A parallel Fairy Tail world? Sign us up.
What They Say:
When an unstoppable force descends upon Magnolia and Fairy Tail, the entire town is transported to Edolas, a world where magic is in short supply. There, a power-hungry kingdom plans on draining every last drop of magic from the captured guild – unless someone can stop them fast. As Natsu and the few left behind search for their friends, they discover a parallel plane where a tough-as-nails Lucy runs a bizarro version of Fairy Tail, and Erza is a ruthless enemy who hunts down rogue wizards.
Meanwhile, Carla and Happy stumble upon a cat-filled land where their shocking origins are revealed and a terrible betrayal comes to light. Will Natsu’s team be able to save the guild when they can’t even trust each other?
Contains episodes 73-84.
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 as we get Natsu and Natsu together. 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 decent shot of Happy and Charle together with their personalities definitely coming out.
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)
Fairy Tail did a lot in the last set as it not only closed out a big arc but it also brought in a small arc towards the end rather than do a bunch of small standalone episodes to pass the time. That worked out well since it didn’t feel like it was just killing time and instead wanted to do something a little more meaningful with the characters. That said, the first half of this set of episodes largely spends its time with standalone episodes but it manages to mostly be pretty fun. Which feels weird to say since I’ve had mixed feelings on the standalone pieces over the course of the past seventy or so episodes. And that mostly comes down to the fact that outside of the very core cast of characters, I haven’t found many of them interesting.
The standalones have some good things going on here, though it’s a rough start as it’s focused on doing a cherry blossom viewing event with everyone and it just takes most of the episode for everyone to get there and not everyone actually does. It’s rather relaxed and calm overall, but you have to like what Lucy has to go through in order to make it there and how they bring the whole event to her in the end. Similarly, we get a silly episode that’s full of nothing where there’s a twenty-four hour marathon of some sort that’s put into play where the losers get punished. This pits everyone for themselves for the most part and it’s definitely amusing to see how they all use their abilities at times to gain some advantage. But it also plays to the slow and steady wins the race as we get to see how Happy manages to just plug away at it and win it all, which adds a lot of great little bits of humor. You know it’s going to go that route from early on but it’s still cute to see it all come together like that.
While we do get an interesting episode when GIidarts arrives and come to understand how some of the larger quests work that can be ten years or a hundred years, it’s mostly just important in a way because it reminds us of Natsu’s quest to find the red dragon, something that Gildarts talks about a bit with a different dragon he encountered on his mission. The episode is also important because it shows us more of Natsu’s younger days through which he’s connected to Gildarts and it brings Lisanna back to the surface, since he wasn’t aware she died two years ago. It’s a bit somber but it’s rather good to have because it’s an element that could have been forgotten over the last couple of arcs and standalones since it’s been dealing with other things. And that’ll be an important part in where the show goes next with its main arc that will continue into the next set.
While the arc is a little awkward to start, in essence we learn that the character of Mystogan has been wandering around for quite awhile now and has been stopping the Anima attacks that have been hitting the world. But a significant one that he can’t stop is about to hit Magnolia and he tries to warn Wendy away, though it helps only so much. Through some easy quirks that can happen in a show like this, the whole town and Fairy Tail itself get sucked up into a parallel world called Edolas and thrown into a lacrima that keeps everyone frozen. Everything is pretty much lost with this happening since some of the most powerful wizards of the world are caught up in it and unable to do anything about it. But we get the small saving grace in that Wendy and Natsu missed being caught in it along with Happy and Charle. And even more surprising is that Charle seems to understand what happened.
The crux of the arc is actually pretty interesting in a way as we’re introduced to the parallel world of Edolas where magic power is in short supply so they’re sucking it up from this world instead. With the Fairy Tail four heading over to try and get everyone back, we start to see more of the differences and similarities between the worlds. It’s not like everyone is flipped in personality when we see the Edolas Fairy Tail gang or anything, but there are some amusing changes and the world itself has its own issues because of the lack of magic that impacts them. But the most interesting point is learning the true nature of Charle and Happy, though only Charle seems to have her memories coming back. With them being advance scouts for Edolas without knowing it, it calls into question a lot of the things they’ve done but also makes them less trustworthy while in the midst of trying to rescue everyone. It brings in some pretty decent bits as we see more of how Edolas works and the secrets behind it. It’s all rather predictable in the end though, but it takes us to a certain point so we can get more of it in the next set.
Fairy Tail continues to be a series that I like but hasn’t won me over in a really great way. It’s got some good characters and an anything can go kind of approach to the way the magic works that keeps it loose and free but also a little frustrating. With this set, we do get some cute episodes that standalone that made me smile and made it easy to segue back into the show after a break. Once it hit the larger arc with Edolas, it’s all pretty predictable overall but it does it nicely enough and with enough polish to make it fun and enjoyable while not feeling like they’re dragging it out too much. With the twelve episodes we get, it moves pretty fast and definitely keeps you entertained if you’ve enjoyed the show to this point. A little more background is coming into play and a nice expansion on the world, but you still don’t feel like the whole series is deeply thought out with longterm goals to be achieved.
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: December 10th, 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.