DVD REVIEW: FAIRY TAIL THE MOVIE – PHEONIX PRIESTESS / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: MASAYA FUJIMORI / SCREENPLAY: MASASHI SOGO / STARRING: AYA HIRANO, SAYAKA OHARA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Based on Hiro Mashima’s manga and subsequent long-running anime, Fairy Tail The Movie: Phoenix Priestess sees the familiar Fairy Tail guild in their first feature-length outing, though it’s more of a drawn out two-part episode. The First Morning (included in the extras) is a 12-minute prologue set seven years before the events of the film, but it’s more of a deleted scene than required viewing.
The compelling opening sequence is told only with visuals and music—Middle Eastern by way of Japan. It’s a promising Princess Mononoke-inspired start that quickly devolves into familiar territory, loaded with tired tropes and heralded by a throwaway song over typically gaudy credits.
There may well be interesting enough sequences, specifically the all too infrequent stripped bare line-art animations, but the plot is nothing you haven’t seen or read before. After so many episodes, there just isn't sufficient new material to justify a film.
While the plethora of wizards are a beloved anime staple, there’s not enough room for each to manoeuvre. Ultimately, as the titular Phoenix Priestess, it’s Éclair’s film (yes, like the pastry), but while she’s certainly the most interesting character, she gets lost among the overabundance of two-dimensional compadres, not to mention the Tweetie Pie lookalike Momon.
As in a lot of anime, the characters speak in soliloquies, the fight sequences are convoluted and motivations are all a bit dodgy, but there’s a heartfelt story of friendship there, if maudlin, and more kawaii than you can shake a katana at. If you’re a fan of Naruto or Ninja Scroll and fancy something a little bit different, it’s worth a punt.
Extras: Prologue / The First Morning / Songs / Trailers