“Blood is thicker than water.”
This expression is used to describe how loyal someone is supposed to be to their family. (Blood=family; Water=friends). But what if your family treats you terribly? Should you really be loyal to them?
This question and theme runs throughout the anime, Fairy Tail. Lucy Heartfilia, one of the main characters, has a difficult relationship with her father. The other main characters (Erza, Gray, and Natsu) are orphans who discover the truth about their family later.
The central plot of the story, however, is about Lucy’s adventures with the magical guild of Fairy Tail. Throughout her adventures, she grows in her magical ability to summon otherworldly creatures known as celestial spirits. Erza, Gray, and Natsu also grow in power, proving that Fairy Tail is the strongest guild in all of Fiore, the magical kingdom.
They face many enemies, from other guilds to the ultimate dark magician, Zeref. They never give up and never give in, even when it is tough. Relying on each other, they become more of a family than even their blood relatives. Natsu put it best:
“Fairy Tail is family.”
When God created the world, he designed the family with two loving parents and children in mind. But the Fall changed all of that. When Adam and Eve sinned, they brought with it broken families. When Cain killed his brother, he broke his family bonds for the first time.
Some of us are blessed. Some of us have amazing mothers, fathers, or wonderful siblings. They are examples of what family is meant to be. A family is meant to love, forgive, and sacrifice for one another. In Fairy Tail, this is represented by Lisanna, Mirajane, and Elfman.
Lisanna, Mirajane, and Elfman are siblings whose parents passed away. Because of their take over magic, which enables them to take over a monster, demon, or other being and use its powers as their own, they were often persecuted by villagers. Making matters worse, one time when Elfman tried a full body takeover, he went mad, “killing” his little sister, Lisanna. This tragic event prevented both Mirajane and Elfman from using their magic fully. Eventually, they were able to heal from the tragedy, but it took a long time and a lot of grief to get there. But the story didn’t stop there. Turns out, Lisanna wasn’t dead, but had been accidentally transported to another world. Once their family is reunited, they continue to love and support one another. Even Lisanna said, “We’re a family, so when things are tough, we get together and talk things out.” This is the essence of what it means to be a family. Loving, forgiving, and helping each other through the tough things in life.
But, some of us don’t have that kind of family. Some of us might be orphans, abandoned by our parents. Or some of us might have family that passed away or weren’t who we thought they were. They may betray us or have a corrupted version of “love.” This is the case with Lucy and Jude, Erza and Irene, Gray and Silver, Makarov and Laxus, or Natsu and Zeref.
Lucy and her father, Jude, have a complicated relationship. Her father is a greedy businessman that is not pleased that his precious princess of a daughter has left home to be an adventurer and guild member. In fact, he hires a guild to forcibly bring her back. After Fairy Tail defeats the opposing guild, Lucy confronts her father about his misbehavior and shows him that she is definitely not coming back. She also shows him that she has a new family in Fairy Tail.
Sadly, this happens to the other guild members as well. Erza’s mother, Irene, is a corrupt dragon who wants to murder her daughter for almost all of their fight (until the very end, when she realizes she did love her daughter). Gray’s father, Silver, is thought to be dead until he comes back because of a necromancer’s minion. Silver hides the truth from his son until the last moment, resulting in painful loss. Makarov and Laxus struggle to understand one another, especially when it comes to the guild’s philosophy. Because of their familial conflict, the guild itself is almost split apart. It isn’t until later that they are able to come to an understanding, and Laxus shows genuine care for his grandfather. Zeref and Natsu also find themselves in opposition to one another because Zeref was not open and honest with his brother from the beginning.
Over and over again, the blood relationships in Fairy Tail tend to be more demonstrative of a broken family than a united one. Lucy, Erza, Gray, Makarov, and Natsu note this many times throughout the anime. Even if their biological family betrays them, the guild will not. The guild itself is their family, and they will never give up on each other. The sacrificial love they demonstrate for one another makes the other broken relationships seem meaningless in comparison. These are the specific times in which each of these characters demonstrate that familial bond:
When all of her guildmates are “frozen,” Lucy manages to avoid the destruction. In order to restore her guildmates, she summons three celestial spirits, taking a great toll on her body and being. She even summons the celestial spirit king after sacrificing one of her celestial spirits in the process, defending her friends and freeing them.
Erza continuously puts her bodily strength on the line to help her friends. She took the full force of a magic cannon blast, continued fighting even with unusable limbs, and even endured torture, biding her time until she could retaliate. She is the first to stubbornly refuse to give in and defend Fairy Tail’s name.
Gray is willing to use Iced Shell, a magic that uses the caster’s body in order to encase an enemy in ice, in order to stop Zeref and prevent Natsu’s possible death. His willingness to go to this extreme shows his ultimate love for the guild, and its members.
Makarov continually refers to himself as the parent who must defend his children. He desires to use FairyLaw, which is a spell that eliminates the enemy of FairyTail, but also at great cost. He is almost dead after using it to help them in the battle against Zeref’s forces, a sacrifice he is willing to make to help his “children.”
Natsu is the ultimate example of fighting for his “family,” or guildmates. If you thought Erza could persevere, Natsu definitely shows that he will not give up or give in. He even works hard to increase his powers so that he can defend the guild, and becomes Fairy Tail’s greatest wizard through the course of the show. Even former enemies can be forgiven and adopted into the Fairy Tail family by Natsu, who doesn’t hold on to bitterness. He exemplifies the Fairy Tail “family.”
There are so many instances of family in Fairy Tail, whether it is of a negative example or of a positive one. But, I believe that the positive examples far outweigh the negative ones, as Fairy Tail members constantly show sacrificial love for one another, as a family ought. The content, on the other hand, is not always family friendly.
Language: Use of the d**, a***, s***.
Sexual Content: Women are seen nude or partially covered, there are implications of BDSM in certain scenes, and innuendo about the relationships between characters. Women wear cleavage baring outfits or next to nothing at times. Unfortunately, any opportunity a woman can loose her clothes, she does. Men are also shown without their shirt or partially nude.
Violent Content: There isn’t as much blood as there is fighting. Characters are punched, kicked, and mutilated multiple times. The most gruesome scene is when a villain smashes the unconscious body of another woman. Although the camera does not paint a picture, there are squelching sounds and it is implied that he beat her to death. Most of the fights, however, fall in the realm of fantasy violence.
Rating (according to MyAnimeList): PG-13
So, is blood thicker than water? The creator of Fairy Tail may argue that it is not, considering how many more examples he has of friends being family. And there’s nothing wrong with that, considering what the Bible tells us about family:
Good families are what God wants for us, because they demonstrate God’s love and the nature of the Trinity (Genesis 1:27-28; Ephesians 5:21-33)
The church is akin to family. Even if your biological family is broken, you can find family in Christ (Matthew 12:46-50; Ephesians 5:19-20)
Because the church is family, there shouldn’t be division, but unity. (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
And even more explanation is available here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-family.html
As for the anime itself, it is a prime example of how a family should have sacrificial love for one another, even if it is mixed with some content issues.
M.H. Elrich is an author, reader, teacher, and otaku who wears too many hats. In her spare time, she watches T.V. with her husband and travels to places with lots of trees. She is a contributor to Finding God in Anime Vol. 2 and author of the Christian Fantasy series, the Daughters of Tamnarae.