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Fairy Tail: Part 15

FUNimation // Unrated // March 10, 2015
List Price: $54.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted April 6, 2015 | E-mail the Author
Fairy Tail - Part 15 - Blu-ray Review

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. These wizards work on various missions for the non-magic folk of the world. Additionally, 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.

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 (and remarkably well).

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 15 of the ongoing saga.  Part 15 contains episodes 165-175. This set contains more adventures within the Grand Magic Games saga storyline and concludes the fourth season of the show.

The Set:

It's no surprise that Fairy Tail continues to focus on the Grand Magic Games tournament saga. Anime series in this genre have frequently relied upon having a tournament style storyline. In Fairy Tail exploring a tournament setting at this stage in the story, the series showrunners and creative staff are meeting genre expectations. The surprise then comes when Fairy Tail pulls it off with some amazing episodes that are some of the best in the series to date. This doesn't feel like filler storytelling. The arc has genuine mystery, intrigue, and a solid storyline.

This set features an amazing opening episode with Hatred at Nightfall. In this episode, Natsu helps defend a girl in another guild who was kicked out and left on her own after losing one battle. It sets a dramatic and intense tone to the set right away. In Pandemonium, things are intensified as Natsu also faces other members of the guild and the storyline moves into the tournament arena.

In 100 Against 1, Erza ends up battling 100 different monsters all at once and is challenged with one of her biggest battles to date. This is one of the most intense and well constructed episodes of the entire season and it's great to see such a cool storyline concept successfully done for Erza. Other tournaments during the season include Laxus vs. Alexei, Wendy vs. Shelia, and Natsu vs. the Twin Dragons (in the decidedly intense season finale). Each of the battles in well done and with impressive animation and generally solid storytelling as well.

The Fairy Tail guild continues its upwards trajectory in the competition. The members of the guild continue to excel at what they do best but this time around they are finally starting to actually win battles and with a lot of points (which helps them move up the score-board).  Tournament rules are changed after the Fairy Tail guild manages to become so well-scored during their recent matches. The team is essentially made to remove a whole team of guild members as they are no longer allowed to have two team units.

Pairing down the Fairy Tail guild to just one team essentially eliminates most of the Fairy Tail B team. The focus on these members during this batch of episodes is low, anyway), so audiences who liked these guild members might feel a little bit disappointed. Everyone else will probably be glad the main characters (who are primarily in the main guild) get more screen-time during this set of episodes. Meanwhile, the mystery quotient of the series increases to unfold as it becomes clear that part of the tournament is being staged for a seemingly-diabolical plan.

Few anime series produced today continue to grasp my attention as well as Fairy Tail does on a consistent basis. This is a genuinely great anime series which can easily join the top ranks of classic series alongside the likes of One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon. Not only is the production merit absolutely extraordinary (with great technical prowess and animation) but the writing is consistently strong and the characters continue to be such a huge part of the reason the series works so well on the whole.

Viewers might love the action-packaged adventures but it's much more than that bringing fans back: the characters and the storytelling manages to be emotionally-rich and satisfying. Fairy Tail is one of those rare series that deftly balances the action, comedy, adventure, and great characters in one gigantic swoop of excellence. It is this quality of artistry which keeps the experience of Fairy Tail so compelling. It is also why the series once again ranks as one of television's best anime productions of the entire year.

The Bottom line? Don't miss out on this amazing show. It is one of the best anime series of the past several years. 

The Blu-ray:


Video:

Fairy Tai Part 15 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:

Funimation's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English dub audio is still a 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 absolutely stellar during this batch of episodes. The fine dubbing quality and voice-acting is starting to no longer surprise me. Why? Because it's so consistently great. Fairy Tail has one of the best English dubs in Funimation history. I am hopeful it will always remains this impressive in 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 two episodes with some of the English dub cast, textless opening/ending songs, a U.S. trailer, and trailers promoting other Funimation releases.

 

There is also a video-commentary featuring the English dub VA for Erza, the dub translation writer, and one other dub production member.

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

 Final Thoughts:

Fairy Tail Part 15 is yet another excellent set of episodes. This set contains the last batch of episodes in Season 4. Funimation is quickly catching up on the series with only season 5 to release now (as season 6 has just begun airing).  Fans are encouraged to pick up this quality release.

The series remains entertaining, action-packed, and engaging throughout the entire set. It's absolutely recommended to fans of the series. Those who have been following this saga undoubtedly want to see how the tournament saga continues. There are some interesting surprises in store and it all builds to a mysterious season finale which will have audiences wondering where season 5 will take the series to next. Without a doubt, Fairy Tail remains amongst the best anime series around.

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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