Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episodes 1-10

For the past ten weeks or so, fans of the manga series Fairy Tail have been able to enjoy their favorite characters in fully animated glory. Unless of course you're a fan of Gazille, Jubia (Lluvia?) or Gerard, they haven't shown up yet. (Okay, so maybe Gerard has...sort of...in a roundabout way). Being a highly anticipated series, how has Fairy Tail the anime stood up to its manga predecessor? Well, if the word Review in the title of this blog post didn't tip you off, that's exactly what we're going to do now.

When I first saw the Fairy Tail manga in Barnes and Noble, I was initially turned off by the strong resemblance it bore to One Piece. Anything that imitates a great manga like that can't be good on its own. Now I can't remember when I first started reading it, but I was hooked right from the first chapter. At that point the resemblance to One Piece was one of its endearing factors, especially after I realized that it wasn't copying or trying to rip off One Piece at all, but was in fact it's own thing.

For the record, Hiro Mashima apparently doesn't like his series being compared to One Piece. I can't imagine why, after all, it attracts several of its readers that way.

So, you can imagine that I was hyped when I finally read online that there was going to be a Fairy Tail anime. I couldn't wait for that first episode to air. And was I disappointed by it?

Not at all. In fact, besides their use of CGI for the magic effects, instead of hand drawing them, I couldn't find anything wrong with the animation, or the way they were portraying the characters. The voices were great, especially Happy's, who I quickly realized was being voiced by the same Seiyu as Toni Toni Chopper from One Piece. Yeah...this series absolutely has nothing to do with One Piece at all. It's not like any of the other voice actors ever worked in One Piece... Hey, wait a minute! The Seiyu for Loki voiced Young Iceberg in the Water Seven Arc of One Piece!!!

Okay...so it's a loose connection. (Also, I would like to point out, that after doing actual research, turns out that Happy is in fact being voiced by Rie Kugimiya, while Chopper is being voice by Ikue Otani. My bad, a clear case of didn't do the research. In my defense both sound incredibly similar. At least in the first episode. But I guess it wouldn't make sense for Ikue-san to be taking an extra role when she's involved in such a major production as One Piece. But they're both women!!!)

Anyway, that embarrassing incident aside. The voice acting was great, and the music was incredible, especially the battle music that sounded like it was under heavy Celtic influence. A very appropriate choice for the series.

Now, if only the series featured more original music. In the past ten episodes I have heard more familiar music than in any other show. That had much to do with the fact that a lot of the sound track was just a remix of classic music, like the Infernal Galop from Act II, Scene 2 of Orpheus in the Underworld, usually associated with the Can-Can, or a cross-dressing pirate (and seeing how this is anime, I don't think we'll have to wait long for that one. What? It isn't in the manga? Fool! That's what filler is for!). There were a few others, but I'm too lazy to wiki them.

The animation, while not too bad, suffers a bit at times it seems. It's good, but feels like it could be better. Then again, it's a weekly series, and we can be a little forgiving. The backgrounds also seem to suffer at times, which can be quite distracting at times. I'm not a huge fan of the magic circle effect that happens every time that someone uses magic. Not to mention the magic girl transformation sequence Lucy seems to go through every time she summons a Stellar Spirit. Personally I think we could do without it. Erza's more appropriate magic girl transformation sequence on the other hand can stay right where it is.

So, love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Personally I like it. Already we've had a filler episode with episode 9, which while mindless padding, was humorous enough, and shows that the production team is smart enough to not fall into the trap Bleach is in, interrupting entire arcs with filler. Repeatedly! Then again, the Bleach storyline isn't the friendliest for anime adaptation.

So, if you like Fairy Tail, the anime is well worth it. If you're not a Fairy Tail fan, the anime just might be a good way for you to get into a great series.


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