Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fairy Tail, Volume 10 by Hiro Mashima

Before Loke disappears, he hands Lucy tickets of a beachside resort, saying that he had gotten them for him and his girlfriends, but as he owes her and her team so much, they should use them and have fun. And so that is exactly what they do. But Ezra finds herself falling asleep in the sun and having a dream about when she was younger and just a child, and there was a boy who called her "sister". She wakes up in a panic, and finds the sun has gone down.

She changes back into her armor and calls herself a sad woman for needing her armor to make her feel safe. Lucy comes in and invites Ezra down to a casino in the basement, where Gray and Natsu are already gambling. Ezra poofs herself into a beautiful and elegant dress and they go downstairs to join the men.

Natsu and Gray are already gambling, but are interrupted by a strange man who appears to be made out of rectangles. He tells Natsu that he should be a Dandy, and if he isnt, he threatens Natsu with a pistol. Natsu is confused by this, as should be expected. Juvia, who has been trailing Gray all this time, finally appears to him. He recognizes her from the Phantom Guild, she tells him that the Phantom Guild was disbanded and is now a free wizard. He asks her if she wants to join Fairy Tail and she says yes. Gray assures her it shouldn't be a problem, but wonders what Master Makarov will say.

Lucy and Ezra are playing cards, and Ezra is winning quite handily. But a new dealer comes in and deals her cards that read "DEATH" and he calls Ezra "Big Sister Ezra". She can only repeat his name, Shô. It seems that all the strange people in the Casino that night are all looking for Ezra. And all seem to be quite familiar with her. But who are they?

The lights go out, and suddenly the room is deserted except for Ezra, Gray, Natsu, Lucy and the strange people. All the other people in the casino have been imprisoned inside playing cards. Lucy attempts to aid Ezra, but is captured by a strange cat-like woman who Ezra calls Milliana. They shoot Ezra with a sleep bullet and tell her they are taking her back to the Tower of Heaven. They say they and Ezra used to be old friends, until she betrayed them.. Leaving the others behind, they abduct her and Happy.

They return to the Tower, which is a building they all worked on as slaves when they were young. It's a building for focusing R-type magic, and it is supposed to be illegal black magic, according to the order of the council. R magic is also known as revival magic. It can bring people back to life, but at a terrible cost- it must take the life of someone else for anyone to be revived. And the man in charge, Jellal, looks an awful lot like a member of the council, Sieg.

As Natsu and the others fight their way to the tower and attempt to free Ezra from this cult intent on her death, Ezra has already escaped on her own. But as we delve into the past to see why Jellal suddenly turned evil, and find out that Ezra once lost an eye when she was young. But even now that she is a powerful wizard and an adult, can she break free of the shadows of the past and triumph over Jellal or free him from what makes him evil? Or is it already too late?

The book ends with a short story. When Lucy suspects that Natsu feels romantically inclined towards her, she certainly doesn't feel the same. Or does she? And what does Natsu really want from her?

Another long story, but as it explores the background of Ezra, admittedly one of the most kickass female characters in the guild, it remains interesting throughout. Here, we get to see the hidden background of Ezra that no one suspected- that once upon a time, she was a young, abused slave, and it was after breaking free that she decided she would never be a victim again. That's why she wears the armor all the time.

We also see hints of corruption on the Guild council here. And now I am wondering about the council. Are they all wizards? Do only wizards have guilds? What is up with the Council, and what is their ultimate purpose? And Sieg, who threatened Ezra earlier in one of the volumes, seems to be at the bottom of some hinky stuff on the council. What is he up to? I guess I'll have to read the next volume to find out.

All in all, an interesting volume and I like the direction in which the story is going. But once this story is done, the backgrounds of the characters, except for Natsu and Happy, are all pretty much explored. Which makes it seem like the fate of the Dragons that trained Natsu and Igneel will be one of the next stories to be explored. That, too, will be interesting, and I look forward to it. Recommended.

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