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Fairy Tail: Part 11
Fairy Tail is an action-adventure-comedy series which follows a group of wizards who are all a part of the popular and renowned Fairy Tail guild, where magic beings with special gifts all work together on various jobs and missions for the non-magic folk of the world - and these talented people work as one to face enemy guilds (the type who use their magic without a positive approach), and as they prepare for learning new skills and gain acknowledgement amongst their peers as they train to become S class wizards. From saving the day to being hilarious, these wizards are a familial bunch that represent the world's best in magic guilds.
One of the most popular ongoing anime series of the moment, Fairy Tail is a series which has already had a second extension on life after a four season run and is currently in its fifth year. Based upon the similarly popular manga series from artist Hiro Mashima, which began to be published in 2006 in Japan, the manga was adapted into this similarly successful anime with a premiere arriving in October 2009. The anime series production became such a huge success in Japan and was licensed and released by Funimation - to great response in North America, where the series now arrives on Part 11 of the ongoing saga. Part 11 contains episodes 121-131 and is the middle section of episodes in the series third season.
Season 3 has had a lot of interesting developments and got off to an intense start with the Fairy Tail guild participating in a large tournament to determine who could become an S class guild member. The competition was fierce but things went amuck when a new foe came into their situation: a dark foretold wizard had returned and what place does this wizard have in their story? As Part 11 picks up, the final resolve of the story unfolds but the show takes a quick detour back into comedic land and side storylines in a way that the series occasionally does. Fairy Tail faces a new threat during this batch of episodes: the passage of time.
A powerful dragon attacks the Fairy Tail guild underneath the spell of an opposing wizard, and the bulk of the guild finds themselves in an unusual pinch where everyone disappears, only to awaken from a sort of ageless slumber seven years later. Now the main members of the Fairy Tail clan must deal with this newly unexpected development. Who has grown up in the time spent away? Who managed the guild in the interim and what happens to the guild as it now continues on with the past members once vanquished? These questions become important, underlying the passage of time lost by our heroes as they must figure out a way to rebuild everything to the former glory of their once powerful establishment.
Sometimes Fairy Tail can be so intense that the storyline seems intent on focusing on one undeniably epic showdown until said storyline eventually concludes. With the main story actually concluded from the previous two parts of this third season, the series seems to be undergoing another detour of sorts as it develops some comedic plot-points with the time discrepancy storyline underway. This can be a nice way to spend some time with the fun adventures the show also excels at exceptionally well.
The goofier side of the show can be fun sometimes and considering all of the intensity on the previous releases it's good to see the show take a break and focus on the character's and their personalities more. At the heart of the series is the quirky, lovable characters: from the cool dragon descendant Natsu who can wield the power of fire (while maintaining a heart full of good-natured goofiness), the talking cat with wings Happy (who putters around the blue sky in the color blue?!), the independent and strong warrior Elza (who keeps things in line most of the time), the always determined to excel Gray (who somehow keeps misplacing all of his shirts), and the fun-spirited Lucy, who is always able to save the day when needed and who can call upon spirits of many kinds to help out because of her own unique skills.
The quality of the animation remains one of the greatest strengths. The detail employed by the animators makes each sequence more effective and memorable. Many a production seems lacking in this regard but the art never fails to be noteworthy on this production. From the amazingly detailed background art, to the memorable character designs, to the creatively ambitious animation created for the action packaged sequences Fairy Tail still delivers its animated goods with incredible skill and precision.
Fairy Tail remains one of the most consistently well produced anime series around and this Part 11 is certainly no different in that regard. This set actually even gains a bit by being the first set to contain episodes animated for High Definition presentation (prior sets have all been standard definition remasters). Everything from the voice-work (including the stellar English dubbing) to the quality scriptwriting and directing proves to be excellent and effective. This series is one that thoroughly entertains and that manages to remain good fun for fans.
Much to my surprise, Funimation's release of Fairy Tail - Part 11 is actually noted as being in native HD (whereas past releases were in SD and upscaled to High Definition). The release attributes are not a lot different from previous sets and the image quality seems very much similar to the rest of Fairy Tail on Blu-ray. The animation production quality seems to be inherently soft, but the richness of color and the smooth, beautiful animation still shines.
There are some minor issues with banding, and some minor aliasing was noticed within a couple of scenes but for the most part lines are smooth, well-defined, and the colors are much improved. This is certainly as good as can be expected for this Blu-ray release of Fairy Tail, which presents the series in native High Definition (in full) for the first time. (Previous episodes were animated for Standard Definition).
Please Note: This release is a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English audio dub is my option of preference. I enjoy the high quality dubbing. The voice-work is uniformly excellent and the ADR Director has made this series a consistently fun one with its English adaptation. The original Japanese audio version is also a good option, if preferred, and is presented with a quality lossless mix too but it lacks the same level of depth and dimension that is added to the surround sound English mix with its standard 2.0 stereo presentation.
This set contains select commentaries with the English dub cast, a look at Todd Haberkorn at Otakon, textless songs (openings/endings), and trailers promoting other Funimation releases.
The release also contains the standard inclusion of reversible cover art and a beautiful slip (o-card).
There are only a few anime series out there that are currently as entertaining and involving as the action packed and humor-filled Fairy Tail creation. The saga of these characters remains a great thrill ride of comedy adventure. This is one series that is sure to entertain dedicated fans with a continually inventive approach. In terms of animation, storytelling, and the overall production into English (the dubbing for this series is excellent!), the series continues to impress at each turn. With new episodes now available in native High Definition, and the series remaining enjoyable fun, the Blu-ray release of Part 11 is easily recommended to anyone who is a fan. Newcomers should start at the beginning and marathon-view this great (and highly enjoyable) anime series as soon as possible as this series is a must see.
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.