A Beginner’s Guide to Fairy Tail

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Keith Reid-Cleveland
Keith Reid-Cleveland writes about many things, but general nerd culture is his true love. Whether he’s watching something brand new or rewatching Yu Yu Hakusho for the 50th time, anime is always on the menu.

By Keith Reid-Cleveland

Your friends have asked, time and time again. But now, it’s time. You’re ready to start Fairy Tail. Wait…there are how many episodes?!

Look, don’t worry about it. We’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide to the series. After starting in 2009, Fairy Tail soared with 328 anime episodes and a couple of movies coming to a close in late 2019. And now is the perfect time to binge it all.

If you’re lucky, you’ll feel a fire in your belly just like Natsu. 


What is Fairy Tail about?

Fairy Tail fantasy anime

Fairy Tail takes place in a world where mages use their magical abilities to take on various jobs and missions to earn income for their respective guilds. These jobs vary in difficulty and could be as simple as fixing an old bridge or as dangerous as tracking down a group of criminals.

The main guild the series focuses on is called Fairy Tail and operates much like an adoptive family.

While each member of Fairy Tail has their own motivations and goals, they regularly work together to raise the guild’s reputation throughout the land of Fiore—both for pride and to be able to charge more for their services!


Who are the characters of Fairy Tail?

Fairy Tail starts off small and builds its way out to a pretty expansive network of characters by its end. In just the first episode, you’ll meet three of the series’ main players. 

First, there’s Natsu Dragneel, a Dragon Slayer mage who eats and manipulates fire as he tracks down his adoptive father, an actual dragon named Igneel.

By his side, you’ll find his best friend, a talking blue cat with wings named Happy. And you’re quickly introduced to Lucy Heartfilia, a Celestial mage who can call on Celestial Spirits that represent the 12 signs of the zodiac. 

As we meet more members of Fairy Tail, we’re introduced to the likes of Gray Fullbuster and Erza Scarlet, one of the guild’s most powerful mages who can summon an assortment of weapons and suits of armor at a moment’s notice. These five characters pretty much round out the show’s main crew—at least until later on. But you’ll have to watch for that.

Yet, one especially compelling supporting character is Makarov Dreyar, the third and current Fairy Tail guild master, who acts as a father figure for all of its members.

Other standouts include Gildarts, arguably Fairy Tail’s strongest mage; the three Strauss siblings, who can utilize beast-like abilities; and a list of familiar faces you’ll get to know over time. Oh, and then there’s Laxus, who’s Makarov’s only grandson and a lightning Dragon Slayer with a bit of a chip on his shoulder!

Speaking of…


What are Dragon Slayers?

In Fairy Tail, dragons are believed to be extinct by the time the story starts, and it’s widely believed that they were all wiped out by mages called Dragon Slayers. These mages were able to learn special kinds of magic that only dragons were privy to previously, such as eating or breathing fire, like Natsu. They all share one odd weakness, road sickness, which can be pretty inconvenient for long journeys.

As the series goes on, you’ll find that not all Dragon Slayers were created the same. While some gained their magic directly from dragons, others had their abilities manufactured through scientific means. And there are even a couple who relied on both! Regardless of how they got their powers, all Dragon Slayers are considered to be pretty powerful. 

To make matters even more complicated, there are other kinds of “slayer” magic that come into play later on. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. 


What about the guild system?

As mentioned earlier, mages can become members of guilds and complete tasks for a fee. There’s actually a pretty complex organizational structure in place that allows all of these guilds to interact with each other. 

Legal guilds are officially recognized by a governing body called the Magic Council. Now, there are also independent guilds that aren’t recognized by the Magic Council because all you really need to form one is enough wizards and a place to call home. Then there are dark guilds, which aren’t recognized by the council and are often criminal organizations.

To find out which legal guilds are the strongest, the Magic Council regularly holds tournaments where members compete against each other in an attempt to prove their superiority.

This introduces a whole slew of new characters and guilds to the series with each having their own personality, such as Sabertooth, Blue Pegasus, Mermaid Heel and more. Over time, guilds form friendly alliances and rivalries of their own, each with their own rich, unique histories. 


What about the villains of Fairy Tail?

The Fairy Tail guild thankfully doesn’t just fight to earn a buck. They’re more than willing to take a stand and fight to protect the innocent and their loved ones from major threats that may pop up!

As mentioned above, dark guilds play a pretty major role early on in the series. They can be just as capable and powerful as legal guilds but have very different, evil motivations. One dark guild in particular called Raven Tail comes into direct conflict with Fairy Tail when things get personal. 

One of the show’s most consistent villains is a dragon that is feared by all who believe he actually exists because of his power. He’s so strong that no single mage is a true match for him when he’s at his toughest. As the series goes on, his backstory and significance become even clearer. 

The other consistent villain of the show is Zeref, who is considered to be the strongest mage to ever exist. Not much is known about Zeref at the beginning of the show, but I’ll let it slip that he’s got incredibly powerful dark abilities and, for reasons later explained, is deeply invested in the future of both Natsu and the Fairy Tail guild!

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With that, you’ve hopefully got enough to dive right into the world of Fairy Tail! Just don’t call when you purchase as much Happy merchandise as you can find. Oh, it’ll happen.


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