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Fairy Tail: Part 14

FUNimation // Unrated // December 2, 2014
List Price: $54.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted January 12, 2015 | E-mail the Author

The Series:

Fairy Tail is a popular action-adventure-comedy series which follows a group of wizards who are all a part of the renowned Fairy Tail guild, where magic beings with special gifts work together on various jobs and missions for the non-magic folk of the world. These talented wizards work together to face enemy guilds (the type who use their magic without a positive approach), and prepare new skills as they train to become S class wizards (the top ranking of guild members across the world). 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 14 of the ongoing saga.  Part 14 contains episodes 154-164 and is a introductory volume for the season. This set contains the beginning of the Grand Magic Games saga.

The Set:

Season 4 of Fairy Tail is now underway with Part 14. The saga of the show continues with one of the most popular and fan-favorite sections of the series. As a staple part of the anime storytelling world, it's almost a requirement  (at this point) that long-form anime series eventually introduce some sort of battle tournament into the mix. The basic concept has happened again and again throughout the genre and is mostly differentiated in the characters participating in said tournaments.

Fairy Tail joins the mix of action anime to implement a major tournament into the storyline.  As the Fairy Tail guild decides to once again participate in the Grand Magic Games, where various magical guilds all participate in tournament style battles with each other over which guild is the most powerful in the entire wizarding community, things begin to intensify. Fairy Tail hasn't had any luck coming in first in the past but feels determined to do so this time now that the guild has a higher number of high-ranking members.

The season begins with the return of some old foes who are now reformed and want to stop bad wizards from across the region. An independent guild has been formed with these wizards and it's not affiliated with the main wizarding council. The Fairy Tail guild encounters them along their way to the main tournament, stories are swapped, and they learn about difficult training techniques which could help them to win the competition they are entering.  None of the guild members seem to really want to do the vigorous strength training but attempt to anyway because of the looming competition.  

When the Fairy Tail guild arrives at the location of the new year's tournament they find that the rules have changed drastically from previous years. Now a strange new form of elimination is used to disqualify over a hundred guild members. It leaves less than ten remaining teams to battle it out to become the winner of the tournament. Fairy Tail soon discovers that more than just the rules have changed this time: now there are multiple guilds out to "get them" and they have to fight a even harder fight to even survive the competition. During this initial batch of episodes in the Fairy Tail Grand Magic Games tournament battles include Lucy vs. Flare, Elfman vs. Bacchus, Mirajane vs. Jenny, and Kagura vs. Yukino.

A huge reason for the show's success is it's wonderful cast of characters. It's the joy of the lovable and entertaining group that the show retains such a strong sense of humor and an impressive storytelling quality.  The series is infinitely more enjoyable through the use of wonderful goofballs who are a part of the magical guild. Characters include a descendant connected to dragons named Natsu, the incredibly powerful Erza, who is one of the strong warriors of the bunch and always someone looking to help keep the guild running smoothly, Gray, who happens to be a hands-on fighter who regularly misplaces his shirt, Lucy, who can call upon magical spirits to help at any time, and the talking and flying cat by name of Happy (who is besties with Natsu).

From a production standpoint, the animation on Fairy Tail is easily one of the aspects that is most impressive. The series looks finely polished and designed with strong detail and art of consistently high quality. The character designs are impressive and the background art does manage to remain lush and creative whenever need be. Whether the show is focused on an important dramatic moment, comedic sketch, or action-packed sequence, the artwork does consistently work remarkably well.

I continue to enjoy Fairy Tail as one of the better anime productions currently being made in Japan. The series is often near the same level of the quality as seen on One Piece. This makes Fairy Tail a must-see series for fans of anime. The series does seem to alternate between more comedic character-centric episodes and long-form sagas. The latest saga has arrived: the Grand Magic Games tournament will be a driving force in this fourth season. Continuing to be a quirky action anime, Fairy Tail enters a fan-favorite section of the show and is absolutely worth seeing.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

Fairy Tai Part 14 arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition presentation. As with other sets (beginning with Part 11), the show receives native high-def encoding, which looks just as good as the previous upscaled presentations. Color and clarity and quite strong and the image looks pleasing for the most part. The animation and the quality production merits continue to shine through. The series does look a bit soft but this seems to be inherent within the source. Viewers will be pleased with the presentation despite some minor issues with banding and aliasing. Fairy Tail is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

Please Note: This release is a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Audio:

Once again, Funimation's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English dub audio is the impressive selection that I have a personal preference towards during my listening experience. The series is provided with both English dub and Japanese dub lossless audio options which is a nice feature. The work of the English dub ADR director remains stellar and the quality of the voice-acting continues to surprise with its excellent quality. Please note that the original Japanese audio is 2.0 Dolby TrueHD stereo and it will not be as dynamic as the English dub option.


Extras:

 

This release includes two audio commentaries on selected episodes with participants from the English dub cast, textless opening/ending songs, a U.S. trailer, and trailers promoting other Funimation releases.

 

Lastly, Funimation has provided a featurette entitled Being Lucy: With Cherami Leigh (16 min.), who is the voice actress for Lucy. It's an inside look at a recording session with Leigh as she is working on her vocal performance for the part.

The release also contains the standard inclusion of reversible cover art and a beautiful slip (o-card).

 Final Thoughts:

Fairy Tail Part 14 is another batch of the exciting and entertaining series. This new season introduces the biggest long-form tournament saga on the show which is akin to other anime series tournaments where characters must duke-it-out to become victorious. Now it's time characters from the Fairy Tail guild participate in their own tournament towards becoming crowned as the greatest magical guild throughout the kingdom. As per usual, this is a series anime fans will enjoy. It's a strong start to season 4. With worthwhile video and audio quality, this set is certainly a Funimation release well worth owning for series fans.

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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C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
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