To those who are not familiar with Fairy Tail (If you're watching Part 7 you should be up to date with it) I'll clue you in. Fairy Tail is easily one of the most popular anime/manga currently available... It's a series that revolves around the lives of a Fairy Tail guild wizard. The show has a plethora of great characters, fun story arcs and not a whole lot of filler with solid writing. Fairy Tail balances humor, fantasy, and action flawlessly. This set showcases why the series has won over so many, including myself featuring Fairy Tail's best set of episodes thus far!
Part 7: Episodes 73 - 84
Picking up where Part 6 left off, we had just wrapped up the previous main arc and ended the last set with a rather lackluster filler story, thankfully at the start of this set we have left Daphne in the dust and we start off with our traditional "break" episodes that take place after a major arc with a few character focused episodes that move along at a brisk pace. The 1st episode is probably the weakest but still solid throughout, coming up on Lucy's 1st anniversary as a member of Fairy Tail, she's been greatly anticipating an annual guild tradition of the Cherry Blossom flower watching, unfortunately for her she ends up getting sick, Natsu being Natsu, wants Lucy to experience the festival and the episode caps off with a touching moment between the two.
The next couple of episodes are better in quality, We get to see Carla and Wendy take on their first official Fairy Tail guild mission along with the mismatched pairing of Laxus' lackey, Fried and Natsu's best friend, Happy. Suffice to say this is a very fun episode that honestly I wish would have been fleshed out just a bit instead of being wrapped up by the end of the same episode. The next episode is a very fun adventure, where the Fairy Tail guild has a 24 hour race where the losers will be punished and everyone can use their magic to get the upper hand. This is one of the more funnier episodes of the series.
The final standalone episode is probably my favorite of the bunch, it introduces us to Gildart. Gildart was a friend of Natsu and looked after him when he was younger. With Gildart's introduction we get a bit more of Natsu's childhood brought up to the surface since he has a lead to Igneel's (Natsu's foster father) whereabouts and a reappearance from Lissanna (Natsu's childhood friend who had died 2 years previous, something Gildart was not aware of), because of this the episode can get be more of an emotionally somber one.
After the string of break episodes, we are thrown into the next major arc (which will carry over through at least Part 8.) On a walk, Wendy meets Mystogan. Mystogan has been wandering around on a mission to stop the Anima (A powerful magic that can destroy all of Magnolia) attacks that have been hitting around the world. Despite Mystogan being one of the strongest the guild has to offer, he cannot stop the Anima. As Wendy tries to warn the Fairy Tail guild of its impending demise, a light shines down from the sky and the city disappears, sending them to the cat filled land of Edolas (the land where Happy and Carla are from), leaving only Natsu, Wendy, Happy, and Carla behind.
Natsu, Wendy, Happy and Carla (eventually Gajeel as well) must travel to Edolas to rescue their guild, only when they arrive, they find an alternate version of their guild where everything's just a bit off. For example, Juvia is the one ignoring Gray (who actually leaves his clothes on), Lucy is a total hardass, Natsu is a professional driver who is also a total pansy when it comes to confrontation, Erza is basically an assassin who hunts down rogue wizards and more great surprises.
Toward the end of the set we get a few Happy/Carla centric episodes, where they learn more about their past, find out who they are, they learn about a terrible betrayal they were supposed to be a part of called the Dragon slayer Extermination Project and they meet two mysterious cats (whose child was stolen from them and sent to Magnolia as part of the Extermination experiment. It's a nice moment to see when Happy goes from the sniveling cat he is to a determined fighter who wants nothing more than to be with Natsu, and on the other end of the spectrum, Carla who is usually as emotional as a rock, realizes her love for Wendy.
One of my very favorite things about Fairy Tail is how well the characters are balanced out. While you do have your core cast of Natsu, Lucy, Gray and Erza that the show focuses primarily on, sometimes the show puts them in the backseat and focuses on the secondary characters like Happy, Gajeel, Wendy, Carla, and even Fried to a lesser extent in this set. Usually a show like this keeps it's focus on the main cast, but it's a nice change of pace that makes Fairy Tail a special show, and Part 7 presents that phenomenally. I cannot wait for this arc to be expanded upon in Part 8!
- Dub: Per usual, Fairy Tail's dub is one of the best out there and they continue their usual terrific work here. Tia Ballard (Happy) and Jad Saxton (Carla) get a bit more to do in this set and they deliver some fantastic work in the big moments of their respective characters.
- Edolas Arc: Having a parallel world is such an awesome idea for a show like this, and as of episode 84, it's extremely well executed.
- Character development. Natsu (to a lesser extent), Lucy, Gray and Erza take a bit of a backseat in this arc and we get some great moments from Wendy, Carla, Happy, and Gajeel, as well as seeing the world of Fairy Tail expanded upon.
- Great standalone/break episodes.
- None. Part 7 is a fantastic set of episodes. A big step up from the somewhat lackluster Part 6.
Video and Audio:
Fairy Tail always has a lot of bright, vibrant colors that look great and stand out well, so this set is no different. I did notice some banding issues at some points in this set, but they're almost non existent to really take away from the overall look. The series were not meant to be viewed in High Definition due to the limitation of Standard Definition. FUNimation's upscale is solid though.
As for Audio... Again, no different from previous sets. We're given 2 audio tracks, the TrueHD English 5.1 and the TrueHD Japanese 2.0 Stereo track. As usual, I watched the English dub, and as I already stated they deliver great work. The English 5.1 track works well while avoiding any problems such as dropouts or distortions during playback.
The bonus content offered is similar to past releases with our typical commentaries and trailers.
- Episode 74 commentary with ADR director Tyler Walker, Brittney Karbowski (voice of Wendy), and Jad Saxton (voice of Carla.) They mainly talk about the casting process and what it's like working on the show.
- Episode 79 commentary with ADR director Tyler Walker. Adaptive writer Monica Rial (also the voice of Mirajane), and adaptive writer Josh Grelle (also the voice of Hughes.) Monica Rial is always fun to listen to in the booth, in this commentary she talks about writing the last 84 episodes of the show and throws down the challenge to fans of the show to ask her any trivia question about the series, saying she's never been stumped. Challenge accepted...
- Textless opening and closing themes.
- U.S. Trailer.
- FUNimation trailers.
Fairy Tail continues to be one of the best ongoing anime currently on the market. This collection is great throughout and easily some of the best set of episodes of the series. Any fan of this series needs to pick this set up.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.