Manga Review: Fairy Tail Volume 1 by Hiro Mashima
Author: Hiro Mashima
Publisher: Kodansha Manga
Published: August 28, 2012
Page Count: 208 pages
Availability: In print, buy on Amazon or at your local bookstore
Fairy Tail is a fun Japanese manga about a wizard named Lucy. In the land of Fiore wizards are part various guilds and perform jobs to earn money using their magic. Lucy arrives in the city of Magnolia looking to join the famous Fairy Tail guild, a popular guild full of famous wizards.
She meets a strange young man named Natsu and his flying cat Happy and she ends up being dragged into a situation where only they can help her.
The Manga is Fun, but it’s not an Impressive Beginning:
When I first read the manga I was very impressed with it, but that was back before the Fairy Tail anime had come out. Now that I reread it again, it’s not super impressive, but I do find it to be a fun and enjoyable manga.
The reason it doesn’t seem as impressive as I once thought is because the first arc is just average. I found some of the later arcs to have better stories and fleshed out the characters mmore.
It’s not a bad start at all; it’s just that I’ve seen long-running shounen have better beginnings. But these kinds of stories tend to be very slow-paced to try to find footing and decide where they’re going.
I Like the Characters:
I find the characters to be very interesting and entertaining. Lucy is our point of view character and she’s very level headed and sensible. She’s also the one who has to rely on Celestial Spirits she summons rather than use natural abilities or fire magic like Natsu.
I like Natsu even though he has a lot of Shounen character traits and clichés. He’s still a fun character and that’s why I like it. Still, he shares a lot of traits with many other famous Shounen characters like Luffy or Naruto.
Happy’s there as both exposition and humor and he’s fun too. I like how he’s obsessed with fish, being a cat and all.
I really enjoy the Humor:
One thing I really enjoy about Fairy Tail is the humor. I love the quirky visual and character humor in the manga. The anime does censor it a little or tone it down some so seeing it in the source material is fun.
I also enjoy that it has character humor with Natsu and Happy, like Natsu’s motion sickness or Happy’s fish jokes or his wings disappearing at exactly the wrong moment.
I enjoy Fairy Tail because it’s amusing and humorous. I like that the characters in the Fairy Tail guild have funny quirks that make them stand out.
The Artwork is Nice:
I really like Hiro Mashima’s artwork for the manga. I like how the character designs are all distinctive and I can easily tell who is who on panel. Some manga I have read have the characters look to similar to each other.
It makes it hard to tell who is who because this isn’t like an American comic book where all the pages are colored. The characters have to have a unique character design so the reader can tell them apart from one another.
What really stands out to me is the manga’s fight scenes. It’s different when you watch the anime because you get to see the animation move. In the manga it’s a still image, so the art really has to grab your attention because you’re not looking at a moving image.
It looks nice but it’s not the most amazing art I’ve seen in a manga, the action scenes are entertaining to look at.
It’s not a Great start, but it’s a Good start:
Fairy Tail has an interesting reputation. The fans either love it or hate it, depending on what’s happening in the story arc at the moment. It doesn’t have the greatest start to a manga I’ve ever read, but it was fun and I enjoyed it.
The fact that Shounen manga are slow-paced at the beginning makes it seem like Fairy Tail isn’t too outstanding, but it’s not a bad first impression, especially since I read the manga before the anime came out.
Will you read the Fairy Tail manga?
Overall, I have a pretty good impression of the Fairy Tail Manga:
Overall, Fairy Tail is off to a decent start, it’s a manga that I enjoy reading and I’m happy to borrow it from the library. I enjoy this and I’m looking forward to reading more, even though I won’t be buying the manga for my own collection, because I don’t collect long-running manga when I can borrow it from the library.
It’s definitely a manga that is worth reading; despite the fandom’s mixed reception of certain arcs I do like the story of Fairy Tail. Sure it has a lot of Shounen clichés, but I like it because the characters are fun and interesting.
The art is good and the characters are unique and memorable to me. If the beginning was a little more exciting, especially after the introduction of Natsu, I would give this manga a must-buy recommendation.
What doesn't work:
Good story and art
Has Shounen protagonist cliches in Natsu
Not the best start I've ever read
Final Grade: C:
I can’t quite recommend blind buying the Fairy Tail series, mainly because long-running Shounen can take up a lot of bookshelf space, and not everyone wants to buy a brand new bookshelf just for one series.
However, I highly recommend borrowing it from your local library if you’re interested in reading it for yourself. It’s a fun manga, light-hearted humorous and has nice artwork. It’s not the most amazing manga I’ve ever read, but it’s something fun that I enjoy.
The fanbase may be split on if they like the plot, but I have enjoyed the series, but I am still at the beginning and my opinion may change, but I can recommend it as something fun and enjoyable to read, even if it’s not perfect.
Fairy Tail won’t wow everyone, but if you like fantasy manga and this sounds like something you’d want to read, you should give it a shot.
The Shounen clichés might turn off some readers because it uses familiar character topes in Natsu.
To add to what reader’s might not enjoy is that Volume 1 isn’t particularly exciting, sure it’s not constant action, but sometimes Fairy Tail doesn’t feel too exciting when you read the manga.
It could have a better first impression, but it’s not terrible. It’s worth reading, but not necessarily one you absolutely have to have in your manga collection.
The story continues in Volume 2.
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