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The 5 best and 5 worst characters in Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail is an exciting, expansive anime based on the manga of Hiro Mashima. The beauty of the series is that its stakes are low in the early episodes, giving the viewer a chance to get to know and love the characters. Gradually, the show becomes more complex as the convoluted backstories of its characters are explored in depth. Fairy Tail begins with a young woman named Lucy Hartfilia, who arrives in the city of Magnolia hoping to join a famous wizard guild called Fairy Tail. Over the course of the first few episodes, she meets hothead Natsu Dragneel and his talking cat friend Happy, Natsu's lifelong frenemy Gray, and the imposing, imperious Erza Scarlet. Before long, Lucy becomes a member and gets swept up in wizard-related jobs to make money, huge wars with rival guilds, attacks from other dimensions, time-traveling dragons, and apocalyptic demons & sorcerers. Fairy Tail's tone ranges from light-hearted and cheeky to intensely melodramatic, with lots of over-the-top characterizations pushing the relentless action scenes. While all of Fairy Tail's characters are larger than life, let's find out which characters are irresistible and which are annoying. 

Best: Erza Scarlet

Sometimes called Titania the Fairy Queen, Erza Scarlet is the most powerful woman in Fairy Tail. With her power to "requip," or summon, magical armor and weapons from a pocket dimension, she has an outfit for every occasion. Initially introduced as a terrifying presence who regularly beats up Natsu and Gray in order to keep them in line, she undergoes the deepest emotional character development of any character. Her past as a child slave to evil wizards hardens her, but it's Fairy Tail that teaches her love and loyalty. When that past catches up with her, Erza's friends never leave her side as they defeat Jellal in the Tower of Heaven story arc. It's here when Erza is able to feel the joy of living and fighting for her friends rather than dying for them, giving her new depth. This redheaded warrior is fiercely loyal and is nearly unbeatable teaming up with Lucy, Natsu, and Gray. Over time, Erza displays something resembling a sense of humor and even a bit of mischievousness. However, it's her spectacular battle scenes, indomitable will, and intense passion that make her such a memorable character. There are badasses, and then there's Erza. 

Worst: Makarov Dreyar

The Guild Master of Fairy Tail certainly has his charms. He loves his guild members as though they were his own children, often referring to them as his "brats." He took in many of them when they were children, leading with the quote "Do fairies have tails? Do they even exist? Like them, this is place is an eternal mystery... a never-ending adventure!"  If he was always that benevolent, paternal figure with a slightly roguish sense of humor, he'd be great. However, Makarov is annoying because he tends to treat everyone around him like they're idiots. He has a hair-trigger temper that punishes guild members based on his often arbitrary rules. He veers from stern taskmaster to permissive uncle at the drop of a hat. On top of all that, this father figure is one of the biggest perverts in the show, spanking Lucy and drooling over many of the guild's women. He's also not a great family man, as he had to kick both his son and grandson out of Fairy Tail. The fact that he often neglected both of them in favor of his guild as they were growing up certainly didn't help matters any. 

Best: Natsu Dragneel

The spiky-haired Fire Dragon Slayer is hilarious because of his hair-trigger temper and total willingness to make a fool out of himself at all times. Despite his unassuming and slender appearance, Natsu turns out to be one of the most powerful members of Fairy Tail. 

Natsu was raised and then abandoned by a dragon who taught him magic, and it's his quest to find the dragon that leads him to join Fairy Tail. There, the fire-powered Natsu gets into frequent scrapes with the equally stubborn but ice-powered Gray, forming an unbreakable bond between the two. Natsu's unshakeable love and loyalty to his adoptive family in Fairy Tail make him impossible to kill, as he's just too stubborn to die. When he defeats the wind wizard Erigor with new Dragon Slayer abilities, it starts to become clear that there's more to him than meets the eye — and in another adventure, a magic spell reveals that the young-seeming Natsu is somehow over a hundred years old. 

In battle after battle, he gets stronger and stronger, until it's finally revealed that he was resurrected by his brother Zeref to be part of a group of Dragon Slayers destined to kill the most powerful dragon in the world. However, he never stops being a goof when he's not fighting, mooching off Lucy's food and getting motion sickness when dealing with any form of transportation. Most importantly, no one loves Fairy Tail more than Natsu, as he and Lucy were key to reforming the guild after it was disbanded.

Worst: Laxus Dreyar

The strongest wizards in Fairy Tail are the S-Class wizards, and Laxus Dreyar, the Lightning Dragon Slayer, just might be the toughest guild member of them all. The grandson of Guild Master Makarov Dreyar, Laxus' contempt for everyone else in the guild can be linked to his jealousy of his grandfather favoring the guild over his family. While Fairy Tail is important to Laxus too, he wants a tougher, meaner version of the guild without all of the mindless, destructive antics and goofing around. His resentment boils over in the "Battle Of Fairy Tail" story arc, when he and his Thunder God Tribe cronies try to take over the guild by force. Acting as a relentless bully, it's hard to understand why he was tolerated in the guild in the first place. Even more annoying is his inexplicable change of attitude after the battle. When he goes from homicidal to feeling warm about the guild, it feels out of the blue. Trying to change him from a one-note psycho to someone who learned a lesson without showing any actual growth simply didn't work. 

Best: Wendy Marvell

In a show where most of the characters are known for being loud and obnoxious, the polite Wendy Marvell stands out. Introduced in the big Oracion Seis story arc that sees a number of guilds team up to fight against a greater evil, she shocks everyone by being the only representative of her guild, Cait Shelter. No one was expecting a young girl to represent a guild in battle, much less as its sole representative. While entering the story as a source of healing and support magic for the fighting wizards, her own backstory quickly becomes more convoluted. When she learns that her guild is actually composed of dead spirits whose purpose is stopping a doomsday device, she is welcomed with open arms into Fairy Tail. As the Sky Dragon Slayer, she plays a crucial role in an epic battle near the end of the series. Her courage, kindness, and loyalty above all else make her easy to root for, while her bubbly enthusiasm and occasional silliness are always endearing. 

Worst: Juvia Lockser

Initially entering the series as an enemy in the epic showdown between the Phantom Lord and Fairy Tail guilds, Juvia Lockser switches sides after that fight. As Makarov points out, everyone needs a job, right? In Phantom Lord, she's part of a squad called the Element Four, and her domain is over water. Creepily chanting "Drip, drip, drop" as she tries to drown Gray in their battle, she starts off as a terrifying, fascinating villain. In the middle of their fight, she decides that she's in love with Gray and spends the rest of the series throwing herself at him. While her powers are fun and she proves herself to be loyal and handy in a fight, she quickly becomes tedious since she has no other motivation or characterization besides her relentless crush on someone who is just not interested. Even worse, she sometimes picks fights with the other women who work with Gray, accusing them of stealing them from her. Unfortunately, Juvia never really evolves beyond this. 

Best: Mavis Vermillion

Mavis Vermillion is one of the founders of Fairy Tail and its first Guild Master. The barefoot blonde girl is a master of strategy and tactics and convinced the treasure hunters she met on an island to create a new guild after their amazing victory over the evil Blue Skull guild. Mavis pays a price in that battle: as a result of casting an incomplete version of a powerful spell, she will never grow beyond her preadolescent stage. She later sacrifices herself to save the guild, trapped in a magic prison. However, when she reveals herself in the team's time of need in her ancestral island home, she's still the same bubbly, funny girl she always was. Later, when the guild competes at the Grand Magic Games, she projects her thought image thousands of miles away simply because she's bored and wants to create a winning strategy for her team. Underneath all of that happy-go-lucky cheer is a killer instinct and will to win. 

Worst: Vidaldus Taka

This head-banging, long-tongued, heavy metal assassin pops up as a hireling of Jellal during the Tower of Heaven story arc. As part of the hit squad Trinity Raven, he's assigned to kill Juvia and Lucy. Fairy Tail is a show that sometimes leans on titillation in a way that feels entirely unnecessary, but this battle really took the cake. His sonic guitar and deadly hair are silly enough, but he turns Juvia into a succubus just so she can get into a catfight with Lucy. While they eventually defeat him, this battle is an embarrassing low point for the series, especially since it feels so jarring in the middle of the otherwise excellent story arc. Fairy Tail has always had plenty of comic relief, but its winking T&A scenes are tedious and lazy. That's especially true because the show's female characters are otherwise well-written, with a great deal of variety and depth. 

Best: Zeref Dragneel

The immortal Black Wizard Zeref Dragneel is the most complex and tragic character in Fairy Tail. Early on, his name is mentioned with demons, dark magic, and dangerous magic items, as countless evil men worshipped him and committed atrocities in his name. When he's finally introduced in the flesh in the Tenrou Island story arc, he's alone and asleep, having isolated himself to atone for his sins. Zeref is under a curse that causes harm to those he cares about, draining the life force out of people and plants alike. Above all else, he misses his little brother Natsu, who was killed by a dragon when he was young but finds a way to resurrect his brother. Along the way, Zeref creates his own empire out of sheer boredom, meets Mavis, trains the first members of Fairy Tail in magic, and kills lots and lots of people. His meddling in dark magic from a young age scars him but never quite takes away his humanity. This is why it's all the more tragic when Zeref rejects humanity since it has rejected him and plots to annihilate everyone. His showdown with Natsu is the kind of high drama that Fairy Tail does best.

Worst: Ultear Milkovich

There are some interesting behind-the-scenes conspiracy figures in Fairy Tail. Ultear Milkovich is more of a plot device than an actual character. On one hand, she's behind seemingly every twisted scheme in the early arcs of Fairy Tail. She's a plant on the Magic Council, conspiring with Jellal to build a doomsday device. She's in disguise when Team Natsu takes a job on Galuna Island. She sneaks around trying to find Zeref. Her entire personality is little more than a knowing sneer. Later, when it's revealed that she plans to rewrite all of her evil deeds using powerful time magic, she at least starts to get a semblance of a personality. It doesn't help that her special ability, Arc of Time magic, is confusing and poorly explained. The attempts to redeem the character don't feel quite as arbitrary as they did for Laxus, but it feels like it was too little, too late.