written by Hiro Mashima
Seventeen-year-old Lucy is a buxom blonde with a sweet face and an attitude to match. She’s also a celestial wizard. She has the power to summon creatures from other realms with the use of gate keys. To most people, this would sound extraordinary, but in the land of Fiore, wizards are just as common as merchants and teachers. They even align themselves with guilds to keep employed.
Like any normal teen wizard, Lucy is ready to make her way in the world. She dreams of joining the Fairy Tail guild, a group of powerful wizards that she has been reading about in magazines. She just needs to figure out how to get in.
Her ambition to join gets her in deep water (literally), but a fortunate chance meeting with the fire wizard Natsu, a boy with flaming hair and a scarf that resemble scales, opens the door to get her foot inside Fairy Tail. Now if only the place was as cool as it appeared in the magazines.. . .
The Fairy Tail guild is filled with powerful wizards, certainly, but they they’re also a scruffy bunch of drunkards, playboys, nudists, and brawlers. Even Natsu isn’t much of a prince. He eats fire as well as anything else within arms’ reach. Plus, he gets motion sickness and goes overboard when he gets in a fight. Most of the Magic Council members, the governing body that moderates the guilds, think Fairy Tail is full of idiots. Their antics tend to rack up bills, destroy property, and generally annoy the public. Still, they’re good guys and take great pride in their name. Despite the shock from the reality check, Lucy is ecstatic to get her chance to join the guild and show them what she’s got.
Fairy Tail is a popular series in the manga underground, and now it has finally made its way to North American bookshelves with the recent translation from Del Rey. The manga offers a wide cast of lovable characters, each with his or her own unique set of skills. This is pretty common in other large cast series where everyone needs their own gimmick to stand out.
This series is definitely for the Naruto/Bleach crowd, but unlike those two popular shounen (boys) titles, Fairy Tail appeals to both boys and girls. Yes, Mashima’s female characters do seem to have “magically enhanced” breasts, which can be a bit distracting considering the youth-centric story. Seriously, almost every screen of Lucy could read: “Oh, look, my boobs!” But hey, it’s forgivable. The art is consistent, strong, and well suited to the story.
Despite the disjointed feel of the dialogue, Fairy Tail is overall very charming and will appeal to a wide audience. It has magically inclined teens with a ragtag cast of characters, each unique in both powers and flaws. It is a very easy series to get into if you want something light and fun.-- Courtney Kraft