What They Say:
In the midst of a mission to break the curse over Galuna Island, Natsu and the gang face a band of deranged mages trying to resurrect the monstrous demon Deliora. Gray’s determined to put the freeze on the sinister plan in a frigid battle with a rival from his past – even if it takes his own life! Back in Magnolia, the city becomes a warzone after sorcerers known as Element 4 destroy Fairy Tail headquarters and kidnap their beloved rookie, Lucy. A bone-crunching, skin-charring fight between fire and iron erupts when Natsu squares off against another Dragon Slayer wizard!
Please Note: The technical portion of this review deals with the DVD side of the DVD/BD combo release.
The feature is presented with two audio tracks- a 5.1 English track and a Stereo Japanese one. For the purpose of this review the Japanese track was used and it is a mostly solid, though not quite inspiring, one that is free from dropouts or other distortions. The track gets its point across and dialogue is delivered clear so it accomplishes a fair amount for what seems to be such an audio shortcoming in terms of presentation.
Originally beginning its run in October of 2009 Fairy Tail is presented in its original 1.78:1 ratio. The encode for the discs is a decent one though not flawless due to the medium with some minor noise, jaggies, some occasional blur in what should be solid colors, a little ghosting, as well as some color banding present at points. Fairy Tail makes use of a good deal of color and uses more broad than intricate designs which helps minimize the chances for issues to become a large problem. It is in these broad designs that Fairy Tail helps create its atmosphere of making thing appear to be from a simpler time and the video encode does a fair job of carrying its assigned load.
This review is of the DVDs only but the packaging was covered in Chris Beveridge’s review of the Blu Ray portion of the releases review. As for the DVDs themselves, they use colorful images of Gray on the first disc while the second has an image of Natsu and a new opponent who will be playing a sizeable role as antagonist in a number of episodes on the disc and at least for sometime going forward.
The main menus for both discs use larger and fuller images of the ones present on their corresponding discs. The sub menus use a job or wanted poster type look with individual images from different episodes or character art. When choosing an option the highlighted one is indicated by being in a bolder black color which switches to red when selected. Each of the menus uses a different instrumental theme as its background piece. The menus are quick to respond to changes in selections as well as implementing selections when chosen.
There are the (almost) standard extras of clean opens and closings here but the real treasure here is for fans of the English dub as FUNimation includes not just one but two episodes with audio commentary by the members of the English dub cast.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the small band of members from Fairy Tail try to carry out the S Ranked mission they accepted they discover that it will open old wounds for one of their members. Initially the ice wizard Gray had been dispatched to bring Natsu, Happy and Lucy back for violating the guild rules but when he learns that a monster named Deliora is being revived suddenly his entire focus changes. Gray tells the members that the task is personal to him but only later do they find out how personal.
Delioria is a monster who cost Gray his family and home when his village was attacked and his long grudge against the monster also lead to him losing someone else important to him. The monster is one he knows he can’t beat but that he must stop and he is willing to risk everything in this cause and will even stand up to Erza who has been dispatched to bring the group back for punishment. What path will Gray’s determination lead him down and will it be enough to stop not just the ferocious monster from reviving but also over come Fairy Tail’s enforcer and her dedication to her responsibility of returning the members no matter what?
In the aftermath of their island adventure the fear of punishment hangs over the heads of the members who broke Fairy Tail’s rules but there may be worse things awaiting them. A magic spell gone array bodes trouble, but one members unspoken past may lead Fairy Tail into the most desperate fight against a hated rival which threatens the guild physically. Worse, the consequences may cause wounds that have never quite healed to be ripped open- wounds that revolve around Miriajane, her brother Elfman and the younger sister whose past lays heavy upon many of the members of Fairy Tail.
When the most unimaginable situation happens and Fairy Tail losses its cornerstone will the guild finally fall or will the younger generation step up to grasp their potential and rise to all new levels? These desperate battles will push them to their physical and emotional limits as the group of individuals will have to decide just what it is their guild means to them and what it is there are willing to sacrifice for those who have stood alongside them, be it for years or for a much shorter period of time. When things are at their worst they will have to find if their best is going to be enough.
The second collection of Fairy Tail stories bring almost all of the characteristics that I love of well written stories into one fantastic package, though one dud does sneak in. Largely the episodes will revolve around the resolve of different members of the guild Fairy Tail as they are forced to face both demons in their own past as well as when they have to decide if they will stand up for their comrades as they face some of the darkest parts of their own life.
At times some of the parts can seem a bit manipulative but I accept that as much of drama is manipulative by nature and it simply is a matter of how it is written that makes it feel organic or not, and Fairy Tail manages to pull the organic feel off well. Also a key factor is the series ability to feel out when is an appropriate time to break the tension that it is building by sprinkling in humor to give a bit of an outlet to the building pressure of events before increasing the level of events again. About the only downside here is one incredible cliché episode that fails to connect just due to the number of times it has been used in anime in the past and the fact this is even poorly established simply on its own merits.
Fairy Tail wastes no time ratcheting up the level of action and danger for its cast while also prying into the darkest and most personal parts of some of their pasts. Present here is an arc that will lay bear the ice wizard Gray and the burdens that he carries in his heart open while showing the lengths he is willing to traverse to make sure that he doesn’t end up with more regrets-no matter the cost. Then with barely time to have a breather Fairy Tail comes under assault from perhaps its greatest threat and they may find themselves in danger of being destroyed by secrets from the past and the friendships that have been forged may find that they are stressed to the breaking point. Fairy Tail is one of my favorite series in years and this disc presents a very good reason as to why with its mix of action, humor and heart that shouldn’t be missed. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary Tracks, Clean opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B+
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 27th, 2011
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Samsung 50″ Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.