"The weak will always remain weak, but weakness isn't necessarily bad. People are weak creatures by nature. People's insecurities are why guilds exist, why comrades exist. They come together and move forward to live life to the fullest. If you're clumsy, you might run into more obstacles and take a long way around, but as long as you step forward with faith in tomorrow, you'll find that your strength will emerge on its own. You'll be able to smile and live life to the fullest."
If you honestly hate on Lucy and complain about her being weak, then I think you've completely missed the point of Fairy Tail. Listen, a major theme in this manga is team strength. The strength you get from loving and being loved. Another is, like I talked about in my Sting post, that there are different ways to be strong. And, there are different ways to be weak. Everyone has their strengths and everyone has their weaknesses. This is known. If characters don't have both, then they are flat, boring characters. We have no need for that, characters like that are unrealistic and a waste of time.
And, it shouldn't be a surprise that not everyone is physically strong. Some people are built to be power houses. Some aren't. It's stupid to expect everyone to be strong in the same way. And, why would you want that? If everyone in Team Natsu had the same strengths...that wouldn't exactly be a very balanced team, would it? The good thing about Team Natsu is that they are pretty well balanced. They work together very well.
While Lucy is a valuable addition to Team Natsu, I often see people hate on her for being weak and saying she shouldn't be a part of the team. Lucy even sees herself as weak and mentions it when invited to 'join' (remain on?) Team Natsu. But, Natsu and the rest of the guild (and me) insist that she isn't and belongs on the team.
Before you go shouting about Lucy being unworthy to be on the 'strongest' team, let me explain you a thing. Lucy is useful and has a useful place in the team. Why do I believe that? Well, have some patience, I'm getting to that. Let me start out with saying that there was no Team Natsu before Lucy joined Fairy Tail. Gray, Natsu and Happy, and Erza all went on jobs on their own. Their team formed after being on a couple of jobs together and seeing that they meshed pretty well.
Lucy works as a sort of more level-headed, cautious buffer in the team. We have Erza who is strong, aggressive, brash, punishing, and a little socially awkward. Then, we have Natsu and Gray who regularly get into fist fights and cause a lot of unnecessary destruction. Though we see them together in flash backs as children, we never see them working together on jobs before Lucy. Team Natsu actually starts with just Natsu, Lucy, and Happy, because Natsu takes a liking to Lucy. Gray and Erza are later additions. Lucy is the not as destructive, cautious, understanding, calmer, book smart, more socially capable weight on the other side of the scale that balances their team.
I think Lucy's strength is an inner strength rather than an outer one. Before I get into her inner strength (which is multifaceted), though, I would like to point out one way she is very strong outwardly. Lucy is one tough mofo. I mean, that girl can really take a beating. Gajeel throws her around and hurts her a lot to incite Natsu and the only lasting injury he leaves on her is a bruise on her side. With all of the Twilight-esque heroines who bruise so easily because they're so delicate, it's refreshing to have a heroine who has thicker, tougher skin and doesn't turn black and blue when you poke her. (I don't mean to offend any one who bruises like a peach heh heh)
Mashima likes to beat the crap out of her (o_0 I'm judging you, Mashima), but does Lucy give up? Hell no. She's not one who's against letting her emotions show and crying, but she never cries in these situations. This is where we start to move into the inner strength. Whenever Lucy is in a situation where she is outmatched and is taking the heat for it, she doesn't run away. She responds with an almost stubborn determination and will. She won't stop because she refuses to quit and let her teammates down. Lucy is actually pretty freaking brave.
Lucy is resilient. Her loyal belief in her guildmates makes her stronger. She has the strength and courage to take the abuse thrown at her, especially in the name of her friends. She is willing to deal with the pain for the sake of the people she cares about and she faces it with a smile. Not many people have that. I know I don't. This determination and strong will is similar to what kept the Fairy Tail team standing when facing Sting in the last chapter and serves to show that Lucy is Fairy Tail strong and definitely belongs in the team.
Now let's move into the inner strength. Lucy grew up pretty isolated. Her manor and the manor grounds were pretty large, but she didn't really leave them that often. Her friends were her spirits and her maids. Other than that, she was pretty lonely, wasn't she? Where am I going with this? Well, this is all Lucy knows. These grounds. She knows of the rest of the world and has gone out into it some, but most of her knowledge comes from books. So, it takes a lot of bravery and strength to leave everything she knows behind.
How often do we see people stay in a place, despite how unhappy they are, just because they can't leave? The prospect of change and being on her own had to be scary. She was leaving the place of the only people (at that moment) who cared for her. She could easily have failed and died and no one would know or care. She would have gone down in obscurity. No one was looking out for her. She was moving ahead in her life on her own. As someone who is just starting to make my own way into the world (and, unlike Lucy, I have a lot of support and help from my family and several people are looking out for me) it's freaking scary. She says she doesn't want her destiny decided for her, so she's using her own power and taking it into her own hands. Pretty impressive.
Something else that is impressive is how quickly Lucy's magical skill improves. Before she joined Fairy Tail, her spirits were mainly used for company. I don't imagine her having many opponents or even friends to spar with. Natsu and the others have grown up in the guild, using their magic in battle nearly everyday. They've fought to protect themselves and have used it in real world situations thousands of times. There is a difference in knowing how to do something and actually doing it. I mean, I could learn all about surgery and know exactly how to do it. But, would you want me performing on you over someone who has practiced on cadavers and then real people successfully? Probably not.
So, it's natural to see Lucy nervous and scared in the beginning. People often hate on her for 'backing out of a fight' or being a coward in general. She has no experience in this! She has much to learn. And, as the manga progresses, we see Lucy becoming more and more skilled. How quickly she is catching up to the others is crazy impressive. Wow.
As we follow the manga, we see Lucy go from someone who doesn't always call her spirits out in the best order and who runs out of magic at important times into someone who can call out two spirits, who has developed her spirit calling strategy, has more magic power, has improved her own physical magic so she can fight alongside her spirits, and has a ton more confidence. In the Flare fight, Lucy is a bad ass. And, this is only after a technical 'year' of being in Fairy Tail. Wow. Imagine how much more she can improve if that's the change she manages in that time.
Okay, I've wandered a little away from the inner strength point I'm making. To return to the path, I'll start with how Lucy is really freaking smart. She may not be battle smart from the start, but she is awfully book smart.
She was able to recognize a spell placed on the book and know that there was a 'true' story. The employer didn't know that and was glad that Lucy was able to figure it out. She also connected that they were related. Also, Lucy was the only person to figure out where the Mavis' grave was. And, Gray and Loke knew that she would probably be the one to be able to figure it out.
Despite the stereotype that comes with Lucy's appearance, she values intelligence and is very intelligent. And , I touched on it before in outer strength, Lucy has a strong will. She is much like Naruto in this aspect, where she attracts people to her with her kindness, compassion, and persistence. She befriends most people with ease. Even those who are difficult to befriend (those who were/should be her enemies, those who push people away on purpose) end up coming to care for the plucky blonde. Gemini, Juvia (she was one of the first guildies to befriend her), both Cocos, Yukino, Flare, Eclair, and the Spirit King.
"I said I'm going to save you no matter what! I can force open the Gate to the Spirit World; watch me!"
About the Spirit King. Holy crap. What a display of strength that was! Lucy called out all of her spirits at once and even the Spirit King. That is ridiculously strong. And, she could have died from that, but she did it anyways to save Loke...who she wasn't even that close with at that point. She saved him purely with her strength of both emotions and magic. And, that hasn't even been the only time Lucy has saved someone.
She's caught Natsu several times when he was going to fall after magic depletion, saved him from Angel and when he went over the waterfall, stopped Byro from catching Coco (though Natsu did come in at the end), saved Wendy and Arcadios through Horologium, and herself by jumping in the way. A lot of times, Lucy is looked down on because her magic is calling others to fight for her, but it is her magic that brings these spirits into the fight and it makes her very versatile as a mage. And, it's not like she doesn't fight alongside them. Lucy has done so much to help others in the guild, it's ridiculous to me that people call her useless or weak. Blah.
And, Lucy has won a lot of fights and has been an important aid on several as well! For simplicity, I'll list these in bullet format:
- She helped Natsu beat Bora and his goonies by having Aquarius wash the boat to shore. If not for that, Natsu would have been helplessly motion-sick and unable to properly fight.
- Lucy beat Duke Everlue.
- Lucy has Virgo dig a hole so they can escape the wind tunnel and Natsu can pursue Erigor. They would have been stuck there.
- Lucy beat Sherry (though the giant mouse did almost get her hehheh).
- Lucy doesn't just sit around when she's captured by Jose and meets Natsu halfway, making it a great deal easier for him to rescue her.
- Lucy has Sagittarius 'make' fire with an explosion so Natsu can regain strength from eating it and beat Gajeel.
- Lucy helps Juvia when she is under Vidaldus Taka's spell and defeats him with her in a Unison Raid (which is a difficult skill to be able to master, showing that both women are strong mages).
- Lucy beats Bickslow.
- Lucy beats Angel. (Saving Natsu and Hibiki in the process)
- Lucy doesn't get sucked up in the Anima because of her magic (Horologium) and is the only one to have magic in Edolas for a while thanks to the pill Edo Jellal gives her. (She also saves herself from the guards trying to arrest her and then her friends when they stumble upon the attempt to arrest her)
- Lucy does most of the work of beating Byro, though Natsu does show up in the very end.
- Her befriending Edo Coco helps them get the key and also the Legion that picks them up and saves them later.
- Lucy and Cana 'defeat' Bickslow and Freed.
- Lucy and Natsu beat Kain.
- Lucy's Horologium saves Wendy when facing Hades.
- Lucy helped a lot with the map making in the preliminary round for the games.
- Lucy would have beat Flare without outside interference and other underhanded tricks.
- Lucy and Yukino beat Uosuke.
There are other guild members who have never been shown to win a fight. Like, Levy. She's lost every fight shown. And, Lisanna is always having to be saved by her siblings. Yet, there isn't a lot of complaints about these characters being called weak. I'm not saying that they are weak, but why do they get to be considered to be strong while Lucy - who has been shown to do a lot more - gets called a hindrance?
My final point is that Lucy is also emotionally strong and supportive. Since this post has gotten pretty long and I'm starting to feel lazy, I'll post these in bullet points as well:
- When Gray was getting all emotional and upset over the loss of his teacher and being presented with the monster responsible for that loss and the loss of his parents, it was Lucy who comforted him.
- She helped Loke settle his guilt over causing (or contributing) to Karen's death.
- Lucy encourages Erza to tell them her past so they can help her. And, she is the only one Erza confides to about Jellal saving them from the tower and, as the wiki says 'implies that she trusts her very much'.
- Like I mentioned before, she is one of the first to befriend Juvia and is probably has a pretty good sized part in helping her realize/decide she could join the guild (though, Gray probably had the biggest and most significant part lolol).
- Her feelings and emotions towards her spirits help Hibiki from 'falling into the darkness' and also help reunite Loke with Aries, the spirit he was trying to protect under Karen.
- She was also able to understand but also stop Natsu from causing a huge scene when they see the Lacrima, while comforting him about being 'helpless' to save them right then. Though they end up getting caught later, this prevents them from getting caught there.
- Lucy is very, very emotionally supportive of Cana. She rescues her from an alley and helps her gain the courage to stay in the guild and try to become an S-class mage again. Then, she forgives her even when she isn't a very good friend (in a potentially fatal way, at that) and smooths over it to help soften the guilt Cana felt about that. And, then she helps encourage her to finally reveal to Gildarts that she's his daughter, even though no one was promoted to S-class. Lucy has been a wonderful friend to Cana. <3
- She is also supportive towards Yukino, who has shown in recent chapters to think very little of herself, by not allowing her to give up her keys and telling her that her relationship with her spirits is strong and that's what matters. Bascially, stops her from giving up on being a Celestial Mage. She could have easily snatched those keys up greedily.
- Heck, Lucy is even emotionally supportive to herself. After Future-Lucy sacrifices herself to save...herself...she tells her not to feel bad. That, either way, Future-Lucy was going to die. It was better this way.
Man. Look at that. Look at all that useful stuff she does. Lucy is a such a freaking great person. And, this is why she's my favorite.
tl;dr: If you hate Lucy, I don't think we can be friends.
(Wow. This was so long that I'm almost sorry.)