Blu-ray Review: Fairy Tail – Collection 1

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It’s been a long time coming but initial episodes of Fairy Tail are now being re-released on Blu-ray, but what can we expect from this first instalment? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Fairy Tail – Collection 1.

Synopsis:

In the Kingdom of Fiore, powerful wizards make their living by joining magical guilds and contracting out their services to become “wizards for hire.” Harnessing the forces of Dragon Fire, Ice, Weaponry, and the Zodiac, four young wizards of the infamous guild Fairy Tail team up to seek their fortunes.

Growing stronger with every mission, they travel the countryside helping people and battling rival guilds, but with personalities as different as their magic skills, this team may end up doing more damage than good.

Our View:

Previously on Fairy Tail….. no, but seriously if you have previously seen the DVD version of Fairy Tail Collection 1 (or it’s part 1 and part 2 instalments) then you should already be familiar with what’s included in this Blu-ray version, as it’s the same episodic content re-mastered in High Definition.  Improved picture and audio quality is the only real benefit with this release but since fans demanded it, Manga Entertainment UK has given it.

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Just like with the DVD release of Fairy Tail – Collection 1 this Blu-ray version contains the first 24 episodes spread out across 4 Blu-ray discs, with each episode presented in 1080p High Definition, uncut and available in English. Like I said the ‘real’ benefit (difference) is the improved audio and picture quality, something which is noticeable but not as much as other more ‘detailed’ titles. Another minor difference is that because the Blu-ray uses the same masters as the American version (these discs even work on American Blu-ray Players) we get treated to all of the US Bonus content, such as trailers for other anime releases, but I’ll explain more on that later.

For those who don’t know Fairy Tail follows the adventures of the fairy tail guild, a magical guild who take on missions to help those out in need as well as defeat any opponents that stand in the way of peace. In this first collection we follow the adventures of Lucy Heartfilia, a sixteen year old girl who has recently joined the guild, and her new friends Natsu Dragneel and Happy. The first few episodes act as an introduction to the world of Fairy Tail, its rules and it’s main cast of characters, for example by the fifth episode each ‘important’ character (namely Lucy, Natsu, Happy, Erza and Gray) have all been introduced to the viewer and it’s here where the real fun begins.

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Once the introductory episodes are over with Fairy Tail swings into full throttle by going into it’s first Story Arc, the Eisenwald Arc, a short story arc which sees Fairy Tail’s strongest team in a race against time from stopping the Eisenwald guild from using a magical flute known as Lullaby. This first story arc showcases just what to expect from the series, such as explosive fist-fights, over the top destruction and a large array of comical banter.  Other story arcs included with this collection is the Deliora Arc, which sees the team travel to an island in hopes of getting rid of a curse, and the Phantom Lord Arc, whereby the the city of Magnolia is attacked from a rival Magical guild.

That’s three, relatively short, story arcs crammed into 24 episodes and that’s not all that’s included either, as between each arc is some relatively amusing episodes (filler episodes if you like) that branch out the storylines, with my personal favourite being the body swapping episode. An episode which sees the entire fairy tail cast swap bodies with another member and it creates some hilarious scenes, especially when Gray’s personality goes into Lucy’s body.

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The episodes contained within Fairy Tail – Collection 1 is about introducing viewers to the world of fairy tail and providing some comical entertainment, but despite how the series looks (and it’s low age-rating) Fairy Tail does cover some ‘mature’ themes and provocative poses/outfits – most of which will probably be overlooked by younger audiences. Fairy Tail is all about fun, friends and magical fights – and that’s exactly what we get.

Extras:

As I mentioned previously this UK release of Fairy Tail – Collection 1 is an exact replica of the US version, which means that all of the additional content (including trailers) is included. Unfortunately Fairy Tail didn’t have much ‘additional’ content to begin with and as such the only real bonuses are textless songs, English cast commentaries and trailers.

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All of the content is spread across the four Blu-ray discs, with trailers and textless songs appearing on Disc 2 and Disc 4 while Cast Commentaries appear on the disc that features that particular episode. Additionally before the disc menu appears a trailer is presented,  with each disc having a different trailer, but be advised these trailers are for ‘American’ releases some of which will not be coming to the UK, such as the Dragon Ball Z Level sets.

Disc 1:

  • Episode 1 English Cast Commentary

Disc 2:

  • Episode 09 Commentary
  • Textless Opening Songs
  • Textless Closing Songs
  • Trailers

Disc 3:

  • Episode 15 English Cast Commentary
  • Episode 19 English Cast Commentary

Disc 4:

  • Textless Opening Song
  • Textless Closing Song
  • Trailers

All of the Cast Commentary provide an insight into dubbing and script writing for the series, with voice talent and ADR directors providing their ‘comical’ experience on working with the show. It’s an interesting listen and provides some useful insight into the work of anime dubbing. If you previously owned the DVD Disc sets then you know what to expect from the English Cast Commentary and Textless Songs, as it’s the same content.

The trailers on the other hand offer a preview of what to expect from a variety of different anime releases, some of which have had a UK release, while others have yet to be released into the UK. Disc 2 trailers include Hetalia Axis Powers, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Birdy The Mighty Decode, Bamboo Blade, Chaos;Head, One Piece and Fairy Tail, meanwhile Disc 4 trailers include Hetalia World Series, Birdy The Mighty Decode, Gun X Sword, Kaze No Stigma, Nabari No Ou, Sengoku Basara and Fairy Tail. Since these discs were initially part of two separate releases all of the trailers (excluding Birdy The Mighty Decode) are different.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 x2, BD 25 x2
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:15:52 (Disc 1), 1:38:01 (Disc 2), 3:15:50 (Disc 3), 1:37:59 (Disc 4)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio:  Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The first part of any new release is to provide a ‘good’ sample of what to expect over a reality short space of time and this is exactly what’s achieved with Fairy Tail – Collection 1. Three complete story arcs, a selection of standalone stories and a slowly paced introduction to the main cast is what’s provided over the 24 episodes, each of which have been re-mastered in 1080p High Definition.

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The three main story arcs contained with this collection (Eisenwald, Deliora and Phantom Lord) provide a story driven series with character development and no-bloody, but highly entertaining, magical fights whereby the stand-a-lone episodes provide the most comedy. The Story arcs do provide their own laughs, but its toned down when compared to the other episodes. Fairy Tail has the right balance to be serious when it needs to be (and funny when it should) as opposed to other series in this similar genre, One Piece for instance.

At its core Fairy Tail – Collection 1 is exactly the same as its DVD counterpart, it’s just a better product with improved visuals and audio. Don’t get excited too much though as the series is a HD Re-master, up-scaled so to speak, as opposed to being a HD Native product (i.e. created in HD). What this means is that while the visual quality is better than the previous DVD instalment, there isn’t much difference when viewing on smaller screens, especially when compared to HD Native titles that have been released on both DVD and Blu-ray.

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I’m not saying that the Blu-ray release of Fairy Tail is “null and void”, quite the opposite infact, I’m saying that whichever version you choose you will still get the same quality entertainment but for viewing on larger screens, and for a better overall experience, I’d suggest going for the Blu-ray.

Score: review-stars-4

Fairy Tail – Collection 1 will be available on Blu-ray from the 10th March 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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