Well, needless to say this contains major spoilers for the Tartarus Arc for the Fairy Tail manga. This also contains spoilers for the spin off Fairy Tail Zero, the prequel series. So, if you do not wish to be spoiled, then do not read. I repeat do not read. This is a very long discussion, and so there will be a lot of spoilers.
Alright, this is going to first discuss the final chapter in this arc, before talking about the arc as a whole, then touching upon some things found in Fairy Tail Zero, before finishing in speculation for what is going to happen, although there will be speculation throughout.
So, the final chapter, Fairy Tail gets disbanded, making me believe even more that this series has another two maybe three arcs; four at most, granted I thought this at the end of the Grand Magic Games arc with Mavis and Zeref’s discussion. This is more so with, END, being Natsu, and Fairy Tail being disbanded. Yet, in order to go beyond just two more arcs, some major, and I mean major event would need to happen.
In all honesty it was a little hinted that Natsu was END. In the Tenrou Island arc, when Zeref as a character was first introduced, he mentioned that Natsu would be the one to kill him. In the current arc that just finished, the Demons were meant to kill Zeref. At the same time the leader, END is a fire magic user, and Natsu is a fire magic user. So, when the final words in the chapter being, “Or should I say Etherious Natsu Dragneel” So, I mean, yes it was a major twist, but it was hinted at in several cases, which I have to say was well done.
So, now here is another problem, how is Natsu END? Well, Ingeel came back, and one of the dragons, Sting or Rouge’s dragon mentioned how they changed their memories to believe that they died. So, if Igneel knew Natsu was END, which it hinted at with Igneel not wanting Natsu to open the book. Natsu had his memories erased. Now, the next speculation goes in one of two ways. Way back in the fighting Festival arc, Natsu and Gajeel could not break through the barrier because they did not fit the age requirement. I assume this was because the dragons inside them were several hundred years old. So, that would explain that. There is also the possibility that Natsu was reborn in this century, like all the other members of Tartarus could be reborn, or Natsu just did not age until Igneel left, that last bit is more than likely false. That was all I had on that for now.
So, the arc as a whole, I would have to say is my favorite. I started reading the manga after the Grand Magic Games arc finished. I have also been buying it in volumes, so anything between the Tower of Heaven Arc to Sunshine Village Arc I have not read, I saw the anime for it, but did not read any in-between. Regardless this was probably my favorite arc. A countless number of characters, Wendy, Gajeel, Gray, and Lucy had something major happen to them.
Wendy, matured a lot, mentally. Up to this point she always seemed like a friendly go lucky girl. She was timid and never really played a major role in a fight. The fights that she did play a role in seemed as though they were not serious. Other than that she played more of a support role than anything. However once Face became activated, that was when she really changed it up. She acknowledged that she is the only one that can do this, and thus really steps it up in her actions in going all out by any means necessary.
Gajeel, got Shadow Iron dragon slayer magic in the previous arc. However in this one he got a new form, whether this will stay or not will be interesting since it only worked given the situation, being Steel Dragon Slayer magic. So, there was also the development in character that lea up to that, which was fairly interesting. Other than that Levi and Gajeel sort of became a thing in the chapter Air. So that romance is possibly starting to show, although I liked how Gajeel did not acknowledge it as a kiss but just CPR so he could breath.
Gray, has changed a lot. At the same time, at least that final chapter, I think it is starting to hint that Juvia’s feelings might not be one sided, although that was hinted several times before. But, Gray besides that also changed when it came to dealing with his father and past. It seemed like some parts really focused on him, specifically when it came to the fact that his father was taken over by the demon that killed him. At the same time Gray also learned Ice Demon Slayer Magic, which is really interesting. Since this developed it could clearly come up at one point.
When it comes to Lucy, for starters again the final chapter she really does not want Natsu to go on that year long journey. Not only that with the loss of Aquarius it will be interesting where this development leads, since she did lose a Celestial Spirit and the ability to summon that spirit. For all the key characters there was plenty development for them compared to most arcs. For that reason these is probably one of the best arcs that have come out to date and I have a feeling there will be a shift in what happens next from here on out.
So, I am bringing up Fairy Tail Zero, which is the prequel series following Mavis to the events that led up and more than likely go beyond the creation of Fairy Tail. In the recent chapter, chapter 7, Mavis meets Zeref. Not only is that but a different side of him seen. In the main series he is more focused as the main antagonist. In the recent chapter he taught Mavis magic, revealing he does have some sort of connection to the creation to Fairy Tail, which is interesting. Although there are other Fairy Tail based series out there, this is one that is by the creator himself, Hiro Mashima, which could be considered Canon. Not only that when it comes to Zeref, but it is revealed more about why things die around him. Mavis mentioned that it is the more you love life, the more life is killed around you. So, I guess what I am trying to point out here, is that maybe Zeref is not the main antagonist that has been built up to date in the main series.
I only brought up that chapter for speculation time. With the fact that Fairy Tail might be nearing the finally in a few more arcs, perhaps it is not. With the massive character development that occur countless things can happen. Since Natsu is going on a journey and being END, which more than likely will occur before the finally. Since Natsu would become a demon, Gray has Demon Slayer Magic, something tells me that was done on purpose. This could lead to a major event, although that is only a theory.
Now, although the next chapter has yet to come out, it will really depend on the direction of this next arc. Since Natsu plans a year long journey, will there be a time skip or not. (This was written, but not posted before I read the next chapter, which did say that chapter 418 will skip one year for the new arc, however it is unknown if what happened in that year will be shown or not) At the same time I would like to point out the Grand Magic Games Arc, Future Rogue brought up an event that happens a year from now that led to that future, and although the event was not heard by us, Natsu did. So whatever that event is, will more than likely be in a future arc.
So, where is the future of this series heading, I certainly do not know. However I think it is clear that the creator knows, and he has been planning at it for some time now and this arc will more than likely be the foundation of the finally.
I would also like to note that the images that were used, where found online and belong to the respected owners, which hopefully goes without saying.