What I learned from Anime #3 – Fairy Tail

Let’s start with one of my personal favorites.

Plot: Earthland. Some people are born being able to use magic. Any kinds of magic. Some use fire, some use ice, some use keys and some use swords. There are hundreds of types of magic in earthland, which makes it adventurous, but equally dangerous for people. Magicians got together and built guilds, where they can meet other Magicians and learn things, do jobs or find friends. A family.

In Magnolia there’s a guild called Fairy Tail, which does nothing but trouble the Magic Government. However, as in real life, the government always sees the bad sides only. In Fairy Tail Magicians come together to celebrate, to be around people they like, or earn money with legal jobs. There we follow Natsu and his comrades through their adventures and the hard times they face, and we can learn a lot of things if we listen and look close enough.

Fairy Tail sets right in the middle of the adventure and shounen genre, although it has its share of drama and romance along the way. Let’s say it’s a big fat package of about everything.

So what is it about Fairy Tail I like?

It’s simple. The first thing would be Magic. Almost everyone is amazed by magic, no matter the type. And so am I. I like how the protagonists evolve and what they learn; and how they learn it. They don’t use books or lessons, but are free to go wherever they want; learn through experience. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of. So of course I was amazed by this.

The main characters we follow, Natsu, Happy, Lucy and Erza are very different, but then again form the perfect team. It’s like you’re watching yourself and your best friends. Meeting, fighting and sometimes even punching each other, you grow as a unit and you have each others backs. But what you can learn from this Anime isn’t limited to the main characters. If you think that, you’re very, very wrong.

What do I think I learned?

Having friends is important.

Everyone knows that. But have you ever had friends you can talk to about everything? Have you ever had friends who have your back at any time, no matter the situation? I’m pretty sure I haven’t always had. I’m not even sure if that’s the case now. Anyway.
As we follow the Fairy Tail group through their adventures we see their edges very clearly; not only through their conversations or their actions, also through the flashbacks to their past.

Let’s take Natsu for example. Natsu’s the easy going type, who likes to put on a good fight and who likes to be strong, obviously. Who doesn’t? But when his motion sickness with about any given vehicle kicks in, many can relate. “Okay, so he isn’t all that strong.” He sure isn’t. He’s a thickhead and likes to do things his way; and believe me, he’s failed often enough. Not only can’t he win against some of his greatest rivals, but also has he seen people die in front of him. Like a knock on a forbidden door, he’s reminded of it again and again. And it drags him down.
Most of the time this isn’t shown to us, but we all can imagine how hard it must be to see people you like, friends, family getting hurt or getting killed. Then again, the thing mostly shown is his very visible ego, his monstrous courage and his extreme sense of justice.

Gray for example, was able to live because his teacher shielded him, died for him. Lucy’s father never cared for her, and even tried to hurt people dear to get her back to his mansion. Erza was thrown in a tower ruled by a dark cult when she was small and had to live the life of a slave.

Now you go tell me that’s a thing kids enjoy, because hey, guess what, they don’t.

Well, anyway. When they first start their journey, you can see their visible edges. Natsu and Gray fight all the time, Lucy’s a sissy and Erza’s as cold as a hard brick of ice. Then we have Happy, this little cute blue cat, who always mocks about everyone.
As they fight back to back and spend more time together you realize how much they become a strong unit. While knowing the quirks of each other and know how to motivate them, they’re getting stronger and stronger. Not only as individuals.

I think it’s amazing to see their growth.

Erza’s growth is probably one of the best things seen in an Anime

(in my opinion, anyway). As I said, when she was younger she was thrown into a tower to be a slave, to work for a dark cult to finish a project the government got rid of in the end. It was a tower used for resurrecting, which needed a huge number of human sacrifices to be built. While being there, she saw how people got killed, how they were abused and what happened to them if they weren’t able to work anymore. And the same was done to her. In the middle of this chaos, of this very traumatizing experience, she met friends. A small bunch of them, who tried to make the best out of their situation. And for a short moment, she was happy.
As they were found building a tunnel out of their misery, Erza was taken away and beat down to a little pulp of flesh, and she lost one of her eyes thanks to it. Jellal, one of her friends and her first love, started to rebel and eventually got to the place she was held, and freed her. However, they were caught and in her place, Jellal was taken hostage, and in the end was possessed and kind of lost his mind because of it. Ezra couldn’t stand the thought of him being caged, and all of them being worked to death, so she started a rebellion on her own. Thanks to her magic power which increased further and further, she was able to hold out for a long time. But in the end, it was futile. And she lost friends very dear to her in that rebellion. And thanks to a small opening, she was able to get away.

Now that’s a quite sad story, we all know it, but most of you probably have seen thing like these in other Anime. What makes Erza so special?

Well, I can relate. And that made me learn. When she first came to Fairy Tail right after that whole shit, she wouldn’t speak to anyone, wouldn’t look at anyone or would make anyone like her. She sat down at the river and cried for hours, because she had lost it all and on top, she’d let her friends behind.

With time she gets stronger and learns how to cope with her situation, and slowly started to make new friends. But she never let them close enough for them to see any of their insides. Her sense of justice was boasted around as she spoke and everyone only ever called her Titania.

But then, as we watch ourselves through the episodes, she starts to change. She starts to open up a little, but was sent back to her starting point as friends became foes and other friends died.
Her permanent struggle with her thoughts, her heart and her will is something I find not only interesting but also admirable. Because she masters it. She decides to trust again, Natsu, Gray, Lucy, her friends at Fairy Tail, the people who became her family.

She’s a Mage who is able to swap weapons, clothes and armors at free will, but mostly she wears one special type of armor which covers her upper body. She hates to use her Benizakura suit, because of its appearance. She’s not shielded, but bundles all her power in her Katana. So I’ve seen people being surprised when she used it, while declaring she won’t feel save without an armor to one of her former companions just a few episodes before.

So while being afraid of being hurt – not only physically – she charges in, anyway. Because it won’t be as bad as long as her friends are safe. As long as they come out alive. And that’s often what she thinks about. Her past has made her doubt very many things and very many people, but with time she learns to trust her friends, to shield them and to not give up and always look forward, no matter what you do.

How can anybody not admire this?

“Fear isn’t evil, it shows you what your weakness is. If you know your weakness, you can become stronger as well as gentler.”

Is what Gildarts said to Natsu during their fight. Now Gildarts kind of is the daddy of the whole guild, who’s seen everyone grow up and teased them when they were smaller. But Natsu was definitely one of his favorites.

Now, read that sentence again. What does it tell us?

Fear is not evil. That’s true. Fear, sometimes clear terror is something our mind deems necessary for the fight or flight sense to kick in. But that doesn’t mean it’s evil. We don’t have saber-tooth cats or mammoths to fight anymore. Fear is something our mind creates when we’re unsure and don’t know something new to us. But in our modern society, we don’t need the fight or flight system. So why would fear be evil? We need it to become stronger, to push ourselves past the line of our comfort zone, to be able to stand up and show everyone we’re worth it.

We’re afraid of spiders, of height, of people. And we do know it because our body produces adrenaline, our mind goes blank and we feel it deep in our bones. Fear does show our weaknesses. But our body showing us our weakness isn’t what makes us stronger. What makes us stronger is the decisions we make after we know our fears. Do we want to live with it? Do we always want to be afraid of fucking micro spiders? Or do we want to just get rid of that ridiculous fear and overcome it? Because that’s what makes us stronger. Overcoming our weaknesses. And that makes us gentler, too. Why? It’s simple. You struggled. You’ve gone through something hard, facing a fear, and you’ve spend hours, days, even years fighting and overcoming it. Then you meet someone who hasn’t been able to overcome his’. What do you do? Laugh at him because you made it and he didn’t? Mock him for being afraid? No. You tell him something about your former fear, what made you decide to fight it, and what made you overcome it. Even though you might not think so, if someone tells you, you don’t have to be worried about your fear because if you want to you can overcome it, it’s like a brick’s falling down your heart. You feel better. You know you’re not alone. And that’s why it’s called being gentle. Because you help, you smile, you fucking care.

“It doesn’t matter if I don’t become an S-Class Mage anymore and it doesn’t matter if I can’t tell my father how I feel. I don’t care about any of that. I just want to protect my friends.”

Another thing I learned was while watching Cana. She’s only a side character, like Gildarts, but even she had a pretty great change of heart.

Cana lost her mother when she was small and went to search her father. She found out he was a Mage at Fairy Tail, and so she went there to find him. She did; but she never spoke up to tell her father she’s his child. He was gone on a job, returned, and was gone again. And somewhere in between, she decided to not tell him altogether. So when there was a ranking for the Mage class and she was deemed worth to take part another time, she decided: If she aced this exam, she will tell him. If not, she won’t. Ever.
So since she obviously wanted to tell him but didn’t find the courage to do so, she did everything she could to succeed. She even betrayed her friends on her way to the top.
But then, as she stood in front of the guild founder’s grave, which she was supposed to find to succeed, she realized that she was wrong. As a card Mage she could control cards, obviously, and when the Help Card she gave Lucy started to make noises because she needed her help, Cana was in denial what to do. She found the grave, yes, and she wanted to tell her father she was his daughter. But was it worth betraying her friends and leaving them alone even they desperately needed her?
She decided it wasn’t.

So what have I learned from that?
No matter what you want to archive, never stab someone dear in the back. It’s not worth it. So what if you’re rich in the end, can buy everything you want and can travel to your hearts content? Who can you share it with? Who can you tell what you bought, what you’ve seen? Right. Nobody. So what’s the point of stabbing others backs?

Friends can become foes, foes can become friends.

It’s like that everywhere you look. You didn’t like the bully in school? He’s changed over the years and is trying to make everything right in such an adorable way you can’t help but being his friend. Your friend sees you talking to her/his crush and snaps at you without any reason, doesn’t talk to you and ignores you.

Things like that happen all day. Sad, but true. And Fairy Tail is no exception.

Let’s take Gajeel for example. He was in a dark guild and he was Fairy Tail’s enemy. He beat up some Fairy Tail Mages until they couldn’t move and he destroyed the guild’s building. But as he fought Natsu he kind of realized how wrong he was. What he had done. And when Makarov, Fairy Tail’s leader, spoke to him, he eventually gave in and joined Fairy Tail. It took time for him to be accepted, but as time went by, people started to trust him. And although I’m pretty sure he would deny it on any occasion, he’s pretty content and happy that Makarov invited him to the guild, and that he gave in and accepted.

The next example is Laxus. Laxus is Makarov’s grandson and very proud, very thickheaded and very arrogant. If a guild isn’t strong, it’s useless is what he thinks. So when he suddenly wants to take over the guild and involves the guild in a game where they have to fight each other in order to stop him, he certainly steps in a landmine or two. He goes too far and he knows it, but in order to make the guild become stronger, he feels the need to do it. But when he realizes that he’s gone too far, there’s no turning back. He has to see through it. And in the end, it got him expelled from the guild. Even so, his heart is deeply connected with the others’, and when they need help, he’s there. And he fights alongside them, because if someone mocks his grandfather, his pride kind of goes berserk and he starts to punch people in the face.

There are so many other things I could list, but I think this is enough for now.
In the end, what I learned from Fairy Tail is that even if hell breaks loose, if you have the right people by your side, you can survive. Even if one is stabbing you in the back, the others will carry you the rest of the way. No matter what, even if you feel like giving up on everything, don’t. Because there are people who need you. People who want you to survive, and people who would die without you.

If I haven’t made my point clear, let me know. I’d love to see what you think. Do you like Fairy Tail? Have you learned something from it? Who is your favorite character, and why?