Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fairy Tail Season Two Anime Review

Fairy Tail Season Two
Feari Teiru
Funimation
Complete Collection - 8 discs
600 mins. - 24 episodes
$54.98 (2013) Blu-Ray/DVD
$54.98 (2012) Part 3-4 Blu-Ray/DVD
ISBN 704400087684
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Shinji Ishihara
Studio - A-1 Pictures/Satelight

Synopsis: In the Kingdom of Fiore there are many wizard guilds who perform work-for-hire jobs to benefit themselves, their guild, and society as a whole.  The guilds are overseen by the Magic Council and the Ten Wizard Saints, who are made up of guild masters from the most powerful guilds.  One of the strongest guilds in Fiore is Fairy Tail - a motley group of wizards united under the tutelage of Makarov Dreyar (one of the Ten Wizard Saints) who treats his guild members as family (and many of them are adoptive outcasts raised by the guild from a young age).  Makarov preaches peace and acceptance while other guilds aggressively seek fame and fortune.
They're back!  Natsu, Lucy, Gray, Happy, and Erza
Fairy Tail's strongest and most outspoken members are Natsu Dragneel (aka Salamander and a Dragon Slayer wizard), Gray Fullbuster (Ice Make wizard), Erza Scarlet (aka Titania and a Re-Equip wizard), Lucy Heartfilia (recent recruit and Celestial wizard), Elfman and Mirajane Strauss (both use Take Over magic where they assume the abilities of monsters they defeat), Cana Alberona (Card magic wizard), and Makarov Dreyar (guild master and uses Giant/Titan magic).  Natsu's best friend is Happy the flying cat, who is also a wizard.
Gajeel and Natsu, two Dragon Slayers, go at it!
We join Fairy Tail in the middle of a particularly nasty fight with the Phantom Lord guild.  It seems Phantom Lord has been hired by Lucy's father after she ran away from home to join Fairy Tail.  Phantom Lord is vying to be the most powerful guild in Fiore and Fairy Tail is their direct rival.  The guild is led by Jose Porla who harbors a deep jealousy of Makarov and wishes to utterly destroy his guild.  His most powerful wizards are the Element Four - Aria (Air magic), Sol (Eath magic), Totomaru (Fire magic), and Juvia Lockser (Water magic).  They are also joined by Dragon Slayer wizard, Gajeel Redfox, who is an unforgiving opponent.  The entire Fairy Tail guild is put to the test to save one of their own - will they come out on top?
What is Loke's deep, dark secret!?
Following the Phantom Lord battle, Lucy returns to her home and is confronted by her father.  He is a rich and powerful man, always dismissing Lucy's presence and her dreams throughout her childhood.  This difficult journey continues for Lucy as she discovers a secret of her guild-mate, Loke.  He constantly avoids her despite being a well-known 'ladies' man'.  What is Loke's secret past and why is he hiding from Lucy, the only Celestial wizard in Fairy Tail?
Juvia spies on the Fairy Tail crew while they hang out at the beach
During a relaxing vacation Erza, Natsu, Gray, Lucy, Happy, and Juvia are attacked by a group of rogue wizards with links to Erza's past.  We discover her disturbing origin as her past comes back to threaten all of Fiore.  The wizard Jellal Fernandez has completed the Tower of Heaven and wants to bring the dark wizard Zeref back to life.  Erza is captured, but Natsu and company are in hot pursuit.  Jellal releases the Trinity Raven assassins to stop them, but aid is given from the most unlikely source.  Meanwhile the Magic Council decides on whether to obliterate the Tower of Heaven by firing the Etherion cannon, a magical spell with supreme destructive force.  Can Erza overcome her past with a little help from her friends and in time to avoid being completely obliterated?
We learn Erza's tragic past as a slave laborer before she joined Fairy Tail
The town of Magnolia celebrates an annual harvest festival and the Fairy Tail guild participates in a big way.  This year their festivities are rudely interrupted by Laxus, one of the most powerful members of Fairy Tail and Makarov's grandson.  He turns the harvest festival into the Battle of Fairy Tail with the help of his Thunder Legion - Freed Justine (aka Dark and using Jutsu-Shiki magic, the writing of runes to create 'rules' for those trapped within their proximity), Evergreen (she uses Eye magic to battle her opponents, primarily turning them to stone), and Bickslow (using Eye magic as well, but can harness souls into inanimate objects to do his bidding).
Gray, Juvia, Lucy, and Natsu (perpetually seasick) travel to
the Tower of Heaven to rescue Erza
Laxus thinks Fairy Tail has become weak under his grandfather's leadership and wants to return the guild to greatness by taking over.  He gets Freed to place traps all over town forcing members of Fairy Tail to duel each other in order to escape.  The guild is in shambles as friend battles friend.  Meanwhile Makarov and Natsu are trapped away from the action.  Can they break free in time to lend a hand?  The remaining members of Fairy Tail must take on the Thunder Legion for the fate of the guild!  Even if they prevail there's still Laxus to deal with and he's the most powerful one of all.  Is this the end of Fairy Tail as we know it?
Jellal (center) unleashes the assassin team Trinity Raven
Pros: Good animation and backgrounds, lots of action and progressively spectacular fights, characters are interesting and it's cool seeing their origins, the cliffhanger from the first collection was amply resolved, Juvia and Gajeel ended up being interesting characters (not so much the rest of the Element 4), some mild fan-service, positive message of friendship and camaraderie
A group assails the upper levels of the tower
Cons: Blu-Ray + DVD - 8 discs total - couldn't they just offer one or the other (and for less money)?, Gajeel is a total jerk (especially to Lucy), no way the Fairy Tail members would be so forgiving after their battles with Phantom Lord and the Tower of Heaven wizards, seems like Fairy Tail comes out on top too easily in each story arc (especially Natsu)
Jellal and Natsu battle atop the Tower of Heaven
Mike Tells It Straight: I enjoyed Fairy Tail Season One (although the first few episodes almost made me quit the series) and it ended on a major cliffhanger (it's actually the first half of the first season and this Season Two is the last half).  The second season was fairly decent, focused on specific characters while involving some new ones, and shifted to sweeping story arcs with few standalone episodes.  I didn't think it was quite as good as the first, but it was still entertaining.  It's pure shounen action (like Naruto or Bleach) with battles raging across multiple episodes and culminating in a massive final showdown.
Laxus turns all of the girls in Fairy Tail to stone and takes them as hostages
We get the spectacular finish to the Phantom Lord arc from the first collection.  Some recurring characters are introduced there (hint, Juvia and Gajeel).  Then we shift gears to learn Lucy's origin along with Loke's (a peripheral character) secret past.  From there we get a big arc dealing with the Tower of Heaven crew and Erza's origin.  That one was pretty interesting although I didn't like most of the characters introduced.  The final sweeping arc is the Battle of Fairy Tail or Laxus' Uprising.  He's a tough customer and determined to take over the guild.  I thought the ending was weak considering all the buildup.
The Thunder Legion - Evergreen, Freed, and Bicklow
The main problem with shounen series is the sheer number of episodes and tendency to drag out the plot.  Definitely one of my guilty pleasures and not for everyone.  It's aimed at younger audiences and very simple, but I liked the message of friendship and sticking together.  This series is mostly lighthearted with a few serious moments (a character actually dies!).  If you liked the first season then you're stuck watching this one just to find out how the cliffhanger ends.  Not too bad and a lot more episodes have been released with Collection Three out in January 2015.
Gajeel and Natsu face Laxus in a final showdown!

TO BUY and Recommendations: