Rss

Archives for : A-1 Pictures

Sound of the Sky (anime review)

Title: Sound of the Sky (Soro no Wata) Complete Set on Blu-ray
Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Studio: A-1 Pictures
U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment
U.S. Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Format: DVD/ 12 episodes/ 355 minutes
Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama
Age Rating: 14+
Personal Rating: A
Similar Titles: Air, Kanon

Sometimes our goals in life lead is to do things and impact others in way we would never expect. They also put us in situations that just might make all the difference in the world.

Synopsis:

A young girl, Kanata Sorami, joins the army to learn how to play trumpet because she saw a solider play “Amazing Grace” and was touched so deeply that it is the only goal she has in life. The army sends her to the outpost in the town of Seize to become the bugler. Unknown to her she becomes one of the Fire Maidens of Seize. These are the historical protectors of the Village. The other members of the squad are Rio Kazumiya, Kanata’s trumpet teacher, Filicia Heideman, the company commander, Noel Kannagi, the mechanic and Kureha Suminoya the other private assigned as the gunner.

In the beginning Kanata does not know how to play the trumpet very well but she has a great ear for sound and with some training by Rio she manages to become wonderful player and even the village begins to enjoy her playing. During this time she becomes a valued member of the platoon and the bonds of these 5 women become so close it almost seems as though they are sisters.

There is a tentative peace between Helvetia and Roma. The current talks are not going very well and the platoon must always be on the watch for anyone coming across the no-mans land just outside Seize. During this period of stress there is a secret about Rio that comes to light that drives her away from the platoon to eventually end up having a overreaching impact on everyones life.

Commentary:

This wonderfully crafted anime brings together several key elements that makes it one to be seen. The first of these elements is the bonding of the main characters that creates a group of women who become true sisters and find that they each have their role to play. They are each very different and have a dramatic past that is at the core of who they are. This is highlighted by Kanata who has the loss of her family and the contact with a beautiful bugler who was playing “Amazing Grace” in such a way that made her think to was the true Sound of the Sky. That was the motivating factor behind her having no fear and wanting to be able to play that piece for all the world to hear. The others also have past experience that make them so special that they each bound together make an unstoppable force. All of this is accentuated buy the strong character development and the wonderful series of events that bring them together.

The second of the outstanding elements has to be the plot structure and the way the story is told. By the middle of the series I was a little concerned that Sound of the Sky as nothing more than a string of unrelated events but in classic Japanese story telling fashion all of these events all roll up together and provide a ending that managed to warm even my cold heart. The stories told about these women and girls consistently brought a kind smile to my soul as I moved through the series and at the end I wanted only good to happen for this loving group of women.

The final and possible most impressive is the high quality of the animation. I found myself blown away by the impressive artistry put into creating the world that these intrepid ladies lived. The monastery where they lived was so well developed it made me feel like I was there and the landscapes were Miyazakiesk and created a peaceful place that we all would want to be a part of. At every turn I found myself in awe of the talented work that went into this loving series.

Overall Grade: A

Sound of the Sky is not one of those knock down drag-out anime that is all about the action, it is a kind gentle anime that does not shy away from action, but rather uses it only when it is important. The creators have given us something to contemplate and use as a guide to what it is to truly care about those others around us. This series should be put on everyones must see list.

Because of the gentle spirit of Sound of the Sky I would recommend Air and Kanon as the two other series to get that loving feeling from.

The Perfect Insider (anime review)

perfect-insiderTitle: The Perfect Insider

Directors: Mamaru Kanbe

Writer: Toshiya Ono

Music: Kenji Kawai

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release date: October 25th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray/ 11 Episodes / 275 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Suspense, Murder Mystery

Age Rating: MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis: 

For most people, finding a dead body on their vacation would mean the vacation is over. However, for Souhei Saikawa, a professor of architecture, and his student Moe Nishinosono, a math prodigy, it’s a different kind of challenge.

Genius programmer Shiki Magata, one of Souhei’s idols, is inexplicably murdered inside the sealed research lab she disappeared to after being found innocent of her parents’ murder. As Souhei and Moe take the first steps into a deadly new world, they must untangle the complex web of events and clues leading up to the murder. With danger creeping up around them, this may be the last mystery this pair of human anomalies attempts to solve in THE PERFECT INSIDER!

Commentary:

It has been a while since I have enjoyed a murder mystery like The Perfect Insider. From the very first episode I was hooked. I had no idea what was going on but the characters were coming at me in a strange and intriguing direction. I found the plot development rather satisfying with plenty of open question that needed to be answered and most were covered as the series progressed.

The Perfect Insider is a great and refreshing anime after see the market flooded with magical power and fan service anime. I like most of the new series but there has become a series lack of great dramas coming over to the North America. This is where The Perfect Insider stands out. It doesn’t waist your time with frivolous fan service or make our characters magically powerful, it takes a group of people and places them in the middle of a rather confusing and disturbing situation.

Overall Grade: A-

The Perfect Insider does almost everything a great dramatic anime does. It provides a tense mystery with plenty of dark under pinnings. Some of those darker elements put me off a bit, but I understand why they were there.

The animation work perfectly with the story. It is slick enough to make it easy to concentrate on the story and tosses in some well done CG (computer graphics) to provide the eye candy when needed. It help a hard enough edge and color palette that helps keep the focus on the story and the characters. Often you will have anime blast you with bright colors and overly stylized environment to hide the fact that the story is week. The Perfect Insider manages to keep you focused on the story and the character. The only weakness I saw was that there was a lacking of emotion showing in some of the characters faces when important information was discovered.

If you are looking for a strong mature drama with a great ending then you really need to check out The Perfect Insider. One word of caution, this series is not for younger viewers it does contain some rather unpleasant imagery and plot topics that are not suitable for minors.

 

Space Brothers Collection 7 (anime review)

space-brothers-7Title: Space Brothers Collection 7 on Blu-ray

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: February 16th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 11 episodes / 275 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

Whether in the planning rooms for lunar missions or the claustrophobic steel confines of an undersea laboratory, the one thing that every astronaut must learn to deal with is pressure.

But as deadly as the blowout of a pressurized cabin may be, the peer pressure that weighs on brothers Mutta and Hibito may be even more crippling. As Mutta prepares to journey to the bottom of the deep blue sea for NEEMO training, Hibito’s path descends to even lower depths as his inability to recover sends him into a downward emotional spiral. Will a trip to Russia be the cure for Hibito’s malaise?

Or, having once reached the stars, will he now end up forever grounded by NASA and JAXA? Yet even as one rising star falters, a second prepares for his ascent to the heavens as Mutta’s quest to reach space advances to the next level in the seventh spellbinding collection of Space Brothers!

Commentary:

I know that by saying how much I like Space Brother makes me sound like a broken record, but the simple fact is that it is one of the more humanistic slide of life series I have seen. It doesn’t just tel a story to make you cry or be happy. Space Brothers comes at you with real life lesson that make you stop and think about your own life and how you might react in the same situation. Space Brothers collection seven provides us with more trials and tribulations for the brothers and also give us a glimpse at what it means to be a brother, either a younger one of a big brother. There is something special about family that has a universal understanding about it.

I had my concerns that with a series this long that it will lose it’s way and either become a silly redundant story about brotherhood and achieving dreams. Instead it gives us a plot line that makes thing tough for both brothers and shows us how life can be about choices and decisions rather than just dumb luck.

Overall Grade: A

Again these 12 episodes put you in the mood to stand up and applaud what you have just watched. Space Brothers is written by a person who have experience life in a way that makes it interesting with a understanding of the universal struggles that we all go through from fear, anger, frustration and competition against friends. I was impressed how each emotion was brought out and exposed in both of the brothers. There is also the aspect of understanding and friendship that comes into play for each. I found myself looking at myself and trying to see when I was in a situation like this. No I am not an astronaut and yes these struggles are not the same for everyone, but when you watch the series and get to these episodes you will understand what I am saying.

This is a great series and I know most anime fans will not even care about it. It may not be Free or Attack on Titan, but it much better. Space Brothers is about us, humanity and how we go about working toward our dreams. So, if you are looking for a heart warming series that gives you more to think about than how many bad guys get killed then you really need to pick this up. Be sure to start from the beginning. You will thank me later.

Bring on the last collection!!!!!!!

 

Space Brothers Collection 6 (anime review)

space-brothers-collection-6Title: Space Brothers Collection 6

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: December 1st, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 11 episodes / 275 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

Taking a makeup exam after learning the test results of Sharon’s condition, Mutta stands on the verge of achieving the first major step on his journey to the stars: officially becoming an astronaut. But the written test is only a prelude to the most hazardous trials of all.

Strapped into the seat of a T38 jet, flying faster than the speed of sound, and learning to fly on instruments only, a single mistake on Mutta’s part can mean instant disaster. On the positive side, if he’s going Mach 1 when something does go wrong, Mutta probably won’t have to worry about it very long. It’s time to kick in the afterburners and aim for the stars in the sixth spectacular collection of Space Brothers!

Commentary:

Following much of what makes Space Brothers great collection 6 provides a great deal of remanicence and flashbacks to things in Mutta’s life that made a real difference. Simply put, these reminders of the things that make us all so very human is at the core of this series and what makes the series special. I can’t say that the series is classy or full of over the top drama. What it is is touching and inspirational. I love that fact that luck does fall there way sometimes, but both brothers must use their natural intellect to work though their issues. Mutta in particular, he comes across as someone who should be a desk jockey and in the end he proves himself over and over again.

Overall Grade: A

As Space Brothers progresses we really do begin to understand that booming an astronaut is just like becoming a musician or artist or doctor or even the top salesman. It take drive and a serious of mind that pushes everyone to become more than they think they are. Space Brother also does something that is very unique in the world of anime. It doesn’t preach. It presents the events as they unfold and lets the viewer get what they may from it.

Space Brothers is a series that will end up being overlooked in the U. S. because it doesn’t gush blood or class enormous boobs and panties at you. It gives you a set of characters that could easily be regular people with a very defined purpose in life. This series should be required viewing for every 10 year old boy and girl. Who knows maybe they will absorb something from it other than how cool it would be to go into space.

Space Brothers collection 6 makes it very easy to want to see collection 7. I would love to see this series packaged as one set and sold at a price everyone could afford. That way even more people would be willing to watch.

Space Brother Collection 4 (anime review)

Space-Brothers-Collection-4Title: Space Brothers Collection 4 on Blu-ray

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Aug. 4th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 13 episodes / 325 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

In the unforgiving vacuum of space, the difference between life and death can boil down to a single bad decision or a millisecond of delay. And when the nearest help is as far away as another planet, the only one you can trust to save you is yourself. This lesson is driven home in the most brutal fashion possible as a series of accidents strand Mutta’s brother Hibito and another astronaut on the lunar surface. As Hibito fights to keep his injured companion alive, Mutta must join a team of scientists and fellow astronauts as they struggle to find a way to locate and save their friends before their critical oxygen reserves run out.

And if that wasn’t enough of a test, Mutta’s entry into JAXA training becomes its own ordeal when he and his fellow trainees are dropped into the survival test course on an accelerated schedule. Foraging for food and facing wild animals on one planet, and fighting for one’s last breath on its satellite, two brothers worlds apart find common ground in the fight to stay alive!

Commentary:

In my past reviews I have given high praise to this simple series and now I must heap even more love its way. Space Brothers is beginning to show me why it managed to become a solid and beloved series in Japan. It doesn’t have any dark, magical battling large breasted women going around causing mayhem nor is it a slow smoldering love story that bring agony and ecstasy to every episode. Space Brothers is a straight forward story of hope and success along with a view of family life that is all too often ignored just because it seems to be unreal.

Space Brothers may be set with a plot that is somewhat unrealistic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t giving us a view that is somewhat realistic. The real story is not about these two brother who are striving to be astronauts, but rather how life can be challenging and rewarding even if it throws some curveballs your way.

Overall Grade: A

Space Brothers Collection 4 gives us some drama that high tens the story and brings us out of a easy lull that we had fallen into. There is also some additional character development that is long over due. These new developments help make more of these new astronauts even more likable. There are also a few new characters introduced that add a slightly different flavor to the story, but I have a feeling that they will end up becoming much more important as things go on.

Space Brother is a real hit for me and if you are looking for something that is easy to watch and even easier to get sucked into then you need to check this series out. It may not be flashy or overly slick, but the real backbone to any anime is the writing and story line. Space Brothers is a winner in both categories and needs to recognized as a wonderful series for what it is.

Space Brothers collection 3 (anime review)

Space Brothers 3Title: Space Brothers collection 3 on Blu-ray

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: June 30th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 13 episodes / 325 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

Contrary to popular belief, the hardest part about becoming an astronaut isn’t being shot into orbit while sitting on top of the world’s largest fireworks display. Nor is it coming back home in a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. No, those events, while momentous, are easy compared to all the studying and training required to actually get to those points.

The hardest part of all is the waiting: waiting to see if the technology for a mission will be ready in time. Waiting to see who gets selected for each crew. Waiting to see if the weather is clear for each launch. And waiting to see if everyone makes it back home alive. That’s a lesson that Mutta is now painfully learning twice over, as he waits to find out the result of his JAXA exams and watches while his younger brother, Hibito, prepares for his own historic journey to the moon. Will Mutta finally pass and move on to the next stage of his own training? Will Hibito’s mission end in success or tragedy? The tension mounts as the countdown begins!

Commentary:

Space Brother Collection 3 keeps on giving us a reason to come back and it allows us to feel good about what is going on. It is maintaining the simple straight forward approach to telling this positive slice of life. The fact that Hibito is headed to the Moon and Mutta show honest jealousy tell a lot about how the writers approached these characters. Brotherly love and sibling rivalry does exist in the world and to reflect is with a honest viewpoint is refreshing.

We also get to discover a little  more about a few of the other characters that was nice to see and gave us a break from the mononuclear view of Mutta and his long wait. I’m not sure that it should have taken 13 episodes to ge through this part of the story, but it is clear that there is no rush to get to the end.

Overall Grade: A-

It is very clear that this series will loose plenty of viewers because of the length and that with it being a slice of life with a simple dose of reality  mixed in will make it less than attractive to most anime fans who are looking for the flash and fan service of most other anime being offered up. It has also become somewhat disheartening that current anime stories are loosing their way to the magical girl or psychic world with plenty of panties and bouncing female goodness that I find Space Brother out of this world refreshing. Give me a story that makes me smile and at the same time re-enforces the goodness and humanity and the optimism for the future then I will line up to watch it anytime.

All I can say is that you need to watch Space Brother because it is a good story that will do not harm to anyone and shows us that hard work and preparation just might get you what you are after. And it is also really good.

Space Brothers collection 2 (anime review)

Space Brother collection 2Title: Space Brothers collection 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 21st, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 13 episodes / 325 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

As the competition to become an astronaut continues to heat up, the candidates are subjected to a grueling series of tests designed to test their physical and mental qualifications to the utmost. Trapped inside a sealed environment with his closest rivals, Mutta’s challenge is to force himself to think as a team player even as he jockeys for one of the two open seats to the stars. When things start to go wrong with the test mission, however, the tension really begins to build.

It’ll take the combined resources of the whole team to solve the life and death problems being thrown at them… but what are they supposed to do when it becomes apparent that one of the team members is intentionally sabotaging their assignments? Will any of Mutta’s team survive the ordeal and move up to the next phase of training? Or will they all wash out before they ever hit the launch pad?

Commentary:

Just as the first collection gave us reason to look forward the rest of the series, collection 2 of Space Brothers keeps it going and even furthers the case for why this is a solid series. With the focus of these 13 episodes is the third exam and how the want-to-be astronauts manage to deal with the stresses of the two week exam it becomes clear that Space Brothers is about relationships and how bonds are really formed.

As I watched this group of episodes I began to find a true fondness for several of the characters and a better understanding of why others are the way they are. The writing does another superb job of depicting a wide variety of personalities and how they would deal with the task at hand. They also made sure that there were some characters that were less than likable and also less sympathic than the greater group. I enjoyed how they made them move through the paces and how they managed to stay focused on the goal.

There are several fun parts and once we get back to Huston we get to meet an American who loves Japan and stands out as a genuine stupid American. I laughed because I meet these people all the time. They have a fondness for the Japanese that borders on obsessive but is funny anyway. I have always enjoyed it when these series toss it right back in our face.

Overall Grade: A-

As slice of life series go, Space Brothers is a bit of a cut above. There is not bitter sweet love story, but doesn’t mean you don’t get sucked in and begin to wish for the best for these characters. I could see being friends with both of the brothers and more importantly Mutta. He is a serious enough guy who has enough of a lack of self confidence that he both struggle with his own abilities and his success. He likable and at time simple for as complex a character as he is. I know things will work out because of the shear length of the series but I can’t tell what is really going to happen.

I’m hooked and want to see the rest. So, bring it on.

Space Brothers collection 1 (anime review)

Space Brothers collection 1Title: Space Brothers collection 1 on Blu-ray

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 24th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 13 episodes / 325 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

Mutta’s life has hit rock bottom. He’s been fired, blackballed from his profession, and even had to move back in with his parents. Meanwhile, the career of Mutta’s brother, Hibito, has taken off like a rocket as he trains for the job Mutta once dreamed of: becoming an astronaut. But is it ever too late to go after your dreams? Through a little coercing and a bit of covert activity, Mutta’s family and friends can get his resume on the right desk, but from that point on it’ll be up to Mutta himself.

Does he have what it takes to turn his life around and put his footprint on the moon? The first step on the highway to the stars is always the hardest, and in a job where crash and burn isn’t just a euphemism, it’ll be the biggest risk Mutta’s ever taken. But with the right support team, maybe he’ll find what he needs to rekindle the spark inside him and light the biggest candle of them all!

Commentary:

Space Brothers is a breath of fresh air in a room filled with sexual innuendoes. I have been loving this series for its simple straight forward story telling and the fact that it doesn’t need a bunch of young partially dress girls or boys to make it interesting. Space Brothers doesn’t pretend to ben anything other than a warn hearted story about two brothers who once dreamed the same dream but got separated and are now back on the path of realizing a special bond they experienced in their youth.

Of course, there are strange quirky things happening to keep it lively, but in its true essence it is all about he incredible optimism of youth and the though road that must be taken to follow those dreams. We may not know much about Hibito, but Mutta feels like he could be one of us. He has his odd quirks and his self doubt along with a relatively strong sense of self awareness that helps him stay on corse.

The writing of this series is what makes it special. The characters feel like normal humans with both fears and joy that go along with the big and little things that make up our daily lives. I think that if this series was about two brothers that wanted to be truck drivers it would still work based on the presentation of both the story line and the cast of characters.

Overall Grade: A-

There is a lot going on in this series even though it appears to follow a simplistic glide path. Knowing that it has a long way to go is a both frustrating because they manage to get the viewer involved and rooting for Mutta in a way that makes us want to know if he gets to his special goal. On the other hand that built in tension with the progression of the series makes it special to watch and it is even better if you space out the episodes.

Space Brothers is not a series that I would recommend binge watching. There are just too many episodes and the story needs to set in your mind so that you can discover the real pleaser that the series will provide.

I am finding Space Brothers to be a genuine pleasure and am looking forward to the next collection. I think that anyone who is close to a sibling and at one time dreamed about the future with them or even a best friend will find this series something to treasure.

 

Fairy Tail Collection 3 (anime review)

Fairy Tail Collection 3

review provide by Luther

Title: Fairy Tail Collection 3 Blu-ray/DVD Combo

Director: Shinji Ishihara

Studio: A-1 Pictures and Satelight

U. S. Distributor: FUNimation

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 6th, 2015

Genre: Magical Adventure and Comedy

Format: DVD/Blu-ray Combo, 600 minutes, 24 episodes

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The last battle was over and Laxus was kicked out of the Fairy Tail Guild, but other members of the Thunder legion have stayed. Now Juvia has stayed as part of the guild, sporting a great new look. Master is still considering leaving, but everyone wants him to stay.
Lucy hadn’t won the Mis Fairy Tail pageant, so she is still looking for a way to pay her rent. When a reporter from Sorcerers’ Weekly comes to do a story, Lucy is hoping that fate is coming her way (in the form of money and romance) and it is time for her big break. The reporter is an enthusiastic fan boy, who is so excited that he continually spouts words like Cool! and Amazing! She does meet a new guy but when someone puts it in her head that she ought to be with Natsu, she begins to read that possibility into almost everything. She is getting embarrassed around him and her thoughts are going crazy.

Juvia is in love with Gray and gets a love potion from a not-so-great shop. It doesn’t go the way she expected and now all of the guys are getting all macho and challenging new rivals. The whole guild hall is in a tizzy.

Lucy’s father shows up. He’s broke and is now traveling to a merchant guild to join. She doesn’t really want anything to do with him, but when she hears that something bad has happened at that guild, she find herself stepping in to help.

The dark guilds have become more active. The light guilds need to stand together. A coalition of magical guilds forms an Allied Force to confront the Orashion Seisu, which is posing a serious threat. Fairy Tail sends Lucy, Natsu, Gray and Erza. They meet the other ally members, which includes The Blue Pegasus team of 3 very charming guys, and from another guild, a kid named Wendy who is a blue haired  girl with a companion, a flying cat named  Carla.

The Orashion Seisu is seeking to release the magic of Nirvana. Part of its destructive power is the ability to change someone who is wavering on the lines of good and evil away from their co nature. As the coalition allied force attempts to stop them, the Orashion Seisu is plowing through them. Erza is the most seriously hurt and is close to death. Wendy and Happy are kidnapped, it seems her type of magic can be the key to resurrect a wizard to unleash Nirvana. The allied force splits up in search of Wendy only to be confronted by minor dark guilds in big numbers.

Nirvana continues its march to destroy Wendy’s guild along with a dark secret. Team Natsu and the coalition – as well as an unexpected ally – go full-force against the top sorcerers of Oracion Seis to expel the ancient city’s evil curse before it becomes unstoppable!
Then, when Natsu goes on a mission to see a woman about a dragon, his trip becomes a trap that could force him to turn Magnolia into ash and rubble! Can his friends snuff the Salamander’s involuntary rampage without torching their friend?

Commentary:

Fairy Tail is an anime that can appeal to a wide audience and I am thankful that is dubbed because that keeps it available to everyone. It has a little of something to fill most wish lists. There is lots of creativity with this anime, seemingly endless on the various wizards characters and their different magic, as well as in the locations and story lines. Occasionally, I thought it was getting a bit formulaic in spots. For example, with the overwhelming foes that they end up beating, but wait, they aren’t quite down yet. There is plenty of dramatic or intense moments, that are woven together with slapstick and silly times. My favorite comedic moment is when Happy answers the question to why he is blue.

One area of strength for Fairy Tail is its cast. It continues to grow. There are plenty of cute characters to go around. I can see that after looking back, there is lots of character growth. They are all getting stronger and developing their skills. Even the relationships are building. Lucy seems to really star in many of the episodes and although she down plays her importance, she has grown the most. Natsu is stronger, but his impulsiveness is his weakness. Some of the characters, especially the villains have some odd characteristics or qualities that only seem to serve the purpose to be odd. Odd for the sake of odd was distracting, memorable yes, but not a plus for the series. One last note on characters, dead people aren’t always dead.

I really enjoy the art work and details. The color alway looks great  and well planned. The visuals match the creativity of the story, the endless ideas and the cool magic techniques are portrayed skillfully. The special effects are great. Since there are all these different types of magic and power, they keep producing new ways to show them. Take time to listen to the music, it does a great job at supporting the story and action.

Fairy Tail continues to deliver a great product. They keep upping their game and still maintain the quality of the story content and action. It is one of those anime that is fun to watch again.  It has definitely gotten to the point where you have to see what happens next.

It is very typical for Fairy Tail to load itself up with action. but this set is overflowing. I was truly assented with how fast this set moves. From the battles with the Oracion Seis to the potential destruction of Magnolia the episodes speed past and leave you breathing heavy at the end.

Well at least they are lots of fun. While watching these episodes I found myself thinking about other long running shonen series and how they always end up on the goofy lead character who manages to sustain themselves in pure righteous indignation and always take up the armor of love and friendship to help defend against the evils that would threaten their families. Several times I saw Naruto saying “Believe It” and then Ichigo going on about friendship but it wasn’t until at one point when the relationships slipped into the classic Naruto vs Sasuke love/hate thing that I almost turned it off. I stuck it out and was not disappointed. I’m sure everyone who watches will see what I am talking about when you reach that point. I guess the point I am trying to make is that even though the plot and structure of the story may be tried and true I guess that it is the way that these characters help bring it together that makes the difference.

Overall Personal Rating: A-

When it is all said and done the final question is if this is fun and entertaining? In the case of these 24 episodes I have to say yes, very much so. I think the only detractor that I have is that the creative staff and even Mashima and Sogo have made Lucy way too much of a wussy. I get that she still lacks a high degree of self-confidence, but she doesn’t need top be that weak. She has plenty of power and to be a full member of the team she needs to be stronger. Other than that I think that Fairy Tail Collection 3 is simply put, just fun.

Any time you can build a full blooded series on top of friendship and love it is almost impossible to miss as long as you are able to keep it moving. Fairy Tail has done that so far and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the 175 episodes. Still 103 more to go.

Fairy Tail part 14 (anime review)

Fairy Tail part 14Title: Fairy Tail 14

Director: Shinji Ishihara

Studio: A-1 Pictures, Satelight

Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

American Release Date: Dec. 2nd, 2014

Genre: Supernatural, Adventure, Comedy

Format: DVD/Blu-ray Combo, 275 minutes, 11 episodes

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

The Grand Magic Games is a yearly competition that pits guild against guild in a weeklong battle for the honor of being called the most powerful wizards in the Fiore Kingdom. Fairy Tail may have come in last place for the past seven tournaments, but now that all their strongest members are back in action – and leveled-up – they’re determined to take the number one spot and rebuild their reputation!

Winning the games won’t be easy, though, as Natsu and his selected teammates are forced to navigate enchanted labyrinths, battle wizard saints, and go head-to-head with a host of familiar faces. But with more than one guild targeting Fairy Tail before the competition even begins, the guildmates will be lucky if they even make it out of the opening ceremonies alive.

Commentary:

Fairy Tail is back with a new arc and it seems as though placing them in a situation where they consistently have to battle to prove themselves is more entertaining that other struggles they had to go through. I feel like there is a very heavy hand pushing the difference that 7 years makes. Funny thing about 7 years it isn’t even a quarter of a generation but, based on the level of wizard power you would think they were frozen for 100 years. The friction plays well, but it also comes across a little odd and at times rather awkward.

There is one other thing about this set and the plot line of this arc that saddened me was the return to making a certain individual the focus of attention by the antagonist. I have become tired of seeing similar plot devices from Fairy Tail and it points to a place that tells me that the writer is getting burned out. Now I’m not saying that the action and comedy fails me, but instead it is the way these stories begin to look very similar and basically the same plot woven into a different settings.

Overall Grade: B

Fairy Tail is a solid series with plenty of great characters. This plot is a little tiring and somewhat lacking in creativity and frustrating from time to time. I did enjoy these 11 episodes and am looking forward to the rect of the story. Of course I really want to know what is behind the door. I know it is not unusual for shonen series to follow a somewhat typical progression, but Fairy Tail had made some great strides and recreating the fantasy fighting world and it is very possible that it will again get back on the path of giving us something more entertaining than a magic games and a dark guild after a certain celestial wizard in order to get to a power they should not wield.

Ok, Funimation bring on part 15.