Edens Zero, the latest series from Fairy Tail author Hiro Mashima, was recently confirmed for an anime adaption that will premiere in April 2021 in Japan. This adaption is preceded by the popular Fairy Tail anime, and his earlier series Rave Master. But Edens Zero is now the third series of Mashima's where similar designs, character names and plot devices appear, leading fans to believe that they are all connected as a whole.
Hiro Mashima's Works
Mashima's first series, Rave Master, ran from 1999 to 2005 in Weekly Shonen Magazine. It follows Hiro Glory as he tries to hone his powers as the second Rave Master, starting a quest with his new friends to defeat the Shadow Stones and save the world from their evil influence.
Fairy Tail started in 2006, just a year after the completion of Rave Master, and has multiple spinoffs, an anime adaption, OVAs and movies. The story revolves around a world where magic is used by everyone and wizards form guilds to complete jobs and quests. The lead, Natsu Dragneel, is part of the most powerful wizard guild, Fairy Tail, and as his team gains more members, they work to defeat corrupt rival guilds and the evil villain Zeref.
In Edens Zero, Mashima is picking up a new work just like before, as the series started in 2018 after the end of the Fairy Tail manga in 2017. However, this new series again features a spiky-haired, fiery protagonist named Shiki Granbell in the space pirate world of Edens Zero. He befriends a girl named Rebecca Bluegarden and aids in her search for the celestial creator of the universe, Mother. It is worth noting that Rebecca is blonde, with a blue and white costume... and a sentient robot cat named Happy... Sound familiar?
Fairy Tail fans -- or anyone familiar with the franchise -- will recognize that Rebecca has a striking resemblance to the show's Lucy Heartfilia. Though, in Fairy Tail, the blue flying cat belongs to Natsu, not his blonde female friend.
The Similarities Between Mashima's Works
Looking at the manga covers and promotional photos for both series, it is obvious that Edens Zero borrows more than a little from Fairy Tail. Eden's title characters could easily be from a sci-fi spinoff of the main Fairy Tail crew and Rebecca Bluegarden, as previously mentioned, looks like Lucy Heartfilia, albeit without her signature ponytail. Shiki Granbell is Natsu Dragneel if he discovered a box of black hair dye, while Elsie Crimson suspiciously has the same affinity for dark red as Erza Scarlet. Not to mention that Elsie's nickname "Armored Space Pirate" only brings to mind Erza's costumes throughout Fairy Tail.
The similarities between Mashima's works don't end with character designs. The idea that all three series are connected in a Mashima Canon Universe is only strengthened by the author releasing artwork featuring Natsu and Lucy dressed as Haru and Ellie from Rave Master for the cover of Rave Master Chapter #91.
The characters Happy and Plue seem to exist across the different series. For example, Happy, the blue cat companion exists in both Fairy Tail and Edens Zero, and Plue, a small snowman-like creature, appears in all three series. But both creatures belong to different characters in their respective universes and are of different species in each series. Even the magical power in Fairy Tail and Edens Zero's universes share the same name, Ether, and allows for time and space to be manipulated.
The most notable fact, though, is that Mashima has released more than one canon crossover story wherein the characters from Fairy Tail meet the leads from Rave Master and Edens Zero. Fairy Tail X Rave is a chapter where Team Natsu meets the Rave Master bunch at a casino and hijinks ensue. Finally, Hero's is Mashima's spinoff crossover of all three series, in which the protagonists meet on an island. It's not often that fans get to experience canon crossovers, so seeing them interact is a treat for sure.
Is There a Mashima-verse?
While Mashima's universes have a lot of overlap between them, and even canon crossovers, they are still all separate series and universes. Mashima does have a habit of working on multiple series at a time and borrowing from his previous works (which he has the right to do as the author) to the point that even he agrees that it gets confusing sometimes.
But, perhaps with the mixture of magic, time paradoxes and alternate realities in his works, there's a chance that the future will bring these beloved characters together again.