Title: Fairy Gone
Length: 12 x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Fantasy, thriller, supernatural, neo-gothic
Year of release: 2019
I’m just gonna put my hands up and admit it: I was wrong. I was wrong to be optimistic about Fairy Gone. Admittedly, at the 5 episode mark, the show was still keen to develop its primary hook, but sometime after it became clear that it was juggling a less-substantial plot while offputting all the interesting bits into the second season. What that ends up watching like is a show that self-explains itself in a rush while offering only mediocre excursions. It’s boring.
I wasn’t wrong to have faith, though. While Marlya’s inner-monologues do little to develop her outside of demonstrating the emo-teenager side she internalises, she does have an interesting Romeo-and-Juliet relationship with Veronica who is on the other side of the conflict. Having two girls and an interesting conflict to why they can’t be Besties is a good way to develop the futile aspects of both the relationships we form and the politics we’re embroiled in. Fairy Gone has a foundation rich enough to make an interesting conflict out of this, but refrained from doing so this time (so that it has something to do in its 2nd season coming later this year in October 2019).
The story, then, feels like an extended chess match that briefly went into Check, and then returns to a back-and-forth, but its grand plottings are much less meaningful. The politicians that ‘won’ the supernatural war have been planning and scheming for several years to increase their power, which culminates in a couple of power plays with the potential to shift the balance of everything. Unfortunately, since the show spent its opening 5 or 6 episodes laying the foundation for things it didn’t cover this season, the storyline of this season is mostly told through rushed expositions and can only sacrifice irrelevant barely-named characters of its gigantic cast to feed the stakes.
Perhaps this all could have worked a lot better if the gigantic cast was developed beyond their (rather laughable) namesakes or the setting got more than a lot of maps, but it’s also true that committing to a theme would help. Now, I’ll hold up my hands and say that perhaps my fondness for cynicism is getting the better of me here, but the way the story brought up a war not being over for certain individuals was just a little too blunt, undeveloped and too ironic to function. That is to say that Free Underbar telling mini-bosses of antagonists that ‘it’s a good era’, as he fights for a shady organisation in the shadows because his affliction means his own person is literally illegal contraband, is maybe a little rich. Free ain’t free, is he?
Being an all-style action show could have been a way to shift Fairy Gone’s rather bleak storytelling component to the background, but unfortunately there’s another issue here: it’s a weak production. There’s a lot of frames to Fairy Gone’s animation that can give certain scenes an allusion of greatness – but it’s just a facade. The choreography of the fights themselves is silly enough with characters slamming weapons into one another instead of taking the hundreds of openings, sure, but a bigger issue is how uncoordinated the actual animation is: necks don’t move it sync, art can go off model, and regularly the figures make weird, inhuman movements in the faster sequences. It’s clumsy, to be frank. Music courtesy of (K)NoW_NAME hits all the right notes and regularly introduces some notable insert songs, but the background music can get a little repetitive.
What a load of balloney. I’m sorry if I lead anybody down this path with my optimistic take at the early episodes, but I couldn’t foresee it getting this sidetracked. I still can’t put my hand on my heart and say if this was all entirely worthless as I’m holding out for Ver to finally get some screentime, but until then, Fairy Gone’s the kind of anime to skip over. I know I’ve already forgotten half its finer points.