The hunt for the Infernal Clock takes some dangerous turns.
What They Say:
Using a book from the Heartfilia library as a guide, the members of Fairy Tail split up to track down pieces of the Infinity Clock—a legendary enchanted item that could have the power to bring ruin to the entire world. Standing in their way is a secret order of wizards known as the Legion Platoon, who don’t trust the magic time bomb in the hands of the notoriously destructive guild. As the clock ticks closer to doomsday, an old enemy—Oración Seis—is reborn in a terrifyingly powerful new form. This dark guild has its own plans for the magical timepiece, and if Fairy Tail and the Legion Platoon can’t stop them from using the catastrophic clock, time could be up for the Fiore Kingdom.
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 2012, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The eleven episodes for this set are spread across two discs with nine on the first and two 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, but it also has a lot of still and quiet scenes where it drops down to the 5 mbps 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. 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 the rare standalone image of a character with just Gray here – which makes us wonder where Juvia is!The back of the slipcover is the same as the keepcase cover, though darker, as it shows off the image of Wendy and Charle together looking all cute and happy 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. 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 as well as a really nice relaxed shot of Erza in her usual outfit and armor with a nice expression to her face.
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. We also get an interesting and welcome extra this time around with a video commentary track from a few of the extras for one of the episodes. Similar to past uses of this format, it shifts back and forth over the course of it with the animation in the small window and the live action piece, but overall it’s just fun to see the actors in the booth talking about the show instead of just listening to it since they’re nicely animated themselves and the facial expressions are fun to read.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Fairy Tail has had some good stuff going on in general as of late with its arcs, especially as we had a lot of fun overall with the Edolas material and the time understanding what the Exceeds are and the changes since a lot of people from that side came to this side. We also had some potentially good stuff with the seven year gap as the main guild found themselves stuck in time for that long, but the show has really dealt with it in a very weak way of making it interesting in seeing the real fallout from it. We’ve mostly just got some minor angst from Lucy over the loss of her father – and it felt like she was more upset about her clothes and apartment. But the time dealing with that and her sister Michelle did have its moments as Lucy coped with the loss of her father a bit.
This set spends its time getting us to Lucy’s old house, which hasn’t sold after all this time, and we see that it’s pretty much immaculate. There are some cute moments as they go through the house and we see some of how she and Michelle deal with each other, but the main storyline does start to kick into gear when they search the library and Lucy finds the Key to the Starry Heavens book. This tells the tale of the Infinity Clock and what it can do, while Lucy relates that it was her most favorite book as a kid. So much so that she researched all the places the child in the book went to and figured out that they were all real. Which, in turn, has her believing that the pieces of the clock that the girl searched for may really be in those locations. That has everyone splitting into different groups to go and find the pieces to bring the clock together.
With the unsettled feeling they all have about the state of the world in general, and knowing that the Infinity Clock when put together could bring chaos to the world, the idea of getting it and keeping it properly taken care of at the Guild makes a lot of sense. It gives them plenty of motivation and something to do after all that had happened. Of course, there are going to be challenges along the way as well, namely in the form of the Legion Platoon. This group is operating in the service of the archbishop of Zentropia, which has a connection to the Infinity Clock as well that’s slowly and lightly discovered over the course of the arc in these episodes. The church and what’s going on there has its own path as there’s a sense that one of the upper level members is working towards his own purpose and there are rewritten histories from the past that indicate that the church may have acted in bad faith for quite a long time.
But what it all really means is that we have a number of different characters out gunning for Fairy Tail. This is kind of where the series succeeds in a way. I enjoy the show but it’s not one that really gets into its characters and makes them into something more. It’s a comedy-adventure series with some light trappings of characters that you sometimes get a little more about. When it shifts to the adventure part, with lots of comedy mixed in, it just runs with it in a big way which proves to be a lot of fun. We get a lot of that throughout the majority of this set as we see them split and travel while having to cope with the various Legion Platoon guys out there, which are their own comedy team members themselves, from a smart-looking Exceed to a goofy warrior that peppers every sentence with “actually” and “yeah.” And he’s named Dan Straight no less, which makes him even harder to take seriously.
What helps is that the fights aren’t spread across the whole set here for each of the individual breakdowns. It instead opts to spend a couple of episodes with a couple of pairings and then delves into the others with some light nods to those not in favor at the moment. That keeps the fights from feeling like they never finish and it lets us focus more on the dynamics of each particular fight. Which is good, since we get one with a Legion man named Biyo who is able to absorb magic and the fun of seeing Lily going up against another Exceed that uses his smarts to outwit him. Naturally, the show does get more intense as it goes on as we see the pieces collected, the quirks of the individual groups that are at play and an expansion on what’s going on at Zentropia as there’s a quiet coup that’s beginning against the archbishop. All of it works well under the pretext that something is wrong with the world and the Infinity Clock’s rediscovery into the world is a portent of much worse things to come.
While the trappings of this story aren’t as interesting as some of the recent ones we’ve seen, the series does what it does best here with the eleven episodes we get. It’s a quick moving work with a lot of action as the Fairy Tail Guild members do their best to find the pieces, try and understanding the hidden clues of the book and struggle with their own issues while fighting against a surprisingly good series of opponents in the Legion Platoon. The same flaws are here as well in that it’s all very superficial when it comes to the characters themselves and our new opponents don’t exactly have a lot of depth themselves. The Zentropia aspect is interesting, but like the Infinity Clock, it’s never fully developed in a way that really gets you behind it completely. You know things will move past this and on to the next, so there’s no real weight to it. That said, the best parts continue to be the fight sequences and there’s no disappointments here when it comes to that.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary Tracks, Clean Openings, Clean Closings, Todd Haberkorn at Otakon
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.