Region: 2 - UK
Length: 600 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
For the first time! Episodes 25-48 of the epic action-adventure series packaged in one Blu-ray box set for your enjoyment. Across the Fiore kingdom, wizards join guilds and make their pay by filling magical needs - but one guild has a reputation as the roughest, rowdiest, most dangerous of all: Fairy Tail! In the midst of a mission to break the curse over Galuna Island, Natsu and the gang face a band of deranged mages trying to resurrect the monstrous demon Deliora. Gray's determined to put the freeze on the sinister plan in a frigid battle with a rival from his past - even if it takes his own life! Back in Magnolia, the city becomes a warzone after sorcerers known as Element 4 destroy Fairy Tail headquarters and kidnap their beloved rookie, Lucy. A bone-crunching, skin-charring fight between fire and iron erupts when Natsu squares off against another Dragon Slayer wizard!
Fairy Tail has at this point wormed its way into my heart and nothing short of the cast being murdered could get me to hate it. Here, we have episodes 25-48 and if you more specific information regarding the episodes covered, please see my reviews here and here. Please note, my opinion of the AV quality is unchanged so I've copied the relevant text below. I'll just touch base in this review and give you a postmortem on the collection. Starting off in the Phantom Lord Arc, the team are up against the rival guild Phantom Lord with Master Jose Porla laying waste to Fairy Tail to carry out a contract to kidnap Lucy. I thought this was a good end to the first collection and without breaking focus, the next episodes hit the ground running and we are back with the gang.
Natsu in this arc shows his affection for Lucy not just as a member of the guild, but as his friend, by going up against Gajeel, the Iron Dragon Slayer. Gajeel is the opposite of Natsu in every way: cold, cynical, vicious and cruel. He has no problem hurting people to get what he wants, no problem threatening his own fellow guild members, he just doesn't care. The thrill for him is the fight and in Natsu he has found a willing victim. After battling through the other guild lieutenants (Gray gets Juvia, Erza gets Aria and the whole team tackles the rest), Natsu and Gajeel square off after he bursts in while Gajeel is beating on Lucy like a prizefighter. Their fight is epically fitting for the halfway point of the final battle. Going at each other, they claw away looking for a weakness. The final battle between Master Makarov and Phantom Lord's Jose Porla is better than anything else and it looks like someone's been watching too much Lord of the Rings. The arc ends with a bang and after all of it, we finally get to see what Lucy was running from when she was found by Fairy Tail.
The real draw for this collection, for me anyway, is finding out about Erza's life before Fairy Tail. Tragically, her story isn't much better than Gray's was in the Galuna Island arc. Tower of Heaven introduces Jellal Fernandes, one of Erza's oldest friends. Back when they were children, Erza, Jellal and a few others were all slaves building a magic tower for a warlord. Erza managed to escape but Jellal went a bit mad and convinced the others to stay and finish the tower. It's one of the better arcs in that, there is a lot of fighting and screaming done but at its core the drama level is highly high because Erza's heart is breaking at the fact that her friends were not set free and still toil at the tower despite the fact that they should have been freed in the escape with Erza. What makes this my favourite arc of the collection is that Erza can't bring herself to hate Jellal much less hurt him. Without spoiling things again, it's not his fault entirely that he is doing this. He is as much a victim as the rest of the slaves or Erza. Luckily, she has some friends to help her out and yes, that means Natsu gets to hit something again.
The final real arc of the collection is the Fighting Festival arc where Laxus (Master Makarov's grandson) finally makes his move against his grandfather and pits his lieutenants in Fairy Tail against the rest of the guild in an attempt to take over the guild. To be honest, it wasn't my favourite arc simply because I couldn't stand Laxus and really wanted him to get a slap from Fairy Tail. I thought the fights were excellent but really, on reflection, it's an arc that could have happened at any time and nobody would notice a difference.
"The blu ray's that are finally here for the series left the show from being another good looking show to a great looking show. While the blu ray's have been available from FUNimation for a while in the US, over here we finally have a better looking show with an upgrade to the audio as well. Now, while the video might look good, the audio on first viewing doesn't sound (no pun intended) all that amazing. However, watching the previous DVD release against it shows that dialogue (which is crucial in the fight scenes) and music (which usually gets forgotten about in fighting shows) got a boost. I would have prefered a 5.1 Japanese language track on this new release but hey, you can't have everything."
Fairy Tail continues to impress and although it remains somewhat generic in its approach to the lead character, at least Natsu is growing as a character and shows while he might be boneheaded at times, he is the glue that holds the team together.