Fairy Gone (フェアリーゴーン) is an original, seinen, supernatural fantasy anime from the studio P.A. Works that is being directed by Kenichi Suzuki. It takes place in a world where fairies and demons reside, unable to be seen by the human vision. These fairies are capable of possessing animals and people alike. The story follows two women—Veronica and Marlya—that are the sole survivors of a brutal attack on their village due to people trying to eradicate all fairies. They meet again many years later due to special circumstances, where they learn that sometimes change can come in the most unexpected of ways.
I love supernatural narratives and I tend to find a lot of pleasure in titles produced by P.A. Works. When I learned that this was going to be an original anime, I felt compelled to watch the first episode at the very least. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m not sure what I feel about it. The premise, while interesting, is rather akin to the Persona franchise due to its fairy dynamics. The animation is about subpar when compared to all of the other offerings this season. The characters didn’t really stand out as being overtly special in any real sense. The only thing that had me sparkly eyed was this fairy cat critter who is too damn cute to resist. I suppose that means that my feelings are pretty meh and indifferent either way.
The fairies and the roles they perform amid human society are the main focuses for the story. Even though we have two ladies who were once friends now trying to work through their baggage to see if that friendship can be revived, it’s all about the fairies. If it didn’t take the summoning route, and if didn’t follow the Persona method of acquiring and utilising these powers, so to speak, I believe I would feel far more fascinated. But the truth is that it’s all rather cliché with not much originality in play (woot, rhyming).
When I say that Fairy Gone’s taking the Persona tactic, what I mean by that is that the fairies that inhabit humans reflect the personalities of the respective humans they possess (or more often than not, share a fleshy vessel with). Additionally, based on how one of the characters acquires a fairy in episode one, it’s done through an event that triggers a strong emotional response. Then those fairies can be summoned when they are needed, say in a battle for example, and help fight/protect their human. This is a basic Persona formula.
Taking inspiration from other franchises doesn’t bother me so much because that’s a big part of storytelling that I love; seeing something familiar and experiencing a new journey with it. However, even the designs of these summoned fairies look like Persona characters. I’m probably being a bit nit-picky here, but I found that aspect to be disappointing.
Aside from that component, the non-supernatural characters in Fairy Gone don’t have much to them that shouts uniqueness either. One dude pretends to be something he’s not so that he can pursue an ulterior motive. His design and mannerisms are basic as basic gets. The two ladies are a run of the same mill. One is moody and broody, feeling like the world owes her for the pain she’s suffered, while the other is chipper and trying to make the best of her life as she searches for the one person whom she cares for most. These things are classic, yet ultimately tropey and uninspiring.
Even with all of my groaning of the mediocrity of it all, I am curious to learn more about the fairies. Are they beings who simply reside on another plane of existence? Are they spirits of the dead? Or conjured creatures of some magical experiment gone wrong? Chalk it up to my infatuation with the blue, glowy, kitty thing, but I want to know what their story is. They are ostracised and mistreated and viewed as malevolent, vile beings, however. If humanity has taught us anything it’s that they are ignorant, judgmental assholes who would rather harm and oppress what they don’t understand/feel intimidated by, rather than learn more about those things and find a means of co-existing. This bit right here is what I’m hoping shall add the depth and intrigue to Fairy Gone that it desperately needs.
Animation, as I mentioned above, is pretty ordinary. There are instances of CG integration, particularly where the fairy summons is concerned (e.g.: when they’re fighting one another), but it’s not jarring or greatly stiff. Some of them have hand-drawn elements to them that help it to feel less tacky. There is a vintage aesthetic to the whole animation, such as muted sepia-tinged tones and the use of vignettes in flashbacks, which I feel is done to match the ambiance of the historical era. I didn’t mind this too much because it definitely does give it that olden essence.
Overall, I’m dissatisfied with Fairy Gone’s first episode, but I’m not utterly dissuaded to continue. I think I shall see what episode two has to offer in terms of fairy-related plot shenanigans. Who knows, I could be surprised for the better.
You can watch Fairy Gone on Funimation on Sunday mornings. The SimulDub for it begins at the end of the month, for folks who prefer dubbed watching.