The battle to stop Nirvana reaches its final stages.
What They Say:
Nirvana continues its march to destroy Wendy’s guild along with a dark secret. Team Natsu and the coalition – as well as an unexpected ally – go full-force against the top sorcerers of Oracion Seis to expel the ancient city’s evil curse before it becomes unstoppable!
Then, when Natsu goes on a mission to see a woman about a dragon, his trip becomes a trap that could force him to turn Magnolia into ash and rubble! Can his friends snuff the Salamander’s involuntary rampage without torching their friend?
Contains episodes 61-72.
The audio presentation for this release is pretty good as it contains a bilingual show with the original Japanese language track in stereo using Dolby TrueHD while the English track gets the bump to 5.1 using Dolby TrueHD. The show has a straightforward approach with its audio design in its original form where it uses the forward soundstage well by covering it when the action hits with plenty of sound effects, both from the magic and the physical action, while the dialogue tends to be more center channel based. The English presentation ramps that up a few notches in volume and overall warmth while expanding it a bit with some greater clarity in placement for the dialogue. Neither track is a huge standout since it is standard television fare, but it works well and covers the bases right while avoiding any problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2010, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes for this set are spread across two discs with eight on the first and four on the second. The show is one with a lot of bright, vibrant colors that really do look great here overall and stand out well. There’s a healthy amount of action and activity in each episode and the bit rate goes high t) but it also has a lot of still and quiet scenes where it drops down to the 5mbps range. There’s a slight layer of fuzziness to it at times with the noise but from a standard seating distance and on a big screen, it’s pretty negligible. There are some scenes where things really come across badly, such as some of Jellal’s episodes where his back is just pure noise, and there are gradients to be had here because of the style of the animation. The show in general looks very good because of its bold colors and approach while avoiding significant problems like macroblocking, line noise and cross coloration, but there are some bad moments as well that do stand out. It’s a very good looking TV show in general and the transfer here captures it well.
FUNimation continues to do things up interestingly with this release as the slipcover is a die-cut one that has a large portion of the front of it open. The logo along the bottom helps to give it more definition while the artwork on the keepcase itself shows through very well. The back of the slipcover is the same as the keepcase cover, though darker, as it shows off the core cast of the series together in a bright piece here with a brief but decent little concept summary that sells the show fairly well. A few shots from the show are included as well below it as well as the breakdown of technical information. It’s all laid out clearly here though the text is a bit too soft of a white against the darker background. The keepcase itself has a good piece of artwork along the front of Natsu and Laxus together as the two of them go at it. It uses a lighter brown for the background that makes it all feel much lighter in atmosphere. The back of the keepcase is the same as the slipcover but again it uses the lighter tone which really works well. Both have their advantage though and each works. The release does have a reversible cover where the left side features a breakdown of episode numbers and titles included in the set while the right side has a full length shot of Wendy in with a big smile and bright look about her that’s appealing.
The menu design for this release is pretty nice as it uses the overall framing theme that we saw from the cover, with some bright colors, and wraps it around the whole menu while using clips from action and character sequences throughout the majority of it. The bottom has the navigation strip which comes up during the pop-up sequence and it uses larger characters that are done in similar manner to the logo, tying it all together rather well. While I’m not a fan of full clips being used as menus, this one at least brings in some good elements from the logo and series design to work it. The layout is quick and easy to navigate and submenus load quickly, though the discs did not read our players language presets.
The extras for this set mirror what we got on previous editions where there were a couple of episode commentary tracks by the English language production team that are fun to listen to as well as the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The sixth set of the Fairy Tail series works through the Oracion Seis arc, which kicked off in the previous set and does come to a conclusion here. The story had a lot to offer overall in the previous set as it introduced us to some ancient magic from four hundred years ago that could flip someones alignment in essence, which would allow for a group of people to change those from the dark to light and vice versa. Of course, with it being such a powerful magic, there has to be a counterbalance to it and that definitely makes things more complicated overall, especially as the whole thing starts to turn into more of a personal goal rather than something worthy, even through the eyes of those of the dark. The show built up some big ideas with what it wanted to do, but it kept it from sprawling too much and involving too many guilds and characters, instead just giving us the Fairy Tail crew and a small nod from Cait Shelter.
One of the downsides for me was that as the Oracion Seis group was introduced, along with Wendy and Charle from Cait Shelter, it felt like we just got a lot of characters with fantastical powers thrown at us without a chance to really develop anything and to make it personal. That largely carries through with this set as well as it we get another eight episodes or so of the story and it’s a lot of fighting between the two sides, albeit one that takes each down significantly along the way along with the larger threat of the Nirvana spell itself which is operating on its own and will cause a significant issue for the world should it activate. There’s few characters to really latch onto of interest here, but the one that manages to stand out if only because of the larger dual role is that of Brain, the ostensible leader of the Oracion Seis. As each of the members were defeated, a line disappeared from his face which was an easy portent of either bad things to come or a real draw down of hostilities.
Of course, it was just a bad sign. As it turns out, there’s a dual personality within Brain as it was the outer layer that was controlling the far more malevolent personality inside called Zero. Brain actually worked the idea to seal Zero in this way with everyone else, figuring that nobody would take down everyone at the same time and that would keep Zero safely tucked away. Zero is a fare more proactive and dangerous personality and he’s manipulated the situation well as he’s now in control of the Nirvana spell device and has layed it with a series of lachima’s that must be defeated at the same time in order to stop it from activating. We do get a bit more detail about the Nirvana spell, its origins and that of the Nirvits themselves that have been caretakers of the magic for centuries, but it’s all pretty much simple exposition material rather than something that truly draws you in and makes you care about the people involved. Since it deals with a time centuries before that most of the cast here has little interest in, it becomes obvious that it’s all about the present.
And that does give us some good fighting material here as it largely comes down to a fight between Zero and Natsu as the others try to assist as best as they can considering their condition. Natsu still hasn’t won me over with his fighting ability or tactics when he gets going, but what works here with the way you know they’ll defeat him is that it involves Jellal getting to work with him by gifting him an immense amount of power in exchange for Natsu taking on some knowledge of Jellal’s sins. The two have had an adversarial relationship for so long for obvious reasons, but there’s a solid bonding that’s built from this and it plays out well in the epilogue segment where we see how the world has change in the face of events, with a New Council surfacing and Jellal – memoryless as he is – having to be held accountable for his past actions. Fairy Tail as a guild is definitely solid here and it’s good to see how well they take care of those that they feel attuned to.
While the series could have gone for an easy couple of standalone episodes after that, we instead get a new short arc that runs through the remainder of this collection. This one ties a bit to Natsu’s past when he was wandering the world as a child and trying to do good things and ended up causing trouble, which we see from Gray’s point of view. This arc introduces us to Daphne, a young woman who has crafted a pseudo-dragon that requires the power of someone like Natsu to run it. Amusingly, Gray has thrown his lot in with her for reasons that are later made clear, but mostly it’s all just to manipulate Natsu into fixing a problem he created years ago and to help others that were caught up in all of it as well. The arc isn’t anything deep, but it has a certain kind of fun to it that works well since it’s almost all Fairy Tail guild characters and Daphne rather than an array of opponents. And with Gray seemingly switching sides for awhile, the adversarial approach he and Natsu have with each other gets to be a lot of fun to see how it plays out and confuses others.
Fairy Tail has a lot of things going on in this set and it mostly works well, though some of the first arc could learn from the second one in keeping things tighter and more controlled. I like the arc overall since it plays to my old tabletop roleplaying days where you could magically change someones alignment and mess with them, and the idea here is sound in flipping guilds to achieve a larger goal, but it’s the kind of arc that doesn’t go as big as it should but also feels too convoluted and busy with the cast that it does use. Honestly, this kind of arc is something that should run a couple dozen episodes with a lot more meat to it but is instead just shorter here and missing out on the impact. Which is why I probably liked the second arc here more since it’s shorter, more personal and still goes big in a good way and has fun with it all. I’m still mixed on Fairy Tail overall, and this set is one of those reasons why.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary Tracks, Clean Openings, Clean Closings
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.