Review for Fairy Tail - Dragon Cry - Collector's Edition Combi Pack
Customers have it so lucky! You can buy a disc, give it a quick spin to check it works, and then put it to one side until you’re in the mood to watch it. Reviewers have it so much harder. We have to watch a disc and review it before the release date, regardless of whether it’s appropriate or not. This is the second time I’m having this problem with Fairy Tail; again with a movie. When the first film Phoenix Priestess was released here in the UK, it came out just after volume 8 of the series. But its actual place in canon was a couple of volumes later, and if I’d bought it, I would have left it on the shelf until the series releases had caught up. This time, the second movie, Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry has been released pretty much after all of the series has been released (we’re still waiting for Fairy Tail Zero, but that’s a prequel and doesn’t count), but apparently its place in canon lies between the final two arcs of the manga. They haven’t even been animated yet! So expect spoilers, and a few head-scratching moments at some inexplicable character developments. Still, it turns out that if you have watched up to the end of the Tartaros arc, you won’t be too out of place with the movie.
The Kingdom of Fiore is a rather special place, a nation of some 17 million where magic exists, is commonplace, and is a commodity to be bought and sold. Those who become proficient in magic are the wizards, and together they form guilds to serve the community, or serve themselves. The most famous, and indeed the most infamous guild of them all is Fairy Tail. 17-year-old Lucy Heartfilia is a wizard, or rather she wants to be a wizard. She’s already skilled in a Celestial magic, able to summon spirits to do her bidding using Gatekeys. Her dream is to be in Fairy Tail, and when she meets a travelsick young wizard named Natsu, and his talking cat companion Happy, it seems like destiny has brought them together. Now Lucy has joined the Fairy Tail Guild, and with its unique roster of wizards, including Natsu, the ice wizard Gray Fullbuster, and the armour wizard Erza Scarlet, and the flying cat Happy, they undertake the toughest, the most challenging, and the weirdest of missions.
The kingdom of Fiore has in its arsenal the ultimate weapon, a magical staff called Dragon Cry, which reputedly has the power to destroy a nation. Or rather they had the staff. A corrupt, former minister named Zash Caine has stolen the staff, and taken it to the Stella kingdom. The king of Fiore asks Fairy Tail to retrieve the staff, and so Natsu, Lucy, Wendy, Gray and Erza, accompanied by the Exceeds Happy and Charle make the journey to the island kingdom and subtly infiltrate the kingdom. Only Natsu doesn’t exactly do subtle. There’s also more to this than meets the eye. While Zash Caine may be the irredeemable villain, his sidekick Sonya certainly isn’t, while King Animus of Stella needs the staff to save his nation.
The film is presented on this disc with a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, with audio in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English and Japanese, with locked subtitles and signs. The character designs are familiar from the TV series, although a little more oomph has been put into the theatrical quality animation, while the backgrounds are certainly richer and more detailed. The surround track is put to good use bringing the action and the music across, and following the debut of the new theme for the Tartaros arc, it’s nice to hear the original Fairy Tail theme again. One thing that has to be commented on is the obsession with breast inflation. Over the course of the story, the breast sizes of the female characters have been increasing steadily, to the ridiculous dimensions they achieve in this film (and with Lucy undercover as an exotic dancer, you get ample fan service to boggle your mind at). Quite frankly, the boob animation is a distraction from the movie.
The images in this review were kindly supplied by All the Anime.
The series discs may have been brought out here by Funimation, but the label on the Dragon Cry packaging is All the Anime. They’re bringing the film out on standard DVD and Blu-ray, as well as this Collector’s Edition combo release. I haven’t seen the physical extras for the CE, and apparently a handful of lucky pre-orders got an extensive artbook on top.
The on disc extras are pretty slim though, with the animated menu on the Blu-ray loaded after a trailer for Tales of Zestiria, the X. There are further trailers on the disc for Bungo Stray Dogs, Trickster, D. Gray Man, Izetta: The Last Witch, Monster Hunter Stories, and Touken Ranbu.
Otherwise, all you’ll find are the three variations of promo for the film.
I’m wracking my brain, trying to figure out what to write about Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, just how entertaining the movie is, how exciting, how much I enjoyed the characters, was drawn into the story, and just how worthy it is an addition to the Fairy Tail universe. Yet somehow, I’m lacking for inspiration. When all is said and done, Fairy Tail is a long running shonen action show, in the same vein as Naruto and One Piece, and the feature film spin-offs from such shows are theatrical vehicles that allow us to spend more time with our favourite characters, in even more extravagant adventures, which will invariably fail to further develop the characters or advance the overarching story. That mangaka Hiro Mashima was just as involved with Dragon Cry as he was with Phoenix Priestess gives the film the seal of authenticity, but really, it’s just another fun action movie.
It is fun though, I had a blast with the familiar characters getting up to their typical antics, with a short, sharp, concentrated hit of Fairy Tail magic that at 85 minutes doesn’t outstay its welcome. Just to keep the viewer engaged, it indulges in some non-linear storytelling, with the film starting with Natsu in transit, in a prison cell, carried aloft by a giant bird, before we get the flashbacks that explain just what he’s doing there.
The story is fairly standard for a shonen spin-off, with the main characters having to undertake an action-packed mission, while the hard work of character development is applied to the guest cast. Certainly the villain behind the theft of the Dragon Cry staff is an irredeemable cad of the worst sort, duplicitous and sadistic (he kidnaps Lucy at one point). The king of Stella who has put this plan into motion appears to have honourable motives, although his single-mindedness borders on the mania, while Zash Caine’s companion, Sonya is the sympathetic antagonist who winds up befriended by the Fairy Tail wizards, and actually lies at the heart of the story. And there is the inevitable twist that makes this whole tale very personal for Natsu, and ensures the kind of climax to the story that Fairy Tail fans will demand. There are a whole lot of one-on-one battles to appreciate.
Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry is an entertaining, fast-paced action movie that has the same blend of comedy, drama, action and heart that fans will be familiar with from the television series. It may be a little too fast paced actually, as there were a couple of points in the film that I felt that essential narrative connective tissue was missing, and we just had to assume stuff happened to get the characters from point A to point B. But in a film as fun, and really as trivial as this, it’s a minor concern. If you are a fan of Fairy Tail, you’ll want Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry in your collection.