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Fairy Tail: Part 4
Fairy Tail 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Set: #4 - Episodes 37-48:
Fairy Tail 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.
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. 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.
Viewers who have been following the series from the beginning will remember that the 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.
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.
Fairy Tail 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.
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.
The images in this review are taken from the DVD discs included in this Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.
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.
OP/ED Song Titles:
Textless Opening Song (R.P.G. - Rockin' Playing Game)
Textless Closing Song (Kimi Ga Iru Kara)
Commentaries are included on the following episodes of Fairy Tail: Part 4:
Episode 39: Give Our Prayers to the Sacred Light
Episode 45: Advent of Satan
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.
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.