SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from the Fairy Tail manga which may appear in the anime series adaptation. Proceed at your own risk.
After an incredible nearly decade-long run, the final season of the popular shōnen anime Fairy Tail will air in October. Even though the series has its shortcomings — like an excessive amount of fan service and a weak overarching plot — it still remains one of the most celebrated and successful anime currently in production. With Naruto Shippuden airing its final episode last year and Dragon Ball Super presently on hiatus, Fairy Tail’s conclusion feels like one more step towards the end of a traditional shōnen anime era.
While manga readers dealt with the soft conclusion of this series last summer, the end of the anime will likely cause just as much heartache. However, there is plenty to look forward to in this final season before the series finale — and something fun may be coming up after that. Here’s what you can expect in the last season of Fairy Tail based on the events in the manga.
Getting the Band Back Together
The previous season of the Fairy Tail anime ended with Natsu and Lucy meeting back up after spending a year on their own journeys. Following the climactic battle with the demon guild Tartaros, members of the Fairy Tail guild go their separate ways in pursuit of the power and opportunities necessary to combat even greater foes. This season will begin with Natsu and Lucy searching for their guildmates and convincing them to leave their new lives so that they can reform Fairy Tail.
Since the time skip was only about a year, most of the Fairy Tail mages are mainly the same in terms of their characters and relationships. However, it will be pretty fun to see each of the main characters in new and hilarious situations. Expect to see Wendy and Carla working as idols for another guild, Gray in a cult, Juvia depressed about getting dumped, and Gajeel working as a cop with Levy as his partner. Fairy Tail’s characters are the show’s best feature, so it’ll be a treat to see many of them reconnect under new and amusing circumstances.
War With an Evil Empire
Early on in this upcoming season, the anime will outline how the series’ primary antagonist — the black mage Zeref — came to be the ruler of the incredibly powerful Alvarez Empire. What the anime won’t reveal is how a nation manages to function under a mostly absent immortal teenage ruler with a loosening grip on reality. Nor will the anime explain how an entire country containing some of the strongest magic users in the world can go completely unmentioned for the vast majority of the series. This final story arc was clearly not a part of Fairy Tail’s blueprint when the series first premiered, but it manages to be pretty great nonetheless.
The fights in Fairy Tail are a blast to watch because they usually happen on such a ridiculously large scale and involve loads of grandstanding and trash talking. This story arc will introduce the Spriggan 12, a squad of nearly god-like mages with some of the strongest and deadliest magical abilities ever shown in the series. Of course, these magic users also have some pretty big personalities, and the clashes between them and our protagonists are some of the best in the entire series. While some of these battles will be pretty straightforward and others strategic affairs, they will all appeal to fans of over-the-top anime action.
There’s no perfect way to end a story as enduring and improvisational as Fairy Tail, but this conclusion should do a solid job of tying up loose ends. In the final season, Natsu and his brother Zeref will finally face-off in an all-out battle, the guild will at long last take on the dragon king Acnologia, Natsu will come to terms with his newfound demonic identity, and some heavily implied and hoped for ships will become canon.
Admittedly, this ending might not be as hard hitting as it could be. At this point in the story, each character has very different motivations and desires than when the series began, as previous story arcs have already addressed and resolved prior issues. So, the final season will focus on concluding recent developments from the past few story arcs, rather than series-long storylines. That’s not to say the ending isn’t a blast and well executed; it just doesn’t build to a single endpoint.
A New Adventure on the Horizon
Thankfully, the final season won’t be the last we see of Fairy Tail. A pseudo-sequel manga, titled Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, recently entered publication and picks up immediately after the main story ends. This sequel will follow the main cast of Natsu, Lucy, Erza, Gray, Wendy, Happy, and Carla as they attempt to slay five dragons as part of a quest that remained incomplete for over 100 years.
While it’s sure to be quite a while before this sequel receives an anime adaptation, Fairy Tail fans can rest easy knowing that this upcoming season won’t be the last they see of these lovable characters. While 100 Years Quest does feel a bit tacked on and not vital to the franchise as a whole, it’s still a lot of fun and worth checking out. At its core, Fairy Tail is about a collection of charming and enticing characters exploring extraordinary places and fighting larger-than-life foes. This sequel has that quality in spades and is sure to fill the fairy-shaped hole in your heart.