Fairy Tail Part 7 (Episodes 73-84) (Cert 12)
2 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 294 minutes approx.
Having completed a full story arc in the last volume we are eased into the action of this latest release with some light hearted comedy standalone episodes before getting to the main course of the next continuous adventure.
First up we see some of the camaraderie that has formed between the Fairy Tail wizards when Lucy gets ill, followed by newcomer Wendy setting out on her first solo job. A 24 hour marathon race is the next subject (take that Mo Farah!) before the most powerful wizard in the entire guild, a man named Gildarts returns after one hundred yeas with some news for Natsu about the missing dragon he seeks – which those of you with good memories might recall that this was Natsu’s raison d’etre at the start of this saga.
And so to the big story arc of this set. The friction between flying cats Charle and Happy seems to be exceptionally more tense of late with the former not letting on as to what is bothering her about Natsu’s feline friend. When Wendy confronts Charle about this, the weather suddenly turns inexplicably nasty just as a familiar face, Jellal, shows up. Claiming his name is Mysotgan and that a powerful magic called Anima is about to be unleashed that will destroy Magnolia, and Wendy is to warn the Fairy Tail guild. Unfortunately she is out of time and the Anima hits wiping out everything in existence – except for Wendy, Charle, Natsu and Happy.
The survivors conclude that as Dragon Slayers they were somehow immune to the Anima’s effects but what of the others? Charle has a flash back revealing that she was pre-programmed many years ago and that the guild has been taken away to an alternate universe from whence she and Happy came, called Edolas, although Happy has no recollection of this. The other wizards’ would have been transformed into Lacrima, a huge magical power source which the Emperor, a man named Faust, who no doubt has a nefarious plan for. Using their flying ability Happy and Charle take Natsu and Wendy to Edolas which turns out to literally be an alternate world to the one they know.
And so the fun begins. The conceit of this new arc is that magic has been outlawed by Faust and the only surviving guild is – naturally – Fairy Tail who have been driven underground. The other aspect of this is, to provide the comedy – is that the personalities of the wizards have been completely reversed! This means lovelorn Juvia is a cold, cynical woman; Gray is a wimp who is hidden under a pile of clothes; brazen booze lover Cana is now a modestly dressed tee-totaller and all the butch guys are wimps and vice versa. Lucy too is a tough madam as opposed to the girlie-girl we all know and love. And Erza? Now there is where the troubles really begin!
Being a shonen fantasy show a parallel universe arc was to be expected somewhere down the line and with Fairy Tail’s propensity to often favour comedy over serious content, it has to be said they’ve handled this concept very well indeed, exceeding any expectations one may have had. It is quite reliant on humour as much of this development demands, but there is a very straight dramatic core to the story which is played out this time via the two cats and not their human counterparts.
The revelations that appear are naturally far fetched and on initial inspection feel implausible when one examines everything that has preceded it, creating a sense that this has come out of the blue simply for the sake of the story. But, again credit where it is due, the execution is competent and well thought out, and supplies many answers to those little niggling questions we have had about Charle and her snooty attitude towards Happy while exploring a little more about the flying felines themselves.
With this new world comes a new batch of characters to welcome, some of which are quite frankly an odd bunch. Two cat creatures that Happy and Charle encounter are quite extraordinary, with one who constantly shakes his hand up and down in a peculiar fashion which anyone with a prurient mind might think he was being obscene. But the true appeal is the alternate versions of the Fairy Tail wizards who provide much of the comedic entertainment, with many of the contrasting personality traits not as obvious as you may think (spoiler: I’m talking about Natsu here). And with the Earth Land Natsu and co unable to use their magic in Edolas, hilarity is ensured.
In my review of the last volume I suggested that there maybe some complacency on the story line front with a plateau having been reached as far as originality was concerned. I am pleased to have been proven wrong with this latest storyline. It may be one explored before but it works very well within the Fairy Tail oeuvre, probably better than many series. The varying personalities of the cast lend themselves to such treatment and so far we haven’t been let down but the focus isn’t solely on this, which gives the writers a chance to spread the material out for this development and not blow it in all in one go, a temptation most writers are unable to fight.
With an ending that demands we come back for more in the next volume this latest release from Fairy Tail is another fun filled, action packed outing to fully immerse yourself in with gleeful abandon.
Dolby True HD: English Language 5.1 Surround
Dolby True HD: Japanese Language 2.0
Episode 74 commentary
Episode 79 commentary
Textless Opening Song – Evidence
Textless Closing Song – Hitori Samishiku
Ratings – ****
Man In Black