Fairy Gone is an original anime television series produced by P.A. Works and the show’s unique world has brought it to the attention of anime fans both in Japan and overseas. The first cour aired in Spring 2019 and a second cour will start airing in Fall 2019.
The series was part of our weekly anime reviews for Spring 2019.
For many years, the continent of Eastwald was ravaged by a war known as the War of Unification. To fight in this war, special soldiers called ‘Fairy Soldiers’ were given the ability to summon fairies into battle. When the war came to an end, the surviving Fairy Soldiers had lost their raison d’être and had to find a new way of life. Some chose to belong to the government, some chose mafia and terrorist groups. Marlya is one of two survivors of one of the massacres committed during the war. After losing her entire village, she has nowhere to belong to. However, one day she unexpectedly ends up with a Fairy Soldier ability. She has no choice but to join the government agency Dorothea, which exists to combat illegal Fairy Soldiers. Otherwise, she may be hunted down as an illegal Fairy Soldier herself. As a member of Dorothea, Marlya also hopes to meet her long-lost childhood friend Veronica, who now seems to be an illegal Fairy Soldier.
MANGA.TOKYO sat down to interview the show’s producer, Masaya Saito from Toho, about the series. He spoke to us about the birth of the project and how it was shaped into what it is now.
Please tell us about the birth of Fairy Gone.
I have worked with P.A. Works already for the anime Sakura Quest. While working on Sakura Quest we talked about doing something completely different for our next project and even started to plan it out. We talked about starting something new.
So you didn’t even consider a series based on an existing story?
For a production with P.A. Works, we knew from the beginning that it would be an original story. P.A. Works also told us that they wanted to try out more action, as they hadn’t produced much action anime before. I responded that if we were going to go for an action series, then I’d like to make it sci-fi or fantasy. That’s how this project got started.
For the overall story, I decided to ask Ao Jumonji as I was on the production team for the anime adaptation of his series Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions. I showed him the first project paper we had made with P.A. Works and he found it interesting and kindly agreed to take us up on the offer. As the three of us proceeded with the project, we started looking for a director. Since I really loved Kenichi Suzuki’s directing for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Drifters, I made him an offer. He accepted, telling us that he was also interested in doing an original anime. And here we are now.
The world-building is very detailed and includes a lot of historical events. It feels like you could even make spin-offs to flesh out the main story even further.
With this being an original series, we are aware of the potential to disperse content across multiple media as a mixed-media project. It has a lot to do with Jumonji’s creation style; he builds up a fictional world in detail first and then starts developing the story. Right now we are just dropping the world he created onto the script as-is. As for any extended narratives, we have yet to start exploring.
There are 17 Fairy Soldiers who survived out of 300, but there are also other people possessed by fairies. That means there should be more Fairy users, right?
There are 17 official Fairy Soldiers that the government recognizes, which means that there are dozens more of them in reality. We might be able to create some narratives to focus on the illegal fairy soldiers.
How did you come up with battles using summoned fairies?
There aren’t as many series as you’d expect where characters fight using creatures or alter egos from their bodies in battles. For this project, we originally intended to create an action series where the characters would summon an evil spirit or devil as their alter ego to fight – like a dark knight in RPG games. As we discussed the idea more, we decided to use fairies instead as there is a sense of familiarity with them that we might not have with evil spirits. When it comes to fairies, I believe people are generally more inclined to think of a common fairy like Tinkerbell. We thought it would be more fun to override such a stereotypical fairy. There is also a common trope in fiction where magical powers, such as the ability to summon a magical creature, are bestowed upon the user in some kind of fateful encounter. That’s why we decided to give such abilities to the users via organ transplants instead of via accidental events. There are characters such as Marlya who became Fairy users by accident, but most of the Fairy Soldiers avert the fateful encounter trope as they chose to become Fairy Soldiers of their own accord. I believe that has the biggest significance of the story.
It appears that fairy users do feel the damage their fairy receives, but not as much as their fairy does.
It’s not like we have set some kind of measurement for the damage value in numerical terms. Fairy Soldiers were implanted with so-called Fairy organs, which are organs of a fairy-possessed animal and are not spiritual. Since they are physically merged with animals that have fairy abilities, they are able to perceive the damage their fairies receive. However, there are characters like Johnathan who I find quite odd. The explosions caused by his fairy Jenny Haniver are surely very painful, but he actually enjoys it.
Please tell us what you think ended up more interesting than you expected it would.
I knew this project would be very challenging from the start. It’s very easy for fantasy to separate itself from reality. There are many fantasy shows that simply use an RPG-like world as it’s something the viewers are used to and therefore we don’t really need to explain all that much. In Fairy Gone we focus on delivering reality along with fantasy. I believe we’ve brought believable and convincing depictions of fairies in a world reminiscent of late nineteenth century to early twentieth century Europe.
With this kind of realism, I was afraid that the series had become a little too subdued. We decided to make it a little more dramatic with the music, such as by incorporating rock music into the soundtrack and adding insert songs. We’ve received some positive feedback on the series because of this.
The lighting in the series is quite low-key.
There is no electricity in the world of Fairy Gone, and the characters instead rely on gas lamps and candles. As we were trying to bring a sense of reality to the series, it makes sense that the amount of light is quite low. It was quite a difficult decision between having realistically low lighting or vibrant anime-like visuals.
Many fairies have dark color palettes, also.
We use animals from fairy tales as the motifs for the fairies. They may appear in fairy tales, but animals are still animals, so the color palettes tend to consist of blacks and browns. That being said, we add accents to the character designs to express their inner personalities. Viewers may find it interesting to look at them in detail.
Has there been any feedback from viewers that has left a special impression on you?
There are quite a few unique villains, such as Bitter Sweet, Patricia, and Jonathan from the Gui Carlin Mafia. They seem to have gained a lot more popularity than we expected. We tried purposely making them edgy in a way that we don’t usually do in anime. It seems that a lot of viewers responded well to that, so that’s left quite an impression on me.
What aspects of the series do you want viewers to really pay attention to?
There is a lot of foreshadowing across the series. There is a book called the Black Fairy Tome which unravels the mysteries of the fairies. Various groups including the government and mafia are looking to get their hands on it. Meanwhile, there are dignitaries from the War who are now spreading terrorism. So in terms of story structure there will be multiple plotlines.
The series has a large amount of information and certain things may not be all that clear on the first watch. Therefore, it would probably be best to rewatch it from the first episode, finding new discoveries on the way.
In addition to Marlya, Free, and the rest of Dorothea’s movements, I would also like you to make sure to pay attention to Wolfran. Whenever you see a new villain appear, you’ll most likely find Wolfran beside them. If you see him appear in the show, expect a lot of drama.
Now, we have some questions from our readers overseas.
guardian_of_skyress: Can you tell me which genre best describes this anime?
Perhaps a mixture of fantasy and ‘political suspense’. I was originally thinking about making it more ‘crime and suspense’, but as we focused on each characters’ ideas of justice and their reasons to fight, we ended up depicting people who were determined to make sacrifices. As a result, the series reflected more on the political elements.
chris221337: Who is your favourite character?
I personally like Free Underbar the most. He’s Dorothea’s First Troop Deputy Captain and gives commands to his subordinates while he also works himself at the scene. He gets mixed up in a massive political tsunami because of his position. I as a producer can easily relate to him as a character. [laugh] I feel emotionally connected to him the most.
kuro_haru_23: What inspired you to create such fairies?
Sailor_senpaii666: How did you think of the ‘fairies’ possessing the humans? I also love how spooky looking they are and the animation is pretty
We use motifs from fairy tales such as Grimms’ Fairy Tales as well as mythology. For example, Ash Clad is from Cinderella, Blood Daughter from Snow White, Red Hood from Little Red Riding Hood, and Tommelise from Thumbelina.
The first volume of Grimms’ Fairy Tales was first published in 1812. In our scenario meeting, we therefore discussed this idea of the brothers Grimm actually having collected the events from their stories from the world of Fairy Gone. Of course, I doubt it would work as simply as that. [laugh]
x_cinthia_x: How did you come up with the title Fairy Gone?
Well first, the existence of fairies is the biggest fictional part in this series and we wanted ‘fairy’ in the title. So we decided to make it ‘Fairy something’. We then thought about how the title sounds overall. Jumonji gave us a lot of ideas, and we finally picked Fairy Gone. The word ‘gone’ gives you the image of somebody or something is missing. There are no fairies in the real world, but the title could imply that such a world with fairies once existed and encourages you to think about the past. Maybe such events actually happened in the past and now fairies have simply vanished from our world.
Please give a short message to the fans.
Prior to the events of the series, protagonist Marlya was called a little disaster who brings bad luck, and she spent her life drifting from place to place. She now finally finds a place to stay in Dorothea, building a trusting relationship with her colleague.
The first half of the anime was about Marlya becoming a member of Dorothea and fighting as one. Toward the second half, a huge drama unfolds, involving her, Free, Wolfran, and Veronica, as well as their country. For now, you can look forward to Dorothea’s work, especially Marlya’s active participation. You will see a lot of new cool villains in near future too. [laugh] They will have cool battles where people clash over various ideals. Please enjoy watching it to the end.
Thank you very much.
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Born 1980 in Fukushima prefecture. Has produced anime series including Psycho-Pass, Ajin: Demi-Human, Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions, Sakura Quest, and Teasing Master Takagi-san.