Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $54.98 US (Blu-ray + DVD)
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: November 22, 2011
There’s better magic here than in a Vegas magic show.
As a fans of Rave Master, the name Hiro Mashima is a familiar one to all of us here in the office so when FUNimation announced that they will be bringing the anime version of Fairy Tail you can bet we were excited so finally get to own the series. As it turns out, Part 1 of Fairy Tail has proven to be well worth the wait as the series about an interesting guild of wizards is not only loads of fun to watch but also makes this Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack a real Must Have.
Covering the first 12 episodes, Part 1 introduces us to the peaceful kingdom of Fiore where those who have embraced magic become part of one of many guilds scattered throughout the land. Among these guilds is a well-known one by the name of Fairy Tail that has a number of famous wizards including their own sexy pinup girl named Mirajane.
So it’s no surprise that an attractive Celestial Wizard named Lucy wants to join Fairy Tail and, as fate would have it, a trip to the port town of Hargeon turns into an opportunity to join the guild when she hears that the great wizard, Salamander is in town. To make things even more interesting, a young man name Natsu and his talking blue cat (who can sprout wings) named Happy run into Lucy who has fallen under Salamander’s spell. The three quickly realize that something is not right about this wizard as all three go up against the wizard and his cohorts. Lucy shows off her Celestial Wizard skill of summoning celestial spirits with her Gate Key while Natsu reveals he has a fire-wielding ability.
As a result their battle against a wizard, Natsu and Happy invite Lucy to join their guild, which happens to be Fairy Tail. Once in the guild’s headquarters, Lucy sees that the Fairy Tail wizards are a rowdy and unusual bunch that includes Gray Fullbuster (who easily loses most of his clothes) and the lovely Mirajane among a number of quirky wizards. In fact, Lucy arrives in time to see a massive brawl that Natsu starts and she even gets to meet the guild’s pint-sized master, Makarov.
Lucy quickly finds that she can’t quite get rid of Natsu and Happy who not only gives her no privacy in her cozy new pad but also ask her to accompany them on a number of jobs. She takes on her first job for a client who wants them to sneak into the wealthy Duke Everlue’s estate to destroy a book his father wrote for the man called “Daybreak.” Getting into the rich man’s mansion is the easy part but Duke Everlue does not make it easy for the three. Inside the mansion, however, Lucy discovers a secret about the book that changes the job completely.
In another job, Lucy and her new companions try to rescue a fellow Fairy Tail wizard who has gone missing during a job. Once again, we get a chance to see more of Lucy’s celestial spirits that range from an axe-wielding cow to a grandfather clock that serves as her personal transport and protection. She even has her own hairstylist man-crab who uses his shears to give the enemy a bad haircut.
We also meet another member of the Fairy Tail guild named Erza who everyone in the guild hall respects and fears since she’s powerful enough to take down giant monsters as well as whip Natsu in a fight. She and Gray join the trio on a mission to take a dangerous magical instrument of death from the hands of a rogue wizard from another guild and his companions. We discover that Erza is a force to be reckoned with and why Gray and Natsu never really get along but together they make one of the strongest teams in any guild as they take on the band of wizards that have set out to use the item known Lullaby to commit mass murder.
After completing that task, this new team find themselves journeying back home only to discover a small village with some crazy mushrooms. Together they even take on an S-class mission that has them investigating Galuna Island – an island said to be cursed by some unknown entity. As a team they come to discover the truth about the island and an entity that is a part of Gray’s tragic past.
Fairy Tail manages to be action-packed, humorous and just the right amount of quirky that brings to mind series like “One Piece.” On top of that, the characters are very likeable right off the bat whether you enjoy Lucy’s interactions with her celestial spirits or Gray who unconsciously strips down to his boxers and is surprised by it when people point it out. The fact that they’re wizards makes the battles also stand out as well. My only complaint is that the series occasionally rushes through scenes fans of the manga have come to love. Personally, I felt the ending of the “Daybreak” story arc didn’t have the emotional impact that the manga displayed.
That said, Part 1 of Fairy Tail is a wildly entertaining series that has the adventurous spirit of a really good shonen series complete with solid action sequences and amusing characters. While the series lacks the emotional punch seen in the manga, it still handles the action and comedy flawlessly to the point that you will not help falling under its spell. This is definitely a series I gladly recommend to action fans looking for a refreshingly fun series.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Lucy has always dreamed of being a wizard and even more so a wizard for the famed guild called Fairy Tail when, one day, she meets Natsu and his talking cat companion named Happy. Since joining Fairy Tail, Lucy finds herself accompanying the two on various missions that includes a search for a missing wizard as well as a mission to stop rogue members of another guild from carrying out mass murder.
VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The series looks good on DVD but you really do need to see this on Blu-ray and more so thanks to the animation that is true to Hiro Mashima’s “One Piece”-inspired artwork. It’s hard not to enjoy a series with original-looking characters, cool action scenes and fantastic scenery.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese voice actors do a great job with the characters and for those who prefer the English dub will find the cast of Cherami Leigh, Todd Haberkorn and Tia Ballard among others to be just as good if not slightly better. Then there’s the music and the fun opening and closing theme songs that are handled superbly.
You’ll find FUNimation trailers as well the textless opening and closing theme songs on the second disc but you will find yourself drawn to the audio commentary tracks for Episode 1 and Episode 9 that includes ADR Director Tyler Walker plus the main cast (Episode 9’s commentary including Colleen Clinkenbeard who voices Erza).
A genuinely amusing and immensely enjoyable series that is just as fun to watch as the more familiar shonen fare, Part 1 of Fairy Tail deserves to be in anyone’s collection and more so if you like over-the-top anime action at its best. Even the characters are a fun-loving likeable bunch so if you love the manga you will really love this series.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment