Allow me to explain to you the plot of Fairy Gone. Set in a late 1800s setting, Fairy Gone features fairies that occupy a symbiotic relationship with animals, giving them special powers. Humanity has thus spent years harvesting animal organs, supplanting them into subjects, and turning them into supersoldiers who can summon fairies as weaponized familiars. After a war that devastated the land, the practice has become illegal and a special team called “Dorothea” has been formed to investigate any fairy-related activities.
Now, I don’t know how you make any of what I just described boring but Fairy Gone found a way.
Actually, the problem is obvious. Almost everything about the Fairy Gone from characterizations to world building is told to you through exposition. Some of it is tolerable like how lead characters Maryla (Kana Ichinose/Jill Harris) and Free (Tomoaki Maeno/Ian Sinclair) small talk about fairies and how they work as they get auctioned out to aristocrats. Things really start to feel robotic though when you learn that Maryla’s big stake in everything is her old friendship with Veronica (Ayaka Fukuhara/Emily Neves), a thief who just so happens to appear at the auction house to steal a valuable item. You’re really just told that they’re friends, specifically with Maryla saying Veronica how they used to be such good friends.
The one scene that actually sheds light on their bond is a brie flashback of them exploring the woods to see the fairies. That’s it. I guess there’s also the flashback where they’re running away from authorities burning the forest but that serves more to elaborate on the path Veronica chose and not how much she cares about Maryla. Quite honestly, that scene leaves you with a couple of questions. Like, why are the authorities burning the forest and killing the fairies? Why did Veronica even leave her best friend in the first place? Mind you, this happens after checking on Maryla as she started to fall behind. It just doesn’t add up.
I consider it a blessing then that Fairy Gone doesn’t go out of its way explaining the individual fairy powers. Lord knows I’d be bored out of my mind if it stalled the action and have someone explained the techniques to me a minute each. To be fair, the JoJo and Persona-esque powers are cool such as Veronica’s fairy being able to possess and kill people by entering an open wound or Free straight up having werewolf at his side. It’s all cool and all but with the writing so stiff and the characters so lifeless, it’s hard to really care what’s going onscreen. Frankly. because I don’t care, Maryla’s repeated attempts to talk to Veronica felt droning, a couple of stop gaps to the flashy action.
And then there’s the fact that the fairies are animated through CGI. I really don’t want to give P.A. Works too much crap because they are generally a great studio and for the most part, Fairy Gone looks well drawn. But yes, the CGI is pretty distracting and it’s an odd artistic choice too considering this studio’s repertoire. Maybe it’s a budgetary thing (Iroduku was two seasons ago after all) but that’s a damn shame then if that is the case.
It really goes to show that execution will more often that not, outweigh the strength of the concept. Fairy Gone has a premise that just screams “cool” to me; it’s largely why I looked forward to it so much in the preseason. Unfortunately, the narrative and characters are there to back up and in case you ask, I’m seeing comments that Episode 2 doesn’t fare much better in those departments which leaves me wary. I was really hoping Fairy Gone would be one of the heavy hitters but with how underwhelming Episode 1 was, I don’t intend on watching any more of this.
English Dub Comments (Update: 5/7/2019)
I’m pretty late with updating the Spring 2019 First Impressions with English Dub comments but I must admit that I was also hesitant to come back to Fairy Gone (for reasons I explained above this addendum). But to give credit where it’s due, Funimation’s dub seems pretty solid. A fair number of the company’s go-to voice actors are here and they all seem to be attached to the right kind of roles. Ian Sinclair as Free especially is a highlight; goodness, that voice fits so well.
That said, the dialogue is still an issue. I will admit that it was a bit easier to follow along and be engaged with the story now that it’s in a language I’m fluent in. At the same time though, hearing the script translated in English really makes it more obvious to me how forced and droning the exposition gets. I’d say the dub is a viable way to go watch Fairy Gone…but even then, I’m still hard pressed to resume the show.
OP: “KNOCK on the CORE” by (K)NoW_NAME
ED: “Ash-like snow” by (K)NOW_NAME
This ED honestly tells you more about Maryla and Veronica’s relationship then the entire first episode.
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