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Fairy Tail Part 8 Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Fairy Tail Part 8
Fairy Tail Part 8
The fight to save everyone means radically changing the world of Edolas.

What They Say:
The guild is trapped in a parallel world run by an insane king determined to steal every last drop of magic power from Fairy Tail. Spells start flying as the wizards square off against the fiercest warriors of the royal army, humans rebel against cats, and Erza goes head-to-head with her evil doppelganger in a battle that lays waste to an entire city.

When the power-hungry monarch harnesses the power of the Dragon Slayers, he ignites all-out war. But his ambition doesn’t stop there: once Natsu and his teammates are out of the picture, he’s heading to the Fiore Kingdom to steal all of its magic as well. Fairy Tail’s actions will decide the future of two worlds, but they’ll be lucky if they can save even one of them.

The fate of two worlds is in their hands.

Contains episodes 85-96.

The Review:
Audio:
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.

Video:
Originally airing in 2011, 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.

Packaging:
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 Erza vs Erza here as the two versions of the character fight it out. 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 really cute shot of Lucy in her Edolas version as well as a costumed version of the Earth Land Lucy.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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)
With the entire last set covering the Edolas arc and a bit of the previous one as well, we’re definitely in one of the lengthier arcs for Fairy Tail with this storyline. The series is one that has had a number of smaller arcs along the way and a lot of standalone episodes, but they’ve largely managed to handle this bigger storyline in a good way without feeling like it’s too much, especially in marathon form. With this set of twelve episodes, which takes us up through episode ninety-six of the series, we finally get the conclusion of it, but it’s going to take the whole set. But what it does is cover a good bit of material and provides for some major changes in Edolas but also some really interesting fallout back in Earth Land when everyone returns, which makes for a pretty nice little epilogue episode. Those can be hit or miss but they do it pretty right here.

So much of what’s come before this set has been setup and exploration, and minor exposition, which has showcased the world pretty nicely. We’ve gotten some of the doppleganger effect moments and the amusement for some of them in how different yet similar they are, especially with Gajeel. And we also got the larger plan that’s going on with the human King in how the world works. But that starts to change more here as we learn that his true, larger goal is one that involves overthrowing the rule of the Exceeds. Which considering the way that events have played out in Edolas overall, it certainly makes sense that they’d want to find a way to do it. The amusing and scary way is that they want to take the massive lacrima that’s been created through the anima that brought so many of the Fairy Tail members to this world and essentially throw it at the Exceed capital where their Queen is. Thus destroying their overlords and also causing an explosion that will restore magic to the world that will help them survive. It makes sense except for the sheer amount of death it will cause.

So naturally, everyone has to figure out a way to stop it as they get the information out. And that means forward movement again after a lot of exploring of the world and the various character situations that come from it. It’s no surprise that Lucy is the initial real catalyst as she learns about it and ends up freeing Natsu, Gray and Happy so they can start moving again, particularly when the knowledge comes down that there is a way to free the Fairy Tail members from the lacrima and it requires Natsu. The trio is always fun to watch as they get moving but it also has a nice little bit of additional fun in that Erza arrives amid their escape plan, which isn’t smooth, and this starts the long fight between Erza and Edolas Erza as the two just seem to clash against each other easily. They have a few fight sequences across the twelve episodes, often ending in draws as one might expect, but they approach each other in different ways which keeps it fresh and enjoyable each time they do clash.

Fairy Tail admittedly plays things in a straightforward way in that as the action escalates and more forces get involved and the sides laid out in a clear and simplistic way, it does manage to be a lot of fun. The Exceeds have a reveal about their true nature that the majority of them did not know and the fight is one that ends up causing sides to change a bit as you have so many that don’t want to be associated with such a wholesale slaughter, especially when the Fairy Tail crew do their best to push back and you get a few defectors from the human side as well, made all the more interesting with Jellal getting involved as the long lost prince that has returned and is trying to stop the kingdom from becoming involved in such a tragedy. The build up for it all is natural if predictable and the way it plays out hits all the expected notes. But it does have its fun as you get Natsu of all people coming up with a way to try and heal all wounds and allow this world, which is about to truly go through a seismic social and economic as well as political shift because of what’s happened, and to find a way to ease the pain of it a little. It shows a good side of Natsu, something that he sees instinctively, and it’s fun to watch how that all plays out and as everyone realizes the truth of it.

One area the show kind of surprised me is that when all the magic based people from Earth Land end up getting sucked up through the anima that will take them back to their world, the Edolas version of Lisanna ended up getting sucked up along as well. This is all neatly explained as we learn that she’s actually the real Fairy Tail version and not an Edolas version, which upends part of her death from before which was kind of dramatic and a nice character piece for others to work off of. Her story since her death is explored and it’s kept to a short flashback piece overall, but it allows her to get back to the real world and provide some real changes for others, particularly her siblings and potentially how it’ll impact others as it’s explored. I’m certainly not against her coming back, but it feels like a weird change to some established character dynamics and motivations that leaves me wondering what the long term impact will be.

In Summary:
I’ve largely enjoyed this whole Edolas storyline with the way we get alternate versions of familiar characters. There’s always some great quirks to work with and this arc has definitely done that as we’ve gotten familiar but lightly twisted characters. But beyond that, we also got some really fun little reveals here such as what the Exceeds really are, which fills us in on Happy and Charle and clears up her mission, and we also get some parentage bits teased for them, though the viewer obviously knows more. Edolas is open for more stories in the future to be sure, but everything is wrapped up nice and tight here, Fairy Tail style, and it leaves me with a very positive feeling about the show overall. I continue to like the characters, the quirks of it all and the general fun that the series presents and that it really doesn’t try to be anything but what it is, no false depth or other things to try and be something thoughtful. It’s just good fun and it does it well. This set is no exception.

Features:
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: February 4th, 2014
MSRP: $54.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.

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