What They Say:
In Fairy Tail part 20, when a prestigious client requests the assistance of both Natsu and Gray, the boys momentarily set aside their differences and head to Sun Village – a city entombed by malevolent ice magic. Their investigation into the incident comes to a screeching halt when treasure hunters from the Sylph Labyrinth guild show up to stand in their way. As the wizards go toe to toe with the thieving trio, the battle quickly becomes the least of their worries—one by one the wizards are being transformed into adorable, child-sized versions of themselves! How can they hope to restore the village’s eternal flame if they can’t even fit into their armor?!
Meanwhile, dark forces are at work behind the scenes. Another guild is on the move, and they’ve set their sights on total domination of the magical world. Will Fairy Tail be able to rise to meet their challenge? Find out in Fairy Tail Part 20!
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 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes for this set are spread across two discs with nine 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. 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 very welcome return to the core cast this time with Lucy, Natsu, and Happy together, all with big smiles and energy that’s definitely uplifting. 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, though this one is a bit more stylized and more video game-like..
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 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 clip that looks at the Fairy Tail guild itself. .
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As we get closer to the end of the series, I believe there will be three more sets of this that will bring us up to date, Fairy Tail is once again ready to move us toward a big arc. After getting a lot of smaller material previously with a range of one-off or small arc stories, going into something bigger is generally where Fairy Tail shines the most. I’m still at a kind of weird state when it comes to this series because it adheres so much to old school style storytelling with a kind of lightness and looseness about it that it keeps me from really investing heavily in the characters. I like the cast, especially the core characters, but we’ve seen the way that serious events are glossed over and impactful moments minimized, and while that is fairly standard for the genre, you kind of hope for a bit more from a property that’s running as long and passionately as this.
With this set, we get some of the teaser and setup information with the first seven episodes that largely has a self-contained story, and then four episodes of prologue for the Tartaros Chapter before digging into the first two actual episodes of it. Considering that storyline runs until the series end at episode 265, there’s a lot of big material coming. With the first half of this set, the core group sign up for a new mission that involves them meeting with Warrod – after a little bathhouse time that brings Flare into the show once again after the Magic Games. Warrod, the Wizard Saint, is looking to hire the group to head to Sun Village where the home of giants has been frozen over. There’s something dark and mysterious going on here and he needs the powers of both Natsu and Gray for this one even though it seems like the easy and obvious angle is for Natsu to just melt things. Naturally, it has to be a bit more complicated than that.
While we get plenty of fun little character dynamics, it doesn’t take long for the creepy side of things to turn to action as there are others amid the frozen village for different reasons. One group is made up of some treasure hunters that are looking for valuables to acquire for their guild (hey, non-magic guilds!) and the other are some opponents from past arcs that are looking to get a little revenge. That largely comes in the form of Minerva as she’s looking to take out Erza. She’s actually come up with a creative cheat in order to take down this superior opponent by working with Doriate, whose abilities to turn people into younger versions of themselves and their abilities essentially means Minerva will fight the child version of Erza. If your goal is to win by any means, it certainly works. But it really means Minerva has no honor.
And Erza now has no chest, which is what really sets her off more than anything else. Hurray, boob gags.
This arc is largely pretty fun because we get Natsu and Gray turned young as well as they deal with Doriate at different times and their abilities are different – and their clothes continue to fall off as well, which has its own charm. There really aren’t any surprises with how it unfolds, but it’s a good back and forth and it has Gray working to understand his own abilities a bit more in order to take out Doriate. Lucy and Wendy’s story doesn’t get all that much attention amid this as they’re mostly dealing with the treasure hunters, but it does expand on them a touch and it lets Lucy showcase more of her astrological abilities after things got a nice little boost in the recent arc that had her going to their realm to save them. It doesn’t really reference it all that much considering what was done, something that also frustrates me with the series, but Lucy’s confidence (and short shorts) make it enjoyable to watch along with Wendy’s general enthusiasm.
When the show shifts to the Tartaros arc, which as we said is going to run for the next nearly thirty episodes or so, Fairy Tail sets up some big things but keeps it simple at the same time. The dynamic of the landscape is changed by a faction that’s from a mysterious place known as Tartaros ends up eliminating the Magic Council, who was just debating that they’ve taken too long to take up this issue and do something with it. What’s interesting is that outside of one person in the area at the time, the council is taken out entirely. And by taken out, we mean killed, because that’s the goal of this group. They’re making a big play with strong powers that are intent on dealing with past and present council members that may or may not be connected to an ultimate power kind of weapon that they have in case of dire emergencies. If they can eliminate access to that, they can run roughshod over the world as a whole. So, simple plan that kicks off with the necessary item of eliminating your biggest threat. It’s actually a nice approach.
As can be expected, a lot of what we get are the basic kinds of setups where the opponents start coming into focus, such as Jackal and his very intense ways of taking down people, all while the Fairy Tail guild takes the lead in figuring out what’s going on. It’s a busy and not quite chaotic but close kind of beginning because they realize there are a lot of people in the mix that are in danger with former council members being targeted and that spreads the cast out for a bit. We do get to focus on the usual core cast of characters but we also get to see others step up in battles, such as Laxus who ends up being taken down hard after trying to save an entire area of people. It’s actually interesting how much gets set up here in this part of the arc considering how much more is ahead, which leaves me more curious as to what twists are ahead as what we get here can’t be the sum total of it with just fighting going forward. Or can it?
Fairy Tail has a fairly active set here with all that it wants to accomplish as it’s all connected with the Tartaros arc. The first half has some fun smaller material that leads into it as the whole Sun village with the giants has its cuteness and light aspects before it gets more serious with the end of the Magic Council and its membership. There are a lot of pieces in play as we see the cast that’s being drawn into it – and waiting to see which far flung characters may end up in it along the way, but for the most part what we have is that opening salvo of a big arc. It sets things where they need to be and I’m curious as to how big it may actually go since that’s often been an area that the show falls short with.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Guild Pride: Fairy Tail, Episode Commentaries, Textless Opening, Textless Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Running Time: 325 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.