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Fairy Tail Episode 176 Review: The Dragon King
After months of waiting the second half of the Grand Magic Games is here and some trouble is stirring up for the guild once again. As the episode starts we have a scene of Natsu protecting Lucy against some Dragons. This scene seems a little out of place however and as the episode carries on it becomes clear it’s foreshadowing for future events. The issue with the scene is that it’s not just shown once but twice: Once at the start and then again at the end of the episode. This repetition seems as if they are trying to push the concept on us which doesn’t seem natural. Though I have no objection against seeing Natsu protecting Lucy more than needed, however it does bring up yet again the question of Lucy and Natsu’s relationship.
Once the bulk of the episode begins we see the guild in a pub and it brings back the old episodes of Fairy Tail where the guild would interact without any action scenes. As much as I love the action scenes with Fairy Tail defending and protecting their guild and the world they live in, it’s nice every so often to just step back and appreciate the interactions between the guild member’s and their attitude towards each other as they build and develop their relationships that are needed during the fight scenes. It is in this setting we get to really see their personalities and quirks shine through. For example we get to observe yet again Erza’s love for her cake and that she will not take anyone ruining it for her, we see how Lucy is constantly being the mother to Natsu and Gray by trying to stop them from fighting and we get to see the constant brotherly fighting between Natsu and Gray. It is also nice to see Wendy maturing with the guild as she grows.
With Wendy being one of the main focuses for the episode let’s talk about her for a moment. It’s clear during this episode and hopefully the many to come that she has matured, and with the use of the new spell: Milky Way it becomes obvious that she is and will become a big part of this arc, though that was obvious already as the Dragons make a comeback and hopefully we get to see more of Wendy becoming a young, independent woman in the future.
The bulk of this episode was used almost as a world building segue as Zirconis: The soul of the Jade Dragon explains to the group that 400 years ago Dragons ruled over the world and used humans as their primary source of food. This was until one dragon disagreed and believed that the two species should coexist in peace which inevitably started a war, to turn the tables of the war the peaceful dragons taught the humans dragon-slayer magic. Unfortunately the humans used this magic to slay all dragons, no matter what side of the war they were on. There was one human that took it further than others and bathed in the blood of so many dragons that he became a dragon himself and later became Acnologia . This history lesson was indeed necessary to the arc and brought it a great deal of information for the audience to use as connectors to the rest of the arc. After this speech the group realized that Arcologia was the dragon they tried to defeat on Tenrou Island which causes a flashback. Though this flashback was exclusive to the anime it was truly needed as it gave depth to the plot rather than being a shallow story that couldn’t go anywhere.
As an adaptation of the manga, this episode compared to it’s manga counterpart was incredibly improved. Though the repeating scene at the beginning and end of the episode were not needed as the same in the manga, the pub scene was definitely a great addition along with the flashback to Tenrou Island.