What They Say:
The fight against the Eclipsed Celestial Spirits continues! One by one Natsu and his friends seal the spirits away, but just when they think they’re ahead of the game, their true enemy is revealed and the real fight begins. Will the gang be able to save the spirits before it’s too late?
Of course, it’s never all work and no play for Fairy Tail. After the fighting subsides, our heroes make plenty of time for adventures in babysitting, transformation magic mayhem, and visiting other guilds as part of an exchange student program. Between adorable creatures falling from the sky, a shocking job only Laxus can handle, and a scent-obsessed zombie outbreak, there’s never a dull moment for the wizards of Fairy Tail!
Contains episodes 213-226.
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 2014, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The fourteen episodes for this set are spread across two discs with nine on the first and five 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. While character designs have changed slightly due to a studio change, the end result is a show that generally looks good but also manages its budget well. 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.
FUNimation continues to do things up well 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 a decent image of some of the other Guild folks that we’ve had over the last couple of arcs and while they’re decent pieces, it doesn’t provide for the same kind of enthusiasm and engagement that the core characters do. The back of the slipcover is the same as the keepcase cover as it shows off additional character artwork 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 and the black text on the gray background works pretty well. 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 some additional character artwork on the other side which almost looks photorealistic at first glance with how utterly beautiful it is.
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 release continue to be pretty nicely done overall, particularly for English language fans, as we get another cast commentary pieces for two episodes. There’s also the inclusion of the clean opening and closing sequences where appropriate, which this time around accounts for something like nine different sequences overall – which is welcome considering the way some of the endings get a little… unique. This one also gives us something else original as we get a new a pair of new clips that look at the Lamia Scale guild and the Blue Pegasus Guild. It’s not a bad thing per se, but it lacks something to really make it feel like its own piece..
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Fairy Tail bumps things up a bit with this set as it does on occasion where we get fourteen episodes this time around. There’s some dark and mysterious reason for the episode layouts as they go since we’ve had eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen episode count sets over the course of this run – this is the nineteenth set after all. Bringing us up to episode 226, moving firmly into the second series, Fairy Tail has definitely found its rhythm and knows what it is it wants to do. With it being almost six months since the previous set, it’s easy to get a little lost at first with a new set. But the beauty of Fairy Tail is that they really do make it accessible so you can drop in anytime and get your groove on within an episode or two at best.
The big thrust with this set is essentially the first six or so episodes as that brings to conclusion the Celestial Spirit arc that kicked off in the previous set. Lucy’s Celestial Spirits have always been a weird sort of catch-all that could be used in a range of ways, though it has its own Hiro Mashima internal logic and consistency, I’m sure. With them having gone rogue and the gang doing their best in trying to bring them back to their senses, there are a lot of pairing off moments that hit here which are fun to watch. But that’s part of what makes Fairy Tail enjoyable in that superficial way as we get the solid use of action on a regular basis with magic, silliness, and the character archetypes. For most of it, you could almost swap out what you’ve seen in past arcs involving the guild characters and it would play largely the same. But the fun is in seeing how they play and the smoothness of it all.
Where it has the potential to really have some fun is when they realize they’ve been in the wrong with their approach and they have to go to the Celestial Realm to stop the Spirit King there as he’s the one really causing all the trouble as part of a larger plan. While I really dug the near Miyazaki-like aspect of this, it was the fact that the gang was going into a prolonged battle there that made it exciting. We had that happen before and the gang lost seven years before coming out as though nothing had changed. And the show really, really, fell down hard in capitalizing on that. The potential to do it right this time around with a new leap forward had me interested in seeing of they’d really grab at it. Of course, they find a nice way to save face and cheat a little bit at the end. While the arc wraps up well enough in an all’s well that end’s well and we mostly hit a story reset button, it’s another moment of lost potential. At least they referenced their seven year time skip during this.
From there, the set moves into the kind of standard standalone material that we’ve seen before between arcs. These pieces can be fun, though with it being a mix of adapted and new stories it’s always hit or miss. Having not read the manga, there’s certainly appeal to be had in them because they’re new to me. And I can almost envision these being a lot more enjoyable on a weekly basis as opposed to marathoning them some afternoon. One episode has the gang dealing with a student exchange program with other guilds from the recent arc and that has them over at Lamia Scale where they find themselves in another world ending (single episode) crisis involving a new island that popped up with a poisonous spray about it. It’s filled with action but it balances it with some silliness as Natsu has a new friend in Kemo-Kemo, an unknown and never before catalogued creature that will, of course, play a pivotal role in stopping the island and bring heartache to Natsu with his sacrifice. Yes, it’s all telegraphed right from the first few frames but it works well because of how the characters actually sell it.
Laxus and his small group have a more serious episode involving a village that has a significant lightning problem and we get another episode that focuses on Natsu and Lucy watching a young girl and taking her on some jobs for a bit of money and adventure. Coming off of the Celestial Spirit arc, well, these kind of light and fluffy episodes serve a decent enough purposes. But they’re all worth it entirely for the last one here with Fairy Tail of the Dead Meeeeeen episode. This one has Ichiya coming up with a new “perfume” that ends up causing people impacted by it to have their faces changed to look exactly like him and then act as a viral carrier, focused only on infecting others. It’s utterly goofy but it’s damned hilarious watching as familiar faces take on his facial design and mannerisms, allowing the voice actors to run with it in cute and sometimes scary ways. Half a dozen mediocre standalone episodes may not be the price some want to pay for an episode like this, but I think it’s pretty worthwhile.
After over two hundred episodes, fans of Fairy Tail know what they’re getting. I continue to find the show charming but forgettable, which is something that you can definitely get into because not everything has to be this massive and sprawling complicated work. We used to get a lot more shows like this but they’re few and far between these days by comparison and that’s a shame. Fairy Tail serves us a solid back half of the Celestial Spirit arc here before it digs into the standalone material which will work better for some than others, especially depending on your favorite character. A big Juvia episode should delight most, though. For me, the final episode was the best and nearly makes the whole set worth it just for that episode alone. Another enjoyable romp sums it all up nicely.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode Commentaries, Guild Pride: Lamia Scale, Guild Pride: Blue Pegasus, Textless Songs
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: March 22nd, 2016
Running Time: 350 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.