Fairy Gone Series Review

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The Flaws Far Outweighed The Potential Here

There’s something really great about starting a new anime and knowing it could go anywhere and be anything. It is fresh and new and yet to make any mistakes. First episodes usually start with a bang and roll out all the bells and whistles to get you onboard and then the show might lose steam as it goes. However, the most important thing is giving the audience a reason to care whether it be compelling characters, an interesting and novel plot line, or just truly spectacular violence and action.

Fairy Gone didn’t really succeed at any of these. It had a potentially interesting story-line bringing us into the narrative after a war that had led to the unification of various states and introducing the idea of fairy soldiers. However, it went about this set up in an exceedingly boring way told through poorly timed and barely interesting flash backs and lengthy expositions delivered in near monotone mumbles. Still, the narrative remained potentially the best part of this anime from start to finish yet it never really felt like it got started. More like we kind of moved from event to event before finally the obvious bad guy did something bad and the various fruit bat war-crazed soldiers went on killing sprees and the ‘heroes’ went about trying to stop them.

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With some better pacing and better execution, the plot of Fairy Gone is actually salvageable. The question would be whether it is worth the effort and I’d strongly argue against it. Largely because the plot doesn’t seem to do the characters any favours. The plot exists and the characters react to it but the characters themselves don’t actually feel connected to it.

In episode one we are introduced to Free, a former soldier who now works for Pandora and tracks down illegal use of fairies. Basically he waves around a big sword and occasionally summons a large werewolf type fairy creature that howls real loud. Now through various flashbacks we learn that Free lost a whole bunch of friends and whatnot during the war. We even learn about his former companion Wolfran who is still running about in the present day and generally on the opposite side to Free. There’s so much potential in this character for exploration.

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How does he feel about the end of the war? About working for a government who hunts down and controls those who can call on fairies? About finding Wolfran alive? What is his actual goal while working with Pandora?

You know, I don’t know. Free just kind of is resigned to doing stuff, he fights when he has to, he follows his orders, and he defends his coworkers. That’s literally all they do with his character. Admittedly, he does get to fight some war-crazed general and show off some very cool sword skills in an act of kind of vengeance for the death of a colleague earlier in the show, but honestly, I have no idea what this character actually stands for or wants. Or even why Pandora is trying to defend the current government.

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Of course, apparently I’m not alone given even members of the government in the show point out that all the people want is for the king to sit on his throne. And all of this leads to the overall feeling that not even the characters are really caring about the outcome or their cause. They mostly seem to defend the organisations they work for out of a lack of imagination rather than any actual loyalty.

The other character we meet is Marlya, who starts out as the most driven character in the show. She’s looking for a girl from her home village and ends up working for the mafia, where she encounters Free. He recruits her for Pandora and for reasons that are never adequately explained or explored other than she has a fairy and so apparently must. And while in the early episodes it does seem like she’s genuinely trying to track down her friend, that plot line kind of evaporates sooner rather than later and it becomes more about Marlya learning about all her new coworkers and being the most sad when the guy she just met dies.

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There was kind of some hope that maybe the chemistry between Marlya and Free would carry some of the story as after he recruited her they seemed to be building a rapport. Yet, as the episodes progressed, the two spent less and less time together and more time paired or working with others and any notion that they might have chemistry together kind of dissipated along with any hope that the story might improve at some point.

They did at least stop bombarding us with excessive poorly delivered flash backs by the half-way point.

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Now, it isn’t as though there aren’t good points here. As I said, the concepts at play could have been great. And every now and then you’ll get a sequence or scene or even an exchange of dialogue that gives you a glimmer of things coming together or purpose and direction. Marlya and Free could have been great. Again, there are moments, particularly in the earlier episodes where Free is mentoring her where the two actually do have pretty good chemistry and the show kind of flows.

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But picking out the occasional competently delivered scene from a sea of dully delivered and reasonably directionless plotting is not exactly a roaring recommendation.

When you partner these issues with the visuals which are dark and murky more often than not and the fairies themselves are somewhat less than impressive and don’t seem to fit within the rest of the visuals then mostly what you have is something that leaves me wondering just how much better this potentially could have been with a different team behind it that had a slightly clearer vision of what they wanted to create and spent a bit more time and effort polishing a final product that would do the premise justice.

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It isn’t that there is nothing good about Fairy Gone. It is largely that it never manages to shake off a lot of baggage that it is carrying and it never really manages to get momentum behind it. It feels like too many parts just never became fully realised and they certainly didn’t interconnect the ideas in a way that presented any of them to their best advantage. In short, it was a disappointment and one that became a harder pill to swallow each week until I just stopped reviewing it weekly and waited for the final episodes to play out before binge watching the end just for the sake of completing it.

I know some people did like Fairy Gone and I tried to because I really liked the concepts at play, but for me this one was unsatisfying in more or less every way and I’ll probably not give it much thought now that I’m done with it.


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Karandi James


Images from: Fairy Gone. Dir. K Suzuki. P.A. Works. 2019.

Fairy Gone Review Episode 10

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It’s All About Marlya

Marlya and Free - Fairy Gone - Anime - Episode 10

Fairy Gone Episode 10

The aftermath of the death of a collegue and Marlya decides to make it all about her and her being cursed. The problem Fairy Gone faces with this is that it really does make her look ridiculous when everyone else has known Ozz significantly longer and is also feeling regret and responsibility and yet they try and make this a turning point for her character.

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Free also gets into the self-loathing a little this episode, but in his case it feels a little more earned. As the leader of the mission that utterly and completely failed and resulted in the death of a comrade, as well as an experienced war veteran, Free has a lot more of the weight of this riding on him than Marlya should. More importantly, Free himself shakes off his depression and glumness and reaches out to help Marlya. All things considered, his character is coming off as the MVP compared.

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Meanwhile, in the background of all of this the mercenaries are still doing stuff, the dukes are still doing stuff, the various government groups are still doing stuff. There’s lots of stuff happening and I’m guess it will become important fairly soon but each scene is give so little emotional weight and everything has the same kind of dull look about it that it is very hard to know which parts we’re supposed to be focused on or caring about, if anything.

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Once again we get an excess of flashbacks thrown amongst the limited story we get in the episode. Given Fairy Gone is all about Marlya in this episode, we see once again her childhood though foucsing more on her being adopted and then her new father dying of some illness. We’ve seen bits of this before but there was some new material, even if it added little.

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After the excitement of last episode a more contemplative episode made sense, however all things considered this was kind of just marking time until we get to the next exciting thing.


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Karandi James


Fairy Gone Review Episode 9

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A Train Derailment To Set The Story Straight

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Fairy Gone Episode 9

After making an assassination attempt against the prime minister dull, I wasn’t expecting much from Fairy Gone despite a certain other blogger’s assurances that things were about to get somewhat more interesting. After 8 episodes of poor pacing, badly timed or irrelevant flash backs, action sequences that look like they should be cool but really don’t pull it off, and having characters that I’ve struggled to care about, Fairy Gone found its groove in episode 9 and managed twenty minutes of actually pretty compelling viewing.

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Okay, I like looking at fancy swords.

This is the issue with episodic reviewing. This episode doesn’t make the previous 8 suddenly better. They were pretty tiresome to watch outside of a potentially intriguing premise. However, this episode couldn’t have worked without those previous 8 episodes. Whether or not this is a turning point that means this series is going to go from one that is fairly missable to one that is worth checking out remains to be seen, but there’s suddenly some light at the end of the tunnel.

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The political situation in Fairy Gone is pretty complicated with almost everyone out for themselves and running their own agenda. There are so many factions, organisations, and government branches that it really is difficult to keep them all straight. That said, when we get a simple complication such as the transportation of an important weapon and the guys who are clearly trying to steal it, though whether that is because they want the weapon or because they want to undermine Dorothea’s authority remains to be seen, things get a great deal more interesting.

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I mentioned in a previous review that I was wondering whether or not Dorothea was actually competent given they don’t seem to have succeeded at much since the start of the anime. This episode, while wonderfully dramatic and tense as the enemy derails the train carriage and rains bullets down upon them before liberally cutting down any sign of resistance from Dorothea, really demonstrated how under powered they are for the job they apparently have.

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The dramatic injury and subsequent death of one of their members kind of pins the severity of the situation but once again, Fairy Gone just hasn’t quite done enough to make me overly concerned about that particular character. More worrying is the impact this will have on Marlya and it is interesting that the flashback we got before the fight broke out (after the train derailed) was of Marlya learning to hunt. For the first time it felt like a meaningful placement of a flashback and one that might have consequences. As such, it felt like the death was less about making us feel sad for the now deceased character, and more about motivating Marlya into some kind of action.

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Also, the villain is one of those smug over-confident types who lectures his opponents as he cuts them down and leaves them alive to get stronger to fight again. I hate this kind of villain at the best of times and in this situation it just seemed ridiculous.

However, despite the few complaints, the episode worked. It drew me back into the story and made me wonder what the next steps would be. I also had to wonder what the consequence of this failure would be for the organisation. Fairy Gone isn’t suddenly getting amazing but  this was certainly a much appreciated step in the right direction.


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Karandi James


Fairy Gone Review Episodes 7 + 8

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Interest Falling… Falling… Gone

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Fairy Gone Episode 7

The boredom continues and this gets one more episode to actually do anything that gets my attention because to be honest Fairy Gone episode 7 near made me nod off to sleep.

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Characters talking a lot is fine. Plenty of anime I’ve thoroughly enjoyed have been talk fests. The difference being that the characters were in some way engaging where here other than the guy who occasionally tries to chat-up his co-worker almost none of these characters have personality. They are serious all the time but not interesting. Throw in that we know practically nothing about any of them and I’m just not sure what reason there is to care about what they are doing.

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It is kind of tragic that they are setting up this vast conspiracy to go with the anniversary of the war and artificial fairies that are ‘losing control’ and the black tome hunt continues so there’s lots that should be interesting, and yet they are going about it in the least interesting way. Even the dinner between the three men at the top of this society, and with clear mistrust between them, was an awkwardly handled affair that really gave us little but yet more inane dialogue. The undertones in that dinner could have been intense or at least engaging if handled competently but Fairy Gone just doesn’t deliver.

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And so the meandering investigation continues and I’m jumping into episode 8 in the faint hope that maybe there will be some pay-off. In honesty, I’ll probably keep watching this one until the end of the Spring season at this point but whether I continue into the second cour remains to be seen because there’s been little evidence that it would be worth the time.

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Fairy Gone Episode 8

And so Fairy Gone managed to make a double cross followed by an assassination attempt fairly dry viewing and while I will admit I managed to stay more focused in episode 8 than episode 7, I still really have no buy in with this show or its characters.

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On the bright side, they seem to have given up on inconsequential and completely deconstexualised flash-backs as a narrative device. On the other hand, the screen time that used to be filled by those is now filled up by yet more dialogue driving home exposition of a story we’ve still been given no reason to connect with emotionally. Any vaguely interesting features about the fairies themselves or the action has utterly disappeared as the most creative this episode got was a wall being broken and then a guy being tackled. I’d call that disappointing to say the least.

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Then the entire anime is still ugly to look and the music is unremarkable. I’d say that this one is getting points for not being incompetent but just wholly unremarkable to the point where it is tedious to even think about. There’s no fun or energy to compensate for the short comings, nor is there anything deep or meaningful to contemplate. It is basically just empty viewing or empty characters walking through a plot that is devoid of any kind of emotion.

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But hey, they stopped the assassination so I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t really know what difference it would make in the long run but they did have pretty much all the characters we’ve met from the main pair’s backgrounds watching the attempt and there’s the whole guy who didn’t try to save the guy being assassinated. So I guess these are plot points to pursue. Now if only they’d try to make me care about it.


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Karandi James


Fairy Gone Review Episode 6

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Fewer Things Worse Than Being Dull

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Episode 1

I’m struggling thinking of things to say about this week’s episode of Fairy Gone. Where previous episodes have left me a little curious about the premise and a little disappointed in the execution, episode 6 managed to hit that really terrible point in watching where I had to honestly say I was bored while watching. It wasn’t the absence of fight sequences, or the serious lack of fairies outside of the artificial ones, it was just that the episode felt like nothing was happening.

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On reflection, quite a bit happened, but that doesn’t take away the fact that while watching Fairy Gone I had this overwhelming feeling that I was in the endless elevator listening to that irritating music over and over and I wasn’t getting anywhere.

The bright side is that they’ve come up with a new gimmick to start episodes outside of flashbacks. Now they just directly narrate the history to us and join it into the episode through some awkward dialogue. No kidding. This week we got a history lesson of the first prime minister and the five dukes and then we cut to the old guys and the pub arguing about the dukes and so the episode begins.

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The jury is still out on whether this approach is better or worse than decontextualised flashbacks in terms of starting an episode.

Free and Marlya then patrol the city because the anniversary of the end of the war is coming up and during their patrol one of the automated soldier things goes a little crazy for reasons Dorothea never seems to figure out but the audience was shown exactly what happened. It just adds to the overall impression that Dorothea is a little bit useless.

Anyway, forget that, because now Marlya is getting sent after a rumoured black tome once again and what follows is perhaps the slowest and dullest train pursuit sequence ever.

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Things kind of come together at the end of the episode but to be perfectly honest the characters have spent most the episode just kind of meandering about, they haven’t figured out a single thing, and it isn’t as though this was a pause to develop some of these characters because other than a Marlya-woe-is-me-I-have-no-parents moment there was nothing going on that could be counted as characterisation.

Fairy Gone not being very good I could handle. Fairy Gone being boring is a different story and if it doesn’t find its way to slightly interesting again soon I think I’ll let this one go from my watch list.


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Karandi James


Fairy Gone Review Episode 5

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What do these fairies even do?

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Episode 5

See, episode 5 made up for episode 4’s lack of flashback at the start by giving us a super-long flashback of Marlya and Ver’s part which told us absolutely nothing new about their childhood and mostly just made us aware that Veronica tried to kill some guy after the war and got arrested. I’m not entirely sure we needed that much time eaten to get that much information but it was incredibly jarring when we cut back to the present with Veronica diving through the window to save Marlya.

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However, my issues with Fairy Gone and its fairly inept use of flashbacks aside, my biggest issue with episode 5 is the fairies themselves. Once again the lack of clearly established rules undermines the conflict and mostly makes immersion impossible.

As Veronica faces off with the creepy guy he repeatedly summons his fairy and on being injured it explodes spreading debris and flammable liquid around and then he immediately summons it again. Over and over he does this. I’m not sure how this fits in with the inability to summon a fairy immediately that has sustained injury given his fairy self-destructs. Nor am I really sure why his fairy leaves behind flammable residue when the others seem to just disappear.

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Like most things in this series, the fight sequence between Veronica and the creepy guy goes on far too long and ultimately adds little to the story. Once it is over Veronica simply reiterates to Marlya that she should believe that Veronica is dead and then she runs off.

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The more interesting part of the episode goes to Free’s fight in the tomb but we only see bits and pieces of it and then it is done.

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Finally we get to see all the group in their uniform go and have a drink and a bar. It is a jarring change of scene, doesn’t seem to add anything of any note, and is largely a flat way to end an episode. Though I guess we do get an after credits scene of Veronica humming to herself and why that is relevant I have no idea.

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Realistically, this anime just isn’t being very well done. I’d love to think it will pull itself together but by and large I found this episode far more missing the mark than hitting it.


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Karandi James


Fairy Gone Review Episodes 3 + 4

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Why have one coincidence when you can have 5?

Fairy Gone Episode 3

Episode 3

In episode 3, Fairy Gone seems to focus on the black fairy tome. After giving us a few scenes tying up loose ends from their last mission, Free and Marlya meet a Vice-Minister who explains what the fairy tomes are and why people are searching for the black one. Or kind of. Despite the amount of screen time the explanation takes up we still don’t really know why people want it other than it was torn out of the original tome.

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From there it should be a simple matter of meet the scholar and collect a piece of the tome but you know why make things easy?

Free encounters yet another face from his past (again, is it really that hard for them to meet new people, does every encounter have to come with back-story and complications) in the form of Bitter Sweet – what a name? There’s some wine drinking and some really unsubtle dialogue and then a chirpy yellow fairy starts creating a raucous.

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Because, you know, two groups after the tome wasn’t enough, let’s also throw in the mafia. We then have a three way chase sequence that ends in a bit of a fight and stand-off.

I actually enjoyed most of this, though again it will only work if ultimately these threads they are spinning come together in a satisfying manner. However, it felt like everything took longer than it should and more than once in a scene I found my eyes flicking to the clock to see just how long it had gone.

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The other issue with the story being that despite the whole fairy soldiers being more or less wiped out in the war and the creation of them being illegal, it seems like every other person we meet is possessed. Much like continually running into people our protagonists have back-stories inter-connected with, they really are pushing coincidences a little too far. While it might be well and good to say that working in the job they do, Marlya and Free and more likely to encounter fairy possessed people, occasionally you think they would run into someone a little more ordinary.

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Episode 4

Something novel happened; we didn’t begin with a flashback. That said, immediately after completing the fight from last episode we had a flashback but it seems like there’s some progress here.

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These fights are still ridiculously dark – need some more contrast here.

I don’t mind the fights between humans and fairies. They took a bit to get used to in this series but watching Free fighting Sweet and Marlya jumping into the fray was pretty cool and the fight in the tomb later was also kind of interesting to watch. Knowing a bit more about the parameters and limitations of the fairies would probably help add weight to some of the fighting, but mostly it works.

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I am starting to get the impression that the ministry is pretty useless. I mean, they recovered the tome only to have it stolen almost the next day and it seems they are always a step behind or on the back foot.

Meanwhile, we meet some other characters who clearly work for Dorothea who are searching some other guy’s house though the why is not really clear or who he is, other than a name. It is a little disjointed when you jump from character to character but you don’t know who some of the characters are and others just haven’t been given any time to develop.

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Still, the partnership between Free and Marlya has finally worked itself out and we have a bit of flow between the two of them. That’s what I making the majority of this episode pleasant enough to watch. Hopefully these two continue to build some chemistry as the series continues.


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Karandi James


Fairy Gone Review Episodes 1 + 2

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Messy beginning but potentially intriguing premise.

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Episode 1

Well, having read many first impressions and early episode reviews of Fairy Gone I’d definitely revised my expectations downwards and that kind of paid off. While I can see why the first episode at least hasn’t exactly wowed viewers, I actually found it worked well enough. Sure, I doubt we needed to start the episode with a history lesson of places we don’t know or care about and I am almost positive we could have gained most that information more organically later, and I know the designs of the fairies are pretty much beyond ugly, but otherwise this did its job of kind of making me interested it intends to go.

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Contrast would be nice.

One thing that does concern me is the absolute lack of chemistry between Marlya and Free. The two of them have many scenes together and exchanges in this first episode and while it kind of seems like they are trying to set up some kind of banter between the two, mostly the dialogue is coming off as stilted and the two are absolutely making no connection. I really hope they don’t intend for this to ever develop into any kind of romance because that would be as realistic and entertaining as watching a broom stick fall in love with a mop.

Marlya and Free - Fairy Gone Episode 1

There’s also a lot of information dumping going on in this episode outside of the history lesson. Free explains a lot of stuff to Marlya in a storage room that kind of seems like she should already know it given where she is and it is difficult for me to figure out how much of that information is relevant or that I need to care about.

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Then there are the fairies that Veronica, Free and Marlya all use in this first episode. The connection and relationship between the human and the fairy is ill-defined. Veronica’s seems to have physical form and deflects bullets and things away from but also seems to turn into smoke and attack those she’s cut with her dagger, but the connection between the two is not really clear. Also, the fairy seems to disappear and then is called back but whether it can do this indefinitely or not is also pretty vague.

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Still, considering I went into this with substantially lowered expectations after reading some reviews, I was pleased to find the first episode at least was watchable and given the genre and subject matter, I’m going to give it a little bit to find its feet because I’d like to see what it might do.

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Episode 2

This anime has already established a really weird pattern of putting seemingly irrelevant flashbacks at the beginning of the episode. I don’t know if Fairy Gone was trying to establish character backstory or what but the disconnected scenes we got at the start of this episode didn’t elicit any emotion other than some kind of desire for them to get to a point. We don’t care enough about the characters to care about random deaths in their background, particularly when none of the characters or events seem connected to what follows in this episode.

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This guy’s name was Jet. He died instead of Free during the war. Why that matters I have no idea.

That said, once the episode proper began with Free making his report on the events of last week and then Free and Marlya joining up with two other members of Free’s team to spy on a possible arms deal, the rest of the episode proceeded relatively logically and entertainingly enough. Considering how much the characters seem to like explaining things it would be nice if we actually knew the limitations of the fairies but that seems like we’re just asking for too much and so we see Marlya unable to summon her fairy again after it was injured but that seems kind of random. How much do you have to injure the fairy to prevent its summoning given Veronica’s was injured last week but managed to still be summoned?

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It also seems overly convenient that this week’s antagonist is summon from Free’s past given Veronica, last week, was from Marlya’s past. Given the whole unification war and that they are all travelling about, could they possibly just deal with someone not intricately tied into their past? Would these stories not have more impact if they came later after establishing the main characters a bit more so we were actually more caring about their backgrounds?

Wolf and Marlya - Fairy Gone Episode 2

There’s also some questionable design choices going on here with the transports just looking outright ludicrous as they scurry about and tip over seemingly far too easily.

But, despite the complaints, I am kind of curious and Free and Marlya seem a little more in sync this week. Wolf also seems like he might be an interesting antagonist if they actually bother to develop him. There’s plenty of potential plot fodder bubbling along here with different factions and levels of command and so I think I’ll kind of stay hopeful that maybe this one actually does eventually do something with all that potential. Those hopes might be dashed later, but for now I’ll keep watching.


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