The boost in confidence Gray got from Ultear’s presence within his mind really showed this chapter. I had expected to see Gray battle Doriarte in his normal form but I did love how Mashima-sensei went back to having Doriarte use his retrogression magic and this time in a large area of effect state. Gray in child form once again against the demon Doriarte was quite the thrilling match-up, especially when wondering how Gray would go about combating Doriarte.
Seeing the characters of this arc all in child form was great, I especially loved seeing Minerva in child form – she looks so cute. Poor Natsu though, he must be wondering what the hell is happening, from normal to kid to normal to kid once again. Still I’m curious to see where Natsu is off to and whose voice he has been hearing. Also back to Minerva, it looks like she is oblivious to Dorirate’s true form and most likely Succubus Eye’s true motive. I just wonder how much she knew about Succubus Eye and it’s members before joining up with them, it can’t be much given her personality and outlook of being superior to everyone else. Hopefully she doesn’t get too burned by them when she realises they have been using her.
Gray may have lost the power behind his abilities but his analysis and processing skills sure shot up immensely. He may have been wondering about the oddity of the ice before but to put the pieces together in the situation he found himself in was quite impressive and enjoyable to watch. And to go even further and place absolute belief in himself and his ice-molding skills was downright badass. Loved seeing Gray channel the ice freezing the village through his body which he utilised as a vessel and release it in a form capable of offensively damaging Doriarte. The end result looked like some form of ice-shock to me, which looked insanely cool when Doriarte knocked back and left blacked out for a few seconds.
Gray did mention that the properties of the ice freezing the village felt eerily reminiscent of the Deliora, but I really do wonder what the mystery behind the ice actually is. My fingers are still crossed about my theory of the ice being Ultear’s displaced “time” after she cast Last Ages. The reason why it could have the same feel as Deliora is because Last Ages is a forbidden magic and Ultear would have to form her magic into a certain state before casting each spell. Gray seems to have wanted to say something about the ice but it is a shame he stopped mid-thought to focus on Doriarte, I really do wonder what it is that Gray thinks and feels about the ice after having channeled it through his body.
No idea what Doriarte meant when he told Gray that “you’re the ones who opened it up…Hell’s Gate…” Was Doriarte referring to what Gray had done just before or was it a reference to something further back. Ah so vague Doriarte, especially the “you’re the ones” bit, including Gray, who else was he referring to? Happy and Carla? Would have been nice to get more of an explanation from him, but I guess I don’t mind seeing Doriarte cut off by being eaten by that flying monster thing. Though I doubt it is actually eating him, it feels more like it is trying to store the injured Doriarte in its mouth so more information concerning Succubus Eye and whoever they are allied with, if they are allied with another faction, isn’t leaked. Looks like Succubus Eye is quite the dangerous Dark Guild if they have someone capable of exercising rationale. That demon bird seems like it is a summon/pet of someone higher in status within Succubus Eye, will be interesting to see if they intend they reveal themselves next chapter.
The title of the next chapter does sound very compelling, “Eternal Fire”. Will we finally get to see what the focus of this arc actually is and why is has drawn so much interest from different guilds around Fiore?