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Anime review: ‘Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess’

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Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess

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On December 10, 2013 anime publisher FUNimation Entertainment releases “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and we just had to check out this action-filled feature.

The “Fairy Tail” anime takes place in a world where guilds, collections of powerful wizards, take on various contracts for the people of the Kingdom of Fiore. And the Fairy Tail guild just so happens to be one of the most popular guilds and home to some of the most powerful, although sometimes reckless, wizards around. Among these wizards are the team of Natsu, Lucy, Happy, Ezra, Gray, Wendy and Carla, who make up the series’ main cast.

The “Phoenix Priestess” movie follows Team Natsu as they are dragged into another grand conflict when Lucy meets Eclair, a young woman who has lost some of her memories and has been wandering along with her companion Momon, without understanding why for quite some time. As her memories begin to return, she is joined by the team, who agree to help her find a great wizard in a monster-filled forest.

There, Eclair, Lucy and the gang learn of the Phoenix Stones, powerful magical items that when joined together, could unleash a beast mighty enough to put the entire world in danger. To prevent the beast’s return from happening, the group must find a way to destroy the stones before they can be merged, but to do this they will have to clash with the Duke of a small nearby country called Veronica, and Carbuncle, a guild of wizards led by Dist, that serves him. Because this is a movie instead of a full season I won’t discuss much more of the story to avoid giving away too much.

The roughly one and one half hour long movie manages to get the story told without it felling rushed and the overall pacing of the film was brisk. It actually felt like it could have been made into a full 12-14 episode season, given the level of character development that “Fairy Tail” usually offers, and yet they managed to squeeze into the short amount of time.

Fairy Tail” has always delivered when it comes to the character development, and despite the length, Eclair’s story and the friendship she forms with Lucy are still told well in the movie and there didn’t seem to be many lingering questions once it was all said and done. The film was also filled with plenty of action as many of the guild’s wizards got to make a cameo and show off some of their best moves, so “Fairy Tail” fans should be happy about that.

Visually, “Fairy Tail” has always been a great looking series and like many anime features the “Phoenix Priestess” film seemed to be of a higher quality, only slightly, than the show. The picture quality of the DVD version was clear, vivid and the animation looked smooth. This review is based on the DVD version of the film and it is likely that the Blu-ray will look at least a bit better.

Both the Japanese and English voice casts did nice jobs in matching up with their characters and I would say that either option would be worth watching it in. Should you watch the movie with subtitles, they are clear, easy to read and remain on screen for a decent length of time.

Included as on-disc extras are the clean opening and ending, a trailer for the film as well as trailers for other FUNimation releases. Also included is “The First Morning”, a prologue to the movie set years before Lucy and Eclair meet. This short prequel was great and offered some nice insight into Eclair. Though it doesn’t really give too much away I would definitely wait to watch it until after the movie.

Thanks to a great plot and some quality story telling, “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” was an entertaining addition to the “Fairy Tail” anime and although it doesn’t add to the main series it was a great side story offering plenty of action. Lucy and Eclair’s rough early relationship evolves into a great friendship and viewers get to see Lucy grow a bit because of that. Natsu, Ezra, Gray and the rest of the gang don’t really change much, but there isn’t anything wrong with that. In truth there isn’t much that I could find wrong with the movie, all I could say to criticize it is that it is more of the same, but is that actually a bad thing?

If you enjoyed series like “Naruto Shippuden”, “One Piece” and “Soul Eater” or if you just want more “Fairy Tail” awesomeness then you won’t want to pass up on “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess”. It definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment

Runtime: 85 minutes

Number of Discs: 1 DVD (Also on Blu-ray)

Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles

Age Rating: TV-14

Release Date: December 10, 2013

(A review copy of “Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess” on DVD was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)

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