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Fairy Tail: Part 15 (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000183670
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 14/6/2017 17:28
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    Review for Fairy Tail: Part 15

    8 / 10


    I’m out of practice. We used to get anime in single volumes on a bi-monthly or even monthly basis, and I used to review a lot of series like that. Regular as clockwork, I’d have to write a review, come up with a new introduction, scrabble and scrape for a smidgen of originality. Now that’s less of a concern, when we get whole series, or at worst half seasons spaced months apart. But of late Fairy Tail has switched to a monthly schedule, ‘half-season’ boxsets of eleven or twelve episodes spaced just weeks apart, as we hasten to catch up to the US releases. And I have to admit that my mind is a total void, coming up with a new way to start one of these reviews. I guess this paragraph of self-indulgence will have to suffice.

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    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.

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    Funimation release the next eleven episodes of Fairy Tail across two discs. The Tenrou Island arc concluded with the strongest members of Fairy Tail trapped in a bubble of time for seven years. When they finally returned to Fiore, they learned that the guild had declined in its fortunes and reputation in the interim, that Fairy Tail was now the weakest magical guild, and the new Sabertooth guild ruled the roost. They also learned that a new annual Magical Games tournament had been created to allow guilds to increase their standing, without having to do missions or pick fights. As this collection begins the Magical Games are in full swing, and after a rocky start, Fairy Tail (who have managed to qualify with two teams) are picking up some momentum, although this isn’t helped by their traditional rivalry with Raven Tail leading to outright, and nasty cheating on their part. And Raven Tail’s antics are blinding everyone to the machinations that are unfolding in the background.

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    Disc 1
    165. Hatred at Nightfall
    166. Pandemonium
    167. 100 Against 1
    168. Laxus vs. Alexei
    169. Wendy vs. Shelia
    170. Small Fists
    171. Naval Battle

    Disc 2
    172. A Parfum for You
    173. Battle of Dragon Slayers
    174. Four Dragons
    175. Natsu vs. The Twin Dragons

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    Fairy Tail gets a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, progressively coded NTSC on these Funimation discs. The image is clear and sharp throughout, free of any obvious compression signs, and generally very pleasant too watch. It’s a bright, lively anime, and given that it’s a long running series, the character designs are understandably simplistic, the world design not overly complex. It’s full of primary colours, and the animation itself is energetic, especially through the various spell sequences. Given the number of characters, and the broader nature of the story, the repetitive nature of those spell sequences from the early episodes is a long and distant memory now. It all looks like original animation from beginning to end.

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    You have the choice between DD 5.1 Surround English, and DD 2.0 Stereo Japanese, with optional translated subtitles and a signs only track. I sampled the English dub, and found it to be a typical anime comedy dub, high pitched female voices, and loudness and manic intensity substituting for humour. My preference as always was for the Japanese audio track with the subtitles. It too is adequate, although one slight point of annoyance for some may be the lead character of Lucy played by Aya Hirano, who simply supplies another variation of her stock Haruhi Suzumiya tsundere voice. Otherwise it’s a fairly run of the mill audio track, playing the show for laughs, with little yet to stretch the characters. More impressive is the show’s music, which with a pop Celtic theme supplements the show’s magical themes very well, although it is boosted by a wholesale plundering of the classical music archives. The subtitles are clear, well timed, and free of error throughout.

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    The discs present their content with static menus and jacket pictures.

    Disc 1 autoplays with a trailer for Tokyo Ravens.

    There is an audio commentary for episode 169 with ADR Director Tyler Walker, and Bruce Carey (voice of Alexei/Ivan).

    Disc 2 autoplays with a trailer for Nobunagun.

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    There is a video commentary to accompany episode 168, and you can see Colleen Clinkenbeard, Josh Grelle, and Kyle Phillips talk about the episode.

    The episode 172 audio commentary features ADR Director Tyler Walker and Chris Guerrero (Ichiya & Nichiya).

    You get the two sets of textless credits, the US trailer for this volume, and further Funimation trailers for .hack, Noir, D-Frag!, Space Dandy, Ben-To, School Rumble, and One Piece.

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    Fairy Tail is back at its best, and I enjoyed almost every minute of this collection. If you like your shonen anime, and have a fondness for the tournament arc staples of the genre, then Part 15 is pure catnip (should that be Exceed-nip?) There really isn’t much to say about this collection of episodes beyond that, except to reiterate that when it’s at its best, Fairy Tail is really good at what it does.

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    The Magical Games Tournament is the tournament arc in question, a sort of magical Olympics for the Fairy Tail world, which mixes the one on one fighting clichés with events that are somewhat more imaginative. It’s all about Fairy Tail wanting to regain their standing as the strongest guild, and taking part in the Tournament to do so. All the while, there is some dark conspiracy involving Celestial Wizards and something called Project Eclipse happening in the background, something that a reformed Jellal and his allies are trying to uncover.

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    There is very little of that dark conspiracy in this collection of episodes though, as it concentrates on the Games instead, with two more events, and two more rounds of battles to appreciate. The guild rivalry heats up, Natsu gets riled up, and there are plenty of moments to get the blood flowing, get you at the edge of your seat, pump a fist in a “Hell Yeah!” of exultation. Erza in the 100 Against 1 event is a case in point, as is Natsu’s battle towards the end of this collection.

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    The one niggle I have is that yet again for the second collection running, Lucy gets tortured and tormented all to get Natsu’s blood boiling to go looking for some payback. As a story device it’s effective enough, but it’s beginning to feel misogynistic at this point, especially as it happens during an underwater bikini battle in this collection. But that’s a small stain on an otherwise exemplary collection of episodes.

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    As I said, this set of eleven is really all about the Games tournament, which might make you wonder about the conspiracy storyline. These episodes save it all for a post credits epilogue at the end of episode 175. And with the tournament drawing to a close, it’s pretty likely that we’ll get to the meat of the story in the next Fairy Tail Collection. I guess it’s just a month to wait. I better start working on that intro.

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