After reading and analyzing the chapter correctly, I must say that it was not a bad ending. I know that we all expected (and I include myself) that at least the famous ships known as the “Big 4” had their romantic moments with a kiss, confession, marriage or even children.
First we have to remember that Fairy Tail is not an romance anime/manga, it will be cliché my comment but it is a shonnen, it is true. FT focuses a lot on friendship, trust, union, laughter, etc. Mashima himself has made it clear. Even so I will explain ship by ship and part by part:
Gray and Juvia: yes, I’m a big fan of this couple and of course I also expected as everyone the Gray’s long-awaited “answer”. Unfortunately we could not witness it but, it is a fact that it was a positive one. Why? Well, to start, a year has passed since the end of the war. I agree that obviously Gray does not wait a year to tell her. Then, as Gray takes Juvia out of the party to talk alone, it’s something new, Juvia was the one who pulled him in the past and now, he is the one doing so and it’s telling her to not strip, means that he cares if they see her just like Gildarts did (lol) but the most important thing here and what I loved was that they mentioned the scars. At the beginning of the manga, Lucy asks Gray about a scar on his forehead, which replies that “It does not bother me to have scars as long as you can see them because it means something important for happened for me.” Gray tells Juvia to ask Wendy for help so that she no longer has the scar, again worrying about her. Juvia tells him that she doesn’t mind having it, because Gray has an equal one. I’m sure Mashima wants to imply that those scars attach great importance to their relationship. The memory that both decided to hurt themselves at the point of dying for each other, is confirming again that importance they have for each other. Then we see that Gray is in his usual “tsundere” mode, he still admits that the body of Juvia (or Juvia itself) belongs to him. Recalling that Juvia told Gray that “her life will always belong to him” and of course, also remember that Gray emphasize that “he would take her feelings seriously from now on.” Then, I liked that the personalities didn’t change, Gray is a character who has always struggled to open and it’s easily for him to turn red but come on, he admit it. This scene plus the previous chapters of how Gray acts with Juvia is a great development. Also, Wendy manages to hear Gray say “now you’re mine” thing after seeing Juvia who had a pretty face meanwhile she was in her knees making it something compromising to Gray… yes, Wendy’s red face along with Lucy’s comment from “You Re-imagined Things” says it all. I do not think Gray would say that to Juvia without being anything. If this is not cannon then I do not know what it is. LOL
Gajeel and Levy. The whisper of Levy next to that red face of Gajeel like saying “HOLY SHIT!” was gorgeous! But again the faces of Lucy and Wendy confirming that they heard “baby” can only mean one thing. Levy is pregnant and those twin babies that are shown in the imagination of Levy in the chapter that Gajeel is sucked by the hole of the underworld confirms it even more. Gajevy cannon.
Zeref and Mavis. I know that we had an end with them when they went together to the afterlife but it was nice to see them again because it is clear that it is a reincarnation, same look, different names and personalities but the feelings remain. Meaning that, no matter what they do, Mavis and Zeref were and always will be meant to be.
Jella and Erza I confess that I’m disappointed like many people because, how we can’t even see a talk of both???!? it’s very striking that Lucy thinks them both and says “Erza straightens her hair every day” showing Erza In a happy panel with casual clothes (not armor) plus Lucy’s face of that little smile while thinking about this and looks at Erza… I think a certain red hair girl sees Jellyberry very often;) and that’s why she dedicate so much to her looks! Don’t you think? Mashima left it open this along with those hints;)
And now, Natsu and Lucy. Many say they are in the “friendzone” but this is similar to Jerza’s: leave the situation open with hints. Let’s analyze … Lucy makes it clear in the chapter that she is a little jealous of the other couples plus some of the things she did when she was drunk saying “oh, I will never be a good wife”, her memories of Natsu, her tears and of course the Cute hug of a full page, implies that Lucy has illusions in love and more evident than by Natsu. Instead, Natsu is one of those characters who are clueless about love, he has the personality that can relate love with food really. A romantic Natsu would be very out of character. Natsu does the usual thing since the beginning of the story: Go to Lucy’s house along with Happy, make her smile, invite her to a job, implying that trust will always be there. Natsu in some translations says “We will always be together from now on” and in others “We will do what you want from now on” that comment is key, again: open situation with hints. You must understand Mashima’s game here: tell you things indirectly.
Leaving the ships aside for a moment, I was very nostalgic to see the team Natsu ready for an adventure and more because, Lucy returned to her main hairstyle with her first outfit, Gray in his white coat, Wendy in her red outfit when she entered the Guild and of course, could not miss: Erza with her suitcases.
Also, some will say “If Gruvia is cannon … why is not Juvia out there with them?” For two reasons: 1) Because is the main team and 2) Juvia is shown in a panel chatting at ease with other members, implying that a couple does not always have to be together, meaning the trust in each other.. and bye to the “Love rivals” lol
To conclude, a couple to be cannon does not necessarily need a kiss, a wedding, a cofension or kids. What matters is to confirm that both characters have mutual feelings and there’s so many ways to do it. Let me tell that in the couples I mention, I do see it! Mutual feelings.
Do not get carried away by not seeing romantic moments and say that it was a “bad ending”. Yeah, I confess, at first when i saw spoilers I made a mistake by my impatience and got a lil influenced by others:c but after reading it and analyze it I come to this.
In other comments, I really liked Lucy fulfilling her dream of being a writer! Although, honestly, I would have liked to see Laxus as a guild master come on!!!
Anyways, different ending, but never leaving aside the theme of friendship, values and feelings.
I yes expect some more but I’m also not disgusted at all. At last, Fairy Tail is Fairy Tail and I love it and respect Mashima’s decisions!
Now if you allow me … HIRO MASHIMA THANKS FOR THESE 11 YEARS, I’VE BEEN 5 YEARS IN THE FANDOM AND FAIRY TAIL HAS BROUGHT TO MY HEART, WITH GREAT ADVENTURES, LAUGHS, TEARS, ALL MIXED FEELINGS, SIMPLY EVERYTHING. ALWAYS BE A FAITHFUL FAN AND I WILL NEVER LEAVE THIS LOVE. I AM CRYING IN THESE MOMENTS BC MASHIMA INSPIRED ME TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS, I LOVE TO DRAW AND IN A LITTLE I WILL BEGIN MY CAREER OF ANIMATION, SOME DAY I HOPE TO PUBLISH MY MANGA THAT IN THESE YEARS I HAVE BEEN CREATING AND TO ARRIVE TO THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE LIKE FT HAVE MADE IT WITH ME! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! AND I HOPE SOME DAY I GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY IT TO MASHIMA IN PERSON, FAIRY TAIL FOREVER !! AYE SIR !!