Fairy Tail was my #1 favorite manga, and slated to become my #1 favorite anime if it ever adapted the rest of its manga. That all changes today, when the idiot author Hiro Mashima decided Gray and Natsu should fight each other for no rational reason whatsoever.
Natsu and Gray have been best friends since childhood, working together to protect their guild and save each other's lives over and over again. I cannot imagine a closer bond than those two have with each other. And yet, all of that went out the window due to Gray randomly being anti-demonic, having prejudice against demons in general to such a level that even Natsu, previously his best friend, should be killed immediately without even any attempt at conversation simply because he is a demon. I doubt Nazis ever displayed as much anti-semitism as Gray is displaying against demons right here.
To make matters worse, from a practical standpoint, even if we accept that Gray hates demons so much that all his prior feelings towards Natsu can disappear, it does not make sense that he would cater to this hatred of demons at the expense of his guild and the entire country of Fiore. Right now Natsu is trying to take down Zeref, the head of the invading army that is trying to kill all of Gray's companions and countrymen even as we speak. Instead of Gray helping Natsu in taking down Zeref, which is what any sensible person would do, or hoping Zeref and Natsu take each other out and wishing them both luck as a mutual foe, he just randomly decides to prioritize killing Natsu and ignoring the critical battle asset Natsu represents in their ongoing war with Zeref that's raging all around them.
This means that Gray's rabid anti-demonism is at such a level that the chance to kill a demon when put in front of him is more important than his entire lifetime of bonds and memories with everyone else on Earthland. This is prejudice that, on a 1-10 scale, would already be in the thousands. Is anyone this prejudiced on Earth? Is there anyone on Earth capable of exhibiting this much irrational hatred towards anyone or anything?
He's completely destroyed the character of Gray, one of Fairy Tail's most beloved characters, and also completely destroyed the credibility of the storyline, which has totally jumped the shark due to his characters acting so irrationally. This should never have happened. And it seems like it was just thrown in there because Mashima thought it would be cool, with no second thoughts about it at all. There was virtually no build up to this fight and no real attempt to explain why the hell it was happening. To make matters worse, in a couple chapters Gray will realize his mistake and apologize, and it will be like this fight never happened again. Because like usual, there are never any bad consequences to making bad decisions in Fairy Tail. Everyone always gets off scot free.
Naruto and Sasuke's fights were built up through a logical chain of reasoning that led to their clash becoming inevitable. It's the whole center of the Naruto story line and therefore all pains were taken to make it make sense and have weight and meaning. Fairy Tail apparently thought the idea was cool and just threw it in like a hot pot ingredient because 'hey, it looked cool in Naruto so why not do it in Fairy Tail too?'
Things that look the same on the surface can be completely different in reality and lead to completely opposite reactions -- Naruto = masterpiece, Fairy Tail = joke. But Hiro Mashima is too myopic to even see that, and it's cost him his title as the #1 story of all time. What a waste. Now no one can match Naruto in either the anime or the manga.
There are still many good things about Fairy Tail, like everyone-else-but-Gray, so I'll only knock the series down to #7 in my manga rankings, but that's a bitter pill to swallow when it used to be #1.
Meanwhile, I finished all the remaining side stories of Unlimited Fafnir, so my full clear of this series is now official.
I'm 19/20 of the way through my Tales of Symphonia listening project. Baby steps.
I finished rewatching Sore ga Seiyuu, after giving up on there ever being a subtitled blu ray release. It was about as good as I remembered it being. I like Rin and Ichigo more than Futaba by a wide margin, which is kind of disconcerting considering Futaba gets most of the air time. Oh well. That's one more great anime rewatched I can cross off my list. (The 25 other shows I haven't rewatched yet are still waiting for a blu-ray release or aren't even fully animated yet, so I'm going above and beyond the call of duty to fulfill my promise as the situation currently stands.)