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Fairy Tail Vol. 3 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Review)

January 26, 2012 by  



More action! More devastation! More characters!  Wow!  The third volume of “Fairy Tail” was very exciting and from these episodes alone, it was definitely a major step up in the quality of the writing and also the amount of action featured.  So, for any fan who wants to stay with this long anime TV series for the long haul, all I can say is that things have just gotten even better and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the fourth volume of “Fairy Tail”.  Definitely recommended!

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

TITLE: Fairy Tail Vol. 3

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2009

DURATION: (Episodes 25-36) 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: January 31, 2012

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

The guild-on-guild mayhem continues as Fairy Tail struggles to fend off Phantom Lord – whose Element 4 must be defeated in order to disable a massive magic cannon aimed at guild headquarters! With a never-surrender attitude, Natsu and his friends push their powers to the limit to protect Lucy and save Magnolia from total annihilation!

Then, Erza’s tortured past returns to haunt her when estranged friends ambush a well-deserved vacation. Her team tracks them down to a looming tower where a possessed wizard close to Erza’s heart puts them in a sinister game of life or death!

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!

And here we are with the third Blu-ray release of “Fairy Tail” featuring episodes 25-36 courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

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”).

A Quick Summary of what has taken place in “Fairy Tail” thus far:

“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!

Meanwhile, as both Natsu, Lucy and Gray have gotten better (and more destructive) at handling missions, they begin to team up with the elite warrior Erza, who had to go after the three because they took on an S-Class Ranked Mission without approval from the Fairy Tail Guild.  Meanwhile, the Guild was unexpectedly attacked by their long time rival, the Phantom Lord Guild led by Jose.

In “Fairy Tail Vol. 3”,  Jose and the Phantom Lord continues their attack on Fairy Tail, but will the members be strong enough to defend their area and respond to their attacks.  And why are they attacking and who is responsible?  The episodes of volume 3 also explore the history of characters of Loke and Erza.

“Fairy Tail” Vol. 3 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 third volume of “Fairy Tail” comes with 12 episodes on two Blu-rays (and also includes two DVD’s):

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 25 – Gray vs. Juvia, who can control the element of water, but also a woman who finds herself falling in love with Gray.
  • EPISODE 26 – Lucy is kidnappd by Gajeel, Erza vs. Aria.
  • EPISODE 27 – Natsu vs. Gajeel
  • EPISODE 28 – Gray vs. Lion Round 2.
  • EPISODE 29 – Erza vs. Jose, Makarov comes to the rescue.
  • EPISODE 30 – The Magic Council is not pleased with the aftermat of the fight between Fairy Tail and Phantom Lord and Makarov may receive jailtime.
  • EPISODE 31 – Lucy suspects something is wrong with Loke and investigates his past.
  • EPISODE 32 – Loke reveals his past to Lucy and Lucy decides to fight for him and return him back to the Spirit World.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 33 – Lucy and friends receive passports to the Fiore Kingdom resorts for some R&R.
  • EPISODE 34 – Erza’s past is revealed.
  • EPISODE 35 – What is the connection between Erza and Jellal and why did Erza become a wizard?
  • EPISODE 36 – Lucy and Juvia take on Jellal’s mercenary Vidaldus Taka, while Natsu takes on the mercenary Fukuro.

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. 3” features the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Episode 26 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with Andrew Tipps (Mix Engineer) discussing various techniques of mixing “Fairy Tail” and the audio plug-ins used.  A very insightful commentary!

DISC 2:

  • Episode 32 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tyler Walker (ADR Director/Line Producer/Adapted Script Writer) with Cherami Leigh (voice of Lucy) and Eric Vale (voice of Loke).
  • Textless Opening Songs: “ft.” and “R.P.G. ~Rockin’ Playing Game”
  • Textless Closing Songs: “I’m Sorry” and “Kimi Ga Iru Kara”
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Fairy Tail” Blu-ray releases also come with the DVD version of that volume.

Fun, action-packed adventures featuring the most destructive wizard guild in the planet!  The third volume of “Fairy Tail” features possibly my favorite episodes yet!

For one, there is intense action in this volume a members of the Fairy Tail Guild take on the Phantom Lord and we see a major transformation in the power of Natsu but also we are introduced to a new character named Juvia who may/may not become a love interest to Gray.  But that story arc alone was quite impressive as we get to see everyone in the guild in battle.

Volume three also explores the history of Loke and what he actually is but also exploring the history of Erza which has been quite private and mysterious and her storyline actually leads to another major battle.  So, needless to say, while “Fairy Tail” has its many humorous moments, the episodes really take the action up a notch as it is continuous and makes everything quite exciting!

“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.

With this third volume, you really get to see how these characters have grown since the first episode.  Natsu and Gray are growing in their powers but also Lucy also has some major revelations featured in this latest volume as well, but also to see her involved in the battles, especially during the Loke storying.

With that being said, this series has over 100 episodes and is still ongoing in Japan. Next to “Dragon Ball Z” and “Yu Yu Hakusho” (which are older anime series), “Fairy Tail” 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. It’s important to emphasize that this is a TV series and not a film or OVA, thus the production quality of animated TV shows tend to be lower (and created in a short time) than a film/OVA, so there is a bit of softness and shadowing and detail are not utilized a lot for this series.

As for special features, you do get the English voice actors providing commentary for one episode, while the other was pretty awesome as it really went in-depth on the mixing for the series and the various plug-ins and effects.  Rarely do audio commentaries from FUNimation Entertainment go into the more technical side of their production, especially towards sound.  So, I thought it was very awesome to hear this commentary on “Fairy Tail”.

Overall, the third volume of “Fairy Tail” was very exciting and from these episodes alone, it was definitely a major step up in the quality of the writing and also the amount of action featured.  So, for any fan who wants to stay with this long anime TV series for the long haul, all I can say is that things have just gotten even better and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the fourth volume of “Fairy Tail”.

Definitely recommended!






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