After ten years and almost 330 episodes, the adventures of Fairy Tail have come to a close. Yes, there’s the 100 Years Quest arc in a spin-off manga currently, but until that gets adapted, we'll have to say goodbye for now. The original story for Hiro Mashima is at its end, and our heroes are (mostly) victorious.
Now that it’s over, there’s no better time to reflect on the anime, looking back on which were the best episodes of the series. So here are the top 10 Fairy Tail episodes, rated by IMDb. Of course, spoilers abound so people who aren’t finished should beware, especially since there’s quite a bit of recency bias involved.
10 FAIRY HEART (9.0)
The follow up to Mavis and Zeref is still engrossing, as it continues the story of what happens after that episode ended. However, it’s not nearly as good, which is why it deservedly comes in at a 9.0. The story finally explains the true origin behind why Zeref has been attacking Fairy Tail so much.
The acting guild master Precht realizes Mavis isn’t entirely dead, and begins experimenting on her body to wake her up, infusing her with so many different kinds of magic she becomes an essentially endless source of magic energy. This event also explains how Precht would eventually become Hades of Grimoire Heart, as he cracked under the stress of reviving Mavis and saving the guild.
9 MY NAME IS... (9.1)
“Why did the Emperor never love his son?” It’s these words which form the crux of “My Name Is...”. The episode is meant to be a subversion of expectations, as we see the Spriggan 12 member Larcade Dragneel attempt to help his “father” Zeref...only to learn he was never Zeref’s child to begin with.
Instead, the immortal Zeref had watched his real son grow up before his very eyes in August, only to never realize it. This episode reached a 9.1 on IMDb, as it had literally everything it needed to keep a fan engaged—battles, character development, and a lot of heart.
8 NATSU VS. TWIN DRAGONS (9.1)
The only episode on the list that isn’t apart of the final season. Natsu vs. The Twin Dragons doesn’t make sense—Natsu takes both the dragons of Sabertooth with such ease that it feels unfair. However, up until this episode the Grand Magic Games arc had spent so much time heaping up the disrespect onto team Fairy Tail.
This episode gave the guild a much-needed victory, helping them beat the top guild with the kind of finality that demanded the world recognize them again. In that light, the 9.1 is actually a bit low.
7 WHEN THE FIRE DIES (9.2)
This episode scored a 9.2 on IMDb, tying it with Natsu vs. Zeref. It ties up the story of Mavis and Zeref, as Mavis reveals the actual way to end Zeref’s curse once and for all.
Though the last scene with Mavis and Zeref was laid on a little thick, there’s a ton to love about this episode. It features Natsu finally reuniting with Happy, Lucy, and Gray, but most importantly we get to see Makarov make his return to the series.
6 NATSU VS. ZEREF (9.2)
The showdown everyone had been waiting for since Zeref’s reveal as the major boss. Natsu had teased having a power which could defeat Zeref, and it turns out to be true: the last of Igneel’s strength gives him a boost into “Fire Dragon King Mode”. This power boosts him up enough to easily beat Zeref. It’s the kind of fight that makes viewers expect the tables turning, but it never happens.
Zeref simply isn’t powerful enough, but Happy pulls Natsu away before he can kill Zeref once they learn it would kill Natsu as well. A touching final scene with an incredible battle in the middle, this episode came in at a 9.2.
5 MEMOIRS (9.4)
Near the beginning of the Alvarez Empire arc, we begin to get some answers about all the mysteries that have existed almost since the start of the show. It begins with Memoirs, which blows the doors off by revealing Zeref and Natsu are actually brothers, and Natsu died 400 years prior in a dragon attack. Zeref’s multiple attempts to revive him result in him being cursed by Ankhselam, getting the curse of contradictions.
A curse kills everyone he cares about and Zeref becomes driven to “repent” by creating demons capable of killing him, the greatest of which being E.N.D.: Etherious Natsu Dragneel. This episode ranks at a 9.4, as it finally gives us Zeref’s origin, and it’s quite the shocker from beginning to end.
4 MAVIS AND ZEREF (9.4)
"Mavis and Zeref" is easily one of the most heartbreaking episodes in the series. Years after the initial encounter between Zeref and Mavis, Mavis learns the truth behind her saving her friends’ lives: she’s been cursed to kill anything she cares about, same as Zeref. This horrible truth leads to Mavis leaving the guild she founded and meeting Zeref again, over a year later.
Though the two share a tender moment, the curse is merciless—the moment Zeref starts to care about her, her immortality is canceled, and she falls dead in his arms. This episode had so many twists and turns, it’s no wonder it ranked a 9.4.
3 MAGIC OF HOPE (9.6)
Up until this point in the series, we’d never really gotten the backstory on Acnologia. He’d just been some giant dragon flying about wrecking everything. Even Fairy Tail running into him in the first place felt more like an accident than something purposeful.
But “Magic of Hope” explains the dragon’s burning hatred towards dragons...and dragon slayers. They also begin a last-ditch plan to defeat the most powerful Dragon once and for all, starting the rush towards the final series. This episode nabbed a 9.6 on IMDB.
2 HEARTS CONNECTED (9.6)
The penultimate episode of the series scores a 9.6, and fittingly seems to be the second most liked episode of the series. From a conflict perspective, it seems to have everything, as Fairy Tail and all of the Dragon Slayers unite to battle a two-pronged assault on Acnologia, who’s been split into his body and spirit and is still too full of hatred to simply give up and perish.
1 DEAREST FRIENDS (9.7)
Unsurprisingly, coming in at a 9.7 is the final episode of the series. With the power of all the other Dragon Slayers inside of him, Natsu manages to destroy the spirit of Acnologia once and for all, freeing Fairy Tail from the spectre of a war 400 years long gone. As befitting a show that’s run this long, we get to pick up with our characters a year later, getting a look at their lives in the aftermath of the conflict against the Alvarez Empire.
We even get a little tease of a potential series in the future, as they talk about going on a 100 Year Quest. But that’s a story for another time.