Region: 2 - UK
Volume: 4 of 4
Length: 300 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Follow the life of seventeen year old Lucy who wants to become a mage. One day while out in Harujion Town, she bumps into Natsu, who is a mage of the infamous guild ĎFAIRY TAILí.
Why do our worst hours hold the most promise? When our back is against the wall, truly we find out what we are made of. Erzaís painful past comes to a head in this volume of Fairy Tail when former childhood friend Jellal and now all round nutter, has put the final pieces in place to resurrect ultra-evil wizard Zeref. Of course, Erza wouldnít be going out without a fight and this is no different.I find myself liking Erza more in this volume precisely because her terrible past fleshed out in the previous volume isnít dwelled upon this time round. Here, sheís trying to face up to it and to solve it herself.
Now, this is Fairy Tail, and nobody goes anywhere without destroying something. Natsu and Gray finish off the last of the end of level bosses that Jellal had recruited to the cause. Gray despite his protests of not wanting to help Natsu, bails him out and shows how much of a badass he is. Then Lucy helps newly minted Fairy Tail member and Gray fangirl Juvia out of the mental clutches of Iggy Pop wannabe Vidaldus and this clears the way for the mother of all fights: Natsu and Erza vs. Jellal. The guy is just super powerful. He completely immobilizes Erza and then proceeds to...do nothing to Natsu. I swear every time Jellal hits him, Natsu just keeps coming back for more. To put it into a context, Jellal is the Bismark from World War II and Natsu is a minesweeper. But you canít keep a good man down and Natsu shows why heís my favourite character. His strength comes from his family in Fairy Tail and the people he makes friends with along the way. The Tower of Heaven arc ends on a satisfying note and we move onto the next adventure.
The things that keep me glued to Fairy Tail are all to be found in this volume: great writing, strong animation and a steam locomotive of a storyline that wonít stop for anyone. The writing is front and centre as Erza finally comes to terms that she is loved and respected by the people who live alongside her. This allows her to finally let go of the hell that she survived as a youngster and embrace her past as something to be proud of and not something to hide from, however horrible it was to experience. There is another good piece of writing in this volume but I will spoil the next arc if I tell you about it. Letís just say that somebody who has been asking for a smackdown from Fairy Tail finally gets it, in spades. The animation isnít something I talk about in Fairy Tail simply because I have so much fun that I donít even notice itís there. But the animation can swing from slow and methodical and fast paced and frantic and while it will never win awards, its heart is in the right place.
If there was ever a need to explain why Fairy Tail is worth your time, the voice cast should be admittance fee enough. While Iím not a big fan of Funimationís attempts, and attempts is too nice a word, at anime drama series, they do cut the mustard whenever they are given adventure shows with comedic elements to them. The English cast might not always get the tone of the Japanese cast right (I still donít think Erzaís being played exactly right but when sheís serious Colleen Clinkenbeard absolutely nails it) but their enthusiasm shines through and the show is better for it.
This is the last of the current volumes of Fairy Tail for the foreseeable future as Manga UK must wait for Funimation to dub and release more episodes and I have to say more than any other series, Fairy Tail has finally allowed me to enjoy, and I do mean enjoy, shounen fighting shows after dismissing them for so long. I finally have the courage to watch Dragonball Z and One Piece, two shows I swore blind I could never sit and watch. But somehow, I donít think Iíll enjoy those shows as much as Fairy Tail. Thereís an almost Indiana Jones-esque caper quality to Natsu and companyís verve and that you never know quite what theyíll say or do next. So in order to enjoy the show, I will now make the jump to watching the show on Crunchyroll and watch the intervening episodes as Funimation tackle them.
The first forty eight episodes are now available on DVD from Manga UK in the UK/ROI and they are about to release it in one brick on DVD in June. If youíre of the high def taste connoisseur, then Funimation will be bringing the same box set to blu ray around the time. You owe it to yourself to have a good time with your anime and Fairy Tail is the perfect fantasy adventure to get stuck into.