Review

by Rebecca Silverman,

Fairy Tail

BD+DVD - Part 19

Synopsis:
Fairy Tail BD+DVD Part 19
Fairy Tail, with the help of Celestial Wizards Yukino and Princess Hisui, learn that they've been going about putting a stop to the Celestial Spirits' rebellion all wrong, with nearly disastrous consequences. Will they be able to make up for their mistakes and defeat the real perpetrator of the problem? Later various guild members go on a variety of little missions, including a mysteriously risen island, saving the city from rogue guildies, and…babysitting?
Review:

It's the little moments that make this set of episodes, which finishes up the Eclipse Spirits storyline and then embarks on a series of one-off episodes (plus a two episode mini-arc), none of which are present in Hiro Mashima's original manga. That's been the case for the Eclipse Spirits arc as a whole, and while the last set brought us the amazing Gray dance-off, this time we get the nearly as memorable squirrel Gajeel followed by frog Gajeel and David Wald's entertaining Kermit the Frog impression. It also gives us Erza requipping into a cowgirl outfit that somehow comes with a ball gag for her horse, a Dr. Who reference, and a knock off Night Walker from Princess Mononoke, all of which are amusing, but none of which quite make up for the fact that the arc failed to make use of Lucy's relationship with her spirits, giving the main body of the action to Natsu instead. While I won't embark on a discussion of who the “real” protagonist of the series is, Natsu or Lucy, it once again feels like a very missed opportunity to not build upon the relationships between Lucy and Loke and Lucy and Aquarius, both of which are far more integral to her character and the overall story than her relationship with Virgo or Natsu's ability to punch and burn things really hard. While his fire-eating ability is important to the resolution of the arc, it would have been nice to see things divided more equally between them so as to build both characters for future plotlines.

Despite this issue, or perhaps alongside it, the arc in general doesn't work quite as well as it could in terms of overall quality either. Lucy's bikini fluctuates in size from scene to scene, Libra's fight with Yukino is awkwardly spliced in, and when Horologium brings everyone Celestial garments so that they can travel to the Celestial Realm, he just brings four outfits and four recolors of the same, which feels like very lazy designing on the part of the artistic team. (Although it does allow for a game of “Who Wore It Better?” which is kind of fun.) Most disappointingly, the resolution of the arc ultimately feels disappointing, making it more obvious than it needs to be that this is simply a filler arc, something that is relatively unusual for Fairy Tail, where storylines like “Key to the Starry Sky” actually add to Mashima's original plot.

Once this lackluster bit is over, the show embarks on a much more enjoyable set of one-shot episodes, including an interesting take on the shoujo trope where the heroine ends up babysitting in an effort to show the romantic interest what a good mom she'd make. In Fairy Tail's take on it, Natsu has to babysit Alzac and Bisca's daughter Asuka, and while Lucy is there to make sure he doesn't do something stupid, he turns out to be a much better caregiver than you'd expect, making this the rare “see what a good dad he'd make” episode, something followed up with the two-episode storyline about Kemo Kemo, a mysterious green monster Natsu hatches from a sky egg. It's not only a nice inversion of a tired trope, but it also allows us to see Natsu as competent at something besides fighting. Other highlights of these episodes include the American superhero parody, full of Adam West Batman sound effects (possibly a tribute to Jiro Kuwata's 1967-68 Batmanga), and Lucy trying to force a cross-dressing Natsu to stand in a more feminine pose by shoving his legs together. By far the funniest episode, however, is “Fairy Tail of the Dead Meeeen,” which closes out the set. It's a parody of zombie stories wherein Blue Pegasus' Ichiya accidentally contaminates Magnolia with a potion that turns everyone who smells it (and then sniffs someone else) into Ichiya. They all walk around moaning “maaan” instead of “braiiins” and trying to sniff people, and on the whole it's really funny, and offers everyone a chance to show off their best Chris Guerrero/Sho Hayami impressions. On the less impressive end is the episode featuring Juvia and her obsessive love for Gray. At this point this is a joke that has been beaten into the ground and has taken over any vestige of personality Juvia had left, something even her English VA Brina Palencia remarks on in her commentary for the episode. Palencia suggests that Gray gave Juvia her only sense of self-worth and that's why she has latched on to him the way she has, which does seem plausible given her origins; regardless, the episode feels somewhat painful to watch and Juvia like a character who could have been much more.

This set of episodes brings us a new opening and ending theme, both of which are very catchy, especially Mariya Nishiuchi's “Don't Let Me Down.” Once the Eclipse Spirits arc is over, the show resorts to poorly drawn pinups of various female cast members for the ending credits, most of which have some serious issues with anatomy – Kagura's spine should be snapping given her position and for reasons unknown, someone apparently thinks that cat tails spring directly from the butt in Milliana's picture. As the owner of five cats, I can assure you that they do not, and while the rest of the picture isn't particularly great anyway, it really is an artistic low point for the show. (On the brighter side, the image of Mirajane reclining on a motorcycle is decent.) Extras are the usual fare: two guild profiles, two episode commentaries – one with Brina Palencia for the Juvia episode and one with Brian Mathis (Macao) and Charles Campbell (Wakaba) for the superhero episode – clean openers and closers, and company trailers.

When set twenty comes out we'll be getting back to the main storyline as laid out in the manga. In some ways that will be a relief, but this set of episodes is still far from a total loss. As I said before, it's all in the little moments, whether that's hordes of zombie Ichiyas, Natsu playing daddy, or Happy's recommendation that when life gives you lemons you should blow them up. The Eclipse Spirits arc's wrap up isn't great, but the rest of the set is pretty fun and should hold you over until things get serious in the coming episodes.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B-
Story : C+
Animation : B-
Art : C
Music : B

+ Post-Eclipse Spirits arc episodes entertaining and subvert a tired trope, zombie episode very funny. Some nice voice work from both casts, new ending theme is very catchy.
Pin-up art for ending theme has some serious issues, Juvia episode kind of irritating. Eclipse Spirits arc feels generally useless in the long run and misses opportunities for Lucy.

Director: Shinji Ishihira
Series Composition: Masashi Sogo
Script:
Fumihiko Shimo
Masashi Sogo
Atsuhiro Tomioka
Shoji Yonemura
Storyboard:
Masaomi Andō
Yoshiyuki Asai
Mamoru Enomoto
Ryoji Fujiwara
Hiroyuki Fukushima
Tsuyoshi Hida
Hirokazu Hisayuki
Kyōhei Ishiguro
Shinji Ishihira
Mashu Itō
Yasuo Iwamoto
Takahiko Kyōgoku
Lee Kan Min
Susumu Nishizawa
Noriaki Saito
Yoshiyuki Sanami
Yusaku Saotome
Sōichi Shimada
Touma Shirakawa
Jun'ichi Wada
Naomichi Yamato
Kenji Yasuda
Episode Director:
QZo
Masaomi Andō
Yoshiyuki Asai
Hitomi Efuku
Mamoru Enomoto
Hiroyuki Fukushima
Yasuyuki Fuse
Kazunobu Fuseki
Eisuke Hayashi
Tsuyoshi Hida
Shigetaka Ikeda
Kyōhei Ishiguro
Yasuo Iwamoto
Hiroshi Kimura
Takahiko Kyōgoku
Takahiro Majima
Yoshitaka Makino
Yoshihisa Matsumoto
Lee Kan Min
Hazuki Mizumoto
Yasushi Muroya
Yūsuke Onoda
Masayuki Oozeki
Noriaki Saito
Yusaku Saotome
Nanako Sasaki
Sōichi Shimada
Kazunobu Shimizu
Satoshi Shimizu
Kiichi Suzuno
Nobuhiro Takamoto
Hiroshi Tamada
Yoshinobu Tokumoto
Daisuke Tsukushi
Jun'ichi Wada
Tetsuya Watanabe
Hirokazu Yamada
Mitsuto Yamaji
Naomichi Yamato
Shigeru Yamazaki
Takeyuki Yanase
Mitsuhiro Yoneda
Shunichi Yoshizawa
Unit Director:
Hiroyuki Fukushima
Kazunobu Fuseki
Eisuke Hayashi
Hiroshi Ishiodori
Hazuki Mizumoto
Yuu Nobuta
Naomichi Yamato
Kenji Yasuda
Music: Yasuharu Takanashi
Original creator: Hiro Mashima
Character Design:
Toshihiko Sano
Shinji Takeuchi
Aoi Yamamoto
Art Director:
Shigeru Morimoto
Junko Shimizu
Chief Animation Director:
Takao Sano
Shinji Takeuchi
Animation Director:
Atsushi Aono
Erika Arakawa
Tomoaki Chishima
Mikio Fujiwara
Jiemon Futsuzawa
Ryo Haga
Masato Hagiwara
Jun Hanzawa
Satoshi Hata
Noritomo Hattori
Jo Won Hee
Futoshi Higashide
Hirokazu Hisayuki
Emi Honda
Miyuki Honda
Seok Pyo Hong
Takahisa Ichikawa
Kazuyuki Igai
Masanori Iizuka
Hiroki Ikeshita
Hiroshi Imaoka
Masaki Inada
Asako Inayoshi
Tomoshige Inayoshi
Nobuharu Ishido
Yumiko Ishii
Mariko Ito
Kiryou Iwamoto
Hyun Woo Ju
Yousuke Kabashima
Hidenori Kane
Nobuhiko Kawakami
Katsunori Kikuchi
Kang Won Kim
Yeong Beom Kim
Satoshi Kimura
Seiji Kishimoto
Miyuki Koga
Sayaka Koiso
Emi Kouno
Tomohiro Koyama
Hiroko Kuurube
Akiko Matsuo
Shiori Mikuni
Lee Kan Min
Satoru Minowa
Hitoshi Miyajima
Tomoki Mizuno
Shunji Murata
Aki Nishizaki
Masato Numazu
Noriko Ogura
Osamu Ohkubo
Shinya Ojiri
Shinako Okayama
Seong Ho Park
Sadahiko Sakamaki
Hiromi Sakamoto
Tatsunori Sakamoto
Konomi Sakurai
Toshihiko Sano
Toshiko Sasaki
Masahiro Sekiguchi
Jung-Duk Seo
Michinori Shiga
Hyung Woo Shin
Kenji Shinohara
Atsushi Soga
Suk Pyo Song
Karuta Sorashima
Kanta Suzuki
Kenichiro Suzuki
Yūya Takahashi
Kenichi Takase
Yuka Takashina
Shinji Takeuchi
Masayuki Tanaka
Shigenori Taniguchi
Eiichi Tokukura
Takashi Uchida
Yuji Ushijima
Masakazu Yamagishi
Aoi Yamamoto
Masaaki Yamamoto
Masatsugu Yamamoto
Teruhiko Yamazaki
Jouji Yanase
Kosuke Yoshida
Naomi Yoshida
Art design:
Hiroshi Izumi
Yohei Kodama
Sound Director: Shoji Hata
Director of Photography:
Atsushi Iwasaki
Satoru Kuroiwa
Youichirou Satou
Producer:
Yōsuke Imai
Yoshikazu Kuretani
Tomonori Ochikoshi
Taihei Yamanishi

Full encyclopedia details about
Fairy Tail (TV)
Fairy Tail (TV 2/2014)

Release information about
Fairy Tail - Part 19 (BD+DVD)

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