Yes character wise = great
Story wise = meh
Absolutely. I feel it would have been better as a sort of slice of life, adventure sort of series with no actual antagonists or at least not combat focused or so? Just very casual and more about experiences, relationships, dreams and such?
Mashima was best at writing emotional moments that the anime really enhanced too imo. Fairy Tail has legit made me cry multiple times because of how well it does tragedy, grief, heartbreak/heartache and such.
Some parts of it like with Silver are truly fantastic too imo.
I was joking with a friend that Mashima handled parents best in Shonen series I've seen. Either him or Kishimoto imo. Going by the Big 3 and Fairy Tail I mean at least? I wanna say Mashima is best though.
Gray, Erza, Lucy all had fantastic storylines imo although Gray spamming Iced Shell got really annoying. Wendy was great too.
I really liked how Fairy Tail emphasised the relationships between the guildmates and thus their bonds. Real teamwork and such. Fairy Tail vs Hades was fucking hype and awesome for example. Hades was such a great character too. Kinda like an evil/corrupted
Rayleigh in a way lol.