politics to appeal to the intellectuals. Do any of our writers know how to write political drama? No? Just wing it.
6. Make a villain walk through a barrage of bullets while whistling and chuckling like a lunatic, for five minutes straight, without getting a single scratch on him. Logic be damned!!
“Show, don’t tell” is a rule all great stories follow, and if they don’t they end up like Fairy Gone. We are given dozens of names of places, people, and things, with no reason to care other than the hope it will be important later on. The exposition dumps are paced so slowly, but then the transitions from one location to the next are so breakneck fast that you’ll spend most of the new scene figuring out what’s going on. To the show’s credit, much of the information does get reincorporated later. Are you likely to remember everything by the time it becomes important? Not likely. I know I didn’t. I could only manage to recognize certain character names as they got introduced in person, rather than by a narrator. Once a previously named character meets the protagonist, she gives a sliver of information to know the basic outline of what is happening. Dialogue this repetitive usually makes a show worse, but without it, the story would be incomprehensible. Some context is better than none, I suppose. Some of the info dumps are just a bunch of random old dudes discussing politics for a while. At the beginning, there are some emotional stakes in the show worth caring about, but it is quickly forgotten.
The protagonist, Marlya, has one interesting motivation, her relationship with Veronica. She is a fairy wielder fighting for the enemy. Her fairy is so badass, it enters people’s wounds and blowing them up inside out. Through flashbacks, we find that they were childhood friends, separated during a chaotic invasion, leaving them on different sides in the aftermath. If Fairy Gone had played to its strengths, it would have developed the duality between Marlya’s choice to defend the greater good opposed to Veronica’s goal to seek revenge against the government. Needless to say, it did not develop this relationship past the first episode. Marlya acts determined to speak to Veronica and mend their friendship, but it never happens. A plotline the second season will likely address. The rest of the story feels deplorable, you could read a Wikipedia summary instead and lose absolutely nothing. There is no benefit to watching this anime, it looks so bad that you would be better off just reading about it.
P.A. Works is known for their beautiful artwork and consistent animation, neither of which is anywhere to find in this anime. At first, there was some good background art here and there. Early on there was greatly detailed forestry, overgrown moss covering dilapidated castles, dynamic lighting as the time of day changes. But that’s as far as my praise for the art will go. It wasn’t anything special, but it was detailed. The visuals quickly devolve into a mess of awful animation. Zoom shots are used ad nauseam to convey motion, sometimes so poorly that you can see the big ass pixels all over the screen! Character designs are off model 100% of the time unless if the shot is a close-up. This is a huge problem from the start of episode one until the end. Even in the first shot of the opening, Marlya’s face looks weirdly disproportionate and missing details of her normal design. Calling the lazy character art a distraction would be an understatement. There’s no way to enjoy anything without being reminded how ugly everyone in it looks.
An opening is meant to show off the best visuals to get you hyped, but it shows the worst of it, foreshadowing the rapid decline in art quality. The song is pretty good though, it could do without the Engrish and rap/talk-singing. I wish the rest of the soundtrack was as good, but it’s generic and forgettable. The whole OST contains only a couple of songs replayed over and over. As for the ending song, it’s much better, great vocals and piano backing. The ED begins just before the end of each episode as if to signify that something epic just took place, but I was always left thinking “That’s it? Really?” I watched the ending credits every time trying to piece together what I just watched and why the show thought it was so important.
[Final Score: 2/10]
Fairy Gone is the bankruptcy of creativity. It is not a real anime. Rather, this show is a giant block of shit molded to look like a real anime. How could I possibly care about this piece of crap if even the people making it didn't even care? If you managed to watch this show until the end you likely fall into one of these three categories: you are in denial, you’re REALLY skilled at selective blindness, or you wanted peaceful slumber. Or you are like me and you were curious if it would get better. Let me spare you the trouble with a quick answer—it only gets worse.