Fairy Tail Time Skip Explained: What Really Happened on Tenrou Island?

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As one of the most popular shounen series, Fairy Tail earned its spot as the 49th most popular entry on MyAnimeList. The manga created by Hiro Mashima was later adapted into an anime series consisting of 175 episodes, after which the production went on a hiatus before its continuation in 2014, and Fairy Tail: Final Series being released in 2018 (wrapping up with a total of 328 episodes). The story revolves around a fantasy world in which various forms of magic are used by wizards who form guilds and fight for common causes, and has taken a few rather peculiar turns. One such event happened once the Tenrou Island arc reached its end, and here is what happened to Fairy Tail’s wizards!

Once their battle against Grimoire Heart was over and Hades was beaten, Tenrou Island was attacked by the notorious Acnoologia – a fearsome dragon whose magic power is unrivaled. Even the strongest wizard in Fairy Tail, Gildarts, cannot stand against the dragon’s might. With no way to escape or win this fight, the wizards of Fairy Tail stood together, and their bond triggered the creation of Fairy Sphere – an absolute protection spell that shields all guild members from evil. In the following instant, the island disappeared, frozen in time, and did not resurface until seven years later.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to explain it in more detail. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!

Tenrou Island Arc Finale

Firstly, let’s briefly reflect on the final battle that followed the unraveling of the Tenrou Island arc. Once the battle against the God Slayer wizards and Grimoire Heart’s leader, who happens to be Fairy Tail’s second master, Hades (aka Precht), had been won by the guild members who traveled to the island. Everyone was awaiting the ship that would take them home.

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In addition to the battles they led, the Tenrou Island arc brought with it a plethora of events that affected the relationships between the guild members. Laxus reappeared to aid Natsu, Erza, Gray, Wendy, and Lucy in their battle against Hades, Gildarts and Cana went through a catharsis of their own, the Black Mage, Zeref, made another appearance as he sought to isolate himself from humanity. Gray faced Ultear, the daughter of his late master, and other significant events in terms of character development.

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However, in the 122nd episode of the original series, Fairy Tail wizards felt a great disturbance. With the whirling wind came Acnologia. The ferocious dragon left everyone in awe of its mighty presence as he soared in the sky above the island. Its power was unmatched by any Fairy Tail member at the time, especially after they had engaged in all those fights and sustained heavy injuries.

The heroes were facing their doom. Even at their best, they would not be on par with the beast, which we learn from Fairy Tail’s strongest wizard, Gildarts, who warned his guild mates of Acnologia’s power. Gildarts called upon Natsu to recall the day when he revealed the injuries he suffered when facing the beast.

In a blink of an eye, the dragon’s attack took his left arm, leg and heavily damaged his organs. Labelling Acnologia an enemy of mankind, Gildarts warns everyone of its rage and reveals that no human can defeat it.

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Being at the mercy of such ruthless evil, the guild members faced what was possibly the worst nightmare very few could ever even dare to dream of, and that was to make peace with the fact that perhaps none of them would escape death. Moreover, if some happen to get off the island alive, they would be burdened with a memory of a tragedy that took the lives of many of their beloved companions.

Unwilling to accept, or let alone make peace with the thought of losing their friends, our heroes were willing to fight for their survival. When Acnologia cut off their escape route, and the guild master ordered his underlings to run, as he determinately faced the blood-curdling dragon in order to hold him off, Natsu rushed back and led the charge to show even Acnologia what Fairy Tail was made of!

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Even with their greatest efforts, the wizards of Fairy Tail – the strongest guild in Fiore- could not defeat their opponent or secure an escape route. However, one who witnessed their combined attack and felt the power of the bonds they had made as friends and comrades was Mavis – the founder and first master of Fairy Tail. As the members gathered once again to show the strength of the bonds they shared, they combined their powers with only one thought in mind – for each and every one of them to return to their homes safe and sound.

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In an instant, the island was engulfed in a bright light just as the dragon attacked, and all that could be seen by the nearby observers on ships and boats was that Tenrou Island vanished, annihilated in its entirety by Acnologia. The event that occurred that day, on December 16, 784, seemingly took the lives of Fairy Tail’s strongest wizards and their guild master.

Time skip aftermath – what happened with Fairy Tail?

Here is where the story fast-forwards seven years into the future. With its strongest members gone, Fairy Tail was immensely weakened, and both its financial standing and reputation deteriorated to a point where they were in great debt. Their home was relocated to the outskirts, far from the city center, and their members were constantly attacked by another guild that was on the rise – the Twilight Ogre guild. With Macao as the guild’s fourth master, the members endured persecution and struggled to hold everyone together, as their property was constantly being destroyed and their pride insulted. 

Now, seven years later, in the year X791, the members of Blue Pegasus appear at Fairy Tail’s front gate. Ichiya and his underlings reveal that they have managed to modify their guild vessel enough to sustain the abnormal levels of ether-nano magical particles surrounding the area where Tenrou Island once stood. With the Council stating that Acnologia obliterated the island and the members being aware that no living being would remain intact in an area with such levels of ether-nano particles, only a handful journeys to where the island once stood.

Armed by nothing but a glimmer of hope that their friends may still somehow be alive, they sail the open sea. Approaching their destination, the first master, Mavis Vermilion, appears before their ship as they get closer to the allegedly destroyed island. The next thing they see is the submerged Tenrou Island appearing above the surface. The island that was sunk in the sea is engulfed in a magic barrier bearing Fairy Tail’s seal. Boarding the island, Asca, and the others find out that all of their companions are alive and well, but even more so, they have not aged a day. So what exactly happened?

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Tenrou Island mystery unveiled

When Acnologia attacked the island, Mavis converted the shared feelings within the bonds shared among the Fairy Tail guild members into magic power, which triggered the activation of Fairy Sphere. This “absolute defense,” the all-powerful spell, is one of the Three Grand Fairy Spells and serves as a shield, protecting the guild members from all manners of evil.

The origin of these spells is intertwined with the story of the first guild master, Mavis Vermillion, whose light is embodied in these spells. However, in return for the ultimate protection that could keep everyone safe even from an attack as powerful as Acnologia’s, the guild members on Tenrou Island were trapped inside the seal and frozen in time. Seven years later, the seal was finally lifted.

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While this time skip may appear odd compared to similar occurrences in other shounen series, such as Naruto or One Piece, the time skip in Fairy Tail served a certain purpose regarding the overall plot and the following arc.

Even though the leading characters were actually frozen in time and returned to the main timeline as if not a day had passed after Acnologia’s attack (making it impossible for them to power up or spend years training and honing their skills, which is a somewhat expected outcome for the leading heroes…). They returned with great resolve and determination to bring their guild back to where it deserves to be.

More importantly, they were made aware of the evil whose existence threatened the lives of all mankind and just how far they still had to go if they were to stand a chance at defeating it.

However, even though they did not undergo any training, what they lived through and the battles they fought on the island are invaluable for every member’s growth as a person and as a formidable wizard.

Additionally, this seven-year gap enabled other guilds and wizards to achieve their potential and power up enough to be on-pair with our heroes, which resulted in the series getting new characters and interesting new friendships and confrontations.

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