Overconfident and arrogantly prideful, the demons of Tartarus get a lesson in putting ‘the cart before the horse’. With Face destroyed a crucial step in their plans hoping to accomplish a goal yet largely unknown (except for wanting to meet Zeref) has been set back, forcing them now to reevaluate the process they adopt and wonder why exactly it all went wrong. The significance of E.N.D. and the lack of presence he has currently had in this arc raises some interesting questions and makes one wonder who s/he really is =/. The comment by Hades about Tartartus’s plan only beginning only adds to the veiled nature of both Tartarus and E.N.D.
Franmalth is such a weird demon, especially with how he deals with uncertainty and expressing his anger/surprise. But I suppose despite the comical appearance he has taken on, he does still have the ability to utilise the power of the soul’s he steals, such as the soul of Hades. Though given his own abilities and lack of being versed in all magic fields, the magic power Franmalth wields is only as powerful and useful as the manner in which he cast them in. And seeing how clueless he can be at times, the power he wields may get underused at times. Still Franmalth does have expert control over his own ability, allowing him to begin stealing the souls of Natsu, Happy and Lucy.
Natsu did express an inspirational speech to get Lucy, Happy and himself to fight Franmalth’s soul sucking ability back, though it ultimately did seem inevitable that they would be overwhelmed by Franmalth, well that is until Lucy came to a realisation and exploited a weakness in Franmalth’s ability. Using the fact that Taurus and Aries being de-summoned caused Franmalth to be sucked into the Celestial World when he had those two merged with him, to create a situation where she could fool Franmalth to unbind Natsu effectively giving him an opportunity to launch a counter-attack was extremely smart and resourceful of Lucy. She may not have been involved much in the fight, but the way she out-smarted Franmalth was seriously amusing and enjoyable.
Franmalth being crushed by a piece of land Natsu ripped from the ground was a fitting way for Franmalth to be defeated – to be crushed by his own inabilities despite having the soul/abilities of Hades under his command. Though I am glad he is now defeated, his comical nature really was detracting from the fearsome nature demons should be representing, especially with them being the antagonist of the current arc.
Hades’s soul at the end and the comment he made has me very curious, what did he mean Tartarus’s ‘true goal’ wasn’t Face? The fact that Mashima-sensei is highlighting such a statement at this point implies that Tartarus’s goals lie deeper than just meeting Zeref =/. What exactly could they be planning and when will E.N.D. appear? Kyouka seems nervous about the Face plan failing and it did seem to me that E.N.D. was supposed to ensure the success of Face activating from what she had mentally stated =/. Did Crime Sorcière have something to do with the lack of E.N.D. in the current arc? Or are they currently keeping E.N.D. busy? It definitely will be interesting to see how E.N.D. and Crime Sorcière will come into this arc and what roles they will have.
Erza vs Minerva, well Neo Minerva now, has me excited immensely. I have been waiting for the encounter between these two since Minerva had her metamorphosis into a demon, and am secretly hoping that with this fight and Erza as her opponent, Minerva can get a spark of realisation of how narrow-minded she currently is with how she is viewing the world. It is a stretched hope, but I really don’t think Minerva is all that bad at the core of herself, she is just trying to be evil and tough to hide how vulnerable she really is (which we did see a part of when she fell apart after she lost to Erza and even more so when Sabertooth lost to Fairy Tail during the Grand Magic Games tournament). Looking forward to the next chapter – “Hell’s Core”.
Also love the color spread cover for this chapter of Gray and Erza: