Once again, an anime uses the tournament arc to try and insert more intrigue and motion into the overall plotline. This is also one of the few that have tried it twice. At least it learned from the mistakes of the last one.
Let’s take a look at Fairy Tail Volume 14.
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
This latest installment covers episodes 154-164. We return once more the Grand Magic Games, which reminds me of the tournaments in Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Shaman King and at least another ten animes I can’t recall the names of at this moment. That being said I will give the show points for not copying the same style of battles. For one, the elimination round is actually pretty fun to watch, and though it was a bit silly to see Fairy Tail having two teams from their guild since we know full well who the characters they want us to care about are (especially the ones they keep hinting will get together but never do).
Fight of the week style episodes are probably going to dominate this arc, at least until something comes along to disrupt the tournament like always, but it does feel little monotonous already. The rampant cheating and overall weirdly emotional portions, especially concerning the bigger mystery at play, are not my favorite aspects either but overall this arc is off to a stronger start than the other tournament one.
The character designs this time around are actually unique and well made. Since this arc gets to show off new guilds we haven’t met yet, there’s a lot of room for experimentation. It shows with the variety of members on different teams, both good and formerly-but-still-totally-evil characters. My favorite thus fair is Mermaid Heel, mostly because there is actually an all-female team and there’s a difference in their body types that isn’t either somewhat busty and thin or very busty and thin. Also they have some pretty cool powers and personalities too, that always helps.
The dub this time around has some pretty interesting additions, though all of them good. I will say that for team Raven Tail they have some of the best work, which even surpasses the original Japanese. Otherwise, I think it is a 50/50 between the dub and sub for different members of the teams, but neither is overall better than the other. I will go ahead and say that this is some of the best dub work I’ve heard from the show in while from new characters, while the old remain steadfast in their quality.
I’m sad to report there is no new opening or ending theme this time around which is a major bummer but on the flip side, it feels like the animation got better. It might just be that the Blu Ray quality is finally noticeable to me or perhaps they stopped using as many short cuts but I feel like it’s more enjoyable. The action scenes are clear and crisp, and the detailing on the dialogue scenes even looks better overall.
In the end, the Grand Magic Games is shaping up to be one of the better arc of the Fairy Tail anime, though I could do without the additional side mystery currently happening. It’ll be interesting to see if they force the heroes to win, actually have a poignant message about losing, or just do what they always do and have something big interrupt the games and therefore have no clear winner. Still, as long as they continue to showcase cool new powers and awesome battles, this could be one of the great ones.
– Interesting plotlines and battles.
– Strong animation.
– Great character design.
– Good dub and sub.
– Fight-of-the-week style episodes.
– No new music.
– The new mystery seems uninteresting.