Anime Reporter brings you the word on Fairy Tail Collection 09. That’s episodes 97-108 if you’re counting, or the first twelve episodes of Season 03.
Naturally enough, entering into three digits of the series’ episode count, there are going to be a few plot points ahead that are not your friends if you’re completely new to Fairy Tail. Venture onward at your own risk.
So our wizardly wascals have returned from their otherworldly exploration and Lucy spends just a little time looking back on her time at the Fairy Tail guild. Having spent less than a year as a fully-fledged member, Lucy is understandably confused when “solo season” begins and so many of her fellow wizards are tripping over themselves to complete impressive missions without any partners.
Well, truth be told, she’s somewhat more confused when Cana inexplicably appears in her bathtub while she’s bathing and broods uncharacteristically at length.
These two events are revealed to be closely related as the S-Class trials are soon announced. Eight wizards have been chosen to take the test and compete against each other for the right to join the ranks of Erza, Gildarts and Mirajane, the truly elite wizards of the guild. Each of the eight contestants, Natsu, Gray, Juvia, Elfman, Cana, Fried, Levy and Mest are allowed to choose a Fairy Tail partner to help them through the exam and so you can safely add any main characters missing from the list into the mix.
The wizards are brought to Sirius Island, a sacred place for Fairy Tail, and all friendships are put on hold.
Each duo is out for themselves in a gruelling ordeal that tests their combat strength and their luck by having them duke it out against each other, or some of the existing S-rank Wizards. Proving themselves worthy will be difficult, survival isn’t assured and that’s just Round One.
Round Two of the exam sees those who managed to make it through the first stage of the exam tested on their intelligence and basically given a treasure hunt, sans map or clear information, on the enormous and perilous island. Unfortunately, it was never going to be as simple as a run-of-the-mill deadly and life-changing exam. There’s a spy on the island and they’re working for one of the deadliest dark guilds out there. The test may have to be suspended for a while as our beloved magicy-heroes try to figure out why the hell evil has come to their sacred island and perhaps whether it has anything to do with the odd fellow who seems to emanate death.
The dark guild, which I won’t name and spoil the surprise, releases an army of foot soldiers and seven truly elite warriors. Natsu’s ability to handle the heat will be truly tested for the first time while Lucy’s bond with her celestial spirits will undergo some significant upheaval. This collection sees some of the best aspects of the series. Fairy Tail started off with its focus well and truly on Lucy and Natsu but it’s grown and now rightly tells the story of all of the guild’s members, paying attention to their histories and relationship development. The S-Class Test is a great opportunity to expand on some characters we haven’t seen much of so far and it’s very nicely utilised.
The animation, as always, is a delight, with particular emphasis on the special magic effects, (if perhaps quite a lot more emphasis than it needs on skimpy bikinis). While action is plentiful and definitely knocked up a couple of notches, it maintains consistent intensity without falling into “gratuitous” territory. Big changes are coming to Fairy Tail in Season 3 and this collection is where it all starts heating up.
Fairy Tail Collection 09 is available on DVD in the UK and Ireland from 23rd February 2015 from Manga Entertainment. For more info, check out the Manga UK website.
Character Growth: 8.5
83% – “Stellar!” – Fairy Tail Collection 09 provides all the magical action you could hope for with plentiful helpings of humour and a solid story to boot! If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, this collection should impress.