Ever since Hiro Mashima’s work began to claim more spotlight on the global stage, fans have started to notice a rather bizarre pattern when it comes to the well-known, successful stories he authored. From Rave to Fairy Tail and Edens’s Zero, there seem to be quite a few things that leave us wondering whether or not these stories and characters have something in common.
Edens Zero is not connected to Fairy Tail in any way in terms of the story, character relationships, or plot points. The anime adapted the manga of the same name, which follows the story of Shiki and his friends on their journey through the Sakura Cosmos. The two stories are not set in the same universe, nor does one affect the canon of the other. The existing references are mere easter eggs for fans familiar with Mashima’s other work.
However, the similarities and the easter eggs, as we call them, seem to be particularly prominent in the series, as even certain characters are almost ‘transferred’ from one series to the next, having the same appearance and playing the same role. So what is causing this misconception?
Hiro Mashima’s signature in Fairy Tail and Edens Zero
To briefly reflect on Mashima’s first title that gained significant popularity, Rave’s 35 volumes were adapted into an anime series titled Rave Master in 2001. Following this recipe for success, Mashima later created Fairy Tail, which was then followed by Edens Zero. While Mashima did have some projects in between, these three stories seem to have a lot in-common (including the featured characters).
All three fantasy adventures include a duo of protagonists, where an animal-like companion follows one, involving one male and one female lead. In addition to the main setting in terms of characters, the plot is black-and-white in all three of these tales, while other characters are also fairly repetitive and familiar.
Mashima’s recipe for a mix of characters, battles of good and evil, fantastical adventures, and the power of friendship brought all of these franchises to life, reviving many characters at convenient times. Perhaps the biggest notable difference that exists between Fairy Tail and Edens Zero, is the fact that the setting in Edens Zero is sooner to be labeled as sci-fi, whereas Fairy Tail’s magical basis categorizes it purely as a fantasy franchise.
The unmissable aspect of both stories is the emphasis on the power of friendship. In both series, the bonds created between characters are the most precious thing worth fighting for. The leading characters in both stories depict genuine bonds, where someone would shed tears for the sake of another as one of the biggest treasures in this world. The existence of such a thing seems to be as empowering as it is valuable in Mashima’s most successful works.
Character crossovers in Fairy Tail and Edens Zero
If we disregard the plot briefly and only focus on the characters in each series, while the similarities between their personalities and appearances become uncanny, some are quite literally ‘recycled’ in Edens Zero. Immediately in the first episode, while our sixth sense is already processing the deja vu after we are introduced to Shiki, a familiar face appears on the screen.
At first, it may just be a familiar face, but then we learn that even the name and the role are pretty much the same as in Fairy Tail. As you may have guessed, we are referring to Happy – a cat-like companion. In Fairy Tail, Happy is Natsu’s companion and best friend, introduced as an Exceed from Extalia.
In Edens Zero, Happy is a feline alien from a planet called Excede, who also happens to be a companion and best friend of the leading heroine – Rebecca Bluegarden.
Now to address the aforementioned deja vu, it is easy to notice how the first episode is enough to build the basis for a thesis that these two series are somehow connected.
As we meet Shiki in the opening scene, his energy, determination, childlike nature, and sheer goodness felt in his words, goals, and intentions scream Natsu Dragneel. Moreover, through his conversation with the two robots at the very beginning of the episode, we cannot help but recall Natsu’s flashbacks of his time with Igneel and the lessons he learned from his guardian.
The resemblance between these shows becomes more uncanny once we compare Lucy with Rebecca, Erza with Elsie, and Jellal with Justice. Not only are these characters look-a-likes, but their stories and relationships are ridiculously similar. Justice and Jellal both use similar attacks, such as Meteor and Grand Chariot (and have a nearly identical appearance as Sieghart from Rave Master), while Elsie and Erza are both romantically involved with Justice, aka Jellal (both complicated relationships which made them enemies at a certain point).
With all these similarities, it becomes quite difficult to fully believe that the two stories aren’t connected in any way, as we are sooner to believe that Edens Zero is perhaps another arc inspired by the Edolas arc – aka that these characters ‘are’ the characters from Fairy Tail, but from a different timeline.
While this seemed to have caused quite a stir among Fairy Tail fans, and naturally sparked theories of crossovers, it isn’t the first instance where Mashima ‘recycled’ his characters. Recalling one earlier work signed by Mashima that we previously mentioned, it is easily noticed that he remains loyal to the template created in Rave.
In addition to the generic plot, repetitive premises, and ‘cloned’ characters, Mashima seems to fancy the idea of connecting his most successful works in a way that the fans would notice.
For instance, one character, in particular, seems to have infiltrated all three series. While some may share the same characteristics and/or beliefs, the one we have in mind did not exactly change in any of the series. It is Plue who seems to have made his way to becoming a recurring figure in Fairy Tail, Rave Master, and Edens Zero.
Fairy Tail and Edens Zero connection thesis: conclusion
To give this entire story a brief overview, while it may sound harsh, Mashima’s most successful titles seem to all follow the same patterns and plot points. This includes repetitive premises and ideologies, such as the power of friendship that conquers all, featured fights and battles that the enjoyers of the shounen genre welcome with open arms for the action it brings to the table, all accompanied by a significant amount of fanservice and nearly cloned characters whose interpersonal relationships feel recycled.
These combined elements seem to have created a formula that works with the audiences.
While his first big success, Rave Master, was criticized by some for copying one of the biggest franchises that remains in all top anime lists to this day – One Piece – his later franchises seem to have continued to borrow from their predecessors instead. This resulted in many arguments proving Mashima’s signature to be unmissable in his greatest adventure series.
To indulge the fans, Edens Zero features quite a few Fairy Tail easter eggs, such as Natsu and Lucy being spotted in the background for a delightful cameo and Happy being a companion of the main heroes in both stories. Therefore, while these occurrences align perfectly with what the fans seem to enjoy, it does not affect the canon of the story in Edens Zero in any way.