Previously on Fairy Tail:
Natsu & his team successfully completed the S-Class quest on Galuna Island, but now they have to face the dangers of punishment from Master Makarov for disobeying guild rules. Spoilers Ahead.
Natsu (Todd Haberkorn) and the others return to the guild to await punishment from Master Makarov (R. Bruce Elliot) for taking the Galuna Island job, but he is away. While waiting on him to return, Natsu happens upon a weird translation job request. After reading the words on the page a spell called “Changeling” cast causing him to switch bodies with Loke (Eric Vale), Lucy (Cherami Leigh) to switch with Gray (Newton Pittman), and worst of all Erza (Colleen Clinkenbeard) to switch bodies with Happy (Tia Ballard)! Things soon descend into chaos until Levy (Kristi Kang) and Team Shadow Gear come to the rescue, but with only 30 minutes until the spell becomes permanent, can Levy reverse it in time?
This another filler episode, but its one that manages to be pretty entertaining. The body switching plot point is done well and it’s pretty funny to see how the characters react to their new forms (especially with Happy being the only one satisfied with the switch), while still having their signature quirks (Loke still fixes his glasses, Gray still tries to pull off his clothes, etc.). There are also a few new quirks added in for comedic value: Loke drools fire in Natsu’s body, Lucy drools ice in Gray’s body, and Erza’s growing affinity for fish and flying are pretty funny to watch unfold.
While this episode is one of my favorites of the first season, I can never decide who I liked more in it; the characters themselves, or the VA’s portraying them. This episode really showed what the dub could do as the comedy nearly hit the mark everytime and each actor did a great job portraying their alternate characters personality. The best performances have to go to Colleen Clinkenbeard, Cherami Leigh, and Newton Pittman. Colleen does an amazing job matching both Happy’s voice and energy, whether she’s requipping or trying to fly she is a treat in this episode. It’s also funny to hear Cherami & Newton switch tones while still remaining in character. With Cherami’s deeper gruff tone, and Newton’s higher pitch girl tone, it’s a nice contrast between the two characters.
We also get a bit of a longer introduction into team Shadow Gear and it’s members: Levy McGarden, Jet (Michael Chinnici) & Droy (Zach Bolton). It’s obvious from the onset that Levy is the brains of the outfit as she tries to decipher the spell while Jet & Droy act as cheerleaders (with a very catchy “Go! Go! Go Levy! chant), Elfman (Christopher Sabat) even joins in. We don’t get to see their magic but Levy does use a magical tool to decipher the code.
But just because it’s a gag episode it doesn’t mean plot seeds aren’t planted. We get a small plant with Loke started while Natsu is inside his body. While everyone is testing their new powers Natsu is goaded into trying Loke’s but as he tries he says he feels nothing inside and everything else feels “fuzzy”. Just who or what is Loke?
“Changeling” is pretty entertaining episode that manages to hit the mark a good chunk of the time. The writing is fit to each character is a real fine episode to show case the ability of the dub. Newer characters are given a nice share of the spotlight and a plot point is introduced that will pay off later. The magic continues next week on Fairy Tail.