Title: Fairy Gone
Length: 24(?) x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Mystery, thriller, action, adventure, horror
Year of release: 2019
Despite being a premiere, Fairy Gone forgoes the usual, blunt infodumping and instead demonstrates through exciting action sequences and banterful conversation; (1) Marlya’s backstory and how that’s come to make her a Fairy sympathiser that has a tight though strained relationship with Veronica; (2) (the hilariously named) Free Underbar’s difficulty as a soldier on the losing side of the war trying to find work, despite being an illegal Fairy soldier; (3) and most impressively, a lot of the setup of the world, with Fairys being illegal and then illegally auctioned off (under governmental management), as well as being worthwhile enough to stage violent coups to steal. It’s almost elegant, and when you throw in the reluctance to use violent shock horror, makes Fairy Gone a breath of fresh air in the crowded genre of clunky dark messes.
For all of its strength in how it goes around demonstrating its centrepieces, it doesn’t quite sell it all. Marlya’s character-development throughout this episode is generally in suggestions that require leaps, and simply adds in a sense of courage that feels all too soon. Her prior unprofessional intrigue in Fairies doesn’t quite sell the way she frolics amidst gunfire. Moreover, the brief debate over swords, of which Free is a fan of, versus guns, of which Marlya is a fan of, hasn’t quite sold the reasoning behind this. Why are swords so much better, Free? I felt like asking, though his later combat proficiency suggested it’s a personal thing, but we’re yet to see Marlya fire her gun, let alone prove her worth with it. These might read like nitpicks, but these nitpicks are stacking up to something approaching disinterest, prevented by Marlya’s relationship with Veronica and the development of the government agency for illegal Fairy soldiers, Dorothea, setting up a resonant enough plot to root for, as well as, of course, the brief bits of charm in the dialogue.
I wish I could put the production alongside the things that are keeping my interest, but I’m struggling to go that far. P.A. Works have done a mixture of works here, with some impressive amount of frames to the animated sequences and some nice backgrounds. But the shot composition is lacklustre, only made worse by several animation hiccups (such as, most uncomfortably, a sequence of Free and Marlya running through the halls where the backgrounds don’t move in sync and their necks stay in place). Often, too, the direction just feels amateurish. The CG fairies follow this inconsistency – the ill fitting visual gives an otherworldly feel, but sometimes simply just clashes. Still, that rocky soundtrack and blood-pumping insert-song make for a fantastic throwback to the neo-gothic action flicks from the turn of the millennium – that Fairy Gone wishes it were a part of.
Clumsily directed and lacking in oomph, perhaps, but I wouldn’t be lying that I think that Fairy Gone is one of the better neo-gothic attempts I’ve seen. Even when gorily oozing black ink out of guard’s eyes, Fairy Gone didn’t rely on shocking, and beyond that, the Opposing Sides romance/friendship is simple and promises that this series won’t get too convoluted. But everything feels a little too undeveloped right now.