Love it or hate it, "Fairy Tail" is one of the most popular animes and mangas of this generation. Spanning over 250 episodes, this series has the potential to stand up to the likes of "Naruto," "One Piece," and "Bleach" as one of the "Big Three." While the manga for "Fairy Tail" has ended, the anime is scheduled to return next year. For the time being, fans of the series can settle for a brand new movie that was in theaters last week.

Story

"Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry" follows the story of Lucy Heartfillia and her fellow friends in the Fairy Tail guild.

The group is tasked with a mission from the Royal family of Fiore to retrieve a magical staff called the Dragon Cry. The staff was stolen by Zash Caine, the minister of state for the Kingdom of Stella. Once they arrive in the kingdom they discover an evil plan that could destroy the kingdom of Fiore as they know it. The story is a basic good and evil tale and sadly doesn't offer anything else interesting. It fulfills the bare minimum requirement and is overall an average story.

Being an anime film, "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry" doesn't have any canonical connection to the manga or anime. However, fans of the anime may be confused because the characters use powers they gained in the manga that they don't yet have in the anime.

This isn't a huge problem but I think the film could've benefitted more from waiting until the anime revealed these powers first.

"Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry" has other problems that bog it down, though these same problems also plague the anime. For starters, the excessive fan service is incredibly distracting and takes away from the dramatic moments.

The long-winded speeches about friendship feel very cliche and corny. One of the speeches about friendship also had some missed potential that could've made it more bearable. Near the end of the film when Natsu has to fight a massive Dragon he preaches that he is fighting for his friends. This scene could've been more impactful if Natsu simply said that he was fighting for Igneel, his father, and his friends.

Given how Igneel does have a connection to the plot, this simple dialogue addition could've improved this scene.

What's done right

One of the things that I enjoy about "Fairy Tail" is the over-the-top humor. Despite being a little immature, it still manages to bring a smile to my face every time. Another reason for the great humor is the likable cast of characters. Natsu may be your typical anime protagonist who fights for his friends, but he also has a great backstory that is handled well in this movie. Natsu has legitimate reasons for wanting to be on this mission outside of just his friends and we want to see him succeed. All the other characters are very likable too. These characters may not be as interesting as those from "Naruto" or "One Piece" but they are very entertaining to watch and they are one of its biggest strengths.

Technical issues

There were times when the animation looked lazy and unpolished, which shouldn't happen for a film that is only 90 minutes long. There were plenty of times when Happy and Carla were flying and their animation was completely still. They had no wing, body, or even lip movements, causing the action to feel sluggish and unnatural.

The film also had awkward cuts that disrupted the flow of the film. For example, during one scene where Natsu enters a room to fight someone, the movie then immediately cuts to the rest of the Fairy Tail group fighting a group of soldiers in the room. However, the movie never established where these soldiers were or where Natsu's friends were, leading to a cut that felt completely awkward.

These small technical issues really took me out of the experience, which is a shame since the animation looked very nice at times.

Final verdict

"Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry" is exactly what you would expect from a "Fairy Tail" movie. It has plenty of humor, bright colors, decent fights and a cast of good characters. It does fall flat in terms of the story, the animation being inconsistent, and the fan service being far too distracting. If you're a fan of the "Fairy Tail" anime/manga then you will be satisfied with this movie. On its own, this movie is rather average -- nothing more, nothing less. At least it was only a 90-minute film so I can't say I wasted very much of my time.

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