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Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry Blu-ray Anime Review

7 min read

Fairy Tail Dragon Cry
A new threat arises with a decidedly dark twist.

What They Say:
In Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, in the Kingdom of Fiore lies a terrible weapon. Enter the Dragon Cry, a magical staff rumored to possess power capable of destroying the world. For years, it’s been safely guarded and kept away from those tempted by its power. But everything changes when a traitor named Zash manages to steal it away. Now, in the hands of Animus—the cruel ruler of the Kingdom of Stella—a plot begins to form with the fate of the world at their mercy.

Luckily, a simple recovery task is nothing for the wizards of Fairy Tail! Together, Natsu and his friends will go undercover to infiltrate Stella Kingdom in hopes of getting answers and restoring safety to the realm. But they’ll quickly find there’s more to this staff than the stories claim. What power really dwells within the Dragon Cry, and is the gang strong enough to fight ultimate destruction?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is quite good as we get the original Japanese language in 5.1 since it was a theatrical release as well as the English language dub, which gets the same treatment, both of which are encoded in Dolby TrueHD. The feature has a good mix overall as it works through the material as the action aspects of it are what really stands out. When the final battle, for example, plays out there are a lot of movement around the surround speakers. The bass even picks up nicely in these areas which is a nice change of pace. Dialogue is pretty well placed throughout as well which gives it some good depth at times since there are a few people on screen at any given time. The mix, in general, is a solid one for a film, though it may not stand out compared to some others, but it does it well and comes across clean and clear throughout without any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally in theaters in 2017, the transfer for this feature film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. While it holds to what we’ve seen in the TV series in terms of designs, the film bumps it up nicely here with detail, color quality and the level of fluid animation that definitely makes it higher quality. The look of the transfer captures it all very well here as the colors are rich and solid throughout, the level of detail in the designs and backgrounds is spot on and the very fluid and active areas come across beautifully. It’s a smooth looking and solid transfer that definitely makes it an engaging viewing experience. With just the feature and a handful of extras, there’s plenty of space to work with and it looks great.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two different discs for each format. The set comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork but has some nice foil aspects to it that gives it a bit more impact with the logo and some other details, allowing it to stand out nicely in contrast to the more flat form of the key visual with the case artwork itself. The back cover uses the same design as the TV series releases with some of the framing that it has but with the foil aspect it stands out beautifully and really is eye-catching with the shots used from the film. The summary of the premise is pretty good and the extras are clearly listed. We get a good technical grid that breaks down everything well with the two formats included. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover as the reverse side is just some background visual material that doesn’t register much through the case itself.

Extras:
The extras for this release are kept simple with the Japanese trailers and promotional spots for the film.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Five years after the previous movie landed we ended up with a new Fairy Tail film just as the whole franchise was wrapping up, both in anime and manga form. While I’ve long enjoyed the Fairy Tail property it’s one I’ve regularly said is a superficial enjoyment because there’s little weight to the show. It’s fun and breezy but it avoids doing anything serious or lasting in the main run and that has left side projects like the films to operate as most anime films do for long-running properties; a chance for a bigger budget bit of fun without having it be an overly long arc. This essentially brings us about four episodes worth of material which is a short and tight storyline for the Fairy Tail style of storytelling and that is, largely a plus.

The premise is a bit convoluted but we essentially get the Dragon Cry staff stolen from Fiore by Zash Caine. Zash is able to secure it along with the help of Sonya and the Three Stars unit that he works with as his muscle. There’s the usual pulling back from getting too serious when the fights get underway as the Three Stars gang can’t kill anyone as it would upset Sonya too much and Zash doesn’t want that to happen – and nobody wants to cross Zash. There’s some fun back and forth as the movie goes on with how the staff is stolen, the mission to get it out of Zash’s hands with some old school thriller material, and then the eventual fight that brings everything to a head before doing what these films always do in largely resetting it all to zero. It’s par for the course and I’ve long accepted it which is why films like this aren’t really big attractions for me regardless of the franchise. It’s a chance to do something big and fun on the big screen often for a fairly limited theatrical run and I’m not going to throw cold water on that.

There are two things that definitely caught my attention with this film, the first of which is a spoiler. I liked the dynamic that we got between Zash and Sonya as it played out as it left you wondering what it was that really drives it. When we get the reveal later that they’re actually the same person and that there’s more driving her with Animus, a dragon sealed within her, it was a great moment as she realizes the truth of who she is that you get with a few films once in a while. The other piece is certainly not a spoiler but I’ll admit that I rather enjoyed the “heist” sequence in the bar that featured Lucy doing some serious stage dancing in skimpy clothes. The animation for it was top notch to be sure and I really liked that we didn’t get a bean pole type character design for her and instead just went very curvy in a way that isn’t always apparent from her main design. While I know most seem to like Erza more, and she’s certainly done up well here, this was a big “I’ll fall for Lucy” moment for me.

In Summary:
The Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry movie is one that I found to be fairly forgettable not long after watching it, which is in line with a lot of other franchise movies and how they’re done. It’s simply part of the experience and design since they can’t really change much of anything and it’s made worse by Fairy Tail being a fairly superficial series. Now, in the moment, it’s a decent bit of fun as I like these characters, I like the action as it’s well animated with some great designs, and it plays big in a good way. It just lacks the depth and weight to really pull it off as the series never could set all that up. Dragon Cry looks great and has some really good moments but it’s just a very well animated short arc within the larger framework of the franchise.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Original Japanese Trailer, Promo Videos, News Flash

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C+

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
MSRP: $34.98
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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