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Fairy Tail: Collection Four
Based on the successful manga series created by Hiro Mashima, Fairy Tail began airing in 2009 in Japan and became one of the most successful anime series on television. It has become a long running success and continues to be a fan-favorite series for its quality blend of adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy. The series also contains an abundance of comedy and finds a good balance with the action.
The premise of the series revolves around the Fairy Tail guild: a guild made up of some of the world's most powerful wizards. These wizards have their own unique skills and abilities. They make up a family of-sorts and the members work on various missions to save the world and to complete a variety of missions tasked within their guild.
The characters on Fairy Tail are distinctive, memorable, and enjoyably realized and that is large part of the reason why this series became a huge success. Some of the lead characters include a fire-breathing man (who is part dragon) named Natsu, an energetic and enthusiastic girl named Lucy who collects special port-keys which bring out spirit beings who help on guild missions, and Gray, who is a tough-fighter and a close friend to Natsu. Perhaps the toughest character of them all is the warrior Erza, who is a leader to most of the guild members and who is easily one of the strongest of them all.
Fairy Tail is an immensely fun anime series which finds a good balance between various genre elements and the character storytelling. Fans of action-adventure anime series with a fantasy element should definitely see this wonderful series. It's exciting, comedic, and well-made throughout.
Collection #4 - Episodes 73-96:
This set picks up with a number of episodes that work more as standalone character-based episodes following the end of one of the series longer story arcs. As the storyline picks up, Gildarts returns to the Fairy Tail guild after a seriously long mission. Gildarts is one of the strongest members of Fairy Tail but had been away on his quest.
Things are shaken up for them when a hole in the sky opens up and a giant storm ensues. It appears as though everyone in the guild disappeared through the storm except for Wendy. She soon finds that Natsu and the flying-cats Happy and Carla are still around. Together, they set out on a quest taking them from Earth Land to a new world named Edolas, a place which exists as a sort of alternate dimension or reality to their own. Thus begins the next big story-arc (and it's an interesting one).
This part of the series introduces a heavier sci-fi storyline that feels a little like Fairy Tail meets The Twilight Zone. It's a perfect genre outing. When Natsu, Wendy, Happy, and Carla arrive at Edolas they soon discover a alternate version of the Fairy Tail guild exists but it is one in which almost all of the characters are quite a lot different from their normal selves on Earth Land and almost act as different people altogether. Things get quite a bit odd in this alternate-dimension type world.
The world is bizarre and things are complicated further when they discover that in Edolas Erza is known as "The Fairy Hunter". Rather than being one of their strongest friends she is an enemy to the guild who hunts down members. Making matters worse, Natsu and the rest aren't able to use their magic like they normally are while in Edolas.<>Over the course of the set, a huge back-story unfolds centered upon the existence of the flying cats. There is a lot of development for both Happy and Carla and their character's storylines. These episodes greatly expand on these characters and should please fans. The set also introduces another large battle-form saga within this story arc, which leads up to the potential demise of Edolas.
The original Earth Land Fairy Tail guild characters are brought back into the storyline and must work together to help save the day. Jellal is once again a focus on the storyline as well. Lastly, the end of the storyline focuses on the return of the character Lisanna, a beloved Fairy Tail guild member who was believed dead... but is it the return of their lost friend or is it the alternate-universe Lisanna from Edolas who has returned? By the last episode of the set, the characters return to Eath Land but the series starts to setup the next big arc, which kicks off on the next collection.
The animation remains incredibly well done on Fairy Tail. The character designs are superb and the artwork is detailed and highly creative. The background art is stunning and a lot of effort was done designing the new alternate-universe style world. Production qualities are really excellent. I was impressed. The English dubbing work by the Funimation team is also high-quality and fans of dubs will be pleased with the effort.
Fairy Tail is presented on Blu-ray from Funimation Entertainment with a combo pack release which includes both DVD and Blu-ray discs. At this stage in the series (prior to the release of native HD episodes), the presentation is that of an upscaled 1080p transfer. The series has an impressive upscale and looks quite wonderful and near native-HD quality.
Though the series presentation is a bit soft because of it being an upscale from standard definition the line detail, clarity, and colors are all excellent. The only real issue on the set is that there is some banding related issues. Viewers will be quite pleased with the effort made by Funimation to release the episodes on Blu-ray in the best possible quality. The set also presents the series in the original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen.
There are two lossless audio options on the release: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English and Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Japanese (with English subtitles). Viewing the series in English gives a robust surround-sound presentation and the English dubbing is excellent. Fans of English dubs will be impressed by the quality of the dubbing by Funimation's excellent voice cast as well. However, either option will please fans with a lossless audio mix.
As with other Fairy Tail collections, the extras included on this release are minimal and consist of select audio commentaries featuring English dub VA's, text-less opening/closing credits (songs), and trailers promoting other Funimation Entertainment releases.
One of the best long-running anime series of the past several years is Fairy Tail. The series is a blast to watch with great adventure, action, characters, and animation. This series is superbly made and is a must-see for anime fans. This set contains an engaging sci-fi storyline that is a great fit to the Fairy Tail universe.
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.