Fairy Tail is a shonen series that has exemplified all there is to love about the genre: gratuitous battles, tragic backstories, cool character designs, and a little fan service and shipping here and there. For more than a decade, its wonderful cast (in this case, guild) of characters have more than personified what has made any shonen series so endearing, providing battles, romance, and tests of friendship in popcorn-bucket amounts.
One character, in particular, has garnered his own fan following for abiding by a more traditional, classic Shonen style, adopting a stoic, hard-boiled nature, dressing in all black, and having muscles (and hair) bursting from the seams. The iron sword of Fairy Tail, the lover of Levy, the rival of the week of Natsu, that man, Gajeel Redfox, has been a staple for the series since his inception. In honor of his time with the beloved guild, this list will run down some of its favorite Gajeel memes.
9 Innocent Baby
As all fans know or anyone with functioning eyes can see, Gajeel plays the series' gruff, edgy, manly man, always aiming to show off his strength in masculine displays or protect that image with a stoicism that is one part cool headed-ness, two parts shyness.
That's why it is always a delight to see him play the secret sweetheart in the series, whether that means quiet, nice things in the background or courting his series ship, Levy McGarden. Just seeing him doing the kawaii blush is enough to make fans' hearts swoon and remind everyone that he's not the vicious panther he thinks he is but just a cuddly pussycat. Don't tell him that, though.
8 What's That Strange Thing in Your Hands, Shrimp?
Gajeel is a warrior, broken from stone and tempered in hot iron. He has gotten by in his life with the pure use of his fists and use of Iron Dragon Slaying magic, both things used to great use on the poor, unfortunate faces of their recipients. As strong of a vocabulary in combat and violence as he has, Gajeel is the type of character not exactly known for having a strong, regular vocabulary.
He would make for the worst drinking game of every time he ever picked up a book, as the man is the pure definition of a meathead, which makes his relationship with the more literate, Levy, and curiosity over her reading all the more adorable.
7 Natsu and Gajeel
The Grand Magic Games Arc is a strong fan favorite, as any tournament arc in a Shonen series is. One of its strongest elements being the looming threat of the arrogant, upstart mages from the Sabertooth guild, Sting and Rogue, as they seek to outclass the top teams of old.
As the tournament nears its end, they are faced with Fairy Tail's tag team challengers, Natsu and Gajeel. As overpowered villains do, they manage to make short work of them with a brutal showing of their strength... initially. As battle series do, especially in Fairy Tail's case, the main characters show off their bravado by somehow managing to shrug it all off.
6 Where's My Cat?
For the first half of the series, it appeared that all Dragon Slayers were near synonymous with having flying cats at their side. The object word being "near," since a good part of the series neglects this aspect for Gajeel, often to his own dismay. However, that all changes during the Edolas arc, when Gajeel finally meets his soulpet, Panther Lily, and takes him with excited fervor.
From then on, much like Natsu and Happy or Wendy and Carla, Gajeel and Lily become near inseparable, near to the point where it seems like Gajeel really needs Panther Lily, and them not being together becomes all too noticeable of empty space.
5 Never Tell Levy About This
Filler arcs are always a tough sell to the anime community. With things heating up within the main story, it's always tough for viewers to have to wade through inconsequential, often poorly-written content. However, there are a few gems hidden within them every now and then, as is the case with the Eclipse Celestial Spirits arc.
Gajeel, having wanted a cat for such a long time, actually gets to become one (a very cool cat, for that matter) at the hands of Gemini. While the scene passes by all too quickly, it has provided the fanbase with such a glorious image.
4 Romeo and Juliet
As one might tell from looking at quite a few of the earlier entries on this list, there is quite a bit of shipping (rewarded shipping one might add) going on between Gajeel and Levy McGarden. As such, there are memes, screenshots, and fan art aplenty on the internet celebrating and fantasizing over the two's chemistry.
One such gem ties back to this list's earlier remark about Gajeel's less than functioning literacy skills, as he takes a jab at a Shakespeare reference that Levy is all too prepared to dissect.
3 Gajeel Tried to Kill Me
Ah, the fateful first meeting. Indicative of chemistry and instigator of entire stories, the first meeting is the most pivotal moment of all character relationships, especially defining of romance. Erza and Jellal go all the way back to a tortured childhood. Gray has this natural tendency to defend Juvia. Natsu bringing in Lucy is a huge defining element of the series as a whole.
All of this fateful romance makes Gajeel's and Levy's first meeting all the more special, as they're not brought together via the attraction of hearts but the attraction of fists... to Levy's face. In Gajeel's defense, he was a bad guy then. Didn't know he was fighting his future wife.
2 Just a Witty Comeback
The fight between Gajeel and Bloodman was the very definition of Shonen edge and stoicism, with two Hot Topic regulars coming to aggressive, bloody arms. Such a fight between the personification of death and the personification of your older brother's heavy metal album saw Gajeel saying that he's always been looking for a place to die. He quickly changes tune, however, as Levy jumps in to help him, leaving Gajeel to point out that saying stuff like that is just what cool anime protagonists do.
1 That Face Levy Has
Last but not least, summarizing the entire relationship between Gajeel and Levy and... well, any oblivious anime couple, this list reaches the image above. Gajeel will do or say something that will slightly upset Levy, and Levy will put on the pouty anime look.
Every anime fan goes gaga for a series' slight reference to cute chemistry and a rapport, something that Fairy Tail, and especially Gajeel x Levy, have aplenty. Seeing the two act like an old married couple and especially seeing Gajeel care about Levy thinks is always a fun moment to see celebrated within the fandom.