Anime Review: Fairy Tail Part 11 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 29.01.2017

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Fairy Tail Part 11 (UK Rating: PG)

As with Cubed3's recent One Piece Collection 15 review, the team is jumping into a long-running story here with the 11th part of this massive shonen series, and, as such, some prior knowledge is required. Fairy Tail is a fantasy shonen series by Hiro Mashima, previously of Rave Master fame. It is set in a world of magicians where numerous guilds take on missions and build up their fame throughout the land. The series follows one such guild, the titular Fairy Tail, a guild of misfits and weirdos who delight in brawling, drinking, and laughing. This latest instalment in the long-running show comes courtesy of All the Anime and is out on 13th February.

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This release closes out the absolutely fantastic Tenrou arc and sets up many new promising threads for the future. As with most of the Fairy Tail arcs, since this is wrapping up, the guild are happy and celebrating their victory before beginning their trek home when a new threat bursts onto the scene. In the previous season, Gildarts warned Natsu of the enemy that he had recently faced, an enemy that treated an S rank mage like Gildarts as if he was nothing, taking one of the strongest not only in Fairy Tail but in the world and ripping off his arm and leg before leaving him eviscerated. Gildarts barely survived this enemy and couldn't hope to fight back, only to escape. The enemy was the great black dragon, Acnologia. Dragons are a big part of Fairy Tail lore, with the hero Natsu being raised by the Flame Dragon Igneel and later guild members also linked closely to dragons. These dragons have not been seen for some time, not since they all vanished on the same day, all except for Acnologia, a beast known as The Black Dragon of the Apocalypse. Now Acnologia appears out of nowhere and makes light work of the entire guild, using only a percentage of its power and easily wiping the floor with them, toying with them and brushing off their attacks. Acnologia breathes deep and with a roar wipes out the island of Tenrou and all of the heroes along with it. There the series ends, Natsu et al are dead, and the remaining episodes show Acnologia travelling around destroying the world.

Spoiler: that's not quite what happens. Of course, the heroes find a way out! It turns out the island is saved by a benevolent spirit in a great tie-in to the series spin-off, Fairy Tail Zero, and instead there is a seven year time skip into the future - a time-skip for the rest of the world yet not for Fairy Tail, who was kept out of time. What follows is a promising premise, seeing the guild return to a world that has changed considerably while they were removed from it. Their once prestigious name has fallen from grace whilst others have taken their place. Friends have grown older, some completely changed, some sadly no longer with them. The time-skip is a common occurrence in shonen series but this method of keeping the main characters unaffected is interesting. Sadly, there are only a few episodes of seeing what the changes mean to the cast before this collection slips into fillers...


 
This is, unfortunately, another common occurrence in anime - catching up to the source material too quickly and forcing the anime studio to come up with its own little spin-off stories. This release consists of episodes 121-131, and only the first four of those are canon. The remainder are the dreaded filler episodes. Now filler isn't always bad, per se - although it often is - but this filler is the worst possible type of filler, crammed with terrible gags, stupid original characters, and pointless stories. In particular, these episodes include spandex-clad rogues, called the jiggle butt gang, who fart to incapacitate their enemies, an episode at a gala ball where the guild mages learn to dance,  a naked Lucy running naked around town getting into various risqué situations, and even worse. It's a nightmare for filler to come at such an important time in the series when there's such promise waiting for what can be done with these new developments.

This is a dual audio release and on the bonus feature front there is the obligatory clean opening/closing and trailers for other series, along with episode commentary tracks from the English voice actors, and a nice little 12-minute feature entitled "A Day in the Life of a Voice Actor - Todd Haberkorn Otakon 2013," which follows the English voice actor of Natsu wandering the convention with a GoPro.

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4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

As good as the Fairy Tail series is, and as good as the opening episodes are, setting up the future of the story and wrapping up a superb arc, it also packs most of this collection with absolutely horrendous filler episodes. There is potentially even worse to come, too, as the next part will cover episodes 132 to 142, all of which are filler… even part 13 will cover mostly filler. These huge fillers continue all the way up to episode 151, and then finally the real story returns.

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