Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Review)
December 1, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” is a wonderful film that is action-packed but very emotional and sad. It’s a film one can expect to see all members of the Fairy Tail Guild to take part in the action but also a film that manages to balance the action, comedy and emotional scenes rather well. If you love “Fairy Tail”, you’ll love “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess”. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess
ANIME THEATRICAL RELEASE DATE: 2012
DURATION: 85 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 5.1, English subtitles
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Originally created by Hiro Mashima
Directed by Masaya Fujimori
Script by Masashi Sogo
Music by Yasuharu Takanashi
Animation Director: Satoru Kobayashi, Takafumi Hori
Theme Song by Aya Hirano
Anime Production: A-1 Pictures
Featuring the following voice talent:
Aya Endo/Jessica Calvello as Eclair
Aya Hirano/Cherami Leigh as Lucy Heartfilia
Tetsuya Kakihara/Todd Haberkorn as Natsu Dragneel
Rie Kugimiya/Tia Ballard as Happy
Sayaka Ohara/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Erza Scarlet
Yūichi Nakamura/Newton Pittman as Gray Fullbuster
Shinichi Kotani/R. Bruce Elliot as Makarov
Akira Ishida as Zeref
Daisuke Kishio/Eric Vale as Loki/Loke
Daisuke Namikawa as Jeral/Mystogan
Eri Kitamura/Jamie Marchi as Kana Alberona
Hiroki Touchi/Rick Keeling as Pantherlily
Hiroki Yasumoto/Julien Chatelet as Elfman Strauss
Mai Nakahara/Brina Palencia as Juvia Loxar
Miyuki Sawashiro/Lydia Mackay as Ultear Milkovich
Ryoko Ono/Monica Rial as Mirajane
Satomi Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Wendy
Wataru Hatano/David Wald as Gajeel Redfox
Yui Horie as Charle
Follow Fairy Tail’s dream team – Natsu, Gray, Erza, Lucy, Wendy, Happy, and Carla – as they lend a helping hand to a girl with little memory and a grudge against wizards. As they uncover clues about her mysterious past, a lunatic prince hatches a half-baked plan to sacrifice her in exchange for immortality. When the fool unleashes an ancient force, a raging war becomes the fiercest inferno Fairy Tail has ever faced. Can the guild with a heart of gold save the planet from a fiery finish?
In the Summer of 2012, the first “Fairy Tail” animated film was released in Japan.
Titled “Fairy Tail: Hoo no Miko”, the film was produced by A-1 Pictures and is directed by Masaya Fujimori (“You Are Umasou”, “Doraemon” films) with a screenplay by Masashi Sogo (“Baki the Grappler”, “Rurouni Kenshin”, “Hunter x Hunter” and music by Yasuharu Takanashi (“Naruto Shippuden”, “Ikki Tosen”, “Gantz”).
And now the film will be released in the U.S. titled “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” on Blu-ray+DVD courtesy of FUNimation in Dec. 2013.
What is “Fairy Tail”?
For those who are not familiar with “Fairy Tail”, let’s just say that it’s one of the currently running, long airing anime magic/adventure TV series in Japan (a total of six volumes have been released in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation).
“Fairy Tail” revolves around a 17-year-old celestial wizard named Lucy Heartfilia who dreams of joining a sorcerer guild known as Fairy Tail, a group known and feared for the destruction they cause. One day, she runs into Natsu Dragneel, a guy who is traveling to the land of Fiore along with his partner Happy (a talking blue cat with wings) who is searching for his foster parent, a dragon named Igneel who has disappeared.
While traveling to Fiore, both Lucy and Natsu encounter a sorcerer claiming to be the famous Salamander of Fairy Tail. Natsu is the first to object that the man is a phony but the fans of Salamander are dismayed by Natsu’s comments and beat him up, meanwhile Lucy finds out that this fake Salamander is using his sorcerer abilities to make young women fall for him.
As Lucy tries to show her gratitude to Natsu for breaking the spell that would have otherwise have hypnotized Lucy, the two become friends.
But when the fake Salamander tells Lucy that he would get her into Fairy Tail, she knows he is a fake but any chance of getting to join the guild would make her dream come true, so she decides to visit him.
But it’s all a ruse and the fake Salamander is just trying to find female slaves and because he is so powerful, Lucy does not have the magic necessary to beat him. But coming to Lucy’s rescue is Natsu, who is revealed to be a true member of Fairy Tail and also revealed to be the true “Salamander”. And he easily beats the fake Salamander up.
When Natsu discovers that Lucy’s dream is to become a Fairy Tail member, he asks her to join him and he can help her get into the guild and from that moment on, Lucy becomes Natsu’s partner in various Fairy Tail guild missions and for each mission they beat, the more income they make.
And more money means more keys to gain more powers, which would help Lucy become a powerful celestial wizard!
What is “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” about?
The film begins with a jovial celebration at a village which is interrupted as the village is under attacked. While many of the people of the village are slaughtered, we see a woman and her father escaping and teleporting to another location with the woman being given one half of the Phoenix necklace.
Fastforward hundreds of years later and the Fairy Tail guild members Lucy, Natsu, Happy. Gray, Erza, Wendy and Carla are on a mission to catch a bandit gang leader named Geese which ends in failure as Geese has the ability to turn as thin as paper. Lucy blames herself for losing Geese but Natsu reminds her that they are a team.
Meanwhile, the guild masters have a meeting about a magical power source being detected near the mountains.
As Lucy is heading home, she sees the woman (that was shown at the beginning) named Eclair collapsing and her bird-like companion named Momon asking for help. Lucy quickly brings Eclair and Momon to the Fairy Tail Guild to get something to eat. Eclair apparently has amnesia and can’t remember anything but the fact that she is supposed to go to the Boundary Forest to meet with a wizard named Kalard.
Elsewhere, Duke Cream, from the neighboring country of Veronica has hired a dark guild known as Carbuncle to search for Eclair and take back the Phoenix Stone, as combining her half of the stone with his half would bring about something magical.
Wanting to help Eclair, Lucy wants to accompany her to the Boundary Forest to help her. While Eclair tells her that she’s not fond of magic, Lucy is still willing to help and eventually, Natsu, Happy, Gray, Erza, Wendy and Carla offer to join them as well.
But while on their trip and stopping at a hotel for rest. While Lucy tries to wonder why Eclair is quite cold to her, Eclair tells her that they are similar and have the same eyes, something she didn’t expect a wizard to have. And as the two bond, one of the members of the Carbuncle Guild emerges to their room and tries to attack Lucy and is after Eclair. As the group escape, they are eventually rescued by Natsu and Gray.
As the group arrive to the Boundary Forest, they receive a holographic message, Kalard reveals that she is the Fire Village’s maiden and he created a spell to dispel the Phoenix Stone’s cursed magic and also that he is Eclair’s father and that he has one with for her daughter to be happy and that she meets people that care for her. And if she saw the holographic message, it was because he has passed away.
And as Lucy tries to help Eclair through her sadness of losing a father, she reveals that they are the same as she also has lost her father.
Eclair asks the Fairy Tail Guild for their help in breaking the curse of the Phoenix Stones and the group agrees to help her. But not long after they discuss the stones, the Carbuncle Guild (led by Dist and his subordinates Chase, Cannon and Coordinator) attacks the Fairy Tail Guild and destroys their guild hall. As the group try to protect Eclair, they are defeated by Carbuncle and Eclair is taken away.
Now the Fairy Tail guild are sent on a mission to rescue Eclair, while Duke Cream wants to bring the two halves of the Phoenix Stone together during the Anniversary of Veronica and resurrect the Phoenix in order to become immortal.
“Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” features the following characters:
- Eclair – A Maiden of the Fire Village that has been given an immortal life to protect one half of the Phoenix Stone. Because of the Phoenix Blood within her, her memories of the past have been lost but all she knows is that she must go to the Boundary Forest to meet with a wizard named Kalard and give him the one half of the Phoenix Stone that she has in her possession.
- Momon – A birdlike stuffed animal created by Eclair that has come to life and his sole responsibility is to keep Eclair company and to protect her.
- Natsu Dragneel – Also known as “Salamander”, Natsu is a kindhearted, always hungry wizard who travels with his partner Happy in search of Igneel, a dragon who raised Natsu but is now missing. Natsu is a dragon slayer and a wizard who can perform “Lost Magic and can have physical properties of a dragon. He specializes in Fire Dragon Slayer Magic which allows him to breath fire and ingest fire as a form of nourishment. He is also gifted with other powers not yet revealed in the first volume of “Fairy Tail”.
- Lucy Heartfilia – A celestial wizard who can summon contracted spirits (with special abilities) through a set of keys known as Gatekeys. She treats these spirits as friends. Her dream is to join Fairy Tail and through meeting Natsu, now her dream can come true. Always in need of money, she looks to the Fairy Tail Guild as her family after her father is killed.
- Happy – A blue cat with wings and a best friend to Natsu. He can fly and can carry a person while flying. He is also known to irritate Lucy.
- Gray Fullbuster – A powerful wizard of Fairy Tail and the opposite of Natsu, in that he has control of ice. Gray has the power of Ice Make which can make him create weapons or anything out of ice. He was raised by the wizard Ur. He also has a bad habit of taking of all his clothes without realizing it.
- Erza Scarlet – An S-Class wizard (high-ranked) and is the most powerful member of the Fairy Tail guild. She has magic known as “The Knight” which allows her to summon and equip weapons and armor and also has the ability to resist magic attacks. She is feared by others because of her lack of compassion.
- Mirajane – A 19-year-old S-Class wizard who is the cover girl of Sorcerer’s Weekly magazine and helps Lucy understand what is happening with the members of the Fairy Tail guild. She has the ability to change her appearance to something she previously encountered.
- Cana Alberona – A short-tempered heaving drinking woman. She uses card magic to cast her spells.
- Elfman – Mirajane’s younger brother who is known for his physical strength. He can absorb the power of any monster he defeats.
- Loke – A flirtatious wizard who is often seen in the company of many women.
- Makarov Dreyer – The elder master of Fairy Tail. He is constantly busy because of his guild members becoming too violent.
- Juvia Lockser – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild and now a member of Fairy Tail and is obsessed with Gray. She becomes great friends of Lucy but also her rival (thinking that Lucy is interested in Gray).
- Gajeel Redfox – Originally a member of the Phantom Lord Guild, Gajeel is similar to Natsu in the fact that he is a Dragon Slayer raised by the dragon Metalicana. He can transform his body into metal weapons.
- Jellal Fernandes – A former child slave that grew up with Erza Scarlet. Thought to be dead, he is found by Oracion Seis and revived by Wendy Marvell and is being used to find the destructive spell known as Nirvana.
- Wendy Marvell – A female Dragon Slayer who is accompanied by her Exceed partner Carla (a white cat with wings). A master of Sky Dragon Slayer magic, she can heal injuries. She becomes an ally and member of Fairy Tail.
“Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” is presented in 1080p High Definition. As one can expect from an animated film, the film features a lot more action, more CG (especially for backgrounds) and better character animations. While the film is not the most vibrant, has some scenes with banding and has a little softness, the animated film still looks very good and is quite colorful.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, while action scenes definitely use the surround channels. Really good use of LFE towards the final action scenes towards the end of the film and for the most part, the soundtrack is very good.
As for the voice acting, I watched the film (as I have watched the series) in both English and Japanese. And as I enjoyed the English dub, for the Japanese voice acting, I have to say that Aya Hirano does a magnificent job as Lucy Heartfilia for this film. “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” is probably one of her most emotional scenes that I have seen her do and for those sad, emotional scenes, she nails it! Fantastic job!
Subtitles are in English.
“Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” features the following special features:
- Fairy Tail the Movie, Prologue: “The First Morning” – (12:11) I wish this prologue was included with the actual animated film as it shows us the life of Eclair, the importance of the Phoenix Stone and how Momon was created.
- Original Trailer – (1:45) The original Japanese theatrical trailer.
- Textless Opening and Ending Songs
- U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess”
- Trailers – FUNimation trailers
“Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” Blu-ray also comes with the DVD version.
“Fairy Tail” is one of my favorite long action series that I am currently following from FUNimation and part of the enjoyment of this film are its many characters.
The members of the Fairy Tail guild are fascinating, as each member has a special ability and they are like a family that works together and is there for each other. And that side of protecting your own is very evident in the first “Fairy Tail” film titled “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” as we see the Carbuncle Guild literally declaring war against the Fairy Tail Guild by destroying their Guild Hall and literally going against the family.
With “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess”, it was quite a surprise because you expect the humor and the action, but this film is also very emotional and tragic that for some people, you may want to have the tissue box nearby as it may make you shed a few tears. Especially with the voice acting (for those who watch the Japanese soundtrack) by Aya Hirano who does the voice for Lucy. This was possibly one of the most emotional performance I have ever heard from her and it’s one of those performances that really makes you want to cry!
The storyline about the character Eclair and her stuff-animal bird that came alive, Momon is rather touching and also sad but the bond that Eclair and Lucy are able to have as friends was captured quite well in the film. And one positive about this Blu-ray release is that a prologue to Eclair’s life is added as a special feature.
Before one is to watch this animated film, for hardcore “Fairy Tail” fans, it is important to mention because the storyline deals with something close and personal to Lucy and if you are following the series according to the FUNimation Blu-ray releases, the things that happened to Lucy and her father have not yet happened in the series yet (note: Certain details that are mentioned in the film, take place in episodes 123-124 of “Fairy Tail” and with the upcoming seventh Blu-ray release of “Fairy Tail” from FUNimation in Dec. 2013, that volume covers episodes 73-84), so if you are a person who does not want to be spoiled, then you can hold off on watching this movie until volume 11 of “Fairy Tail” is released, otherwise if you don’t mind or are a person who has never watched the anime series before, then you’ll be able to follow this film with no problem.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good as the art backgrounds are beautiful, animation is colorful with a small bit of softness but for the most part, the animated film looks good in HD. I did notice a little banding in certain scenes but for the most part, “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” looks good in HD and the lossless soundtrack for both English and Japanese are well-done and utilize the surround channels, especially LFE!
Overall, “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” is a wonderful film that is action-packed but very emotional and sad. It’s a film one can expect to see all members of the Fairy Tail Guild to take part in the action but also a film that manages to balance the action, comedy and emotional scenes rather well. If you love “Fairy Tail”, you’ll love “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess”. Recommended!
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