Edens Zero borrows a lot of assets from its predecessor, Fairy Tail. Several characters share similar designs, personalities, or are ripped straight from Fairy Tail (looking at you Happy). Elsie's inspiration is drawn from Erza and even has a Jellal counterpart in Justice. Labilia Christy looks to be an aged-up Wendy Marvel, and Weisz Steiner appears to be taking the role of Gray Fullbuster. However, where the similarities become too hard to ignore, is with series' leads Natsu and Lucy *ahem* Shiki and Rebecca. Shiki and Rebecca belong to a guild of magic users who, with the power of friendship, fight...no that's Natsu and Lucy! Natsu has a pet cat called Happy, who transforms into a set of pistols to shoot any spellcasters that may...no, that's Rebecca! As you can see, these characters are so alike that we felt it proper to see whether Shiki and Rebecca are simple carbon copies, or whether they have something unique to offer. Let's find out!
A brief recap of the story so far, Edens Zero follows the adventures of two distinct characters. Firstly, we have Shiki, an orphaned child raised by robots, who is wildly unaware of life outside his homeworld. Alongside him, we have Rebecca—a vlogger who planet hops in search of her next source of content. Shiki's desire is to reach the end of the Universe and meet Mother, a fabled creature at the world's end capable of granting those who meet her with a wish. Rebecca, wanting to cash in on the views she would accrue being the first to meet Mother, agrees to tag along.
Edens Zero comes to us from the same mind that brought us Fairy Tail and, as such, a lot of assets have been shifted to this new series. However, as mentioned in a previous article, this is not inherently a detriment to the story of Edens Zero. The story Edens Zero wants to tell is unique. If Hiro Mashima wants to tell this story with characters similar to the ones in Fairy Tail, we say let him do it! Fairy Tail was a massive success and if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!
Lucy & Rebecca
Lucy and Rebecca are the oftentimes cooler-headed main characters of their respective series. While they often add to the jokes, bouncing off the statements that their zanier peers make, they also play a vital role; integral to any anime. That being, of course, acting as the vessel through which the writers can provide us oodles of lovely fan service. Lucy often found herself as a lust object by many of the Fairy Tail cast members and Rebecca seems to follow this tradition. Her legs are ogled by the Foote Brothers, she finds herself ensnared in a tentacle trap aboard Elsie Crimson's ship, and even gets to enjoy a lovely hot spring before being catapulted whilst still naked into a glass window. Hiro Mashima really knows his audience...
Lucy was the audience's insert. She was new to the world of magic and guilds and so, we got to experience all of those things for the first time just like she did. Rebecca, however, plays the opposite role. Rebecca is already well-versed in universe exploration and she acts as the teacher to the audience; educating them on important exposition and world-building.
Natsu & Shiki
As you may expect Natsu and Shiki are both hot-headed pseudo protagonists of their respective series (although, in Natsu's case, the hot head is a tad more literal). They are quick to anger, often struggle to retain information, and rely on their female companion to take responsibility.
Natsu was the one who invited Lucy into the Fairy Tail guild. While he was never the teacher that Rebecca is, he provided adequate information to both Lucy and the audience of Fairy Tail's guild, the members, and what they stand for. Shiki, on the other hand, takes up Lucy's mantle, acting as the vessel through which we learn about the world of Edens Zero. He was stranded on Granbell for so long and we get to experience the rest of the world for the first time alongside him.
Lucy & Natsu Vs. Rebecca & Shiki
Both sets of characters provide similar roles. However, their roles have been reversed. Natsu and Rebecca act as world builders, while Lucy and Shiki are sponges ready to absorb this information and learn alongside the viewers. However, more than anything, the one feature that likens one pair to the other, is the chemistry between them. Natsu and Lucy, like Rebecca and Shiki, are hilarious when paired together. Natsu and Shiki's naivety bounces incredibly well off of Rebecca and Lucy's more realistic view of the world and this makes for some very entertaining interactions.
Hiro Mashima's comedy isn't for everyone. It certainly won't keep you thinking about the many layers of a joke for the following three months. Hiro Mashima's comedy is like a light snack. It won't fill you up but it will satisfy you in that moment and, if you like it, you might come back for more later when you get hungry again. Slapstick, awkward, ecchi comedy is what you receive in both Fairy Tail and Edens Zero, and we are very much living for it.
There was no subtlety used in creating Shiki and Rebecca. During the first several episodes, we can even see an Easter Egg of Natsu and Lucy exiting the same bar Rebecca and Shiki are dining at. The writers knew exactly what they were doing and, instead of deciding to cover this up, they dove headfirst into their plan and it worked out tremendously. Edens Zero is not better than Fairy Tail, it is not worse than Fairy Tail, and it's not entirely the same as Fairy Tail either. Edens Zero is...well...Edens Zero. It's another project from the same famed mangaka. Quentin Tarantino movies are all different but often borrow from each other with regard to dialogue or character design. Anime is becoming more and more an artform likened to Hollywood movies so why should it be treated any differently? Regardless, let us know what you think of Edens Zero down below!