What They Say:
With the battle of Tartaros still raging on, the wizards of Fairy Tail may have finally met their match. The threat of three thousand Faces hangs over them, and the power of the Demon Gates takes their breath away when they reveal their true Etherious Forms. Right when things begin to look up, an even bigger threat appears Acnologia! Beaten and exhausted, can the wizards find the strength to take on Tartaros and this monstrous dragon? When the fire inside Natsu erupts, he will have a startling and unexpected reunion. But the time for catching up and seeking answers will have to wait E.N.D. and the ready-to-detonate Faces are moments from destroying the magical world as they know it!
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 another standard character shot that doesn’t relate much to the content of this set. 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. We also get a new in the booth segment that’s fun for fans of the dub cast.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this set we get to the end of the main series for Fairy Tail as what came afterward was the Fairy Tail Zero adaptation, which takes us back a century to see the founding of the guild. That ran for a full cour and the home video release will bring it all out at once. What that leaves us here with is the end of the Tartaros arc and all that it entails, which means it’s essentially thirteen episodes of action, a little cleanup at the end, and a hint of what’s to come in the future. So, fairly standard when you get down to it but it’s also the weaker side of an arc for me. As I’ve seen with past arcs, I like the startup and introductory phase and I like standalone episodes, but once an arc is underway it’s just fighting and more fighting.
And that’s what this set is. With the main thrust of the arc at this point being the desire to bring an end to magic in the world, unseal E.N.D. itself, and then move things forward with the power of Zeref, it’s your standard end of the world arc that the Fairy Tail guild has to be able to stand up against. The real threat comes out clearer about halfway through this set so you do get a firm handle on things with what it’s doing, but the threat never really feels like it’s going to be followed through on because of the nature of this property. While there are some decent character moments, such as Natsu dealing with the dragons and the actual end fight with Ancologia, there are just so many ongoing fights that are one-off episodes or bleed a little from one to the next that it’s just a blur of action.
And that’s really the rub of the set. While we do get some nice things at the end that shows a trick or two with erasing memories and how all of this expansive action gets covered up – and a nod to another guild member that we weren’t aware of – everything is mostly wrapped up nice and neat. Well, outside of the copious amounts of destruction. That the guild comes into a position where it’s basically done and over with is a kind of downbeat ending and shifting the next arc with the flashback to how it was founded certainly raises the sense that a resurrection event is ahead of us is all too familiar. But the final minutes before the credits (there are post-credits material) are pretty grim in their own way with the secrets being kept, the lack of the core characters that really define the show having any truly big moments, and that just leaves you feeling kind of grim about the series overall. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
I like Fairy Tail. I really do. But the structure of the arcs in this series are some of the most basic things that are problematic with the genre. Where we’ve got a couple dozen episodes for this arc and the only real thing about it is that there’s a lot of fighting in it means there’s not much meat to what’s going on. I do like the creativity of the fights, though they sadly lack consistency in magic and abilities throughout the run as a whole, but it’s just such a long slugfest overall that any impact is lost long ago. This set has a couple of nice character moments if you find yourself still invested in the character side, as weakly treated as it is, but the bulk of this is just action upon action, a little sadness, and then a nod toward the final arc that adapts a side story of background. There’s a lot that this property has going for it but it’s also simply weighed down by its worst elements.
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: C-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 6th, 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.