Story/Art: Hiro Mashima
Translation: William Flanagan
Lettering: AndWorld Design
Editing: Ben Applegate
What They Say:
As the bloody battle against the Nine Demon Gates and their king Mard Geer engulfs all of Fairy Tail, the guild learns a terrible secret: the threat from Face, the magic pulse bomb, isn’t over yet! Meanwhile, the ice demon slayer known as Silver faces off against Gray, and the bond that ties their fates together is revealed! The truth sends Gray from shivering terror into an icy rage, but what greater sadness waits in the fight ahead?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The bonds between father and son hog this volume’s themes, and it works really well. Mashima hasn’t dealt with father-son bonds much throughout Fairy Tail thus far, and certainly not in this direct a manner (Makarov to the Fairy Tail members and Natsu-Igneel come to mind immediately). But here we are with Gray fighting against his father—or is it his Deliora in his father’s body? By the mini-arc’s end, we learn it is truly Gray’s father he just fought against, and killed.
As with all Mashima fights (and what should be all shonen fights in general), this one goes pretty quickly. It lasts about two chapters—at least the action part does—but it packs in so much. It’s Gray’s fight for his life against an opponent who is clearly superior. It’s Silver’s internal struggle to do what’s right for his son and for the world. It wasn’t a lie that he was dead; he is, indeed, dead. He’s living a half life where his body is still moving, but it shouldn’t be. It’s all the magic can do to keep him together. But Gray wins the fight under the readers’ assumption that Silver isn’t his father. And he does so in typical Gray fashion, by forcing his opponent into the disadvantageous position. He wins with smarts, not brawn, and that’s Gray at his best.
But there’s always family stories going on in Fairy Tail; that’s the common theme throughout the entire series. Earlier in the volume, Minerva, on her last leg, begs for the mercy of death from Erza. But Erza knows better. She knows that there’s family out there (that aren’t her dilhole dad that made her strip and then stop crying when she was like DAMN 7 YEARS OLD…) that still want her around. In come Sting and Rogue in the best entrance possible: the dramatic, last minute entrance.
Family. That’s what Fairy Tail is all about. Members of Fairy Tail are just like family to each other and, in some cases, are actually family (Macao and Romeo, Makarov and Laxus, Gildarts and Cana). They fight for each other and die for each other (poor that one scene with Gray that got retconned…). This volume more than a lot of them exemplifies that and I love it for it. It doesn’t have that same emotional hit as, say, Natsu crawling for sixth place in the Grand Magic Games atop a train. But it works, and it works well.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: January 27th, 2015