Before we jump into our hard hitting review, let’s read a quick description of FUNimation’s Fairytail Part 20 box set:
When a prestigious client requests the assistance of both Natsu and Gray, the boys momentarily set aside their differences and head to Sun Village—a city entombed by malevolent ice magic. Their investigation into the incident comes to a screeching halt when treasure hunters from the Sylph Labyrinth guild show up to stand in their way. As the wizards go toe to toe with the thieving trio, the battle quickly becomes the least of their worries—one by one the wizards are being transformed into adorable, child-sized versions of themselves! How can they hope to restore the village’s eternal flame if they can’t even fit into their armor?!
Meanwhile, dark forces are at work behind the scenes. Another guild is on the move, and they’ve set their sights on total domination of the magical world. Will Fairy Tail be able to rise to meet their challenge?
Blu-ray Disc Set
I absolutely adored watching Fairytail in high quality blu-ray, I’ve got to say. And that’s coming from someone who isn’t a dedicated blu-ray user and is a dedicated Fairytail fan. Despite what I’d expected, it really did enhance the experience.
The special features, on the other hand, were slim to none. I’ve come to expect that from FUNimation disk sets, but each disc did, at least, come with an episode on commentary. It was one episode—one. Of commentary. A “meh” performance in the special features section, but hey, at least it was better than, well, nothing.
Honestly, I’ve never had a more confusing disc set, Fairytail or otherwise.
I’ve owned quite a few TV show season sets in my time, but this one had me absolutely confused. In fact, I had to create a whole new review section just to bring this up! Really, it baffles me.
Everything seems normal at the menu. There’s the “play all episodes” button, the “select episode” sub menu, special features, etc. I enjoy selecting each episode individually, so naturally, I click into that submenu, select the first episode, and sit back to enjoy. At the end of the episode, though, things got messy. It’s followed by a (sexist) picture of Lucy where the credits display, so I decide to hit skip. Usually, skip sends me to the next full episode, episode 2. But it didn’t. Instead, I arrived in the middle of the third episode. What?
Unfortunately, the chapters are not well-organized, and that makes maneuvering through the discs very difficult. It’s also annoying to note that once an episode ends, it doesn’t send you back to the menu, even when you select an episode at a time. I don’t know why FUNimation didn’t follow this industry standard, but it took me a couple days of messing with the controls to get the hang of this Fairytail disc set. Normally I’d try to be patient, but there were so many complications and spoiled moments because of it that it really did taint the experience for me.
If you want to avoid that issue, I suggest getting used to the credits and the opening theme. Over and over. Because you’ll be watching it a lot to circumvent the infuriating controls.
The animation is far better at this stage of the Fairytail series, I must say. The quality of the animation is miles above where it was at the beginning! And, as I mentioned earlier, the blu-ray only enhances that strength. Lighting, fluidity, and angles have all improved, but I have to admit I miss the raw intensity Fairytail’s battle scenes used to have. At the start of this disc set especially, I noticed the stylistic changes. Most of the characters look younger than they originally were, and their eyes are larger. I’m more of a fan of the earlier style, but that’s a personal preference. It’s still gorgeous!
Except for one—little—thing. Right at the end of this disc series, on the second to last episode, the worst sin of anime occurred. Imagine my horror when the sound lagged.
Now, this wasn’t a problem with my hardware, promise. Everything had been working fine on the blu-ray player, plus it wasn’t even on my laptop or computer, and still it happened. Right during one of the most exciting confrontations, the lip-syncing went completely off. I thought it was just sloppy editing, but then the sound itself delayed by nearly three seconds, sound effects included.
Admittedly the synching returned to normal after about five minutes, but that’s about a quarter of the episode with delayed sound. An unforgiveable slip up in the animation industry. I mean, this guy even gets it (link).
Over all, I loved Fairytail’s story and improved animation, but the disc set compilation really dropped the ball on this one. I don’t expect stellar special features, but I do expect the sound to be properly synched for a professionally compiled disc set. The fact that the disc set was ridiculously difficult to navigate was just the last nail in a coffin.
I give this disc set a disappointed 2.5 stars overall. The show is definitely still worth watching in blu-ray, but I couldn’t recommend paying money for this disc set.