A couple days ago I finally finished up Armored Troopers VOTOMS for the first time. It’s a series I’ve started a number of times, and I even got into the second arc once, but I never finished it.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
As the people reading this may or may not have guessed, I haven’t watched a lot of modern anime. I’m pretty well versed in the stuff that came up between 1999 and 2010, but I have giant holes in my anime watching history.
And like every 40-something that exists on the Internet, I want to be cool. I want to be hip. I want to be where it’s at. So I pulled up a guide for what’s coming out this fall, and I checked it out. I quickly learned everything I’m interested in is coming out on Amazon, and my Prime App wasn’t opening, so I needed to find something on Hulu or VRV.
So I pulled up Fairy Gone. Watched a couple episodes and then read the reviews.
And Jiminey Christmas, am I going crazy? Literally everyone hates this series.
Everyone except me.
This is one of those bizarre times when I read reviews and I wonder if they are even watching the same show I am. Don’t get me wrong, the first 12 episodes are by no means perfect, but they definitely aren’t terrible. I mean they’re not even in the same country as terrible.
So here it is. This is the hill I will die on. Here are my five reasons why Fairy Gone is definitely better than what anyone says it is.
1. I can’t predict where this show is going. I’ll be honest, most thrillers, especially political thrillers, have truly paint by number characters and plots. But there were several episodes where I was surprised by what happened.
The surprises didn’t feel cheap. They all came from genuine character motivations, and there was some sort of thought behind them.
2. Marlya and Ver’s relationship is the most believable romantic star-crossed lovers relationship I’ve seen in anime. I’ve never shipped characters in shows. I never shipped characters in anime. I totally ship these two. Their interactions feel legitimate from the first time they’re on the screen to when they’re fighting in episode 14.
This could have been because I was watching the dub, but I was reasonably impressed that this wasn’t overplayed, and it feels authentic.
3. This is an interesting world. I do have one complaint here that I will get to later, but all of the ideas from fairy possession to a crumbling oligarchy to biologically implanted weapons to robot soldiers feel like they fit into a cohesive whole. I never walked away from an episode thinking it was bad, or felt out of place.
I most certainly never had an “Oh my God. This is so dumb” moment. I never even had the moment like I have in Attack on Titan, where I just shrugged and said, “Oh well. That’s shounen I guess.”
4. This is a reasonable political thriller/police procedural. There are so many conversations where I felt like there was the conversation they were having and the conversation they weren’t having. There are a multitude of different political organizations. The names are easy to remember. They all appear to have some sort of aim.
5. The action in this show is good. I honestly would say this is my top reason for liking this show. There was no fight scene that was hard to follow. There was no fight scene that was boring. They all ebbed and flowed well, and did not overstay their welcome.
Now I don’t want to over sell it. Until episode 13, I would say this show was average. If you like shows like Burn Notice or Blacklist, this is probably a show for you.
Once you start to learn the backstory of Marlya and Ver, it turns a corner and gets into 4 out of 5 range. So I guess I understand why people might not like it, but I am baffled why people find it bad.
Here are my complaints.
There are some pacing issues, but definitely not in the first few episodes.
Generally where I saw issues is when it felt like the animators had time to fill. This is not a high budget show, or at the very least it doesn’t feel like a high budget show.
The bar scenes are almost universally boring and used to fill time. The fight scenes are beautiful, but the animators engage in some really sloppy shortcuts in other spots. There’s at least one scene where two people are running and it’s obvious that their models are just moving up and down against the backdrop.
My second complaint is that this show indulges in a pretty classic fantasy pitfall. If one character is special, then all of the main characters have to be the same kind of special. I buy Marlya, and Free and other members of Dorothea having fairies. But why does the mob boss have a fairy? Why do her two assassins have fairies? The internal logic of the world kind of falls apart there.
Though I can see a pathway where it gets better.
My final complaint is more of a nitpick. The names in this show are bad. I mean “Free Underbar,” “Nein Auhaler,” “Bitter Sweet.” When the most believable country name (Zesstria) sounds like an artificial flavoring, then you know it’s pretty bad.
So I realize that I’m spitting into the wind here, but I’m genuinely confused about the bile this show received.
Oh well. I guess I’ll just watch it by myself.
Thanks for reading.