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Fairy Tail Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 16, 2011 by  



Fun, action-packed adventures featuring the most destructive wizard guild in the planet!  If you are wanting a newer, longer running anime TV series on Blu-ray, “Fairy Tail” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2011 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fairy Tail Vol. 1

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2009

DURATION: 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

Release Date: November 22, 2011

Originally created by Hiro Mashima

Directed by Shinji Ishihara

Script by Atsuhiro Tomikoa, Fumihiko Shimo, Masashi Sogo, Shoji Yonemura

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Aoi Yamamoto

Art Director: Junko Shimizu

Chief Animation Director: Takao Sano

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures, Satelight

Featuring the following voice talent:

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 as Pantherlily

Hiroki Yasumoto as Elfman

Kazuhiko Inoue as Gildarts Clive

Mai Nakahara as Juvia Loxar

Mariya Ise as Levi Macgarden

Miyuki Sawashiro/Lydia Mackay as Ultear Milkovich

Ryoko Ono/Monica Rial as Mirajane

Satomi Satou as Wendy

Sayaka Narita as Aries

Wataru Hatano as Gajeel Redfox

Yui Horie as Charle

After a virus claims millions, most live in the safety of a closed-off world, relegating themselves to an on-line existence. But when a young girl decides to brave life outside the virtual world, she finds a group of friends – and a killer. Someone is hunting and violently murdering children. Who? Why? And is she the next target?

A hilarious, action adventure magical anime series based on the popular Weekly Shonen Magazine manga series!

“Fairy Tail” is a manga series which began in 2006 and was created by mangaka Hiro Mashima (known for his manga series “Rave Master”).  Featured in Weekly Shonen Magazine, the manga series is still ongoing, meanwhile an anime adaptation of the manga series was created in 2009 produced by A-Pictures and Satelight.  And similar to the manga series, is also ongoing!

The anime series is directed by Shinji Ishihara (“Aoi Kokuhaku”, “Tenbatsu Angel Rabbie”, “Tokyo Majin” and is written by Masashi Sogo (“Bleach”, “Yukikaze”, “Hunter x Hunter”).  The anime series features character design by Aoi Yamamoto, art direction by Junko Shimizu (“Midori Days, “Blue Dragon”, “Trinity Blood”) and music by Yasuharu Takanashi (“Naruto Shippuden”, “Hell Girl”, “Gantz”, Ikki Tosen”).

“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!

“Fairy Tale” Vol. 1 features the following characters:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The first volume of “Fairy Tale” comes with 12 episodes on two Blu-rays (and also includes two DVD’s):

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – An episode of how Luci met Natsu and Happy.
  • EPISODE 2 – Natsu brings Lucy to the Fairy Tail guildhall where she joins the guild and must go on her first job.
  • EPISODE 3 – Lucy must help Natsu and Happy steal a book from Everlue mansion.
  • EPISODE 4 – Lucy along with Natsu and Happy must fight against Duke Everlue in order to get the book.
  • EPISODE 5 – Erza enlists Natsu and Gray to assist her in an important mission.
  • EPISODE 6 – Erigor tries to kill the guild masters, can Natsu and Lucy stop him in time?
  • EPISODE 7 – Natsu vs. Eisenwald.
  • EPISODE 8 – Natsu vs. Erigor, but now Kageyama goes to try and kill the guild masters.  Can Natsu and Lucy stop him in time?

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 9 – Why has a village transformed the people into giant monsters?
  • EPISODE 10 – Because Natsu helped Erza with her request, he requests a battle with Erza to prove his strength.
  • EPISODE 11 – Natsu, Lucy and Happy go to the Galuna Island, place that may be cursed.
  • EPISODE 12 – Natsu, Lucy and Happy discover that wizards on Galuna Island are up to no good.

VIDEO:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  It’s important to note that this is a anime TV series, not a film or an OVA and is a weekly anime series.  What that means is A-1 Pictures and Satelight, have their hands full, especially if they have other TV series to work on that week.  Typically a lot of anime series are quickly done in order to make it by their weekly deadline and sometimes, they are done the day of deadline.  So, production values for TV series are typically not that high if they are working on multiple series.

Fortunately A-1 Pictures has become one of the newer studios that have been doing production for quite a number of popular hit series such as “Blue Exorcist” and “Big Windup!” and Satelight does a lot of the in-between animation.  So, while they are a smaller, growing company, they are not overburdened as other studios and that means, more time dedicated to the anime series.

“Fairy Tail” features cool production value.  A lot of detailed artwork, because of the many adventures, you get so many locations and not the typical regurgitated scenery.

There is a lot of detail featured in the art backgrounds, a lot of characters featured and these characters have great detail and shadowing.  Colors are absolutely vibrant, black levels are deep.  I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.  If anything, the Blu-ray really brings out the details and colors of the series and looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fairy Tail” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack but because the English is 5.1, there is better use of the surround channels.

In fact, I found myself listening to the English dub track for “Fairy Tail” much more than the Japanese soundtrack because of the 5.1 but also, FUNimation did a magnificent job with the casting of this series.  I was very pleased especially with the casting of Lucy, Natsu, Happy, Grey and Erza and for the most part, I think whichever you prefer, you will be pleased with Japanese and English audio tracks.

But for the most part, for a TV series, lossless audio is crystal clear and while not the most immersive soundtrack (which I typically don’t expect TV series to boast incredible immersive lossless soundtracks, unlike a film or OVA series), “Fairy Tail” does sound very good on Blu-ray!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fairy Tail Vol. 1” features the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer) with Todd Haberkorn (voice of Natsu), Tia Ballard (voice of Happy) and Cherami Leigh (as Lucy).

DISC 2:

  • Episode 9 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer) with Todd Haberkorn (voice of Natsu), Tia Ballard (voice of Happy), Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Erza) and Cherami Leigh (as Lucy).
  • Textless Opening Songs: “Snow Fairy”, “S.O.W. Sense of Wonder”
  • Textless Closing Songs: “Kanpeki Gu~none”, “Tsuioku Merry-Go Round”
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

Fun, action-packed adventures featuring the most destructive wizard guild in the planet!

“Fairy Tail” is an anime series that manages to have a lot of fun through the adventures of Natsu and Lucy and it has similarities to the action/adventure anime series “One Piece” and “The Slayers”.

For one, the adventure and action is big part of this series as the characters take on various rival wizard guilds, the problem is that they tend to get into so much trouble that they end up creating a lot of damage.  And the object of these adventures are working guild jobs as the characters have bills to pay and each time they destroy something, it comes out of their paycheck.

And so far with this first volume, you have rather interesting characters.  For one, Lucy is the upbeat teenager who is just happy to be part of the Fairy Tail guild and wants to acquire more gatekeys to add to her list of spirits she can contact for battle or for the most troublesome situations, Natsu brings in the power but also knowing that he is a young guy who is searching for a mysterious dragon that helped raise him.  Throw in Gray, a friend and also Fairy Tail rival of Natsu who can’t keep his clothes on and then you have the great Erza with her bad attitude and awesome power.  And of course, what anime would not be complete without a cute floating character, in this case, a talking blue with wings named Happy!

So far, volume 1 features introductory episodes in which we get to know more about the characters, their special abilities but by episodes 7-8, Natsu wants to amp things up by taking on bigger jobs that pay more money but is Natsu and Lucy ready to take on these high-risk jobs?

You can expect things to be much more challenging for these characters in the next volume.  With that being said, this series has over 100 episodes and is still ongoing.  Next to “Dragon Ball Z” and “Yu Yu Hakusho” (which are older anime series), “Fairy Tale” is the most recent, longer anime series from Japan to be released on Blu-ray by FUNimation Entertainment.  So, if you want a series to watch for the long haul, “Fairy Tail” is a series worth considering.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good for a TV series and features a good solid lossless soundtrack.  As for special features, you do get the English voice actors providing commentary for two episodes.  And speaking about the English voice actors, I felt that FUNimation Entertainment has done a magnificent job with the cast for this series!  I’m usually listening to the Japanese soundtrack but this is one of the few series where I found myself watching with the English dubs because the voice acting was well-done.

Overall, the first Blu-ray release for “Fairy Tail” definitely shows a lot of promise.  Love the artwork, the character designs and the balance between humor and action/adventure.  While I don’t like to praise anime series too early on, I look forward to watching the next volume of “Fairy Tail”!  Again, if you are willing to commit yourself to a long running series, “Fairy Tale” is definitely for you!






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