Every once in a while, I’ll come across an anime that is so completely average in every single way. There is nothing extraordinary or special about said anime to set it apart from others within the genre or demographic. In fact, it’ll be rather forgettable all around, yet for some reason it will draw me in for an unexpected binge-watching and I’ll look forward to re-watching it again in the future. I like to think of these as simple comforts, little discoveries that for some reason will fill my little heart with joy. Because even though it’s essentially mediocre, the title will still pop into my mind when asked for recommendations. This unanticipated treat of a series that I’d like to discuss today is Earl and Fairy.
A fellow blogger, Casper from Reasons to Anime, recently shared a post naming three reasons to skip Earl and Fairy, and if I’m to be frank, they’re pretty on point with their explanations (it’s a great write-up, please check-it out). Yet even though I logically agree with all they said, I still feel that Earl and Fairy will be appealing to some viewers out there because of the very reasons that are listed as passable, which I’ve included a couple of those here in today’s five reasons why you should check out Earl and Fairy if you haven’t yet and are in the market for something very humble and easy to engage with.
05. Fae Creatures
One of the elements that initially caught my attention with The Earl and Fairy (manga) was the mentioning of Celtic Fae creatures, and it was neat to see them in anime form. They are Western European inspired beings such as brownies, a mermaid, a banshee, and a selkie (to name a few) and they’re all charming in their own ways. While some of them are portrayed to be more powerful and on a superior hierarchy than the others, they aren’t ever depicted to be terrifying, demonic, or anything that relates to the negative. This really helped to create a kick-back watching ambiance and it reminded me a lot of classical children’s folktales that I’ve read and heard growing up in America.
04. Classic Romancing
The romance is going to be hit or miss for a lot of watchers. For me, it was a balance of both. It frustrated me at times, but in the end I also found it to be cutely heart-warming. There’s the scandalous, salacious, flirtatious scoundrel of an Earl who is completely fascinated by the Fairy Doctor, named Lydia, who appears immune to his roguish charms. This adorable young woman that is able to interact with Fae creatures sees the scoundrel for what he is on the outside as well as on the inside and tries to help him anyway.
What really made their interactions entertaining to me was the way they’d bicker back and forth with one another. Their banter reminded me of classic English literature quite a bit, such as Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, both authored by Jane Austen. It’s not as polished or intellectually quippy as Austen’s works, but it’s in the same vein with its soft flair, and I found it endearing.
03. Light Fantasy Elements Suitable for All
The fantasy elements are light and mellow in Earl and Fairy, which makes it great for otaku that may not particularly care for strong fantasy elements in their anime. Yes, there are Fae creatures and a talking kitty, and some use of magic, but it’s all utilised in such a natural and buoyant way that all it really does is add some character to an overall historical era romance between unlikely individuals.
This also allows for the watcher to sit back and take in the story without a huge mindful investment. It was cool to watch each episode and take it for what it was at face value without having to decipher complex hidden subplots or convoluted political intrigue when compared to more hardcore fantasy anime like Berserk (dark fantasy), Magi: Kingdom of Magic (sword and sorcery fantasy,) and Fullmetal Alchemist (science fantasy).
02. Effortlessly Bingeable
Because everything is uncomplicated and transparent, it feels rather effortless to binge Earl and Fairy. I watched this two or three, sometimes four, episodes at a time (for my ADHD, that’s pretty damn bingeable). I started rooting for the scoundrel Earl and his lovable little Fairy Doctor (and her purrfect kitty friend) and this made me want to see how their adventures would turn out by the end. I also really loved feeling so relaxed and placid while watching Earl and Fairy. That was the main aspect that stood out to me almost above all else; it was awesomely chillax.
01. Nico, the Fae Kitty
With all of these nice traits, my absolute number one reason to recommend watching Earl and Fairy is Nico! Nico is a bow-tie wearing, whisky-drinking, snarky kitty that has an amazingly fun and entertaining personality. Oh and he also walks on two feet like hoomans. His sass and sarcastic commentary made me laugh on more than once occasion, and every time he made an appearance on-screen, I felt myself getting giddy with excitement.
Besides being the best character (for obvious reasons), Nico also represents true friendship. He’ll whine and complain about Lydia (the Fairy Doctor) being an idiot, especially when it comes to that Earl rascal, but his devotion, respect, and adoration for Lydia and what she does is so sweet that it completely melts the cat-loving essence of my heart.
Earl and Fairy isn’t a perfect anime. As I mentioned above, it’s actually supremely middling, from the plot and story to the animation and music. Even so, it does have qualities in it that make it feel as comfortable to watch as sharing a pot of tea and old memories with your closest chums. There is charm and wit and cute creatures to warm the heart as well as to help the day pass. If anything, I would recommend Earl and Fairy as a palette cleanser to stick in between a couple of more serious or intense anime watchings. All in all, I found it delightful, and I definitely look forward to watching it again in the future, especially when I need a tiny dose of Pick-Me-Up.
Source: Light Novel by Mizue Tani & Asako Takaboshi (illustrator)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Season: Fall 2008
Director: Kōichirō Sōtome
Content Warnings: Kidnapping. Mild violence. Alcohol consumption (by people and a cat). Depiction and consumption of food. Cigar smoking. Brief scene of torture. Imprisonment. Death.
AniList: Hakushaku to Yōsei
Streaming: HIDIVE, CrunchyRoll, VRV, CONtv, Tubi TV, Amazon