A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fairy Tail is a violent anime series with sexy content that's not for younger kids. Not only is main character Lucy impossibly buxom, she's also savvy enough to use her physical attributes to get what she wants (attention, a better sale price on a store item, etc.) from men. She's also obsessed with popularity, envious of those who have it, and fascinated by what society tells her is "cool," which leaves her vulnerable to potentially dangerous situations. She does eventually prove that there's more to her than just a pretty face, thanks to a positive new friendship and the chance to sharpen her skills. A main character is known for taking off his clothes at whim, showing a bare torso and the side of his butt, but sensitive areas are obscured. Animation takes the edge off the excessive clashes, but violence is often a means to an end; you'll see a lot of it, even between friendly characters. On the upside, positive qualities like loyalty and perseverance are rewarded, while self-serving and arrogant characters stand out in a negative way.
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What's the story?
FAIRY TAIL is an anime series about a teen named Lucy (voiced by Cherami Leigh) who runs away with her new friend, Natsu (Todd Haberkorn), to join the well-known wizards guild, Fairy Tail. Natsu is a powerful wizard endowed with rare fire magic who's on a quest to find his foster parent, a dragon named Igneel who disappeared years ago. Lucy's powers are celestial, allowing her to summon spirits to help her in times of need. Together with Natsu's cat, Happy (Tia Ballard), the two face one adventure after another, battling evil wizards and attacks from new foes at every turn.
Is it any good?
Fairy Tail appeals to anime fans, thanks to a plot that's layered with curious characters, legends, and a story that evolves at a believable pace rather than all at once. It's more complex than most, and the characters run the gamut of personality styles, which helps keep things interesting. Both Lucy and Natsu have positive qualities that make them decent protagonists as well.
But what the show has an excess of is content that's not suited to the kids who typically seek out anime series. Violence is the norm in this genre, but Fairy Tail's is even more prevalent than its peers'. Even more noticeable is the show's rather questionable portrayal of women, whose physical attributes (busty chests, thin frames, and accentuated curves) get more attention than their abilities do, and who often have less upstanding characteristics (apparent alcoholism and a bad case of popularity envy, to name a couple) than do their male counterparts. The bottom line? Its story is well developed and will keep viewers' interest, but the mature content is better suited to teens than to kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about social situations and fitting in. What does it feel like to be the newcomer to a group? Do your tweens have an easy time warming up to new people?
What does peer pressure feel like? To what extent does it change how you feel about yourself? Have you ever make adjustments to your appearance or your personality because of how you want others to see you?
What messages does this series send about body image, to girls in particular? What other shows have you seen with similar tones? Do you think the media perpetuates negative impressions about self-image and good health?
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