Fairy Tail (フェアリーテイル Fearī Teiru?) is a Japanese manga series by Hiro Mashima. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine since August 23, 2006 where it is still on-going. The individual chapters are being collected and published in tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, with 20 released as of March 2010. An anime produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight was released in Japan on October 12, 2009. The series follows the adventures of the celestial wizard Lucy Heartfilia after she joins the Fairy Tail guild and teams up with Natsu Dragneel, who is searching for the dragon Igneel. The series was licensed for an English language release in North America by Del Rey Manga, which began releasing the individual volumes on March 25, 2008.
Seventeen-year-old wizard Lucy Heartfilia runs away from home to join Fairy Tail, a rambunctious wizards' guild famous in the kingdom of Fiore for its members' overly destructive antics. She is invited into the guild by Natsu Dragneel, a dragon slayer wizard from Fairy Tail with dragon-like abilities, who travels the land in search of his missing dragon foster father Igneel. Lucy forms a team with Natsu and his cat-like companion Happy, and they are later joined by the ice wizard Gray Fullbuster and armored wizard Erza Scarlet. The five embark on various missions together, including the subjugation of illegal "dark" guilds and Etherious, demons created by the ancient dark wizard Zeref. They also gain no allies from other guilds and lands, including Jellal Fernandez, Erza's childhood friend from the Tower of Heaven who is initially brainwashed into serving Zeref; the dragon slayers Gajeel Redfox, Wendy Marvell, Sting Eucliffe and Rogue Cheney, whose dragon guardians have similarly vanished; Carla and Panther Lily, members of Happy's cat-like Exceed race from the parallel world of Edolas; Juvia Lockser, a rain woman who falls in love with Gray; and Laxus Dreyar, a renegade Fairy Tail wizard and grandson of the guild's master Makarov.
During a promotional exam held on Fairy Tail's sacred ground of Sirius Island, Natsu, Lucy, and several of their guildmates are drawn into conflict with the dark guild Grimoire Heart over Zeref, who has been alive for centuries. Despite Grimoire Heart's defeat, the battle attracts the attention of the evil black dragon Acnologia. The Fairy Tail wizards are protected from Acnologia's assault by the spirit of their founding master Mavis Vermillion, whose defensive spell puts them into suspended animation for seven years. Some time after the suspended wizards return, Zeref oversees a battle between Fairy Tail and Tartaros, a dark guild of Etherious who aim to revive their master E.N.D., Zeref's ultimate demon. Acnologia later disrupts the battle to annihilate both guilds. Before he can do so, Igneel and the other missing dragons emerge from the dragon slayers' bodies, revealed to have sealed themselves within their children to ensure they do not become dragons like Acnologia, a former human. The wizards and dragons successfully prevent E.N.D.'s resurrection and stop Acnologia's attack, although Igneel is killed by Acnologia in battle and ascends with the other dragons, having previously lost their souls to the black dragon.
Natsu embarks on a year-long journey with Happy to prepare for battle with Acnologia and avenge Igneel's death. Upon their return, they discover that Makarov has disbanded Fairy Tail to protect them from the Albareth Empire, a military nation controlled by Zeref. Reorganizing Fairy Tail with Erza as the new guild master, Natsu and his team set out to rescue Makarov from the empire.