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  • Writer's pictureShadowNinja77

Fairy Tail Arcs Ranked

Updated: Jan 1

Hello all. Today I'm going to talk about a pretty popular anime series Fairy Tail that I watched recently and rank its story arcs by my personal preference. While it may not be as popular as what has become known as 'the Big Three' (i.e. One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach), Fairy Tail was still a really fun series that I enjoyed a good deal. Set in a fictional fantasy world filled with dragons, wizards, and quests, the story follows one particular wizard guild called Fairy Tail and the rambunctious wizards within it. Spanning over 300 episodes that ran for over a decade, this anime reached a lot of people from its great characters, fight scenes, storylines, etc.

I will take a moment to say that the fan service here (i.e. the exuberant amount of cleavage shown from the female characters) goes over the top way too many times just like too many anime these days. However, its female characters are some of the best around with well-rounded character arcs and backstories with some of them even stronger than the male ones such as Erza or Mirajane. This didn't really happen in the Big Three so that's a big point in Fairy Tail's behavior and lets me, for the most part, overlook the fanservice.

While it did start off slower than most series I watched, not a good sign when trying to pull viewers in, once it got going, it became really fun. There were tons of great moments and characters, some of my favorites being Natsu, Gajeel, Wendy, Erza, and Cana. Creator Hiro Mashima always made sure to flesh out each character, giving them their own characteristics and personalities to make them unique and had a good story structure going on, even if some parts felt more rushed than others. While not perfect, this anime had a lot going for it which is why it's still highly regarded today and all its fans anxiously await its announced sequel.

So without further ado, here are all 22 Fairy Tail arcs, both canon and filler, ranked. Also, I will be using two paragraphs in my discussion of each arc, the first will be as spoiler-free as possible while the second one will be riddled with spoilers. So if you're interested in watching this anime and don't want to get spoiled at all, just read the first paragraph.

22. Kemo-Kemo (223-224)

Serving as a filler, Kemo-Kemo is a basic plot of Natsu adopting a strange new creature with a mysterious backstory that feels more like a one-shot episode stretched too long. It starts off simple enough with the guild sending out its members to visit the other guilds around, a nice way to bring back fan favorite characters from the other guilds out there that brought some laughs. All the while, the mystery of Kemo-Kemo built. But once the second episode hit, the story went into high gear with the sudden appearance of an island with dangerous monsters and ruins that tie into the small plot threads. But, even for a filler story, it did not carry much weight. The whole mystery of Kemo-Kemo still was too underdeveloped, especially since the audience could tell where the story was going but not how it would get there, making it all the more frustrating. Even the emotional ending didn't really work as there wasn't enough build-up which is why this story is at the bottom.

The idea of Natsu adopting another strange creature after Happy is totally in line with him as well as the way he instantly treats him as part of the guild. I really did enjoy the scenes with all the other guilds, especially when Gray and Lyon get into another argument over Juvia. But the story was too rushed. The mystery of Kemo-Kemo was also too rushed and when he dies at the end, you didn't really feel too much emotion over it. All in all, it was hard to figure out what the point of this story even was.

21. Macao (1-2)

The first official story arc that really is just two stories wrapped in one but it gets the ball rolling for the rest of the series so it's counted as one. We start off with the story from Lucy's perspective, introducing the world of magic to the audience, before Natsu comes into play. From there things escalate as he saves Lucy and officially invites her to the Fairy Tail wizard guild which leads right into the second episode where the rest of the guild is introduced as well as the pair's first mission to rescue a fellow guildmate. This second bit fleshes out Natsu's character more, especially his father issues. While it does do a lot, there is still a lot left to be desired. Compared to other opening episodes for anime, this is one of the weakest. While the characters are likeable, they just don't have the same impact as others. A good start, but not as strong as it could have been.

The meeting of Natsu and Lucy was one of the best moments here as it did lean naturally into the end scene where he officially invites her to join the guild. The set up of her as a Celestial Wizard and what that means was also done nicely. This story does do a good job of revealing how the series would go with these two as the two main characters, Lucy as the narrator and Natsu as the lead. The introduction to the guild, especially the Natsu-Gray rivalry, was also done well. But the emotional scene of Natsu's father revelation came off a bit wooden and forced considering they had to save Macao who is also a father. The villains were also weak and didn't serve any real purpose other than being somewhat threatening. Still, a lot was set up here that wound up paying off nicely, especially Natsu's father being a dragon and his search for him.

20. Daybreak (3-4)

The first official mission of Natsu and Lucy that introduces how the Guilds work to audiences and does some world-building. The mission itself isn't that interesting but the point of it was to show how well the trio of Natsu, Lucy, and Happy worked together, setting up their dynamic for the series going forward. The ending was also well done, actually hitting that emotional spot. While the fights were unimpressive and the villain lame, the overall story did what it set out to accomplish and it did have some genuinely funny moments.

While it did seem at the start that the mission of finding Daybreak, the last work of a renowned author shrouded in mystery, would have some more longterm implications, the revelation of it being a love letter from a father to his son was actually rather good. Mashima wasn't trying to world build here, but just get help viewers acquainted with the characters and the world of wizards and guilds and that came across just fine.

19. Daphne (69-72)

Another filler arc that really doesn't serve any true purpose other than to fill up episodes until the anime catches up to the manga. When Natsu hears rumors of a dragon, he immediately investigates, leading to him to the nefarious Daphne and her experiments. Daphne herself is one of the worst antagonists: annoying, underpowered, and overstays her welcome. While the final battle is sort of cool and the idea of Gray being a traitor had me going for a little while, this arc was honestly just dull. The only good part to watch is the opening scene of the first episode which more acts as a conclusion to the previous arc, introducing Wendy to the guild.

The whole backstory of Daphne and how it ties into Natsu was kind of interesting but felt a little too forced as well as tacked on to the Fairy Tail guild theme and was resolved a little too easily. The Juvia and Gray unison raid though was a lot of fun and even if the final battle was with a fake dragon and not a real one, it still proved to be a real threat.

18. X791 (123-124)

Taking place seven years after the events of Tenrou Island, this short arc serves as a way to show the changes that have taken place while the main Fairy Tail team have been missing, shining a light on members who don't get nearly enough attention most of the time. The guild's popularity has hit rock bottom with almost everyone gone and it is genuinely sad to see how bad things have gone. The real gut-punch happens at the end with Lucy, one of the saddest moments in the series. This arc, while a lot of fun and incredibly important, doesn't serve much more than a connecting arc to prepare people for what comes next. Still, it does its job well.

Characters like Max, Macao, Wakaba, Romeo, Alzack, Bisca, Jet, and Droy don't get a lot of attention so the focus on them here was really cool, showing how much they need the other members and how lost they all are now. One of the funniest scenes was where Erza learned Alzack and Bisca were married and became depressed that she missed it. But of course, the revelation that Lucy's dad died while she was missing was a real gut-punch, especially when you realize they never got the chance to make up.

17. Zero (266-275)

Placed right after the incredible Tartaros arc as a sort of calm before the next major arc, this story flashes back to the origins of the guild. Mavis's backstory is a heartbreaking one considering all the hardship she endured as a child. While the story slogs quite a bit, the relationship between her and Yuri, Precht, and Warrod grows naturally and feels earned by the end. The final battle showcases her abilities and sets up the final arc nicely as well. And, of course, her relationship with Zera is nothing but soul-crushing. While it does drag now and then, this arc stands on its own by showing how Fairy Tail started with plenty of great character moments.

While the revelation that Zera was nothing but an illusion created by Mavis's subconscious, the real Zera having died, was something I did see coming, it still hit hard. Their relationship was the focal point of this arc, making it all the more personal when the reveal comes. Sadly, this is the strongest part of the story, most of the rest, while still entertaining, falling short.

16. Eisenwald (5-8)

The story arc that really got the ball rolling as main character Erza is introduced, arriving in truly a stellar fashion that gives people a good look into who she is. From there, the world building flows as dark guilds are introduced and Erza, Gray, Natsu, Happy, and Lucy all go traveling to stop one, Eisenwald. The fight scenes go from sluggish to cool, Mashima still clearly trying to find what works best, but they did show off everyone's fighting abilities nicely. The story works best with the characters, showcasing the team that stands at the forefront of the series and carries it through to the end.

As I said, Erza's introduction is what really comes through here, her entrance in the Guild Hall and then beration of her fellow guildmates always a highlight. And this arc also introduced some key concepts such as the Magic Council as well as dropping hints about Zeref, one of the big bads of the whole story.

15. Avatar (276-284)

A year has passed since Tartaros, this arc serving to catch people up on everything that's happened since then, focusing on Natsu and Lucy first and bringing everyone else in as well. This arc has a great premise and flows really well with some truly great action scenes, showing off how much Natsu's training paid off and making him now one of the most powerful characters in the series. The main premise is of course the notion that Gray is a traitor, something that has been bubbling for a while, but it's resolved too quickly with no real pay off. And the main villain Avatar is never truly a threat, just a small antagonist to show how powerful the main characters are now and all their new moves after a year. Still, a fun arc that leads nicely into the series finale.

The focus on Lucy from the start is a nice play on how the whole series started, especially with Natsu's dramatic entrance in the arena. And one of the best moments of the arc, where Natsu faces off against Bluenote, shows how much Natsu has improved nicely. It's just too bad that the future storyline of Rogue turning evil because of Gray somehow killing Frosch was brushed aside so easily, becoming a disappointment for the arc and the series.

14. Loke (31-32)

When we first met the character Loke, we learned two things about him. That he's a ladies man and that he's scared of Lucy since she's a celestial wizard. This small arc shows the reason for the second. It's not a story you even realized you wanted to know as Loke's backstory is revealed, making him one of the more tragic characters of the series. With time running out, Lucy shows the kind of person she is by fighting on his behalf, going above and beyond to show why he deserves another chance. Lucy, while being a main character, has always felt sidelined in the arcs so far. This gave her a real chance to shine, making her a fan-favorite.

Loke's backstory, how he is a Celestial Spirit himself and that he is trapped in mortal form for accidentally causing his master's death, was beautifully told. His guilt is realistic but also is the reason behind it all as he was protecting his friends, refusing to obey a vicious master. Lucy's words to the Spirit King echo what everyone watching is feeling, making the ending that much more sweet.

13. Key of the Starry Sky (128-151)

Another filler arc that, while dragging on for way too long, actually has a better reason to exist than previous fillers as it gives Lucy the chance to properly grieve her father by introducing her to Michelle, a woman who claims to be Lucy's sister and has brought her father's last request. This sends the guild on a journey unraveling the mystery of the Key of the Starry Sky, bringing back characters like the Earthland versions of the Edolas Guards as well as the Oracion Seis and, most unfortunately, the Butt-Jiggle Gang. While it could have easily been cut down, once the story gets going towards the end and the mystery thickens, it gets really good. There are too many moving parts such as Gildarts's mission or Kinana's past and the whole mystery of the Infinity Clock is a little convoluted. But the ending makes up for it with a satisfying and emotional finale as well as several top notch action scenes.

The story of Lucy and Michelle was the crux of this story and while it was pretty obvious that Michelle would wind up being a traitor, the reveal that she was actually Lucy's childhood doll magically brought to life actually tied everything together nicely and her sacrifice was pretty heartwrenching to watch. Bringing Oracion Seis back was a nice touch as it set up the future of the series nicely, better than the manga alone did. And the story of Kinana and Cobra, while feeling a little shoe-horned in, still brought great depth to both characters. The best fight scenes were Gildarts vs. Byro, a clear one as seeing as Gildarts is such an immensely powerful character, any fight with him that lasts more than a minute is great. Erza vs. Cobra was also one of her best fights, a strange thing considering it was in a filler arc. However, the return of the worst characters, the Butt-Jiggle Gang, is unforgivable.

12. Sun Village (227-233)

While most of this story does feel unnecessary, setting up some but not really enough pieces for the next arc to justify its existence. What does is how it redeems the character of Flare, a villain from the Grand Magic Games. By giving her a backstory and letting her character bloom, she becomes a hero by the end. The story also does some neat worldbuilding by introducing Warrod, one of the founders of Fairy Tail, and has some cool magic battles, especially between Lucy, Flare, and Wendy and the Treasure Hunter Guild. While this arc might not feel that important or necessary, its solid pacing and storyline more than make up for it along with good character development and action.

The return of Atlas Flame as the Eternal Flame wasn't really a surprise and didn't really serve much purpose except to hype up the identity of E.N.D. The beatdown with the chauvanistic Treasure Hunter Guild was more than satisfying and that fight actually didn't overstay its welcome unlike others. And while the mystery for how an entire village of giants got frozen over was saved for the Tartaros arc in a large unsatisfying way, it was still pretty cool (pun intended). The best part of the arc though was the opening with Natsu and Gray in another fight and they accidentally punch Erza, leading to their terrified screams.

11. Eclipse Celestial Spirits (205-218)

Another filler arc that doesn't really have a reason to exist except fill up room for the manga to tell more story. And yet, this proves to be one of the best arcs. The premise of all the Celestial Spirits turning dark and warring against their masters and humanity was great and it started off well enough. Once it got to the individual fights, that's where the writers messed up as while they did try to make each one unique, most just came off as cringey and annoying. But it's what comes after that that makes this arc so good. First off, the Natsu and Loke fight was fantastic and it only got better from there as the Guild faces off against a dark Celestial Spirit King, practically a god and it shows just how outmatched they are. The stakes just keep getting higher as the team does their best to save their friends who are trying to kill them and fix everything. While the middle portion is mostly terrible, everything else about the arc goes above and beyond, making it one of the better ones.

As I said, most of the individual spirit fights were bad, the Cancer dance battle and Scorpio card battle standing among the most hated in my opinion. The Taurus was fight was short and disappointing and the Aquarius fight was just strange. The Gemini fight could have been good and actually would have been better if longer. But the fights against Loke, Ophiuchus, and the Celestial Spirit King were fantastic. Especially the king as when he started zapping people away. And from there, somehow, they upped the stakes even more by having all the spirits in danger of dying. Definitely makes up for the bad parts of the arc.

10. Sub-Zero Emperor Lyon (10-18)

This is the arc that really got the ball rolling for Fairy Tail. Before now, the story sort of lagged with nothing really exciting happening. Here, Natsu runs off to a high-class mission to prove himself and lands him and his friends in a heap of trouble as they find themselves in a mystery involving a village of demons. The story centers on Gray, letting his past shine through as he faces off against old rival Lyon who has come up with a truly terrible plan. While the action still leaves something to be desired, everyone gets a moment to shine and Natsu and Gray even have an awesome bonding moment that truly cements their friendship. While still not that great, this story was the one that showed audiences how good Fairy Tail could be and it only got better from there.

Gray's past is one of the saddest ones as he was orphaned at a young age by the demon Deliora. And when he finds a new family with mentor Ur and fellow apprentice Lyon, it gets taken by the same monster. That's why this arc is so important as we truly get to know this character and fall in love with him as he fights Lyon who wants to free Deliora and beat him himself. And when Gray is prepared to sacrifice himself like his master did, Natsu steps in to remind him there is always another way. It's moments like this that make Fairy Tail that good.

9. Oración Seis (52-68)

Dark Guilds had already been introduced but here, the first of the Big Three is revealed, some of Mashima's flare for worldbuilding and foreshadowing taking hold. Oración Seis, only six members strong and yet powerful enough to cause three major guilds to form an alliance to stop them. There are some intense action sequences here, the Natsu vs. Zero being the obvious highlight but the Jura vs. Brain being a personal favorite for me. It's also the arc that introduces Wendy Marvel, one of the best characters in Fairy Tail, as well as the other guilds, bringing back familiar faces while introducing new ones like Jura and Ichiya who would become fan-favorites. The arc did drag at times, but the final battle is nothing but epic and it did have an emotional ending as well as great worldbuilding for what was yet to come.

The character of Jura, introduced from the onset as one of the strongest characters, was instantly a favorite of mine so I was disappointed when we went down so quickly at the beginning. But his fight with Brain more than made up for it. The return of Jellal was also a surprise and began the long road of redemption for him. The standout fights for me, other than the ones previously mentioned, were Natsu vs. Cobra as well as Erza vs. Midnight and Lucy vs. Angel did have good moments. But the ending where it's revealing that Wendy's Guild was all fake, created just for her benefit, was a real gut-punch, making her one of the more tragic characters.

8. Phantom Lord (21-29)

While Sub-Zero Emperor got the ball rolling on how good Fairy Tail could be, Phantom Lord cemented it as this was where the action sequences started turning out great. When rival guild Phantom Lord makes a move on Fairy Tail, they are quick to retaliate, creating a guild war between them. This arc introduced favorite characters Gajeel and Juvia, even if they started as villains, while also showing just how powerful Erza and Makarov are. It also dove into Lucy's backstory and her relationship with her father, as well as the siblings of Mirajane and Elfman and what happened to their sister. With genuinely high stakes, emotional moments, and epic action sequences, this arc really was a non-stop thrill ride.

The Natsu and Gajeel fight, a certainty once it was clear Gajeel was also a Dragon Slayer, was truly one of the best moments and possibly best fights of the series. But for me, the most epic moment was when Makarov faced off against Jose, Phantom Lord's leader, showing just how powerful he was with his Fairy Law spell and to what lengths he would go to protect his family. Juvia's backstory was also rather tragic, making it easy to sympathize with her despite her being the enemy. Lucy's backstory was also a surprise as she comes from such a rich family, but it quickly makes sense why she ran away, her telling her father off for never caring for her and only seeing her as a tool another highlight. Mirajane and Elfman, two characters who truly didn't get much chance to shine, also get their moment, the story going into detail about the death of their sister Lisanna and their guilt over it. A lot of great character moments and action sequences. This was the arc that made me love Fairy Tail.

7. Tower of Heaven (33-41)

If you didn't love Fairy Tail before now, this was the arc that would do it. Up to this point, Erza had been viewed as the buff, no-nonsense, armor-clad warrior queen of Fairy Tail. This arc completely broke her down with her tragic backstory as a slave and escapee as she's dragged back into her old life to face former friend turned enemy Jellal. It also shows how much Natsu and Gray care for her, willing to go to hell itself to get her back. Bringing back Juvia for the mission, the team infiltrate the Tower of Heaven and fight their way to the top all for their friend and the final battle of Natsu vs. Jellal is without a doubt one of the best fights in the whole series, also showing just to what lengths Natsu will go for his friends. Everyone else gets a chance to shine as well with plenty of both humorous and heartbreaking moments throughout. While the whole Siegrain plot felt a little convoluted, it doesn't really distract from the main story which is truly great.

The Erza and Jellal friendship was built up so well, especially with how it was Jellal who gave her the last name Scarlet, which is why it was so heartbreaking when he is possessed like that, making him another tragic character though his redemption arc is one of the best. The characters of Milliana and Wally are so weird that they can't not be liked and make for some of the biggest laughs. The Erza vs. Shô fight was one of her best with a truly epic finisher. I also loved just how much Natsu and Gray were willing to go all to stop Erza from crying, hating seeing their friend in pain. The flashbacks of how they met Erza were some of the best scenes.

6. The Battle of Fairy Tail (42-48)

This arc is placed in a strange position between Tower of Heaven and Oración Seis, two arcs that help build out the world and the overall story. Here, the focus drops to the Guild itself and its members and it's all the better for it. Laxus, the grandson of Makarov, had already been introduced as a absolute jackass but now he shows just how much of one he is as he basically sets the guild against itself in order to weed out weak members and make it stronger. Alongside him are his Thunder Legion, leading to some exciting fight scenes, especially Lucy vs. Bickslow, Erza vs. Evergreen, and Mirajane vs. Freed. But the final fight of Natsu and Gajeel vs. Laxus was truly amazing, especially for Gajeel who redeems himself after Phantom Lord. There were plenty of other great moments like Mystogan's return and reveal, Mirajane's transformation, and the clues Mashima placed that only make sense on a second viewing. This arc was packed with non-stop action and a villain that really cuts to the core of the series as he is a fellow guild member.

What I liked about this story is how it didn't just focus on the main characters we're used to at this point but on all the other characters as well, giving people like Cana, Mirajane, Levi, Loke, and even Mystogan moments to shine. Mystogan himself had a shocking reveal as he was a double of Jellal, setting up the Edolas arc. The Mirajane vs. Freed was a personal favorite as while he is a nice guy, his arrogant attitude was begging for a smackdown and Mirajane totally delivered with her demon form. And of course the reveal that Natsu and Gajeel were somehow over 80 years old was a sly foreshadowing for the end of the series where its revealed they're time travelers. Nice touch. The final dragon slayer fight was awesome, especially by showing just how strong Laxus was, but his beatdown was necessary to humble him and make his own redemption arc that much better. The end of the arc where everyone makes the Fairy Tail sign that he created to show he will always be family was a nice, heartwarming touch and a true showcase for what a great family they are.

5. Edolas (77-96)

Now we get to the big guns of the series, starting off with one of the wildest and literally out of this world storylines that Mashima came up with in Edolas. When everyone is captured and sent to the parallel dimension of Edolas, it's up to Natsu, Wendy, Happy, and Carla to save the day. Exploring the origins of the flying cat Exceed species that Happy and Carla belong to, this arc is jampacked with worldbuilding, exploring a world with parallel versions of the characters we know, just a little different, and without any magic. There are so many moving parts here and so many characters get a chance to shine with high stakes and tension. While Mystogan doesn't get as as much attention as I would have hoped, this arc did set the bar in terms of scope, action, and just plain story for everything that came next.

One of the best parts of Edolas was seeing the different versions of the Fairy Tail members, especially badass Lucy and wimpy Natsu. The cruel version of Erza was also a surprise but it did lead to the knockout fight of Erza vs. Erza, one of the best of the series. The origins of Happy and Carla felt a little too forced at times, especially Carla, but it did lead to some emotional moments, especially with Happy's parents. The reveal that Lisanna was alive the whole time also felt forced simply because it was left til the end, it would have been better sooner. Despite those things though, the pacing of the series fit well and there was plenty of tension as they were in a race to save all of Magnolia. The introduction to favorite character Panther Lily was also cool, but my favorite moment was the three Dragon Slayer fight against the evil king's giant metal dragon, leading to some of Natsu, Gajeel, and Wendy's best lines and fights.

4. Alvarez Empire (285-328)

The final arc of the series. While it is a little too messy and jumbled at times, it does wrap everything up nicely with everyone having a moment to shine, some truly epic scope, and a great ending (even if there is a sequel). Starting off with a rescue mission to the mysterious Alvarez Empire for Makarov, it quickly becomes apparent just how powerful Fairy Tail's new opponents are. And at the top is Black Wizard Zeref, a character that's been built up since the start of the series. This leads to a complete invasion of Fiore with every guild called up to help fight, leading to some of the best action scenes of the whole series. And of course, things only get worse when the Black Dragon Acnologia appears as the final boss. There's plenty here that feels messy but all the great and emotional moments more than make up for it. While the character of Zeref didn't really work out too much in the end, Acnologia the clear choice for a final villain, did make for an interesting antagonist. This marked a satisfying finale series, giving every character a good ending.

Zeref's whole motivation and backstory with Mavis was a little too confusing at times to really work which was probably why Mashima brought in Acnologia as well though that was also a problem as his motivation and backstory only came in the end, making him only threatening and not too interesting. Gildarts's arrival as well as his subsequent tagteam fight with his Cana against the Wizard King August was one of the best fights, especially with August's backstory as the unknown child of Mavis and Zeref. Erza vs. Irene was also fantastic with the revelation that Irene was Erza's mom, giving both some emotional moments and one hell of a backstory. The best fight for me was all the Dragon Slayers vs. Acnologia as he just wiped the floor with them until they focused all their power into Natsu. And even then, they required extra help to finish the job. But the best moments are the emotional ones with Erza stopping a rampaging Gray and Natsu from killing each other and Gajeel saying goodbye to Levi when he thought he was going to die as standout ones. Of course, Makarov's sacrifice was the best as he says his goodbye to all his children before giving his life to take out as many enemies as possible. All that and more. Not a truly perfect final arc for the series, but at least a satisfying one.

3. Grand Magic Games (152-200)

Every great anime has to have at least one tournament arc and Fairy Tail went above and beyond for theirs with the Grand Magic Games. After the guid's seven year absence, their popularity has plummeted. So, to restore their status, they take part in the Games against all the other guilds, bringing back Blue Pegasus and Lamia Scale and introducing new favorites Mermaid Heel and Sabertooth. Introducing tons of familiar and new faces, this arc has tons of fantastic moments, every character getting their moment with Erza, Elfman, Wendy, Laxus, and Natsu having some of the biggest. The top opponent is Sabertooth who have been the top guild for a while now and show off just how cruel they can be, leading to the epic Natsu and Gajeel vs. Sting and Rogue. Of course, the games are only half the story as a mystery is brewing in the city that threatens to annihilate everything, leading to some of the most tense moments where it looks like some characters actually died, leading to Ultear's own moment of redemption. There is so much to love here that it's hard to narrow it down. The only downside of it all was that it does feel like two arcs shoved into one and the final villain felt a little shoe-horned in. Other than that, this arc was a non-stop thrill ride that you just want to last forever.

One of the best things Mashima did here was show how much Fairy Tail had to work to prove themselves again as they start off at the lowest score and only through incredible persistence and resolve do they manage to make it to the top. Nowhere is that clearer than with Elfman vs. Bacchus, giving the Strauss brother a true chance to shine as he gives it all for a very narrow victory. Erza vs. 100 monsters was nothing short of badass but Laxus was the one who got the best moment as first he destroys his father's evil guild and casts aside his shadow for good, and then his knockout fight with Jura was just epic. Wendy vs. Shelia was adorable and awesome at the same time, creating a lifelong friendship. But the best fight was obviously Natsu and Gajeel vs. Sting and Rogue. From the start of the arc, Sabertooth had been nothing but arrogant jerks, lording over their superior strength. So watching this fight and finally seeing them go down was just the best. The Fairy Tail members vs. the Holy Knights was also a a satisfying and well-deserved beatdown. But of course, the dragon invasion that encompasses the second half was just as good, with the Dragon Slayers fighting real dragons, even though the reason behind it was thin. But still, it was a dragon fight, so who cares? And I can't not mention Ultear sacrificing her lifespan in order to give everyone a single minute of time to save their lives, redeeming her for all her sins. This arc was the most binge-worthy of all and I just wish it could be longer.

2. Tenrou Island (97-122)

What starts off as what seems like a tournament arc as the Fairy Tail members compete to see who will be promoted to a higher class rank quickly turns when Dark Guild Grimoire Heart invades. This, for me, brings to a close the first act of Fairy Tail and it shows with most of the world-building and storytelling happening here, introducing both major villains and having Fairy Tail's most high stakes fights at this point. Each and every fight just raises the bar further, giving everyone their moment from Gajeel's resolve, Natsu's new power, Lucy's history, Cana's tale, Gray's dilemma, and Erza's desperation. Plus the Gildarts vs. Bluenote fight is just a raw power v power throwdown. But all that pales in comparison to the final battle of half of Fairy Tail vs Hades, arguably the series' best villain, who absolutely mops the floor with them. And even after all that, they still aren't victorious as a new enemy appears at the end to lay waste. This was the arc that made you wonder if the heroes were going to make it out, which marks it as one of the best.

There was a lot to love here, but one of the best moments was the focus on Cana who was really just a background character up to this point. Here we learn she came to the guild looking for her father, Gildarts, who was always traveling, and wound up never telling him. His entrance to save her and the others from Bluenote was nothing short of epic and his conversation with her afterwards, while hilarious at first, was also one of the most heartfelt in the whole series. The Gray vs. Ultear fight was an emotional one as he faced off against his old master's daughter and it was one of his best as he pushed himself to his limits, freezing his own blood in order to take her out. Of course, she changed for the better as well. But the Erza vs. Azuma was one of my favorites of all time, making me love her even more, and the epic musical score for the final blow gave me goosebumps. Of course, even that doesn't hold a candle to the greatest fight in the whole series of everyone vs. Hades, who is actually previous Fairy Tail guild master, making it that much more poignant. That fight was a ride of thrills and chills with everyone busting out their best moves only for Hades to come out on top each time. It was only thanks to Laxus in his own spectacular entrance and Natsu's resolve that they were able to succeed. And of course, this arc introduces Zeref for the first time, a saddened victim of cirumstance trapped in an endless cycle, as well as Acnologia who demolishes all of Fairy Tail's attacks, leading to them using Fairy Sphere to hide away for years. This arc solidified all that was great about the series and raised it tenfold, setting up everything that was to come excellently.

1. Tartaros (234-265)

Every arc before this had a nice slow start to ease viewers into it. Not this one. It literally starts with a bang and doesn't stop from there as Dark Guild Tartaros declares war and Fairy Tail answers the call, the two going all out on each other. Even the animation takes a darker turn to reflect just how dark things get here as every member fights desperately for their lives, giving everything they have and then some just to gain an inch. Packed with so many twists and turns and some of the best fights of the series and plenty of emotional moments along with a few of the best villains, especially demon leader Mard Geer. His fight with Natsu and Gray showed just how great friends and partners they are, despite their intense rivaly, as well as how in sync they are in combat. Everyone had great moments here, too many to count really, but my personal favorites were Lucy's new summonig power and its emotional drawback as well as Wendy's own fight, and the massive dragon fight that tore the sky and ground apart. This arc was literally non-stop action from beginning to end, giving Fairy Tail their darkest hour and their best storyline over all. While it still did have its issues, most of those can be brushed aside easily enough.

As I said, this arc started with a bang as the entire Magic Council is destroyed in one blast. From there, things keep heating up as Tartaros attacks all over, taking out Laxus and the Thunder Legion, proving how powerful they are. From that alone, I knew this was my favorite arc. All the Demon Gates had cool designs and awesome fights, even Juvia getting one for a change. The Gray vs. Silver, aka his resurrected father, was a fantastic one and a best for him while also giving him a heartrending reunion. I will admit the Erza one was a little disappointed and a little disjointed, a small blemish on the arc. But Lucy's moment, where she gives up her first Celestial Spirit Aquarius in order to summon the Spirit King to save her friends was heartbreaking, but his entrance was up there among the most epic. But what really put it over the top was the return of Igneel. Since the start of the series, Natsu has looked for his foster dad, the fire dragon. And now he's back, taking on Acnologia in an epic fight sequence where he sadly dies but manages to badly injure his enemy. Tartaros was Mashima pushing himself to his limits and while it would have been best if he saved this kind of energy for the final arc, it still worked well here and helps cement this series as one of the best out there.

So, I hoped that helped you decide whether or not to give the series a shot. I do recommend it, it was a really fun ride and I am very much looking forward to the sequel.

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