Fairy Tail – Thru 48

Funny thing: if you get to watching long-running series, you begin to watch them out of habit, rather than because of their actual merits. Bleach for instance, had a really good start, and the first couple arcs would actually make a 3 on my Rating scale; individual episodes could warrant a 3.5. But I feel like I watched it for too long. The series developed a tendency to whip up incredibly dull filler arcs that lasted dozens of episodes and went absolutely nowhere.

They couldn’t have permanent effects on either the characters or the story, because the manga material was the only material that could do that. I always wondered what poor soul(s) had to actually write filler material, and why they made it so paralyzingly dull. After 228 episodes, I had to say goodbye to Bleach. There was simply not enough going on, and I felt like it would take another 50-100 episodes to actually get to the conclusion I wanted. That’s just too much.

Now Fairy Tail has come to a major arc conclusion, and after 48 episodes, I still want more. I don’t know why, but it has a lot to do with watching so much of it. Sometimes battles drag out, but on the whole this series has done a good job moving forward, both with characters and with the plot. It’s battles also always strive to be relatively creative. After so many episodes, many enemies have become friends, many wrongs have been righted, and the series remains steadfastly upbeat.

I thought the series was over after 48 episodes, but alas, it was only this last arc. That’s okay, I think I’ll continue sticking with  it for now. I can’t really help it; I’m invested in a good five to ten characters (out of the dozens), and would like to see what will come their way next. It’s too early to tell if Fairy Tail will run out of steam, but it’s been good to me so far, so I’m not giving up on it. It’s not a pointless habit yet. Rating: 3

Kaichou wa Maid-Sama! – Wrap-up

And so ends another high school rom-com in which the focus is on the two most perfect students in the school. Usui is perfect at everything but quickly cracking the tsundere nut that is Misaki, while Misaki is perfect at everything but realizing that someone is in love with her, and she’s falling in love in return. Because why would a perfect guy or girl persue an inferior mate? That would be boring for them and us.

Usui relishes the chase and the constant reproaches. Misaki remains in an agonizing mix of confusion and denial for most of the series, which comes off as denseness to more and more of the side characters (this is appreciated.) The catalyst for her realization finally comes in the final episode, and after twenty-five episodes of turning away, lying, and storming off, she finally leans into a smooch of her own accord. Despite their ridiculous perfection in everything from sports and academics to looks and style, Usui and Misaki stay interesting, and both grow quite a bit, the latter growing more. The series takes its time developing them, with decent results.

Usui essentially knows what he wants from the get-go, and spends the series dispatching rivals and refining and adjusting his charms to suit Misaki’s personality, while knowing when to be firmer and more forward. But Misaki’s transformation isn’t just from an overbearing tomboy to more feminine and mature young woman; due to her role as the perfect backbone of her family, she has never known love period, so it makes sense that it would take a while for her to notice it staring her right in the face.

I had a feeling this series wouldn’t end ambiguously, and in the end, like Usui was with Misaki, I’m glad I was patient with Maid-Sama. The Maid angle is essentially garnish, and always was. The meat of this series is the two main characters, and the steady, measured evolution of their relationship from mutual antagonists to lovers. Rating: 3 (Ending: 3.5)