The kingdom of Fiore exists in a world of magic with wizards and magic guilds. In the port of Hargeon, a wizard named Lucy has just finished some magic shopping when she comes across a crowd of girls gathered around a wizard who calls himself Salamander. She’s at first attracted to him like all the other girls, but when a different guy suddenly bursts through the crowd because he mistook this Salamander for someone else, Lucy comes back to her senses. She realizes that Salamander had cast a charm spell on everyone, and to thank Natsu, the guy who helped free her from it, she treats him and his pet Happy to lunch. In the process she reveals her desire to join a guild and learns that Natsu is searching for a dragon named Igneel. After they part ways, Lucy reads in a magazine about the latest exploits of the guild Fairy Tail, and, in wondering how to join them, she’s overheard by Salamander. He claims to be part of Fairy Tail and offers her the chance to join if she comes to the party on his ship.
Lucy goes, but once there, she realizes that Salamander is trying to use Sleep magic to knock her out. When she resists, his thugs show up, and Salamander reveals that he’s in the business of kidnapping and selling women. He throws away Lucy’s Gate Keys to prevent her from using her summoning magic, but fortunately for her, Natsu and Happy arrive because they had heard the rumors about Salamander being in Fairy Tail. Happy flies Lucy away, but after the time limit on Happy’s wings run out, they both fall into the ocean. Luckily, Lucy is able to retrieve her Gate Keys from the ocean floor. She uses them to summon Aquarius and then has the spirit use her powers to push the ship back to port. Being back on solid land means that Natsu no longer suffers from motion sickness, and he’s finally able to properly confront Salamander about being in Fairy Tail. Natsu knows that Salamander is a fraud because Natsu himself is a Fairy Tail wizard, and what’s more, he’s able to use a slew of ancient anti-dragon magic techniques, like the ability to consume fire. He’s thus able to make short work of this fraud, but in the process he destroys much of the port, and he’s forced to run from the authorities. However, he drags Lucy with him because she wanted to join Fairy Tail.
My reactions to the opening and endings songs here were basically “meh”. The OP at least felt appropriate for a shounen action series like this, but the ED sounded it was sung by a bunch of pre-teen girls (not quite true but close enough) who were trying too hard to sound cute.
This first episode ended up being about what I expected based on having read the manga and seen the promo videos for the show. I think the best way to describe it is as mostly average. It was a fairly entertaining introduction to the premise with some action, comedy, and promising characters (particularly Natsu), and the production quality was decent, but nothing to call home about. Obviously, as you can see above, it wasn’t that bad, but you’d think that a combination of A-1 Pictures and Satelight could have pulled off something a bit more impressive, especially for a first episode.
The worst part of the episode for me was how Kugimiya Rie voiced Happy. That’s probably her most annoying voice and similar to how she sounded in Saki. It was so bad that I didn’t even mind Hirano Aya‘s voicing of Lucy, which was probably what I was most apprehensive about coming into the series. It’s definitely going to take a lot of getting used to if I’m going to continue watching this. And on that note, I am tentatively planning on continuing with FAIRY TAIL, partly because I liked what I read of the manga, and partly because there’s no other Monday shows that interest me. Like I said in the fall preview though, the caveat of course is that this is the type of shounen series that can drag on forever, so that interest can go away quickly if there’s too much boring filler-esque material.