First Look: Fairy Gone

Anime original by P.A. Works
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

In a world where fairies and humans live among each other, some humans have gained the ability to summon a fairy partner as a weapon. After a long war, many of these users, known as “Fairy Soldiers,” reintegrated into society in a variety of ways, from government service to organized crime. Maria is searching for her long lost childhood friend, Veronica, and in the process ends up gaining the power to summon her own fairy. Faced with potential imprisonment, she joins the government organization “Dorothea,” tasked with responding to fairy related crimes.

Gee’s verdict: Disparate

Fairy Gone feels like a show dragged in three different directions. It introduces itself as a Valkyria Chronicles inspired story about a war torn fictional European inspired continent where conflicts were fought and won with supernaturally enhanced soldiers. Then it switches to some kind of secondhand Shin Megami Tensei inspired “jazzy” urban fantasy noir. Finally, it unsheathes its claws to reveal that no in fact, it’s a pulpy supernatural action tale where the titular fairies manifest as JoJo inspired Stands.

The problem is that while all three of these narrative frameworks have potential, Fairy Gone doesn’t particularly execute any of the three that well, largely due to a lack of focus. We are introduced to our primary duo, Maria and Free Underbar, whose name hangs right there with the best Yoshiyuki Tomino himself could invent. We get a feeling for the central conflict that will dominate the series. There are hints at the world that is being built in Fairy Gone, but none of it is compelling enough to really sink its hooks into me.

And of course, we have to talk about the CG, which frankly just doesn’t look very good. Despite the PA Works pedigree, this is no Sirius the Jaeger. If you, like me, were expecting a simple but well produced supernatural action spectacle, you will come away still disappointed. Obviously the individuals involved in a production often matter more than the studio itself, but it’s still a shame that the studio’s second shot at supernatural action falls so flat. Fairy Gone isn’t offensive enough to my sensibilities to turn me off entirely, but it needs to rapidly introduce some interesting new ideas to keep me around.

Artemis’ verdict: Viewer Gone

On paper, this is the kind of show I’d normally be all over. I love a solid fantasy, especially those set in alternative-historical universes, and even more so when they’re not afraid to explore the darker side of human nature – part of the reason why titles like Fullmetal Alchemist are so near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, as stylish as it (mostly) looks and sounds, Fairy Gone just didn’t make a great first impression on me. Starting any story off with large chunks of exposition that as yet mean very little to the audience is never a good way to get me invested, and in general the storytelling seemed all over the place here, with flashbacks scattered almost at random throughout the episode, uneven pacing, and dialogue that felt uninspired and wandering. Competent as the action sequences were, it takes more than this to interest me in a story or its characters, who in this case I saw no particular reason to care about one way or the other.

Stylistically, Fairy Gone has far stronger game. The mix of traditional animation and CG is done thoughtfully and impactfully, and the art style as a whole is sleek and eye-catching, with unique and appealing character designs paired with some very nice animation – when it’s actually present. The episode is littered with still frames, an extremely noticeable fact when they’re placed smack in the middle of a long action sequence. Meanwhile, the music is probably my favorite single aspect of the show, with a rock-heavy soundtrack and a pretty catchy OP. However, even this wasn’t enough to elevate the experience to anything above average for me. It’s pretty likely I’ll be giving this one a pass.

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