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Fairy Tail Collection 3 Anime DVD/BD Review

9 min read

Fairy Tail Collection 3 CoverNever underestimate a little girl when she’s determined to right her wrongs. And never underestimate a Dragon Slayer!

What They Say:
The magical mayhem reaches a whole new level as the members of Fairy Tail welcome new friends to the guild – and embark on high-flying adventures! When six sorcerers seek to unleash a devastating spell, Natsu and the gang join forces with a colorful cast of unlikely allies to save the world from everlasting darkness. Up next, the surprising resurrection of the mastermind who destroyed the Magic Council sparks a maelstrom of madness! Then the action gets even wilder when Team Natsu goes head-to-head with the Oración Seis – and a trip to see a girl about a dragon could spell doom for Magnolia! Can the wizards overcome the odds and save the day – or will they go down in flames!?

The Review:
Audio:
The glorious action of this collection’s soundtrack on the DVD are transmitted via Dolby Stereo 2.0 for the Japanese with a subtitle track and Dolby Surround Sound 5.1 for English. On the Blu-ray, they use Dolby TrueHD 2.0 for the Japanese with a subtitle track and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for the English version. Either way is optimised for the Japanese language versions so that you can truly enjoy every magical explosion, grunt and crash during the battles when Natsu gets carried away in his enthusiasm to try to fight for justice. However, when you try to listen to the English versions, this is when you encounter problems.

Since the series is broadcast from TV Tokyo in Dolby Stereo 2.0, this also means that all of the special effects and music are in this same format. FUNimation uses these same tracks for their 5.1 English versions, but they were not remastered for the higher audio standard. As such, while the language track is recorded in a better quality, the background sounds and musical overlays are still in the lower tonal ranges. While they tried to compensate for this discrepancy by increasing the volume of those tracks, if you compare the languages by switching settings, you can clearly hear that the former is better since the 5.1 versions’ sound effects, music and sometimes even the voices are muffled. This is a shame if you wish to watch the series in English, but if you are an audiophile, the original Japanese is a better choice in this venue since everything is well balanced. You just need to get used to reading your anime.

Packaging:
This disk combination is enclosed within a standard Blu-ray case, then sheathed within a slipcover which repeats the main characters on both, which is pretty normal for FUNimation. But they diverted from the norm by designing both covers to appear as a grimoire, with a decorative book binding and spine with Erza and Gray guarding the bottom. The disks are then leafed within the box to appear as pages: the DVDs have Wendy, Gray, Lucy and Erza emblazed on the disks in orange while Happy and Charle are repeated on the Blu-rays in blue with the Fairy Tail guild seal in the background. This theme would have worked if they had chosen a different colour for the latter set since Happy is blue himself! You can barely recognise him since they shaded the details and he blends into the background; Charle is hardly noticeable either.

Menu:
The menus are a plain stone background with one of the characters colourfully displayed on the left and the regular selections on the right. Although FUNimation may have tried to make it more fanciful by using the Fairy Tail guild seal as the cursor, it really doesn’t add much to the design.

Extras:
The extras on the disk should have been used to give some biography for the cast. Even though most people who are watching this series will already know them, it wouldn’t have been too much trouble to re-introduce the characters to new viewers. But instead, FUNimation decided to only to show textless opening & closing animations, select episode commentaries by the English voice actors and some trailers for their other acquisitions. Extras are supposed to add to the content of a disk, not subtract from it by just tacking on non-essential ubiquitous materials.

Video:
The video quality of this series is what makes it a step above the rest. The full range of the widescreen format is effectively used to display the dynamic fight scenes ranging from the forests of the Worth Woodland to the ancient city of Nirvana. Every aspect of the visual display area is used to animate the characters as they zip from one side of the screen to the other: the frenetic frenzy of Natsu’s fiery attacks, Lucy’s crazy Celestial Spirits and Gray’s chillingly icy barrages. While they are amazing in the DVD 480p format, for some reason, FUNimation decided to use a SD remaster for the Blu-ray (as they clearly state on the back of the case).

This is very strange since TV Tokyo broadcasts in an 1080i video format and the episodes would be available in that standard. And since the Blu-ray can store five times more than the DVD (25gb versus 4.7gb), storage should have not been a problem; however, the number of disks for each version is the same at four a piece. This could have been a plausible excuse for the smaller set releases, but this is a collection set or double the number of episodes, so they should have had plenty of time to obtain the HD formats. There is not much of a noticeable difference with the pseudo high definition, but it would have been nice to see the real thing. Why waste time in remastering inferior versions when FUNimation could have just as easily used the better quality?

Packaging:
This  disc combination is enclosed within a standard Blu-ray case, then sheathed within a slipcover which repeats the main characters on both, which is pretty normal for FUNimation. But they diverted from the norm by designing both covers to appear as a grimoire, with a decorative book binding and spine with Erza and Gray guarding the bottom. The disks are then leafed within the box to appear as pages: the DVDs have Wendy, Gray, Lucy and Erza emblazed on the disks in orange while Happy and Charle are repeated on the Blu-rays in blue with the Fairy Tail guild seal in the background. This theme would have worked if they had chosen a different colour for the latter set since Happy is blue himself! You can barely recognise him since they shaded the details and he blends into the background; Charle is hardly noticeable either.

Menu:
The menus are a plain stone background with one of the characters colourfully displayed on the left and the regular selections on the right. Although FUNimation may have tried to make it more fanciful by using the Fairy Tail guild seal as the cursor, it really doesn’t add much to the design.

Extras:
The extras on the disk should have been used to give some biography for the cast. Even though most people who are watching this series will already know them, it wouldn’t have been too much trouble to re-introduce the characters to new viewers. But instead, FUNimation decided to only to show textless opening & closing animations, select episode commentaries by the English voice actors and some trailers for their other acquisitions. Extras are supposed to add to the content of a disk, not subtract from it by just tacking on non-essential ubiquitous materials.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

This collection of Fairy Tail episodes revolves around the Oración Seis story arc, which is enclosed within episodes 49-72.

After the expulsion of Laxus, the team soon learns that dark guilds have been spreading their influence around the globe with the evil of Oración Seis being the most influential. After a brief explanation of their breakdown by Mirajane, Master Makarov announces that a select group of light guilds have decided to form their own Allied Forces to take them down, comprised of Fairy Tail, Blue Pegasus, Lamia Scale and Cait Shelter. Each school is to send members to a rendezvous point so that the new team may discuss a strategy on how they may defeat this darkness and what will be the easiest method without sustaining any casualties.

All three of the established, well known guilds arrive without incident and as they bicker about past discretions, the final group enters, much to the amazement of the others: Cait Shelter has sent two members – a talking cat and a young girl. This is supposed to be a battle council, whose soul purpose is to defeat what is supposed to be the strongest of the dark guilds, and yet they send two supposedly helpless pupils? The newest people introduce themselves as Charle and Wendy Marvel; however, this little one is not the picture of confidence as she is constantly apologising for over imagined mistakes and her lack of skill.

How are the Allied Forces supposed to defeat Oración Seis with a ragtag bunch of motley misfits? Is bad enough that they do not trust each other, but as soon as Natsu gets frustrated by their inaction and takes off, they unfortunately run into the object of their mission – and are soundly trounced. But the worst part is that Erza has been poisoned, Wendy has been kidnapped and the only one who can cure Titania of the toxin is the missing girl! Now that their goal seems out of reach, what can they do now? Of course, the Salamander has the answer: go after Wendy so that they can save Erza. But can it be that simple? Only one way to find out … charge in with both feet and hope that you land on your feet!

In Summary:
How can you not love Fairy Tail? You have over the top action, crazy characters, plenty of fan service and massive explosions that no one is willing to admit is their fault! And to make matters even better, the stories are compelling and draw the viewer into an amazing world of magic and fantastical creatures that make other fantasy anime seem bland in comparison! And did I mention the lovable characters? Everyone has their favourite and in this collection we are introduced to the last ones of the main cast – Wendy Marvel and her companion Charle. You have to wonder which one is the human and which one is the cat; Charle is the more mature and stable of the two and yet, Wendy is the timid and immediately engendering as if wanting to pick her up and reassure her that she will not come to harm, in other words, pet her head! How will this pair ever make it in Fairy Tail … only time will tell.

Of course, we cannot forget the comedy which offsets the shear violence, that is a trademark of this series, and this story arc is no exception. The funniest situation is probably the interaction of Erza and Ichiya, the leader of the Blue Pegasus group – his constant sniffing of her parfum; since her stoic character is so well established as being one of the strongest of Fairy Tail, her cringing of just sensing his presence and panicking is riotous! Who would have guessed that the woman named Titania had such a weakness?

And yet, everything falls in place when these elements are incorporated into the story of Nirvana and the truth behind this menacing power. To think that the mystery behind Cait Shelter somehow interests Oración Seis is what makes Fairy Tail such a great series! This show proves that you can have such a crazy cast and however unlikely, bring genuine emotion to the viewer. The ending and the solution to Wendy’s origins will bring a tear to your eye – no matter how much you may try to suppress it, so get those tissues ready!

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Episode Commentaries, Textless Opening Song & Closing Song & Trailers

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
MSRP: $54.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sharp LC-42LB261U 42” LED HDTV and Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray player connected by HDMI

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