Casting Aya Hirano as the lead character is not the worst thing that Fairy Tail does, but it comes close. Her voice is so identifiable and her status so confoundingly overwhelming that it overshadows many of the other more accomplished actors such as Rie Kugimiya (Alphonse from Fullmetal Alchemist) and Tetsuya Kakihara (Simon from Gurren Lagann). The worst thing Fairy Tail does however is through a concerted and continuous effort, wringing all aspects of originality from itself; one would have a more rewarding experience staring at a beige rug than watching the first three episodes.
Lucy is a seventeen year old wizard whose uselessness is matched only by her peppiness. No back story is given to her, no parents or family members mentioned, a blank canvas to scrawl childlike motives on in crayon. Living in a world where every gawping twit can buy magically imbued items, she of course wants to join a most notorious and powerful guild, the titular Fairy Tail. After being duped onto a boat and subsequently kidnapped, she is saved by a powerful but sloppy member of the guild, Natsu, and by the end of the first episode she is unceremoniously inducted into the supposedly elitist group. The following two have her run errands for the group. Hilarity ensues.
The rumour goes that Eiichiro Oda, of One Piece fame, tutored or otherwise advised Hiro Mashima who eventually splintered away and created Fairy Tail which, the manga version at least, shares many visual similarities to his mentor's work. The critical failing of Hiro's series is that the anime has no part which it can call its own. The story is typical fluff, characters have all the depth of cardboard cut-outs and the setting, what is seen in the first three episodes at least, is ruthlessly uninspired. More than just feeling derivative, the series becomes actively offensive with its attempts to pander to the majority and sullying the media it apes. One Piece obviously plays a big part in the organisation of the Fairy Tail group but even elements such as the request board feel lifted straight from an MMO.
Mercilessly targeted at children, there are frequent asides by the narrator explaining inane aspects about the universe such as what the glasses Lucy is wearing do or the disposition of different magical combat styles. The series forgets that targeting a younger demographic doesn't mean stupefying the content and that poor characters can't be rectified by multiplying the number of them. Mixed in with standard genre staples such as endless chattering during battles and a reliance upon anthropomorphic objects or cutesy animals to inject humour means that this is a lamentably bland production. The part which stands up to scrutiny is the soundtrack which mixes jaunty Gaelic ditties and light rock to create a fitting and sporadically unique sound; this is tarnished by dreadful but unfortunately catchy opening and ending tunes by bands sure to think their big break has arrived.
Sure to run for years to come regardless of initial popularity, Fairy Tail is a pitiful show. Hard to get riled up about or disappointed in, its breathless and pathetic attempts at providing entertainment prove only how cynical an endeavour the series is rather than a creative one. Three episodes is enough to inform one that the minutes spent lost in its tepid and mediocre world are better spent elsewhere.