Fairies are fun to see in stories because there’s so many variations and forms on the idea of what a fairy is. From The Seven Deadly Sins to Amagi Brilliant Part, fairies show up over and over again. This list are my favourite appearances of fairies in anime (not necessarily best anime).
As always, I’d love to know your take on the list so please leave me a comment with your favourite anime that includes fairies.
While starting his new job, Arata finds himself dealing with creatures called Anothers and as the only one who can understand them he ends up having to negotiate with these beings on numerous occasions. One of my favourite groups that turned up from time to time throughout the stories were the little fairies that lived in the park. Whether they were mad because the humans messed up their offerings or allowing themselves to be bribed for directions with cookies, these little creatures were always cute when they showed up.
I genuinely couldn’t have made this list and left The Ancient Magus’ Bride off of it. This one gets points for being very detailed in its folklore and taking a more traditional approach to fairies and their rules. While they may not be as cute as some of the other entries, the attention to folklore here gives this one a well-deserved place and while the anime ended up dragging on a little bit, the magic and magical creatures were definitely a highlight and worth watching for.
This may well be one of the most hated of all the SAO arcs and yet while the end of this arc brings us a psycho villain whose motive and actions are entirely flawed, the game that this arc is set in looks beautiful. The different fairy races that the characters can choose from, the flight mechanics, and the magic are just brilliant and I’d honestly love to play this game (provided it wasn’t being run by a made person using it to test mind control on people).
Here’s a different kind of fairy. These ones I’m never really sure if they are actually fairies, leprechauns, or something else entirely but it is a fun take on the story and the girls are all quite fun to get to know. Used to fight beasts with magic weapons and slowly losing control of their powers or losing their memories, the story here is tragic and yet quite compelling for the most part. If only the mid-season had managed to hold up its end this one would have a lot more discussion around it.
How on Earth could I not have put these adorable and incredibly creepy fairies as the number one on the list. The story takes place as humans are declining and fairies have returned. The main character has the job of liaising with the fairies as they pursue new entertainments. They latch on to any idea and go crazy with it but just as quickly move onto the next thing (kind of like watching the progress of the internet in fast forward really). Whichever way, these little guys are a must see.
And that’s my list this week but be sure to let me know what your favourite anime with fairies are.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
WorldEnd was one of those very strange anime that I was reluctant to start because the mouthful of a title and the excessively cute character designs just kind of screamed that this was another light novel adaptation just trying to grab some quick attention and at the time I’d been burned a few too many times. Despite that, the anime series “WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?” ended up being a bit of a mixed viewing experience with some great highs and lows throughout and realistically left me wondering about the story and whether there was a better was to experience it.
And so it was I eventually picked up volume one of this series and after it sat on my shelf for a fair while in my to-be-read books I finally picked it up to read. A few hours later I went online and ordered the next book.
Now, I’m not going to claim that this is a perfect masterpiece and realistically I went in knowing what was going to happen having watched the series. The first volume actually only gets partway through the series and having a look at the other books it looks like there’s a couple more that were adapted into the anime. So this wasn’t a case of being amazed by plot twists or revelations and honestly most of the information here was in the anime.
For those who don’t know, WorldEnd is the story of Willem, the last ‘human’ who takes on a job to pay off a debt he has incurred. The job involves looking after a weapon warehouse but the weapons are actually all young girls (faeries actually). These girls are sent to fight beasts who roam the earth making it more or less uninhabitable (so all the lizardmen and other creatures that survived the end of the world live on floating islands).
In reading this volume, I came to really appreciate Willem as a character. A lot more than I did when watching him go through more or less the same actions in the anime. Perhaps it is hearing some of his inner thoughts, or maybe it is that the pacing is a little smoother in the novel allowing his moments to sit a bit better, but really in the anime Willem comes off in most scenes as a fairly passive character and one who serves partially as an audience stand-in as he learns about the girls and their role. In written form he really comes to life and actually carries the story well (which is probably just as well as this volume very much focuses on Willem for the majority of it with Chtholly – the oldest of the weapons – only getting the focus a few times toward the end).
I also felt that I had time to take in the world building and some of the smaller details that actually probably were in the anime but were lost in the rush to get to the next scene involving a bunch of cute faeries running around.
Definite appreciation goes to the translator, Jasmine Bernhardt here. With some translated light novels there’s a stilted kind of flow at times, particularly to the dialogue, whereas here it flows very naturally. Actually, the whole novel just flowed well which made it really easy to get absorbed into the story.
There’s a real balance in this story of darker and more reflective moments for the characters and the slice of life moments where they allow themselves to forget for the time those things they would rather not remember. The story doesn’t lurch jarringly between these moments but rather allows each to come naturally into the story and then pass onto the next. There’s only really one moment in the story that feels a little rushed when one of the younger girls gets injured but that’s a fairly minor criticism.
Another thing I appreciated on reading this story is that the author clearly wanted a protagonist who was the ‘stranger in a strange land’ and yet resisted the urge to isekai a character. While Willem is out of time, he is very much a part of this world and his history has real ramifications outside of some useful knowledge. His past very much defines his present self and he’s a much stronger character because of it.
WorldEnd isn’t going to change the world but if you are a fan of fantasy stories that have a little more going for them then being a generic medieval setting, you’ll probably have a fun read here. Meanwhile I’ll look forward to the second book arriving so I can see if the story continues as strongly in the next volume.
This is a story that takes place after the world has ended, humanity has been destroyed, and the species that survive now live on floating islands. However, the beasts still attack and so fairy weapons are kept to use magic swords to fight them. Willem, the only surviving human, is recruited to take care of the fairy weapons only he learns they are young girls who are basically being sent to their deaths.
I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in my individual episode thoughts click here.
I was not planning on watching this show this season. The excessively long title, the cute characters, everything about it just screamed that this was a light novel train wreck waiting to happen. But I did watch the first episode because I like to give things a go, and amazingly enough the first episode of this show is actually really, really good. There are issues even in that first episode with how the characters are set up and the story being a little bit nebulous, but the delivery is great, the music goes perfectly, and it is just kind of a joy to watch.
Then what happens is we have a whole series of ups and downs. There are some truly spectacular and emotional moments in this series. There are some great character moments. There’s some funny moments. Then there’s a lot of cute girls being cute, long drawn out side stories, too many characters being given focus when they aren’t really needed, an absence of the overall plot feeling like it is progressing, and the main characters just never quite clicking into their assigned roles. The show is working hard, I’ll give it credit for that, but there’s a lot of moments during the series where dropping seems like a perfectly fine option because while this never gets to terrible, there’s a lot of episodes that aren’t good.
Then we get to the final episode and it is like that first episode all over again. You could walk away and feel great that you made it through, stuck it out, and that it was all worth it. And really, it is. Not watching week to week, this show would be signficantly better because a lot of that fluffing about in the middle wouldn’t feel so drawn out and the bits of narrative would feel closer together. Not to mention, you would get that excellent ending so much earlier and you probably wouldn’t be trying to pick it to pieces.
So I’m left wondering if I enjoyed this series overall or not.
I’m going with yes. For all that there are definitely lows in this series and they probably could have halved the character count and actually ended up with a more focussed story, I really did enjoy spending time with Willem and Chtholly. Okay, part of my enjoyment comes from just how broken both of these characters are inside even while they smile and joke and try to carry everyone else (I really do have a thing for characters like this and I’ve never understood why but if I lined up my favourite characters they would all be very broken people). But part of my enjoyment comes from the fact that they are characters that you want to know more about and you want to see them somehow get through what they are facing even when you know they aren’t going to. While the romance aspect didn’t work so well for me with these two, I definitely feel the two connected and needed one another and that worked really well and made the final all the more satisfying.
Oh and did I mention the music. The music is a real selling point for this one.
However, I’m certain I said this somewhere in my write ups while watching this, I feel that now that the show is done, I’d like a different team to take it apart, cut out all the excess and unnecessary bits, and put together that much better story that runs through the whole thing. It would end up half the length but I think it could be spectacular. Those moments are there already, but they are getting buried beneath average sequences and scenes and scenes that are good but have no purpose here (and while they might be setting up later events for the story, they don’t do anything for the narrative in this series).
Overall, I’d definitely recommend trying this but just know going in that this show is very uneven in its tone and delivery. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, smiling, crying, nodding along in one sequence and in another you’ll just be sitting back wondering when they are going to get back to something that matters (and please can something squish the green fairy girl now, I don’t want to go shopping with her again).
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
There is a staple in stories, whatever there form, where a protagonist is called to save the world. They might be a trained soldier, some randomly strong hero, a random nobody chosen by destiny, or just someone who happened to be in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time, but they are called and one way or another they answer. The different types of protagonists would each need their own post to deal with and eventually I might get around to that, but my focus today is more on the notion of saving the world itself and how this operates in stories.
While it might be argued that high stakes make for a more intense and dramatic story, you have to wonder about all the times our little blue-green planet manages to become imperilled for the sake of kicking a narrative into gear (admittedly, a lot of the stories I’ll refer to aren’t actually set on earth but whatever the planet you have to wonder how they manage to find so many world ending catastrophes to face off against). Put into context, even though individuals, cities, and countries face devastation fairly regularly, our world tends to keep on spinning and the majority of people go about their lives relatively unhindered. Whether this can continue (and scientists will tell us that is a resounding no), it has continued for a fairly long time yet we write stories full of disasters that end life as we know it.
Some of these are cautionary tales. When overpopulation was the scary flavour of the month we had stories that looked at how we would deal with this in the future. Logan’s Run and Soylent Green both have some fairly interesting things to say about population control even if the message has largely been ignored. More recently we have had a round of environmental awareness stories with The Day After Tomorrow and its ilk attempting to scare some common sense into us by showing us just how bad things might get without action.
While these stories are awesome in their scope when showing us the problem, what they all do, and need to do, is focus on a protagonist. There may be other groups and characters addressed, but they narrow the focus to a single protagonist for the majority of the run time. Why? Because the audience needs that someone to relate to. The idea of saving the world is legitimately too big for most people so while having such a grandiose problem in the story might add to the drama, it actually makes it fairly hard to relate to. What we usually end up with is a protagonist trying to save an individual or group and as a by-product of saving them they might save the world. Even Armageddon understood this where ultimately Bruce Willis gave his life to ensure his character’s daughter would have a future. The fact that this also saved the world was almost inconsequential by that point in the story.
But let’s move away from movies in Hollywood and look at anime.
Spring 2017 brought us WorldEnd, or the anime that asks us in its title ‘What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?’
There’s no obvious direction for these questions so as an audience you have to wonder if the show is asking you to consider your own actions if the world were coming to an end. Even more peculiarly, the story itself takes place nearly 500 years after the world essentially ended. The fact that there are ‘people’ still clinging to life on floating islands that are apparently not going to last much longer is more of a happy accident than good design and the peril is still very real. So if you were Willem, protagonist of the story, would you lend a hand or would you accept the inevitable ending that has been coming for a very long time?
Despite having watched the show through, I still don’t really get Willem’s motivation. Early in the story he really is just drifting. He tried to save the world (or those near to him) and he failed. After waking up in the new world he realises he is completely alone because of his failure. The world he knew is already gone. Despite that, he inevitably gets drawn into the new world through Chtholly and ultimately decides to help keep her alive even though once again he’s clearly fighting a losing battle. So what should he have done?
And actually, this is where anime hits such a major snag. I’ll admit to finding a lot of anime endings unsatisfying, but that’s probably because of how conflict is set up in so many stories. How exactly do we expect the protagonist to get out of that situation or save the world? The problem facing them is massive and usually unsolvable so the narrative is faced with only a handful of options. Either the protagonist loses and is swallowed by whatever world ending force they’ve been pitted against, or against all odds they win. The first option leaves the audience a little bitter about having been made to care about a character who didn’t succeed (though I must admit I don’t mind the occasional tragic end), while the latter leaves us rolling our eyes as they pull out a magic power up, combination attack, or just break the established rules of the story in order to succeed.
So do we just expect too much from the conflict in the first place? Does the world really need to be endangered before we understand the stakes are high?
I don’t think so. If we look at something like Food Wars, as much as I found the second season a little bit wanting, the first season was pretty engaging and the worst thing faced by any of the characters was expulsion (admittedly, most of the characters seemed to think that was a fate worse than death). This didn’t stop the audience from getting drawn in, from wanting to get behind the characters, and wanting to see them succeed. They were cooking. All that was on the line was a place at the school when there are other cooking schools and for the most part they could probably have found a job with their skills regardless. Yet because the characters believed in the conflict and the consequences, the audience were able to believe it mattered. This was high stakes viewing even though the reality is that the story didn’t endanger the world. No one needed the perfect cake to stop some alien race blowing up Tokyo to get the story going.
However, that isn’t actually me saying that I don’t want stories where the world is in peril. I think mostly what I want are stories that think about the appropriate level of danger and the appropriate way to build drama without just trying to one up the dangers other stories have introduced. More importantly, think about how they intend to solve those issues before they throw them in front of an audience. If the Spring 2017 anime season has taught viewers anything it really should have reinforced that shows live and die by how they resolve and while a deus ex machina ending is better than no resolution, it is right up there with the ‘it was only a dream’ ending. Audiences today expect more and probably deserve more.
So you want to save the world? You think that would be nice and dramatic? Great. Now get to work figuring out the details of what exactly is the peril being faced and how it can be overcome and lay your ground work fairly precisely. It isn’t enough to throw flashing lights at the audience and tell them it is scary.
What do you think? Is the world coming to an end an overused problem? Are you tired of seeing characters pull off an impossible save just because plot demands it? Or do you love these kinds of stories and get a real thrill out of watching characters beat impossible odds? I’d love to know so leave a comment below.
I was kind of wondering where this show would end given how it began, and it doesn’t really disappoint. The final episode is extremely reminiscent of the first, including bringing back specific scenes we saw at the start of the first episode and the great use of music (missed that during the middle of this series). Basically the fight to save the airship continues and comes to its conclusion. If you want to know how the overall war goes or the whole story with the floating islands or even what is going to happen to the other fairy weapons, sorry to say but you are going to end up disappointed.
This episode really takes us through Willem’s mind-set before Chtholly swoops in to save the day in spectacular, though slightly suicidal, fashion.
While their relationship has never really been all that believable, this final episode really makes you feel the connection between them (even if you still don’t buy it as a romance). The fight sequence that has them both running an internal monologue mirroring the other’s really works and makes this final sequence quite touching (the music helps a lot with this). The episode then ends and while at first it feels complete you then just think about the sheer number of unanswered questions and realise this story is nowhere near done and yet the show has just given you a farewell.
I’ll write a whole series review soon, but this final episode was a very solid way for this show to end.
I’ve definitely come to the conclusion during the course of watching this show that Willem is an idiot. A well intentioned, hard working, fairly knowledgable, idiot. He’s already understood that things don’t work out for him and that the world is not that kind. He’s already come to terms with failing to succeed at something even when he sets his mind to it. And yet, for some reason he seems to think that making grandiose promises with the girl he’s been treating like a child will somehow result in a happy future for anyone.
The only positive to come out of this is that Willem’s inner voice manifests himself as a younger version of Willem and essentially tears apart the flimsy rationales that Willem’s been clinging to. Go tiny Willem delusion.
And then they seem determined to throw us into a final battle like sequence even though there’s been pretty much no build up, we don’t actually know why there are so many beasts attacking, and the second airship broke and they couldn’t escape quickly because you know, plot.
As much as The Royal Tutor has been a pleasant surprise this season, WorldEnd has mostly been a downward spiral of disappointment, made worse by what it could have been. Anyway, one episode to go.
Review (Spoiler warning for the second half of the episode in case you haven’t watched):
We’ve come a long way and nowhere in this series. While the reveals were coming thick and fast this episode it also indulged in one of my pet hates. Flash backs within the episode. If a character says something at the start of the episode, please assume I can remember it for twenty minutes. I don’t need a dramatic pause and then a full flash back of the character saying it again.
If it is that important, make sure it sticks the first time. It would be different if this was a conversation heard say three episodes ago. Even then, given how little actual information we have and how much cutesy filler there has been, it is unlikely we’d forget a question about the beasts that had yet to be answered.
And yet, this show lingers over Willem’s revelation even as the audience rolls their eyes at how laborious they are making this. We’d more or less figured this one out on our own from previous half complete exposition and Willem’s overwrought reaction to something he’s ignored even looking for an answer to, as well as the drawn out nature of the scene, just kind of makes the whole thing almost amusing.
Until he asks Chtholly to marry him. Boy that came out of nowhere given how their relationship has seemed mostly one sided in the romantic department up until now. More importantly, could you raise a more obvious death flag. Maybe we should be saying our goodbye’s to Chtholly’s personality right here and now except that I doubt this show will actually follow through with destroying who she is. Regardless of how they save her it is going to feel like a cheap plot device but that’s more or less what I’m expecting from this show at this point.
This episode continues to focus on Chtholly and her disintegration, focussing on her loss of memories. Early in the episode Ithea reveals that she did in fact lose her memories and woke up in a body that wasn’t her and the only reason she’s been able to pretend to be the person everyone knew was because she read the diary left behind by the previous Ithea. This seems a little far-fetched that someone could mimic another based on reading their diary and kind of undermines the totally different person theory if the only actual difference is a lack of memories. More importantly, what it reveals is that the fairy doesn’t die or lose their power because Ithea has been bouncing around and fighting anyway.
So, for something that should have been a fairly massive reveal (character you thought you knew turned out to be a fake), it actually amounts to pretty much nothing.
There was another question I came upon in this episode and that is the idea of the dug weapons being made up of other charms. This we’ve been told before but in this episode Willem actually has removed a charm from one of the weapons to use (for a pretty trivial purpose).
Part of me wonders if this is foreshadowing something with the weapons or whether it is just another random occurence in a show that continues to seem really uneven in its execution. Anyway, I wasn’t really sold on this episode. It’s watchable but doesn’t really hit any of the emotional marks it seems to aim for and unless you were desperate to see Chtholly in a wedding dress there’s really not a lot to recommend this particular episode.
This episode felt long. I know it went the same length of time as every other episode but honestly when this got to the midway point I had to wonder why it wasn’t already finished as it felt like I’d been watching forever.
Turns out the destroyed ship from last week with the two fairies we had never heard of was investigating the city Willem was born in. Why that might be significant I have no idea because it isn’t as though we’ve been told that anything started there or that it might be a place of significance. Apparently they found a sword there that Willem thinks might help Chtholly but to be honest she seems pretty happy just floating around on a pseudo date with him.
Seriously this show has an interesting concept and there have been some truly great moments but there is so much of this mundane drag in between and as we move toward the end of the series it feels less and less okay and more like needless filler.
In case we were considering passing on any more of this series though, the last five minutes once again decides to hook us in and it does a very good job of that by actually making the situation feel as dramatic as it probably should be. Honestly, I have no idea at this point if I like this show or not.
We are introduced to two new fairies this week (though this show can’t decide if they are fairies, leprechauns or spirits at this point and seem to use the terms more or less interchangeably depending on how cryptic they’d like to be at the time). They don’t get a lot of time in the spotlight, mostly at the beginning and the end, and mostly they don’t leave much of a lasting impression other than the fact that one of them likes to read books that might be text books, fairy tales or prophecies and really doesn’t seem to know the difference.
Most of the rest of the episode seems to be dealing with Ctholly and her recovery from you know nearly losing her mind. Nothing that cake, a few tears, and the encouragement of becoming a bride can’t fix. There’s definitely something more going on with the red hair so I’m guessing her former life isn’t going to just give up that easily, but they don’t spend a lot of time on that in this episode. We also have the added concern of not knowing if Ctholly will be able to fight anymore and whether or not that will matter to the military who may still dispatch her to fight a beast.
I’ve said it before but this show has got some real promise and some episodes have been very good, but this one spent a lot of time just kind of waffling along and didn’t really seem to accomplish much of anything.
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