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Fairy Tail: Part 13
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 -- 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 13 of the ongoing saga. Part 13 contains episodes 143-153 and the last primary story arc of Season 3, commonly known as the Starry Skies arc, is concluded on this set.
Season 3 is finally at its closing moments with Part 13. The last legs of the Starry Skies storyline has been reached on this set and the epic battle over the powerful Infinity Clock goes into motion as with the clock in the wrong hands (with Oracion Seis now in control of it), Lucy is kidnapped by the group and is used to help power the clock for nefarious dark magic that could set the stage for a huge cataclysmic end to all of the world (... and the Fairy Tail guild with it)! Can the guild save the world, Lucy, and everything in-between from the power of the Infinity Clock? All the questions (and more) related to this story-arc unfold to the end.
Part 13 of Fairy Tail actually contains the opening few episodes of the fourth season of the series, which introduces a new storyline known as the Grand Magic Games arc. This is a fan-favorite action-packed arc that consists of various Fairy Tail characters battling it out with one another tournament style (ala Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, and a whole host of other anime series). While the actual tournament doesn't begin on Part 13, the stages are set for this to be the focal point of Part 14... so fans of the dueling action aspects of the show and other anime classics will be excited to see the direction the show is taking for its next primary storyline arc.
Another aspect of the Part 13 release is the growing connection between the Fairy Tail and Sabertooth guilds. They seem to be coming to terms with each other and start up a friendly competitiveness between each other over the course of the set. Lucy is also honored by her spiritual friends for a special party honoring her and her friends for their work towards the ultimate 'saving the world' path. The season gets off to a laidback start that is more about characters and goofy situations but action and adventure seems to be promised for future episodes.
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 artwork, 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 continues to be amongst the best produced anime series. It has continued to win awards and receive fandom levels barely ever approached for anime. It's absolutely no surprise that the series continues to draw in a big audience. Part 13 is another generally excellent set with the conclusion to the largest story-arc of Season 3 and Season 4 begins to unfold and contains a classic tournament-style arc that is a fan-favorite. While the reprieve from the previous arc might seem short on this set, it's nonetheless a part of the fun action sensibilities that keep the show as popular as it is (both in Japan and North America). Ongoing viewers who are established fans should absolutely give Part 13 a look for its end storyline to Part 12's long arc and for the promise it holds for future action-packed episodes.
Much to my surprise, Funimation's release of Fairy Tail - Part 13 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 of 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.
Two audio commentaries (for episodes 150 and 151) have been provided as inclusions on the set for English dub fans who want to listen to the VA's discuss their parts on the show. A silly and nonessential comedic interview entitled Fairy Tail Feud: With Todd Haberkorn and Newton Pittman seems to be an intentionally skewered conversation which results in a feud with the voice actors ending the interview with a rather silly arm-wrestling match. 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 13 is another excellent set of exciting episodes. Part 13 (released concurrently with Part 12) concludes the storyline arc from Part 12 so viewers following the show should strongly consider picking up both sets and have a good time going through the storyline in marathon-style viewing. Having both sets out at the same time will allow fans to have more enjoyment and less wait time between releases if one wants to view this concluding part of season three that way. There is also the benefit of receiving a "sneak peak" of season 4 as a couple of episodes are included from the forthcoming "Tournament" arc. With Funimation's good PQ/AQ and another batch of fun episodes, Fairy Tail again comes 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.