Fairy Tail Volume 4

“I am a member of a magic circle – The Secret Six – which is so secret I don’t know the other five.” – Tommy Cooper.

This fourth collection of episodes is currently the last scheduled batch of editions to be released by Manga and Funimation. It is something of a shame if they do not continue, but at least this collection of episodes does not leave any storylines unfinished.

The opening episodes of this DVD conclude the previous story arc, in which Lucy, Natsu, Gray, Erza and their latest team member Juvia attempt to thwart the plans of Erza’s old childhood friend Jellal to resurrect the evil wizard Zeref. They have to do this while battling against a team of assassin witches and before a powerful WMD is fired at the tower they are fighting in.

In the second of the two arcs, the Fairy Tail guild finds itself under attack by some of their wizards, lead by Laxus, the lightning-controlling grandson of the guild’s master Makarov. Laxus decides to launch a battle in order to establish control of the guild himself. During this arc we come across several surprises, new members of the guild, and we finally learn more about the mysterious Mystogan.

These episodes, like the ones that have gone before, have been mostly entertaining. There have one or two laughs, lots of moments of tension, and most of the time the battles do not drag, certainly in comparison to other series.

It is not perfect through. Some of the events, mainly in the second arc, seem to flow oddly in terms of their timing. It is hard to stretch three minutes of fiction into 20 minutes of airtime. I am also worried that the battles are taking a little bit too much precedence over the actual plot.

However, at least this collection has finished on an actual end storyline rather than in the middle of one. As there will be no new DVDs seemingly for a while, it seems as good as time as ever to look back at these previous 48 episodes as a whole. In terms of shonen, this has been a lively and enjoyable series, with the right mix of action and humour. The characters are fun and the narrative keeps up a good pace. No doubt more DVDs will come soon, and with the recent release of the latest volume of the manga by Kodansha, there will be even more to enjoy.

8 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

More posts from Ian Wolf...