Anime Reporter jets ahead of the current collection for Fairy Tail, the first movie: Phoenix Priestess.
Fans of the main series should be advised that this film takes place after the time skip. If you don’t know what the time skip is, there’s a good chance that you still have a bit of the anime series to go before you’re quite up to date with the film. The time skip brought the anime series into the future, aging characters a bit and changing up appearances.
The plot of Phoenix Priestess follows the regular team of Natsu, Lucy, Happy, Grey, Wendy and Carla and begins with them taking on the latest mission in a hot streak of successes. After their mission to hunt down the leader of a team of bandits comes to an abrupt end, they return home, only to stumble across a young woman by the name of Éclair. Éclair is a little brash, and none too fond of magic or people who use it, though she isn’t too sure of why. Saddled with the unfortunate plot device of amnesia, Éclair has been wandering the land with a small stone tablet and not too many clues about why.
Needless to say, this sounds like a job for Fairy Tail.
Unfortunately, regal powers have set their sights on Éclair’s tablet, wanting to use it to resurrect a phoenix, granting unlimited power and immortality to themselves in the process, naturally. Éclair picks up a few bits and pieces of her past along the way and learns to overcome her distrust of wizards, bonding with the Fairy Tail wizards against their newfound common enemy.
The guild is attacked by a few new antagonists who keep the Fairy Tail members on their toes, including a versatile requip-user whose skills seem well beyond those of Erza.
The story is decent, if a little smaller in scale than many of the series story arcs, choosing to focus a little bit more on personal anguish than over the top action, though there is plenty of doom and gloom promised if the final enemy isn’t defeated. Ultimately, the plot offers little that the main series hasn’t already done and what is offered feels fairly rushed in the 86 minutes of screen time. There’s little in the way of character development and Éclair’s bond with Lucy develops just a little too quickly to be believed.
The action is suitably impressive and chaotic, though it lacks a little in imagination. The standout fight scenes are Erza’s requip-on-requip battle (though both requip users inexplicably go for at least a second or two in between sets of armour, making some scenes a little risqué for the movie’s twelve rating) and Gajeel’s confrontation with an elusive, shadowy foe. The humour of the original series is present, but not quite at its best. Jokes are rare and lacking in the charm of the series.
The animation is above average in comparison to the events of the series but again falls a little short of the grandeur and spectacle that a film version should.
Ultimately, Fairy Tail: Phoenix Priestess is an enjoyable cinematic romp which just about holds up with a few story arcs of the original but fails to exceed them in the way that this type of film venture usually should.
Fairy Tail the Movie 1: Phoenix Priestess is available on DVD and Bluray from July 28th 2014 from Manga Entertainment UK. For more information, check out the Manga UK website and Facebook page and stay with us here at Anime Reporter for more reviews and updates.
69% – “A good start” – Fairy Tail movie 1: Phoenix Priestess is up to par with the anime series, but lacks some of the punch that might be expected for a movie adaptation. Still, as the first movie, it sets a solid base for future films to come.