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Natsu Dragneel

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Natsu Dragneel
Fairy Tail character
The main male protagonist of the Fairy Tail series
Natsu Dragneel as drawn by Hiro Mashima
First appearanceFairy Tail chapter 1: The Fairy's Tail (2006)
Created byHiro Mashima
Voiced byJapanese
Tetsuya Kakihara
Mako (child)
English
Todd Haberkorn
Luci Christian (child)
Profile
AliasSalamander
Etherious Natsu Dragneel (E.N.D.)
SpeciesHuman/Etherious
Notable relativesZeref Dragneel (brother)
Igneel (adoptive father)
GuildFairy Tail
MagicFire Dragon Slayer Magic

Natsu "Salamander"[JP 1] Dragneel (Japanese: ナツ・ドラグニル, Hepburn: Natsu Doraguniru) is a fictional character and the main male protagonist of the Fairy Tail manga and anime series created by Hiro Mashima. He is depicted throughout the story as a member of the eponymous wizards' guild, who are notorious in the fictional kingdom of Fiore for their numerous accounts of causing unintentional property damage with their magic. Being a dragon slayer,[JP 2] Natsu possesses the same abilities as his foster father, the dragon Igneel, namely the ability to consume and envelop himself in fire. Natsu's predominant role in the series is to reunite with Igneel, who has been missing for seven years by the story's outset. Over the course of the series, Natsu learns about his connection to the immortal antagonist Zeref, including his heritage as Zeref's brother who was revived as a demon called "Etherious Natsu Dragneel" (E.N.D.). Natsu appears in most Fairy Tail media, including both feature films, all original video animations (OVAs), light novels, and video games. He is voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara in Japanese, while Todd Haberkorn plays him in the English dub.

Mashima stated that he had created Natsu based on his own personality and referred to him as his favorite character. Natsu's character has generally received a positive critical response, with reviewers applauding his fight scenes and energetic personality throughout the series. His motion sickness has also been well-received as a humorous element within the story. Natsu has placed high in popularity polls, and many different pieces of merchandise related to him, such as action figures, have been released.

Creation and conception[edit]

Natsu Dragneel was one of the first characters Hiro Mashima created during the development of Fairy Tail. He was conceptualized as a fire-using member of a courier guild who would suffer from motion sickness, a character trait the author based on one of his friends.[1] Mashima implemented Natsu's motion sickness into the final version of the character,[2] believing that this and his pink hair make the character unique.[3] Mashima cited his own personality as a junior high school student as the inspiration for Natsu's personality,[1] and his father's death as an influence for the relationship between Natsu and Igneel.[4] Natsu's concept evolved in a one-shot short story titled Fairy Tale, where he is depicted as a spirit with horns.[2] He is normally portrayed as wearing black-colored clothing, which Mashima chose in favor of his original choice of red to improve the contrast between the character's fire abilities and clothes.[5] The author mentioned that Natsu had been designed to give the best of himself when it comes to everything. Mashima regarded Natsu's development throughout the story as great and stated that the series could easily progress due to it.[6] The author also commented that Natsu is his favorite character.[7]

Mashima named Natsu after the Japanese word for "summer" to avoid using Western fantasy names that would sound unfamiliar to the Japanese audience,[1] and to follow up on the fact that the main character of his earlier work Rave Master is called Haru, which means "spring".[8] Mashima also said that the names of both characters highlight their personality traits, with Natsu being "a fiery guy".[1][9]

Natsu's age is left ambiguous throughout the series, with the character's age listed as "unknown" on the cover of chapter 23.[10] A scene occurs during chapter 108 in which he is trapped behind a runic blockade designed to prevent those over the age of 80 from crossing;[11] as a response to questions about the scene, which were submitted by readers for the "Emergency Request! Explain the Mysteries of Fairy Tail" section of the manga's volume 15 tankōbon release, it is asserted that the character's age is actually not over 80, and that "beyond that would be revealing an important plot point".[12]

An image with Natsu's English voice actor
Todd Haberkorn voices Natsu in the English dub.[13][14]

Regarding the anime adaptation of the series, Mashima commented that his favorite part is seeing Natsu and Happy move around, characterizing them as "fun".[15] Mashima stated that he loves Natsu's voice from the anime.[6] When the Fairy Tail anime started being released in North America, Mashima was concerned about actor Todd Haberkorn's voice since Natsu, the character he plays,[13][14] often yelled across the story. Haberkorn mentioned that one of his favorite aspects of voicing Natsu was leaving the recording studio without a voice.[13] Tetsuya Kakihara, Natsu's Japanese voice actor,[16][17] said that while he had not initially wanted to voice Natsu and had instead hoped to voice the character Gray Fullbuster, he had come to love playing Natsu and thought he was meant to voice him. He further mentioned that Natsu is his favorite character and considered him "fantastic".[16] He also described Natsu's character as difficult because he has exceptional gifts compared to his friends.[6] Kakihara stated that each scene in which he voiced Natsu remained in his mind, adding that he regarded Happy as his own partner since he is Natsu's companion.[18]

Appearances[edit]

In Fairy Tail[edit]

Natsu is an orphan who is raised and trained by the dragon Igneel in the use of Fire Dragon Slayer Magic,[JP 3][19] which grants him the ability to consume and create fire, and makes him immune to fire-based attacks.[20] He also possesses other superhuman abilities such as immense strength,[21] a heightened sense of smell and hearing,[22][23] and resilience against otherwise lethal attacks.[24] Due to his sharpened senses, however, he suffers from incapacitating motion sickness when riding any sort of transportation.[20][25] After Igneel disappears on the date of July 7, X777,[26] Natsu is inducted into the Fairy Tail wizards' guild, where he becomes notorious for causing most of the collateral damage his guild is blamed for.[19] Seven years later, Natsu and his Exceed companion, Happy, rescue celestial wizard Lucy Heartfilia from a criminal operating under Natsu's alias, "Salamander", which Natsu confuses to mean Igneel, an actual salamander.[20] The three form a team to perform missions together,[27][28] later being joined by two of Natsu's childhood rivals, ice wizard Gray Fullbuster and armor wizard Erza Scarlet, becoming what their guildmates label as Fairy Tail's most powerful team.[29]

Natsu develops his skills as a dragon slayer by temporarily gaining the power-boosting Dragon Force[JP 4] ability.[30] He is eventually selected to participate in Fairy Tail's S-Class promotional trial held on Sirius Island, the guild's sacred ground.[31] The exam is interrupted when Natsu and his guildmates encounter Zeref, an immortal dark wizard who wishes to be killed by Natsu but is not recognized by him.[32] Zeref is hunted by the dark guild Grimoire Heart,[33] led by former Fairy Tail guild master Hades,[34] whom Natsu defeats after obtaining the Thunder-Fire Dragon Mode[JP 5] from dragon slayer Laxus Dreyar,[35] which combines their fire and lightning magic, respectively.[36] Shortly afterward, the black dragon Acnologia assaults the Fairy Tail wizards,[37] who are placed into seven years of suspended animation by the spirit of Mavis Vermillion, Hades' predecessor, for protection within the magic Fairy Sphere.[38]

Returning to find that the other wizard guilds in the kingdom of Fiore have far surpassed his own,[39] Natsu participates in the Grand Magic Games tournament with his friends,[40] receiving a power upgrade from the vigilante guild Crime Sorcière,[41][42] which allows him to defeat the reigning champions, dragon slayers Sting Eucliffe and Rogue Cheney.[43] Following Fairy Tail's victory in the tournament,[44] Natsu becomes embroiled in a war between his guild and Tartaros,[45] a dark guild of Etherious demons created by Zeref that seek to summon E.N.D., Zeref's ultimate creation.[46] When Acnologia appears and threatens both guilds,[47] Igneel emerges from Natsu's body,[48] revealed to have sealed himself within Natsu at the time of their apparent separation in order to inoculate him against dragonification, a dragon slayer affliction that transforms them into dragons similar to Acnologia.[49] After his strength proves inefficient to prevent Acnologia from killing Igneel,[50] Natsu embarks on training journey with Happy to avenge Igneel.[51]

Natsu returns one year later after learning to use Fire Dragon King Mode,[JP 6] one of Igneel's powers.[52] He and Happy then reunite with Lucy and help her reform the guild, which has disbanded in their absence.[53][54] During Zeref's ensuing invasion with the militaristic Alvarez Empire,[55] Zeref identifies Natsu as his younger brother and the true incarnation of E.N.D., resurrected from death as an infant to kill his brother.[56][57] It is further revealed that Igneel raised Natsu at Zeref's request four-hundred years ago before sending him to the present era through Eclipse, Zeref's time travel gate, to assist in defeating Acnologia.[56] After a failed attempt to kill Zeref, Natsu's demonic transformation is triggered,[58] which manifests as a tumor-like "demon seed"; this, coupled with a similar "dragon seed" that induces dragonification, endangers his life.[59] Natsu falls into a coma following a rampage in his demon form,[59] but he recovers by asserting his humanity during a metaphysical dream, destroying both seeds.[60] He subsequently defeats Zeref while Lucy rewrites the book containing Natsu's demonic essence to make him human.[61][62] Natsu then kills Acnologia by destroying his disembodied spirit inside a space-time rift after his allies immobilize the dragon's body within Fairy Sphere.[63] In the epilogue, Natsu and his team depart on a "century quest", a guild mission that has never been accomplished in under 100 years.[64][65]

In other media[edit]

Natsu appears in both Fairy Tail films. In Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess (2012), Natsu defeats Dist, the leader of the Carbuncle guild.[66][67] Natsu also makes an appearance in the one-shot prologue manga created by Hiro Mashima for this film and in its animated adaptation.[68][69] In Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry (2017), he fights and wins against Animus, the ruler of the kingdom of Stella, while half of Natsu's body takes on the appearance of a dragon.[70][71][72]

Natsu is also a character in all nine Fairy Tail original video animations (OVAs). In the first OVA, Natsu cleans a swimming pool alongside other Fairy Tail guild members;[73] in the second, he is depicted as an academy student;[74] in the third, he is sent to the past by a magic book;[75] in the fourth, Natsu goes to a camp in order to train for the Grand Magic Games;[76] in the fifth, he spends time at a water park;[77] the sixth is a crossover OVA of Fairy Tail and Hiro Mashima's Rave Master series, where Natsu meets Rave Master main protagonist Haru Glory and Rave Master heroine Elie;[78] in the seventh, Natsu participates in a penalty game;[79] in the eighth, he tries to cheer Mavis Vermillion up;[80] and in the ninth, Natsu attends a Christmas party held at Lucy's house.[81] He also appears in every light novel based on the series, including one where he is a samurai,[82] and one which is inspired by the Alice in Wonderland novel.[83] Natsu is also present in Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, the sequel to the Fairy Tail manga that directly continues the original story.[84][85][86] He appears in several spin-offs from the original manga as well.[87][88][89][90]

Natsu is a playable character in several Fairy Tail video games,[91][92] such as the PlayStation Portable action video game Fairy Tail: Portable Guild (2010) developed by Konami and its two sequels — Fairy Tail: Portable Guild 2 (2011) and Fairy Tail: Zeref Awakens (2012).[93][94][95] He is also present in crossover video games,[96] including Sunday vs Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen (2009) alongside Lucy.[97]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Critical reception of Natsu's character has generally been positive. Journalists have analyzed his characterization in the manga. While reviewing the manga series, Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network (ANN) mentioned that the story usually followed the pattern where Natsu showed how strong he was every time he ended up in a bad situation. He also commented that Natsu has "strong principles, insane power", and a "wacky weakness", stating that all of these traits make him a model for characters from shōnen action manga.[98] Kimlinger said that placing Natsu against dangerous villains managed to create real interest. He further characterized Natsu as "an often frightening force", but he also depicted him as being "little more than a short fuse" with a sense of humor and motion sickness.[99] Carlo Santos of the same website thought that Natsu's fight against wind wizard Ergior, the acting leader of the dark guild Eisenwald, was the highlight of that particular volume. Santos further stated that Natsu being called a "flaming brat" added humor to the story.[100] He also commented that Natsu had become a hero following the events from the Tower of Heaven. The writer described Natsu's battle cries as "fierce" and his "flamethrowing magic" as "intense".[101] Rebecca Silverman of the same website wrote that Natsu proved to be both intelligent and creative during his fight with a villain from the Grimoire Heart guild.[102] Silverman further added that Natsu had started being depicted as falling suggestively on Lucy more often, and she believed this highlighted the idea of love and romance in the manga.[103] A. E. Sparrow of IGN mentioned that Natsu, being a fire wizard with motion sickness, is "a complex character", and he said that it would be fun to watch him throughout the series.[104] David West of Neo felt that Natsu's fire-based abilities match his quick-tempered nature and said the character has a tendency to scuffle. The writer described Natsu as "reckless and wild", stating that the character's fire magic is destructive.[105] Dale North of Japanator regarded Natsu as "one of the best and most powerful" Fairy Tail members and described his fighting skills as "incredible".[106]

Critics have also provided comments in regard to Natsu based on how he was depicted in Fairy Tail's animated adaptation and feature films. Reviewing the anime, Carlo Santos felt that Natsu's abilities were not expanded on at the beginning of the story and stated Natsu's fire magic was presented through mediocre animation. He further said that Natsu's motion sickness produced "cheesy humor"; nonetheless, Santos considered Natsu "pumped-up" and energetic, and he praised Todd Haberkorn's role as Natsu's English voice actor.[107] The reviewer mentioned that Natsu's fight against dragon slayer Gajeel Redfox was "eye-catching".[108] He elaborated on this by mentioning that Natsu's confrontation with Gajeel showed "pure fighting spirit", stating that he enjoyed "the clash of fire and metal" and "their intense Type-A personalities"; Santos described Natsu's final blow from this battle as "epic".[109] He also stated that Natsu's fight against wizard Jellal Fernandez was one of the series' greatest confrontations.[110] He further mentioned that Natsu's acrobatic moves provided some "truly great visuals"; nevertheless, Santos felt that Natsu winning his fights in the same manner became a cliché in the story.[111] Carl Kimlinger criticized Tetsuya Kakihara's role as Natsu's Japanese voice actor, but he approved of Haberkorn's voice acting.[112] Kimlinger wrote that while Natsu's partnership with Happy and Lucy was bizarre, it represented the main part of the story.[113] Rebecca Silverman praised Natsu's skill in taking care of children, stating that he proved to be "competent at something besides fighting"; she also said this was "a nice inversion" of the trope in which the heroine is the one showing her abilities when it comes to parenting.[114] David West thought Natsu is "colorful and loud".[115] Crystalyn Hodgkins of ANN wrote that Haberkorn was suitable for Natsu's voice, but she felt he could have sometimes sounded more enthusiastic.[13] Andy Hanley of UK Anime Network described Natsu as one of "Fairy Tail's brightest young names",[116] and Richard Gutierrez of The Fandom Post regarded Natsu's behavior as a form of humor.[117] While reviewing Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess, Kimlinger praised that Natsu resembled his portrayal from the manga series, and he enjoyed Haberkorn's performance.[66] Reviewing Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, Silverman stated that the scenes in the opening sequence which depicted Natsu's childhood were "nice reminders of what brought him to where he currently is".[71]

Popularity and merchandise[edit]

In a popularity poll published in the 26th issue of Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Natsu ranked second, obtaining a total of 7343 votes.[118] Merchandise inspired by Natsu has been released, including action figures.[119] Necklaces based on him have been produced.[120] Badges inspired by him have also been created.[121]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 火竜, サラマンダー Saramandā, Japanese text translates as "Fire Dragon"
  2. ^ 滅竜魔導士, ドラゴンスレイヤー doragon sureiyā, Japanese text translates as "dragon-slaying wizard"
  3. ^ 火の滅竜魔法 Hi no Metsuryū Mahō
  4. ^ ドラゴンフォース Doragon Fōsu
  5. ^ モード雷炎竜 Mōdo Raien-ryū
  6. ^ モード炎竜王 Mōdo Enryūō

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Aoki, Deb (June 20, 2017). "Interview With Manga Artist Hiro Mashima". ThoughtCo. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Mashima, Hiro (2006). Fairy Tail, Volume 1 (Afterword). Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-363771-7.
  3. ^ Kelly, Rai (October 25, 2017). "Interview: Hiro Mashima". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 29, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Cha, Kai-ming (August 5, 2008). "Everyday Hiro: Fairy Tail's Mashima at Comic-Con". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Mashima, Hiro (July 17, 2007). 超おまけ フェアリーテイル Fairy Tail Super Supplement (in Japanese). Kodansha.
  6. ^ a b c "Interview de l'auteur" [Interview with the author]. Manga News (in French). Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Alverson, Brigid (October 19, 2011). "Fairy Tail's Hiro Mashima Told No Secrets at NYCC's Kodansha Panel". MTV News. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2007). Fairy Tail, Volume 2 (Afterword). Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-363782-3.
  9. ^ Kido, Misaki C. (February 16, 2016). "Creator Interview: Hiro Mashima on Fairy Tail". Kodansha Comics. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2007). "Chapter 23". Fairy Tail, Volume 4. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-363832-5.
  11. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2008). "Chapter 108". Fairy Tail, Volume 13. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384075-9.
  12. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2009). Fairy Tail, Volume 15. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384136-7.
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  14. ^ a b "Todd Haberkorn Coming to Chicago Anime Con in December". Anime News Network. April 9, 2014. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
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  18. ^ "冥府の門(タルタロス)編もついにクライマックス!九鬼門との戦いもますます熱く燃え上がる中、激闘を熱演するキャストの皆さんにインタビューを決行!" [The Tartaros chapter finally comes to a climax! While the fight is getting more and more intense, we interviewed everyone involved in the fierce confrontation!]. FairyTail-TV (in Japanese). December 19, 2015. Archived from the original on April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
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  40. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2012). "Chapter 266". Fairy Tail, Volume 31. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384628-7.
  41. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2012). "Chapter 263". Fairy Tail, Volume 31. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384628-7.
  42. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2012). "Chapter 264". Fairy Tail, Volume 31. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384628-7.
  43. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2012). "Chapter 296". Fairy Tail, Volume 35. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384765-9.
  44. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2013). "Chapter 322". Fairy Tail, Volume 38. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-384876-2.
  45. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2014). "Chapter 359". Fairy Tail, Volume 42. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-395009-0.
  46. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2014). "Chapter 356". Fairy Tail, Volume 42. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-395009-0.
  47. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2015). "Chapter 399". Fairy Tail, Volume 47. Kodansha. ISBN 978-40-6395-287-2.
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  61. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2017). "Chapter 535". Fairy Tail, Volume 62. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-510034-9.
  62. ^ Mashima, Hiro (2017). "Chapter 536". Fairy Tail, Volume 62. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-510034-9.
  63. ^ Mashima, Hiro (January 23, 2018). "Chapter 544". Fairy Tail, Volume 63. Kodansha. ISBN 978-1-63-236476-0.
  64. ^ Mashima, Hiro (July 10, 2012). "Chapter 166". In Flanagan, William (ed.). Fairy Tail, Volume 20. Kodansha. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-612-62057-2. A Century Quest... You mean a quest...that nobody's been able to complete...in less than a hundred years...?!
  65. ^ Mashima, Hiro (January 23, 2018). "Chapter 545". Fairy Tail, Volume 63. Kodansha. ISBN 978-1-63-236476-0.
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