Fairy Tail: Part 3
Studios: A-1 Pictures, Satelight
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Price: $54.98 – Available Here
Continuing with their current monthly run of releases for Fairy Tail, FUNimation has brought us Fairy Tail Part 3. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is originally a Japanese manga that began in 2006 and is still being published today in Weekly Shōnen Magazine. Over the past few months FUNimation has been bringing the anime adaptation to this magic filled shōnen series to North American shores with Part 1’s review here and Part 2’s here. While some people may see a shōnen series and see repetition, Fairy Tail has broken past those limitations by having a unique setting and a multitude of likable characters. Does Fairy Tail Part 3 have provide the same magical action we’ve grown to know and love?
When we last left Fairy Tail, the Fairy Tail guild was in serious trouble due to the actions of the Phantom Lord guild. Not only has their guild master Makarov been taken out of commission but now their entire guild is about to be destroyed by a giant Abyss Break spell being cast by the Phantom Lord guildhall. As the battle heats up and everyone’s lives hang in the balance Natsu, Gray, Elfman and Erza must stop the spell from finishing the only way they can, by defeating the powerful Element 4. With the enemy wizards closing in on Lucy can the Fairy Tail guild rise from the ashes to win?
Fairy Tail Part 3 picks up right in the middle of the Phantom Lord arc and continues the heavy action we were treated to during the end of Part 2. With Totomaru of the Element 4 already defeated only three are left standing and the battles rage on as Gray faces the water woman Juvia and Erza returns to battle Aria the Air element user. These battles are some of the most intense we’ve seen so far, though do tend to be a bit short as most are finished within a single episode. On the other hand, the battle between two dragon slayers brings us one of the first battles that pushes Natsu to the limit as he battles against someone possessing the same abilities as himself.
One thing viewers will notice in Part 3 is that the comedy usually present in Fairy Tail takes a back seat to the action and drama as most of the comedy only takes place during one between-arc episode, simple long running gags or sight gags. As far as the drama goes, the minor arc between the two larger Arcs in Part 3 focuses heavily on a character we’ve seen little of as of yet, Loke. Loke’s fear of Celestial Wizards is something that had only been faintly touched upon and his past was left a complete mystery which makes this mini-arc a great one for fans of the playboy wizard of Fairy Tail.
While the focus is obviously on battles, numerous characters see development in Part 3 and more information is revealed about Natsu’s quest to find more about Igneel’s disappearance. Until now Lucy has mostly been around as a comedic foil to the strange actions taken by the rest of Team Natsu but during this arc not only do we see her take a stand for herself and remove any connections she has with her past but also hints that she contains a greater, yet untapped, power within herself.
The character development even takes place for the villains of Fairy Tail as we see a running gag develop into full character redemption for an old enemy, but the highlight of development lies in what we have been left waiting for. Erza, the stoic and powerful Fairy Tail wizard’s torturous past has come back to bring her to the Tower of Heaven where her fate may already be sealed. We are treated to a number of flashbacks about Erza’s past that reveal who she is today and even why she became a wizard in the first place.
As such, to create what is likely one of the worst cliffhanger we have seen yet, Fairy Tail Part 3 ends in the middle of the Tower of Heaven arc and tantalizes fans who will be eager to pick up Part 4 so they can see the conclusion to this sinister arc. Now while Fairy Tail Part 3 may be light on the humor, it is certainly the heaviest on action thus far, meaning that those eager to see plenty of battles will find this the best part yet, however those interested in a great story will not be left wanting as the character development we are treated to in this segment will make picking your favorite characters all the more difficult.
While there aren’t that many new characters introduced in Part 3 we are still treated to the same diverse character designs as ever. While other shōnen shows revolve around a basic style for their characters you never know what the next new character in Fairy Tail may look like. The main cast of characters continues to look as great as ever and the amount of requip varieties Erza has are interesting to see, though she usually defaults to her standard armor. The newly introduced characters are again different from anything we’ve seen so far, even including a guy with a completely block-like body.
While the animation quality for Part 2 may have suffered due to some of the areas with heavier action, Fairy Tail Part 3 contains a large amount of one on one battles featuring very fluid and impressive artwork and quality. Only rarely does the quality drop and this is usually only during long distance shots or areas where multiple background characters are fighting one another. Everywhere else however viewers will be eagerly watching the battles as they unfold, especially the final fights with Phantom Lord’s Element 4.
The visual effects of the magic are also quite enjoyable to watch as usual; though a number of attacks are re-used from past releases so don’t expect to see the standard cast pull out too many new abilities. Also worth noting is that Fairy Tail contains some of the best backgrounds you will see in a shōnen series. While the beginning arc focuses entirely on the Phantom Lord base, all of the following arcs occur in various other areas such as a hot spring resort, a gambling town or the Tower of Heaven itself with the characters traveling to unique areas all the time.
The English dub for Fairy Tail from FUNimation has always been seen as high quality and Part 3 is no exception to that rule. The cast of characters providing the voices for the returning characters is the exact same as before, though there does seem to be a lot more yelling this time around than in any past releases. Since only a few new characters are introduced this time around we don’t see much in the way of new voice work being done, though the enemies found in the Tower of Heaven and from Loke’s past all see quality voice acting and Chris Canson’s mafia-type dialogue for Wally is worth a few laughs as well as the voice effects used for Loke during his mini-arc deserve extra praise.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the background music during the action scenes. While it does help fit the bill by being set to a rock theme, it really doesn’t help add much to the mood at all and many people will be more interested in the action happening on screen than listening to the music. Now Fairy Tail Part 3’s main opening song is called “FT.” by Funkist which is very upbeat and fits the anime perfectly while the main ending song is “I’m Sorry” by Shiho Nanba which follows the same picture book type art style and is very similar to past ending songs, though more focused on Erza this time around. Also included in the last episode in Part 3 is the opening song “R.P.G. ~Rockin’ Playing Game” by SuG and ending song “Kimi Ga Iru Kara” by Mikuni Shimokawa. “R.P.G.” is set to a very action packed animation and is set to a more rock and roll beat than past songs, while “Kimi Ga Iru Kara” is similar to past ending songs but also set with various pictures from past and current episodes.
With FUNimation’s release of Fairy Tail Part 3 come a number of extra features. This includes your standard inclusions of trailers for past and upcoming FUNimation releases as well as the clean textless opening and ending songs. Clean versions are provided for both openings and endings which is a nice inclusion considering the second songs are only used for one episode, plus each of the animations for the songs are worth a look at when there is no text blocking your view.
Besides that we also have two episode commentaries. Episode 26 is provided commentary by the ADR director Tyler Walker and Andrew Tipps, a mix engineer who has been with the company for eight years. The commentary is a little funny but also extremely technical with the two talking mostly about equipment used among other things that can get to be boring very fast.
Episode 32 is much better however, as we have Tyler Walker once again and Cherami Leigh the voice of Lucy and Eric Vale the voice of Loke providing us with commentary this time around. The commentary is a little informative but thankfully is also very funny with plenty of jokes while also focusing on the episode being shown at the time.
Also it is worth mentioning that the package does come with a picture frame styled slipcase as seen above and features a reversible cover that allows the owner to either have the box art above shown or Lucy sitting with her legs crossed and provides a nice touch for those who are fans of Lucy.
Fairy Tail continues with its excellence in Part 3 but this time it does so by letting the humor take more of a backseat to the character developments, action and drama. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any comedy at all, but it is more easily mixed in with everything else and less focused on outside of quick sight gags and jokes made by the characters. Fairy Tail Part 3 also ends on a brutal cliffhanger that will leave fans waiting for Part 4 and eager to see what will happen next in the Tower of Heaven arc. In the end Fairy Tail continues to breathe fresh life into a genre that has gone stale over the years.