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Fairy Tail: Part 4

FUNimation // Unrated // March 20, 2012
List Price: $54.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted March 14, 2012 | E-mail the Author


http-equiv="content-type">
Fairy Tail Set 4 Review


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Series:



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Fairy
Tail
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> began
airing in
Japan in October of 2009. Over 100 episodes have been produced to date.
The
series is based upon the successful manga series created by Hiro
Mashima. It
stands out as one of the most notable recent anime series through a
balanced
combination of quirky science-fiction, fantasy, and an abundance of
humor that
keep things consistently interesting. The series is also action-packed
and
focuses on a guild made up of extremely powerful wizards. The series
follows
the Fairy Tail guild (not a big surprise there!) and
the heroes
that make up the band of quirky magicians seem goofy, well-spirited,
and
willing to work together as necessary to complete any mission.



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
characters on
the show are a central reason as to why the series works so well. It's
the
character element that grabs the audience attention the most. The
central characters
in the series are Natsu, a fire-breathing man with dragon skills and
possible
background, Lucy, an energetic girl who collects port-keys which
unleash spirit
being's with enough energy to win against any potential threats of the Fairy
Tail
guild, and Gray... a guy who has tons of skills and who always
happens
to take his shirt off somehow. There's also a comedic blue cat with the
guild
who is close friends with Natsu. The cat's name is Happy. Happy has
wings and
is capable of flying. Another strong supporting character is found with
the
tough fighter Elza.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Each
character
contributes something to these adventures being so humorous, exciting,
and
thrilling. Early episodes don't feature quite as much character
development as
one might be hoping for but there is a strong likeability factor for
each of
the main characters featured on the show and it helps to keep in
consistent in
entertainment.



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Fans of
comedy and
action will want to give this series a chance. Fairy Tail is an
immensely enjoyable show. The best thing about this series is that it
is a ton
of fun. It isn't the most complicated of shows (at least this far
into the
run) but the cast of fun characters and offbeat situations makes it an
easy
show to enjoy without having to over-think it at all.



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
premise is
enjoyable and the execution of the creative elements works effectively
so it
isn't surprising that the series has been able to find mass popularity
and
appeal in Japan. Fairy Tail is a winning combination of some of
anime's
finest fantasy/ sci-fi genre aspects.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Set: #4 - Episodes 37-48:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Fairy
Tail
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> is the
cool new anime series on the block: It's the one anime that
everyone is talking about! I began the series unsure about how much
potential
it really had as a long-term show: the premise was wonderful, the
characters
were interesting, and the animation was beautiful. Something just
didn't
completely click with me. I enjoyed it enough to recommend it because
it was
briskly entertaining television and it had a nice laid-back slice of
adventure style
that seemed to warrant the time anime fans would spend getting to
experience the
series as something both new and exciting. But as a long term
investment it was
something I considered a bit questionable in quality. How much
did I enjoy these characters and getting to know them? Why
should I care about the Fairy Tail
guild when there are more One Piece
episodes out there awaiting my immense enjoyment? The reason why now
seems
clear as day. Fairy Tail is undeniably
one of the most charming and entertaining anime series in quite some
time and
it is the rare anime worth the long-term investment of anime fans. The
fans
clamor for the really good stuff that can manage to keep the audience
interested
for a long-running sequence and this is one such rare gem of a show.
Love Dragon Ball Z and One Piece (despite
a few moments of filler)? I'm willing to bet then
that this is exactly the kind of
series made for viewers like you. With Fairy
Tail: Part 4
the show finally clicked for me on that awesome level
of
experience where you realize you're a huge fan and in it for the long
haul.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The last
set released by Funimation was one that I reviewed with a bit of
trepidation. The show hit a point where some of the episodes seemed to
be pure
anime filler material where the characters and situations were not
really
progressing with much of interest. This is exactly what anime fans
don't want
to see happen to a great long-running series. Naruto
is a perfect example of what can happen to some series that
wind up having too many filler arcs. The audience begins to dwindle
somewhat
and not everyone has the patience to wait through the boring parts. style="">Naruto was a genuinely great anime
series until it began to slow down to the point that it seemed as
though the
story was barely progressing. Does Naurto
improve? I don't know. I stopped watching.
I know other fans that reacted with a similar blend of disappointment
and
frustration because the series wasn't living up to their expectations.
I was
slightly worried by the last Fairy Tail
set that something similar could happen to this series. By the time I
hit the
last batch of episodes that concluded Fairy
Tail: Part 3
things seemed to be back to path of awesomeness
established
earlier though and I was relieved to see it remain entertaining and
unique in
style. I wondered if Part 4 would be
able to keep things a bit more consist and on par with the easily more
enjoyable Part 1 and Part 2. Breathe
a sigh of relief! Part 4 surprised me in the best way
possible by being the best batch of episodes in the series to date.
These episodes
should leave viewers with a feeling of great satisfaction and
anticipation for
what will come. You won't be the annoyed Naruto
fans who wondered "What happened?"
and instead you'll be asking gleefully: "What
happens next?!"
Fairy Tail: Part 4
delivers what fans want. Great characters, amazing action, and a solid
dosage
of additional intrigue make the concluding set of Season One episodes
an
absolutely stellar blast of imagination.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Viewers
who have
been following the series from the beginning will remember that the style="">Fairy Tail guild building was destroyed.
This provided the series animators with a great chance to reconstruct
this
fantastical place with even more curious backdrop aspects and
detailing. Now
there's a shopping center and it appears to have several new levels.
The change
is easily noticeable from the get-go when the characters make a huge
point to
talk about it and it suggests that some changes are still possible for
the
series. I expect some interesting new storylines to result because of
the
change of scenery, but even if it doesn't quite manage to make it that
far
there's little doubt that the animation on the series is every bit as
breathtaking here and it has been from the beginning. This is a
consistently
well animated series with great character designs, eloquent background
animation, and superb detail. I've been impressed by the work being
done by the
animation crew on each and every single episode in the series.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
episodes on
this set are a total blast. There is not a single dull episode that
relies upon
rehashed or uninteresting plot developments. While there may have been
a few
stray moments where things became somewhat convoluted in the typical
anime
sense (where characters are introduced too quickly for us to completely
comprehend their place within the frame of the story) the major arcs
found
within this release were uniformly impressive and better than any
previous Fairy Tail outing. The most notable
aspects were found in the new confrontation between Elza and a
mysterious
person that she knew in her past - this plot development led to some
intriguing
series moments and while the outcome of this new character introduction
remains
somewhat "up in the air" viewers will certainly be intrigued enough to
want to find
out more. We also see more of the Magic Council and while these aspects
remain
somewhat vague it is hard to deny that the series is coming up with
interesting
story-lines for future episodes. The concluding episodes of the set
also
introduced a heart-aching and consequently heart-warming storyline
involving
the grandson of Fairy Tail guild
leader Master Markarov. The grandson of our beloved quirky leader is
dissatisfied with the direction of the guild and rebels but the
storyline
suggests a hopeful resolve without making any definitive resolutions.
It found
a nice way to conclude the first season in a heartwarming way while
still making
good on the expectations which result by taking us on such a thrilling
journey...
and what a wonderful first season this turned out to be.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Blu-ray:



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Video:



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Fairy
Tail
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> is
presented in a
combo pack release which contains both DVD and Blu-ray discs. The
Blu-ray
presentation is an upscaled 1080p transfer that presents the series
with
strong, bold colors and good line detail. The transfer is somewhat soft
because
of the nature of an upscale presentation. These episodes were
originally
animated to be presented in Standard Definition and were never meant to
be
viewed in High Definition because of the limitations of such a
presentation.
Funimation has done an excellent job with this upscaled release. It
delivers
the series in a solid upscaled SD presentation in the original
broadcast aspect
ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. The video quality is every bit as
impressive for
this fourth set of Fairy Tail and while it may not manage to
deliver HD
anime goods the same way as native-HD productions it is one of the most
impressive and consistent upscale presentations from Funimation to
date.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Audio:



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Fans are
treated to
two lossless audio options (which are both encoded as Dobly TrueHD
tracks).
English 5.1 surround sound provides a slightly more enveloping aural
experience
with better use of sound effects and music reproduction, while the 2.0
original
Japanese language dub is relegated to having a slightly less expansive
soundstage. When viewing Fairy Tail's first set I opted more
for the
original language track but this time around (as with subsequent
collections)
the English track won over frequently. It's a pretty good dub, and the
fourth
set seems to suggest the voice actors are becoming a great part of the
experience. I thought the dub done for Part
4
proved to be rewarding. The VA's did a great job and have kept
things
consistent while striving to capture the essence of the material.



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Please
Note:



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
images in this review are taken from the DVD discs included in this
Blu-ray/DVD
Combo Pack.



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Extras:



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
selection of
bonus materials is limited on each of the Funimation Fairy Tail
DVD set
releases. Funimation included select staff commentaries, text-less
opening/ending songs
, and trailers promoting other anime
series
released by the studio.



style="">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">OP/EDstyle="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> Song
Titles:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Textless
Opening Song (R.P.G. -
Rockin' Playing Game)


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Textless
Closing Song (Kimi Ga Iru
Kara)


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Commentariesstyle="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> are
included on
the following episodes of Fairy Tail: Part 4:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Episode
39: Give Our
Prayers to the Sacred Light


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Episode
45: Advent
of Satan


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">While I
don't feel as though it is
necessary to give a run-down on commentaries such as these I would like
to make
a comment on something discussed by ADR Director Tyler Walker: Please
continue
to support the series if you enjoy it. There isn't a guarantee that
Funimation
will release season two of Fairy Tail
and unless these sets continue to sell well there is a possibility that
we will
be left with a lengthier-than-usual wait for the next set. Dubbing
hasn't begun
for Season Two and until it's dubbed there obviously won't be more
collection
sets. I enjoy this series immensely and believe the dub's amongst the
best to
be produced by Funimation recently so for fans of English Dubbed
options it
might seem especially worthwhile to support the translation and release
of such
a delightful series. The series deserves to see more collection
releases and I
certainly will anticipate them above and beyond my ordinary anime
viewings.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Final
Thoughts:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
final
collection of Season One episodes of Fairy
Tail
has arrived and it doesn't disappoint at all! It even
surpassed all of
my expectations and wound up being the best of all four collection
releases by
Funimation Entertainment to date. The characters are easily some of the
most
entertaining in recent anime (a massive selling point), and the
scenarios and
magic backdrops help an excellent experience become the perfect match
for anime
fans. If there is anything disappointing about Part 4
of Fairy Tail it
is that you will run out of new episodes to watch and will eagerly
anticipate
the next collection but the release date won't be anytime soon (as of
this
writing). We need to continue supporting its releases if we want
Funimation to
continue to dub and release such quality sets and with a nice
turnaround time
too. Fans accustomed to following the series will be pleased.
Newcomers? Begin
at the beginning of the series and enjoy.
Highly Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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