5 Point Discussions – Fairy Tail (2018) 4: “Underground Clash”

by Sage Ashford

Natsu and Lucy head into the castle of the dark guild Avatar to find their missing guild member Gray.  But does Gray even want to come back to Fairy Tail? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. In my recap of last week’s episode I talked about how Natsu’s become a lot more leader-like in his time away from Fairy Tail. So naturally this week the show chooses to remind us all that nope, he’s still just as much an idiot as he was before. After arriving at Avatar’s headquarters, Natsu wants to start busting heads until Gray comes out, but Lucy suggests they infiltrate and look around for information first. With the help of Virgo, they tunnel their way into Avatar’s castle…and then Natsu decides he’s bored and yells at the top of his lungs for Gray to come out, tipping off the entire HQ of their whereabouts. Whatever’s changed about him, he’s still irresponsible when it comes to getting into battle.

2. While Natsu and company want to infiltrate Avatar to find Gray, we learned last episode some of their old friends have already managed to accomplish this for other purposes. At the base Gajeel and Pantherlily have set up, we get to see the spy the magic council sent.  I was waiting to see if it would be a member of the main circle of Avatar, but they reveal it’s Levy, Fairy Tail’s former librarian mage. Instead of sneaking in as a key member of Avatar, she managed to pretend to be one of Avatar’s cultists, and…I’m sorry, that image above is just too ridiculous. Levy stands out by attempting to not stand out; she’s this five foot nothing girl with blue hair that screams protagonist, hanging out with a bunch of dudes who couldn’t be more generic if you stamped “nondescript goons” on the hoods of their robes. Avatar’s security is looking…pretty awful, honestly.

3. Natsu’s yelling unsurprisingly summons several members of Avatar to figure out what the commotion is. But since the “recently finished training” powers haven’t worn off yet, instead of those members proving to be actual threats, he one-shots three of them with the same ease Happy eats fish. The only person who manages to give him any kind of a challenge is Gray. As the two of them have their first showdown in over a year, Gray seems to be completely taken over by the devil slayer powers, Gray proclaims he’s thrown away his friendships in Fairy Tail.
However, their fight doesn’t last long, as the other members of Avatar recover and neutralize Natsu and Lucy’s powers with Sealstone cuffs to stop them from using magic. I was kind of bummed by this, as I loved the idea of Gray being the first real challenge Natsu has.  When we first started this journey with Fairy Tail, Natsu and Gray were constantly quarreling rivals who’s powers equaled one another. But over time, Natsu experienced the rapid growth you expect from a shonen protagonist, while Gray only grew slightly, constantly remaining behind. At the tail end of the second Fairy Tail series though, he finally got that major strength boost that put him on Natsu’s level, and a lenghtier showdown between these two and their contrasting beliefs could have been something special.

4. Well, at least it could have been if everything Gray was doing wasn’t a ruse. After Natsu, Lucy, and Happy are captured, they’re tossed into a dungeon cell. Hours later, Goumon, one of the members of Avatar comes to see them with the intention of torturing information out of them, to learn why they came to Avatar to begin with. Goumon initially suggests a silly (though painful sounding) torture of having a goat lick Lucy’s feet until the skin on them is destroyed, but after Natsu gives a few unsatisfactory answers, he decides to cut her in half instead.
Unable to break free due to the sealstone chains, Natsu becomes a helpless onlooker…and watches Goumon get completely frozen in place. Gray reveals he’s still in full control of his powers, eroding the demonic tattoo covering his body to reveal the Fairy Tail tattoo he claimed to have burned off.  He complains about the group having broken his cover, then pulls out a magical cell phone (are we sure only a year’s passed?) and calls up the person he’s working for: Erza Scarlet.

Setting aside my glee at seeing the Queen of Fairies back on-screen again, this whole thing makes Avatar look like an even bigger group of geeks than Natsu beating up a third of their organization in seconds.  One thing for Levy managed to infiltrate their general ranks–there are dozens of those guys–but Gray got into the inner circle and no one questioned it? The same Gray who’s apart of Fairy Tail, the reason for all the major Dark Guilds falling?  Why would anyone trust that guy, ever? Whatever this Operation Purification is, I’m sure its scary, but I’m also sure they stand zero chance at activating it.
…And coming back to my excitement for having Erza back: is she going to punt Natsu into the nearest solid wall for ruining six months of work?

5. Next Episode: The central pillars of Fairy Tail are back together, which means the rest of this fight is just a formality.  Natsu wiped out half of this team while he was screwing around. They’re the scrubbiest of the Dark Guilds we’ve seen yet, and they’ve got no chance against a re-united Natsu, Gray, Lucy, Erza, Juvia, and Wendy.  This arc only has nine chapters left, and you have to imagine reforming Fairy Tail is the majority of that, so get ready for a one-sided fight next week.
Fairy Tail is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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