OP: 「KNOCK on the CORE」by (K)NoW_NAME
「灰かぶりの少女」 (Haikaburi no Shoujo)
Tales about war are ubiquitous. They’re in the cinema, on the television, in novels, comic books, and on the news. Fascination with war in abstract is endless. When viewed from a distance, the forge of battle has even been known to give birth to heroes and myth. But what happens to those heroes when the war ends? Do their stories end with it? Fairy Gone explores a post-war world where humans have driven fairies to the brink, and those who drove them there, the Fairy Soldiers, are treated like average citizens in the world they created – a world where magic is caged, bought, and sold.
Marlya Noel (Ichinose Kana) managed to escape when Lay Dawn (Tsuda Eizou) burned her village to ash to kill a nearby fairy nest. One time skip later, and she’s working for the mafia in an attempt to find the childhood friend who (maybe?) abandoned her that day. I’m not entirely sure myself on that front. In the prologue, Marlya’s friend returns to help her escape, yet in her fairy-fueled vision, Veronica (Fukuhara Ayaka) abandons her to pursue vengeance. There’s always the chance that the scene was meant to be symbolic of how Veronica’s quest for revenge created a rift between them, but then it still wouldn’t be clear why they split up in the first place.
Towards the start of the episode, the transition of the series from the end of the war to several years past came across disjointed. Without knowing why her and Veronica parted ways or why Marlya spent so long searching for her, it’s difficult to sympathize with the character’s motives. For example, it’s mentioned in passing that Marlya joined the mafia in order to find Veronica, but it’s never stated or implied why that action would have helped Marlya find her. Did Marlya know Veronica was stealing fairy artifacts? Has she been doing it for a while?
With the humans front and center, you may be wondering where the fairies are. Well, they’re actually CGI monstrosities that dwell within the humans, including an ex-soldier who actively fought against them in the war, only to come out when it’s time to do battle with other fairies. Additionally, since the focus of the series appears to revolve around Marlya’s estranged relationship with Veronica, the actual fairies themselves don’t appear to hold much weight in the narrative. While it’s not a bad idea to use fantasy elements to tell a well-worn tale of friendship and revenge, if you could change those elements out with any other creature or setting and not impact the story in a significant way, then you’re not using the genre to its full potential.
Case in point, look at the magic Veronica wields. Spitting up black sludge may be effective for killing, but wouldn’t it be more visually interesting and a better use of the medium if the men she fought grew flower petals from their necks or broke into a frenetic jig? From the beginning, the show was presented with a washed-out and dull color palette, which works fine with the somber material except the pathos shorthand hasn’t been earned. The audience hasn’t seen the beauty of the world as it presumably was when the fairies coexisted with the humans, so there’s no way to truly appreciate what the characters have lost. However, the color did noticeably lighten after Marlya joined forces with the undercover ex-Fairy Soldier, so it could have represented how cold and dreary everything seemed before they crossed paths. And, to be fair, their interactions were without a doubt the highlight of the episode. They play off each other naturally, trading banter like they’ve known each other for years instead of minutes, and the soldier even had a line or two that was genuinely funny. So long as their relationship and further world building are the focal points of the show, and hopefully not the CGI battles or Veronica, Fairy Gone promises to be an entertaining, if perhaps not overly compelling, watch.
ED: 「Ash-like Snow」by [K]NoW_NAME