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Fairy Tail: Part 3(TV) (2010)
Across the Fiore kingdom, wizards join guilds and make their pay by filling magical needsŚbut one guild has a reputation as the roughest, rowdiest, most dangerous of all: Fairy Tail! The guild-on-guild mayhem continues as Fairy Tail struggles to fend off Phantom LordŚwhose 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, Erzaĺs 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 Erzaĺs heart puts them in a sinister game of life or death!
For more about Fairy Tail: Part 3 and the Fairy Tail: Part 3 Blu-ray release, see Fairy Tail: Part 3 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Tetsuya Kakihara, Aya Hirano, Cherami Leigh, Eric Vale
» See full cast & crew
Fairy Tail: Part 3 Blu-ray Review
Is happily ever after starting to slip away?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 28, 2012
It's not that huge of a stretch to see the similarities between Fairy Tail and the Harry Potter franchise, as has been mentioned in the reviews of the two previous releases of the anime series' first season, here and here. And just like Harry Potter got increasingly dark in tone and subject matter as it made its way through its several volumes, Fairy Tail starts to display the same penchant as it moves into the endgame of its first season. Fairy Tail doesn't really pretend to have the same novelistic ambitions that J.K. Rowling's magnum opus does, and in fact for the first two releases, the emphasis has been squarely on comedy, despite the series' magical fantasy setting. That's still the case here, but Fairy Tail also slowly weaves in a little bit more of a threatening element, especially as this volume wends its way to yet another showdown between Natsu and Lucy and various nefarious forces. The series seems to be falling into the tendency of so many animes which start with promising premises and then tend to become more and more rote, with a "battle of the week" feeling that is more than a little predictable. Fairy Tail tries to overcome this disability with its colorful presentation, fun (and funny) characters, and at least a little back story for a few characters here and there, but as this first season moves from the halfway point to having the end in sight, some may be wondering if the Fairy Tail Guild is becoming more and more like a slightly Potter-ized version of something as old fashioned as Yu-Gi-Oh.
Part of what may start bugging some viewers in Fairy Tail is the series' somewhat predictable arcs, something that often includes Lucy becoming the "damsel in distress" and Natsu having to come to her rescue. Of course that's a standby of all sorts of television and film outings, but when Lucy keeps getting kidnapped and the like, always the plucky victim of another Guild's nefarious machinations, it just becomes too much when it tends to happen every couple of episodes or so. But once again there are episodes, and too many frankly, where it's Lucy's predicaments that drive various storylines. This is especially odd in that Fairy Tail actually does have a rather large cast of interesting characters, and it might have been a better choice to have explored more possibilities with those characters than to keep harping on the same old, same old so much of the time.
On the flip side, Fairy Tail does occasionally branch off into exploring some of these other characters, and that tends to be when this set of episodes really takes off and provides some additional interest. One of the episodes looks into Loke (pronounced though not spelled like the Norse God Loki), the kind of womanizing spirit who turns out to have a couple of surprising secrets in his past, secrets which actually play rather well into his relationship with Lucy. We also get a little bit of information on an increasingly major character of at least the last few episodes in this set, Jellal, an interestingly shaded magician who might be up to no good, or perhaps has more altruistic motives on his mind. There is also a plot arc in this set of episodes dealing with Erza, the superpowered colleague of Lucy and Natsu, who also is given some interesting back story which actually begins to tie into Jellal's story as well. These supposedly secondary characters provide much of the interest in this particular set of episodes, and the series really springs more to life when they are featured.
The series does build to a pretty fun windup in its final couple of episodes, when one of Jellal's minions turns out to be a sort of Kiss-esque headbanger with bright makeup and an electric guitar seemingly attached to his torso. It's actually a great moment which reestablishes Fairy Tail's best calling cards, which are both its very nice design aesthetic as well as its kind of patently out there approach to its characters, if not its overall plot machinations. It may give some fans a little hope that Fairy Tail may find its magical mojo once again as the series winds up its first season. Perhaps surprisingly, it isn't Lucy who's in danger as the final episode plays out to a sort of cliffhanging conclusion, and that may augur well for the series, highlighting the fact that with so many characters to exploit, it's kind of miserly to only concentrate on one or two.
I have to confess my heart started sinking just a bit with this latest release in the Fairy Tail series. Too much of this show is starting to devolve into expected "battle of the week" moments, though that's at least partially offset by some really interesting stories starting to develop with regard to some of the supporting characters. Hopefully those elements will push more to the forefront as the first season draws to a close, though whether or not Fairy Tail can continue to weave magic as it moves into its second season and beyond remains to be seen. Fans will probably find more than enough here to satisfy them, but it appears the magical writing may be on the wall for this series.
Fairy Tail: Part 3 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Much as I've discussed in my reviews of both Fairy Tail: Part 1 and Fairy Tail: Part 2 Blu-ray review, this latest installment, once again with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1, is among the brightest and freshest looking animes out there right now. As with the first two releases, the palette is bold and vivid, and line detail is exceptional almost all of the time. This particular arc tends to feature a bit more in terms of the painterly, soft focus backgrounds than the first two releases, but everything pops quite well, considering the source elements and the obviously intentional look the animators were going for. As with the first two releases, there is also quite a bit of CGI which is rather skillfully woven into the more traditionally animated fare.
Fairy Tail: Part 3 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As with Fairy Tail: Parts 1 and 2, this 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 3 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Fairy Tail: Part 3 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fairy Tail frankly lost at least a little of its luster with this set of episodes, perhaps because by this time anyone who's followed the series since its beginning is going to be expecting some of these plot points since many of them have happened several times previously. There's still a lot to like in Fairy Tail, and the series still manages to have a lot of fun with some goofy humor and fanciful interplay between Natsu, Lucy and the many other characters in the various Guilds. The series does tend to be just plain silly a lot of the time, an element which makes the melodramatic moments feel perhaps more humorous than they're intended to, and Fairy Tail is undeniably one of the most nicely designed animes out there right now, with bright, colorful designs and great looking characters. But it can't be denied that some of the magic has been lost. Hopefully someone in the creative staff will wave their magic wand and find that spark of creativity again. Fans will probably want to stick with the series to see what happens with the various characters, but it's becoming more of a slog for those more casually attached to Fiore and the world of Fairy Tail.
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