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Fairy Tail: Part 12
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 all train to become S class wizards while working on one mission or another. 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 12 of the ongoing saga. Part 12 contains episodes 132-142 and the last main story arc of Season 3 has finally been reached.
Season 3 has been a pretty intense season with the S Class tournament and new dark wizard foes being such a huge element of past sets with episodes from the season. This twelfth Fairy Tail set offers viewers a new storyline to partake in with the emphasis on the growing conflict between the Fairy Tail guild's main members and those left on the sidelines, as well as a Legion Platoon group of characters who want to stop the guild from achieving the goal of their quest to find the mystical Infinity Clock, which was foretold about in legends as being an all powerful device that could be capable of leading the world to destruction.
Fairy Tail wants it to try and prevent such a thing from ever happening but new foes and the resurgence of Oracion Seis causes their path to protecting the world from the doomsday device amps up the action this set as the characters of the Fairy Tail guild must work together to try and stop the destruction of the entire world. This marks a expansive plot-line for the set which has a lot more action, adventure, and questing than the previous set (which had a lot more fully goofy moments and less action).
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 Erza (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. Part 12 continues the series streak of excellence in all areas of production with great action scenes, exciting storylines, fun characters, and enough drama to keep viewers tuning in to the odd wizarding guild on their perilous journey. The main focus of this set is another long-form storyline, which for the release is a blessing of the show (as who doesn't like an epic adventure?) and everything seems well laid out in this batch of episodes. It was especially nice to see how the writers took the storyline to another level where it provided new focus and emphasis for Lucy on the series. Her character definitely gets a chance to shine on this set as more back-story is explored regarding her family history and her connection to the Infinity Clock. While some episodes and jokes are inevitably hit and miss to some small degree, Fairy Tail remains a generally excellent series in most respects and one that series fans will continue to have a blast with on Part 12. The action is just as strong as ever and the story here delivers some new twists and turns that keeps it interesting and fun.
Much to my surprise, Funimation's release of Fairy Tail - Part 12 is actually noted as being in native HD (prior to Part 11, 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 actually be inherently soft, but the richness of color and the smooth, beautiful animation still shines enough to make this a pleasing presentation of the show.
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. The show has been presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio 1.78:1 and is presented in native 1080p High Definition. This is certainly as good as can be expected for this Blu-ray release of Fairy Tail.
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.
Extras on this set include one episode's video commentary track (presented in High Definition), where English dub voice actors discuss the show's dubbing process and have some fun together in the recording room as they joke, laugh, and have a blast with the making of their commentary. Two audio commentaries have also been provided as inclusions for select episodes on the set for English dub fans who want to listen to the VA's discuss their parts on the show.
The set includes a U.S. Trailer for Fairy Tail, textless songs (opening/ending themes), and trailers for other Funimation releases.
The release also contains the standard inclusion of reversible cover art and a beautiful slip (o-card).
Fairy Tail: Part 12 continues to be a entertaining and exciting action-adventure series filled with great characters and excellent animation. Established fans of Fairy Tail will continue to find it to be a top-notch production that excels expectations with consistently good storyline, animation, and character development. It's one of the best long-form running anime series at this time and Set 12 makes another excellent collection that fans will want to explore and own.
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.