So… yeah, Gray’s butterfly T-shirt. The little detail that is making Gruvians go crazy.
As much as this could be considered just a coincidence, it’s hard to believe that Mashima deliberately chose to give Gray a butterfly with no further purpose when you take some things into consideration:
1. Gray’s clothing style and personality
Gray has this “cool guy” style. He’s sometimes portrayed as being the bad boy type (remember when he used to smoke in the beginning of the manga?), and the clothes he usually wears include cargo pants and boots, besides his metal accessories, like his necklace, bracelet and the chain attached to his pants. It’s really weird to think Gray would just own a butterfly T-shirt when this is not his style at all.
2. The details Mashima puts in the manga
We first got to see Gray’s T-shirt on chapter 325, in the double page with all the guilds that participated in the GMG. That particular page was full of details, to the point that there was even a cameo from some characters of Rave Master. And Mashima is always adding symbolism to what he draws and writes and giving a meaning to everything. When you consider that and the previous topic, it’s hard to believe he didn’t give any purpose to Gray’s butterfly.
And who happens to be associated with butterflies? Juvia. Ever since she fought with Gray in their first encounter, Juvia’s character has slowly become more spring-like. It is a metaphor for the sun that appears in her life and it’s also shown in the way she dresses. She gradually began showing more skin, wearing frilly dresses and skirts and wide-brimmed hats. And her accessories always include flowers or… butterflies.
Butterflies in particular have another symbolism; since they don’t go out in the rain, it’s a way to show Juvia isn’t haunted by rain anymore. Aaandwho is the person that took the rain away from her life? Gray.
The symbolism is just so strong it can’t be ignored. I really hope that Mashima shows this T-shirt has something to do with Juvia—all the potential from this symbolism can’t be wasted. And especially considering the development on Gray’s part in the latest chapters and his tsundere behavior, it would be really nice to see he’s wearing this T-shirt because Juvia gave it to him or something of the sort.