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Fairy Tail: Part 2(TV) (2010)
In the Kingdom of Fiore, powerful wizards make their living by joining magical guilds and contracting out their services to become "wizards for hire". Harnessing the forces of Dragon Fire, Ice, Weaponry, and the Zodiac, four young wizards of the infamous guild Fairy Tail team up to seek their fortunes. Growing stronger with every mission, they travel the countryside helping people and battling rival guilds, but with personalities as different as their magic skills, this team may end up doing more damage than good.
For more about Fairy Tail: Part 2 and the Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray release, see Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 23, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Tetsuya Kakihara, Aya Hirano, Cherami Leigh, Eric Vale
» See full cast & crew
Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray Review
Is there still magic in the air?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 23, 2011
A rather large number of authors found out it was next to impossible to compete with J.K. Rowling while the Harry Potter franchise was still putting out books every couple of years or so. The worldwide phenomenon engendered by Harry and his magical friends (and foes) was virtually unprecedented in the publishing world (especially considering Rowling's rather remarkable backstory, which has since become something akin to legend itself), and of course nothing breeds imitation like success. Soon bookstore shelves (this was back in the day when there were bookstores) were drooping under the weight of a vast quantity of Potter-wannabes, and while some of those obviously derivative franchises managed to spark at least a little interest, certainly nothing came close to the Rowling outings in terms of sales and impact. But the question remains as to whether things have changed now that not only the Rowling novels but the film adaptations are yesterday's news (despite the burgeoning current attempts to rake in some copious Academy Award nominations for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 , which some see as an analog to the ultimately successful attempts to get a franchise-based slew of awards for the final Lord of the Rings film). Now that there isn't quite the Potter-mania that there once was, can similarly themed exploits of young mages, wizards and witches have a better chance of making an imprint on the public consciousness? That's one of the questions that may be flitting about the edges of Fairy Tail, with a Hermione-esque heroine and a Harry-esque hero battling all sorts of villainy and magically based crimes as part of a Guild that seems straight out of Hogwart's. Fairy Tail's most distinctive aspect may in fact be the simple homonym which is part of its title, for a lot of the rest of this series seems cobbled together from other franchises, not the least of which is Rowling's iconic world of young magicians.
Fairy Tail: Part 1 introduced us to the main characters who populate the Fairy Tail universe, including Natsu, the head honcho of the Fairy Tail Guild, a consortium of magicians which is the "Gryffindor " of this franchise. Natsu invites young wizardess Lucy into the fold, and the two set off on a series of adventures, many of which involved main villain Elsenheim in the first set of episodes. Episodes 13-24 which comprise this set still deal largely with the curse enveloping Galuna Island, but this arc of episodes is notable for some new elements, and especially for a number of back stories that enter the fray from time to time. While Natsu is still the ostensible focus of Fairy Tail, and newcomer Lucy's trials and tribulations a counterweight to the guild's leading player, what's rather interesting in these episodes is the prevalence of Gray, as well as a couple of other ostensible secondary characters. Fairy Tail has such a large cast of supporting characters that it's actually kind of refreshing that the series at least for a while strays away from the leads and spends considerable time giving the viewer more information and storylines involving some of the supposedly less important folk.
The series continues its tendency toward outrageous humor blended with a certain attempting at evoking pathos, to uneven results. The overall feel of the series is more often than not bright and breezy, invigorated by lots of physical humor and some fun (if patently silly) episodes like one where all of the major characters end up switching bodies, Freaky Friday style, when a spell goes horribly awry. But that approach is counterbalanced, especially in this set of episodes, by several fairly melodramatic elements. A pointed set of memories with regard to Elfman actually finishes out this set of episodes and is one of the best examples of this kind of over the top, soap operatic style and while it helps to give the characters some flesh and blood emotional life, it also seems distinctly at odds with the anime's penchant toward a light soufflÚ quality.
Some fans may have some passing problems with the resolution (such as it is) of the Galuna Island plot arc, which (without revealing any major spoilers) turns out to be something of a trick, a sort of sleight of hand that may in keeping with the series' magical setting but which ends up defying credulity more than a bit. Lucy also ends up being a damsel in distress throughout several of these episodes, something that happened to her in the first set of Fairy Tail episodes as well, and it remains to be seen if the series goes to that well a few times too often for its own good.
While there's nothing especially innovative in Fairy Tail, the series still manages to exhibit a certain unexpected freshness due to its incredibly bright design aesthetic and its varied cast of characters. This set of episodes also displays a greater utilization of CGI, including some great mandala like elements that are incredibly ornate and colorful (and strangely are very reminiscent of Star Driver: Part 1, which I just reviewed). The series may never quite escape the feeling of being reminiscent of any number of other magically themed enterprises (including, of course, Harry Potter himself), but the good news is Fairy Tail casts a very appealing spell of its own quite a bit of the time.
Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Fairy Tail: Part 2 is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. As I mentioned in my review of Fairy Tail: Part 1, this is an incredibly bright and colorful series which really looks spectacular in its high definition presentation. As I also mentioned in my review of the first part of Fairy Tail, the character designs are pretty standard fare, but everything surrounding them is so beautifully rendered, even if sometimes in a predictable fashion, that the series pops with a vividness that sets it apart from a good deal of other recent anime fare. Line detail is exceptionally sharp, colors are incredibly well saturated and this set of episodes features more consistent CGI elements than the release of the first part did, and those elements also look great.
Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As with Fairy Tail: Part 1, this second release features two lossless audio options, the original Japanese language track delivered via a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 stereo mix, and an English dub delivered via a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix. Both tracks feature sterling fidelity and excellent dynamic range, and while purists will find nothing to complain about with regard to the Japanese language track, they still may want to at least sample the English dub, which features above average character voicing by a cast of FUNimation regulars while significantly opening up the soundfield in the series' many magic summoning elements. Music is also substantially more spacious sounding in the surround track, and a couple of the more action heavy episodes benefit from the greater levels of LFE on the 5.1 track.
Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fairy Tail is a fun series that may not set any standards for innovative storytelling, but which manages to appeal nonetheless due to its incredibly bright and colorful visual presentation and its wide array of characters. The series is probably better when it tends toward the goofy comedy side of things rather than the melodramatic aspects it begins to exploit more regularly in this second set of episodes, but at least those dramatic elements help to give some much needed depth to otherwise fairly one dimensional characters. Even without a lot of deeply involving storylines, Fairy Tail is never less than entertaining and those who enjoy vivid designs and sometimes wacky goings-on will be willing to overlook its shortcomings. Recommended.
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