Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $54.98 US (Blu-ray + DVD)
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Beware the past for the pain it sometimes causes is stronger than any magic.
Some anime series start off fun and run out of steam somewhere along the line while others continuously serve up their chaotically fun brand of action without showing any signs of slowing down. Fairy Tail is the kind of series that seems to take pride in being that wildly fun kid in the playground that isn’t interested in catching a breather. In fact, despite a slightly serious tone, Part 3 of Fairy Tail doesn’t stop being an entertaining thrill ride that would put any amusement park ride to shame.
While the final episodes that make up Part 2 were intense, the opening episode of Part 3 is just as chaotic as the Phantom guild continues their major assault on the Fairy Tail guild using a giant mobile fortress that is about to cast a destructive spell known as the Abyss Break. Meanwhile, members of their Element 4 group continue to face off against Fairy Tail wizards. One of them, Monsieur Sol, is going up against the lovely Mirajane and her brother, Elfman, who has gone through his “full body takeover” form that he said was responsive for the death of their younger sister so long ago.
Meanwhile, Gray runs into one of the Element 4 – the attractive “rain woman” named Juvia who becomes instantly (and later obsessively) smitten by him. While she sees no choice but to fight the young Fairy Tail wizard she sees as her “prince,” their fight is downright cool. The outcome of this fight also proves Mirajane’s theory about the Element 4 members and the walking fortress, making their defeat top priority. As Natsu and Happy fight the last two members with Black Steel Gajeel being the one Natsu wants to smack around, Erza finds herself taking on Master Jose who reveals to the beautiful armored-clad wizard his reasons for wanting Fairy Tail destroyed.
It’s clear that Master Jose is far more powerful than Erza but a familiar somebody shows up in time to take her place in the final battle and it becomes a real wizard smackdown. What happens next leads to a series of surprises and the disbandment of the Phantom guild. However, it becomes clear to Lucy that another major player behind the attack is still a threat to her and the guild and that person is her father … the wealthy head of the Heartfilia family.
Lucy’s surprise visit to her impressive family estate leads to a bold confrontation with her father and the realization that Lucy has always wanted to become close to her father but he turns out to be a cold man whose only concern is securing more wealth. Oh but Lucy makes it clear that her future does not involve doing his bidding or marrying some rich aristocrat.
As reconstruction of the Fairy Tail guild continues and Lucy returns to her new home confident that her father will not try anything again, Lucy finds herself intrigued by Fairy Tail’s ultimate ladies’ man, Loke. However, she still doesn’t know why he’s so jittery around Celestial Wizards like herself. When Lucy gets in trouble with two wizards trying to seduce her, Loke steps in to save her and the two begin to actually sit down and have a normal conversation.
It turns out that Loke does have a reason for being uneasy around Celestial Wizards and he does have a major secret that Lucy is just dying to find out. Loke doesn’t volunteer a reason but something in his past that has finally caught up with him pushes the young man to reveal the truth. You see, Loke is about to die and the cause is connected to a Celestial Wizard that he blames himself for killing. As we look into his past, we come to understand Loke even more and, yes, his secret is actually very surprising.
I won’t give anything away but by the end of this story arc we will definitely see Loke in a different way and we will certainly get to see a lot more of him thanks to Lucy. As a thank you for her involvement in saving his life, though, Loke gives Lucy tickets to a beach resort complete with a casino. She invites, Natsu, Gray, Erza and Happy along for some fun in the sun and they have a blast. Even Juvia secretly tags along since she is practically stalking Gray who she still has a major crush on despite the fact that the young man is clueless.
All is well until they go to the casino where all six are attacked by some very unusual enemies. It isn’t until one of them shows himself to Lucy and Erza that we realize that each one of these strange attackers knows Erza well. In fact, this person named Sho calls Erza “sister” and Erza doesn’t deny the fact that she knows them all well. You see, just like Loke, her past has finally caught up to her as well and we come to learn of Erza’s tragic and heartbreaking life as a child slave.
Unfortunately for Erza, Sho and his companions see her as a traitor to their leader that goes by the name of Jellal. As they kidnap Erza to bring her back to the place that haunts her very dreams, Erza comes to realize that Jellal has plans for the Tower of Heaven, which their captors have been trying to build. We get a long glimpse of Erza and her then companions and the cruelty they suffered in the hands of their captors. We also come to learn that to make Jellal’s plans to come true a sacrifice must be made.
A lot happens in Part 3 with Erza’s story arc being dark and Loke’s story being on the serious side. Still, this makes for some interesting storytelling and through their pasts we come to know both characters a lot better. There are also some memorable scenes connected to their pasts including Lucy meeting the Celestial Spirit King. Best yet are Erza’s childhood friends who have unique abilities and appearance like the Wally who looks like he was made up entirely of fleshy LEGOS.
Part 3 of Fairy Tail has two characters facing their inner demons and their story taking a more serious tone but that doesn’t mean you will not be entertained by the high-energy battles and antics of these wizards. Sure, Loke is a fun character to get to know but it is Erza who you will come to appreciate as the episodes that make up part of the series will definitely keep your eyes glued to your screen.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With the rival guild, Phantom, having launched a full-scale attack, the Fairy Tail wizards fights to save the remains of their guild by attempting to defeat the dangerous members of the Element 4. However, a familiar face shows up in time to go up against Phantom’s guild master. Later, we learn a big secret about the mysterious Fairy Tail member named Loke and Erza’s troubled past comes back to haunt her.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
Fairy Tail’s visual style is certainly one of this series’ many highlights and more so in this third part when characters such as the Celestial Spirit King and Erza’s childhood friends show up. Oh yeah, this is definitely a series that deserves to be seen on Blu-ray.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The new opening theme song, “FT.” by FUNKIST is actually pretty cool as is the closing theme song, “I’m Sorry” by Shiho Nanba. There’s plenty of screaming by Cherami Leigh in this one but she manages to pull off a great performance as does Colleen Clinkenbeard (as Erza) and Eric Vale (as Loke).
There are a few FUNimation trailers to look forward to as well as the clean opening and closing theme songs but, as always, the best stuff comes in the form of the audio commentary tracks led by ADR Director Tyler Walker. In the commentary track for Episode 26, he chats with Mix Engineer Andrew Tipps in an interesting conversation worth checking out if you’re interesting in mixing or being a line producer. Then there’s the commentary for Episode 32 with Cherami Leigh (voice of Lucy) and Eric Vale (Loke) that’s kind of fun.
While Part Three of Fairy Tail takes a slightly serious turn for two different story arcs, it does not lose its wildly fun and adventurous spirit that continues to make Fairy Tail a genuine blast to watch. While it adds some great action-packed moments, it’s also great to see a series that adds more personality to the interesting assortment of characters with each episode. The wizards of Fairy Tail know how to show us a really good time, trust us.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment