First volume of Fairy Tail, released in Japan by Kodansha on December 15, 2006
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Fantasy|
|Written by||Hiro Mashima|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Magazine|
|Original run||August 2, 2006 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Shinji Ishihara|
|Written by||Masashi Sogo|
|Music by||Yasuharu Takanashi|
|Studio||A-1 Pictures, Satelight (#1–175)
A-1 Pictures, Bridge (#176–266)
|Network||TXN (TV Tokyo), AT-X|
|Original run||October 12, 2009 – ongoing|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Shinji Ishihara
|Written by||Masashi Sogo
|Music by||Yasuharu Takanashi|
|Studio||A-1 Pictures, Satelight|
|Released||April 15, 2011 – ongoing|
|Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess|
Fairy Tail (Japanese: フェアリーテイル Hepburn: Fearī Teiru?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. It has been published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine since August 2, 2006, and has been published by Kodansha in 52 tankōbon volumes; the individual chapters are being published in tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, with the first released on December 15, 2006, and the 52nd volume released on November 24, 2015. Fairy Tail follows the adventures of Lucy Heartfilia, a teenage wizard (魔導士 madōshi?), who joins the popular wizards' guild and teams up with fellow guild member Natsu Dragneel as he searches for the dragon Igneel.
The chapters have been adapted into an anime series produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight, which began broadcasting in Japan in 2009. Additionally, A-1 Pictures and Satelight have developed seven original video animations and an animated feature film, Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess. The series ended its initial run on March 30, 2013. However, on March 4, Mashima announced on his Twitter account that the anime would not end yet, and confirmed on July 11 that a sequel series was greenlit. The new series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 5, 2014. An anime adaptation for Fairy Tail Zero has been announced for January 2016.
The series was originally licensed for an English language release in North America by Del Rey Manga, which began releasing the individual volumes on March 25, 2008 and ended its licensing with the 12th volume release in September 2010. In December 2010, Kodansha Comics USA took over North American release of the series. The Southeast Asian network Animax Asia aired an English-language version of the series for seven seasons from 2010 to 2015. The anime has been licensed by Funimation for an English-language release in North America. As of November 2015, it has 25 million volumes in circulation.
The fictional world of Earth-land (アースランド Āsu Rando?) is populated by wizards who coalesce into guilds to hone their magical abilities and apply them to paid job requests. Seventeen-year-old wizard Lucy Heartfilia runs away from home to join Fairy Tail, a wizards' guild famous for its members' overly destructive antics. She is invited into the guild by Natsu Dragneel, a wizard with dragon-like abilities who travels the kingdom of Fiore (フィオーレ王国 Fiōre Ōkoku) in search of his missing foster father, the dragon Igneel. Lucy forms a team with Natsu and his cat-like companion Happy, later to be joined by ice wizard Gray Fullbuster and armored wizard Erza Scarlet. The five embark on numerous guild missions, which include subjugating criminals, illegal dark guilds, and ancient Etherious (エーテリアス Ēteriasu) demons created by the dark wizard Zeref.
Several of Fairy Tail's members encounter the immortal Zeref on the guild's sacred ground of Sirius Island (天狼島 Tenrō-jima) where Fairy Tail's founding master Mavis Vermillions' grave was located. A conflict between Fairy Tail and the dark guild Grimoire Heart ensues over Zeref, which attracts the attention of the evil black "dragon" Acnologia. The Fairy Tail wizards survive Acnologia's assault when the spirit of Mavis Vermillion puts them into seven years of suspended animation with her defensive spell, while Zeref leaves the island to ruminate over his next course of action during this time. Deciding to eradicate humanity for summoning Acnologia, Zeref organizes a battle between Fairy Tail and Tartaros, a dark guild of Etherious demons who aim to unseal E.N.D., their master and Zeref's ultimate demon. Acnologia returns to annihilate both guilds, but is stopped when Igneel emerges to battle him, revealed to have sealed himself within Natsu. The wizards defeat Tartaros while Igneel is killed by Acnologia, whom Natsu vows to defeat and avenge Igneel's death.
Natsu returns from a year-long training journey to find that Fairy Tail's master Makarov Dreyar has been staving off an invasion by the Albareth Empire, a military nation ruled by Zeref. During their battle with Zeref's army, Natsu discovers his origins as Zeref's deceased younger brother, whom the dark wizard reincarnated as E.N.D. out of a desire to end his own cursed immortality.
After finishing his previous work, Rave Master, Hiro Mashima found the story sentimental and sad at the same time, so he wanted the storyline of Fairy Tail to have a "lot of fun [for everyone]". When originally creating the series, Mashima was inspired by magicians and wizards. He based Natsu's motion sickness on one of his friends, who gets sick when taking taxis together. When naming Natsu, Mashima thought western fantasy names would be unfamiliar to Japanese audiences. When writing individual chapters of Fairy Tail, Mashima takes a five-day process: on Monday, the script and storyboards are written. On Tuesday, Mashima writes rough sketches. From Wednesday to Friday, he finishes the drawing and inking on the chapters. Mashima usually begins new chapters after completing the previous ones. For the characters of the series, Mashima drew upon people he has known in his life. In establishing the father-son relationship between Natsu and Igneel, Mashima cited his father's death when he was a child as an influence. Mashima based the humorous aspects of the series on his daily life and jokes his assistants would make.
Written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima, Fairy Tail has been serialized in the manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Magazine beginning on August 2, 2006. The individual chapters have been collected and published into tankōbon volumes by Kodansha since December 15, 2006. There are a total of 467 chapters and 52 tankōbon volumes. A special in Weekly Shōnen Magazine featured a crossover with Flunk Punk Rumble, released in 2008. The official fanbook, Fairy Tail+, was released on May 17, 2010 in Japan. Another crossover with Mashima's first series Rave was published in 2011. A special issue of Weekly Shōnen Magazine, published on October 19, 2013, featured a small crossover between Fairy Tail and Nakaba Suzuki's The Seven Deadly Sins, where each artist drew a yonkoma (four-panel comic) of the other's series. An actual crossover chapter between these two ran in the magazines' combined 4/5 issue of 2014, which was released on December 25, 2013.
The series was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Del Rey Manga. The company released the first volume of the series on March 25, 2008 and continued until the release of the 12th volume in September 2010. After Del Rey Manga shut down, Kodansha Comics USA acquired the license and began publishing Fairy Tail volumes in May 2011. 51 English-language volumes have been published.
On July 17, 2014, a monthly magazine titled Monthly Fairy Tail Magazine was launched with two spin-off manga series based on Fairy Tail. The first spin-off, Fairy Tail Zero (フェアリーテイル ゼロ Fearī Teiru Zero?), is an origin story written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima that focuses on Fairy Tail's original master Mavis Vermillion. The second, Tale of Fairy Tail: Ice Trail (Tale of Fairy Tail アイストレイル ～氷の軌跡～ Tale of Fairy Tail: Aisu Toreiru: Kōri no Kiseki?), is illustrated by Yūsuke Shirato and focuses on a young Gray Fullbuster. The two series ended in the magazine's final issue published on July 17, 2015. An anime adaptation of Fairy Tail Zero is currently in the works for a January 2016 premiere.
A third spin-off titled Blue Mistral (ブルー・ミストラル Burū Misutoraru?), drawn by Rui Watanabe and focusing on Wendy Marvell, ran in Kodansha's shōjo manga magazine Nakayoshi from August 2, 2014 to December 1, 2015. Another spin-off focusing on the "strongest girls in the world", titled Fairy Girls (フェアリーガールズ Fearī Gāruzu?), was released in Kodansha's Magazine Special on November 20, 2014 and drawn by Boku. A fifth spin-off titled Fairy Tail Gaiden: Kengami no Sōryū (FAIRY TAIL外伝 剣咬の双竜?, "Fairy Tail Spinoff: Twin Dragons of Sabertooth"), created by Kyōta Shibano and following members of the Saber Tooth guild, launched on July 30, 2015 in Kodansha's free Magazine Pocket mobile app. Kengami no Sōryū ended on November 4 and another series titled Fairy Tail Gaiden: Lord Knight (FAIRY TAIL外伝 ロードナイト Fearī Teiru Gaiden: Rōdo Naito?), focusing on Gajeel Redfox, took its place on November 18, 2015.
A-1 Pictures and Satelight produced an anime adaptation of the manga. The anime, also titled Fairy Tail and directed by Shinji Ishihira, premiered on TV Tokyo on October 12, 2009. The series ended its run on March 30, 2013, with reruns beginning to air on April 4, 2013 under the title Fairy Tail Best!. Forty-one DVD volumes containing four episodes each have been released. The Southeast Asian network Animax Asia aired the series locally in English. On January 18, 2011, British anime distributor Manga Entertainment announced on Twitter that the company would release the anime series in bilingual format at the end of the year. On April 21, 2011, they had confirmed that the first volume with 12 episodes would be released in February 2012; however, they later announced that the first volume would be released on March 5, 2012. In 2011, North American anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced that they had acquired the first season of the ongoing series. The series made its North American television debut on November 22, 2011 on the Funimation Channel. The anime is also licensed by AnimeLab in Australia and New Zealand is streaming in simulcast on their website as it airs in Japan.
On July 11, 2013, Mashima announced a sequel series of the anime had been greenlit. The sequel series was officially confirmed in Weekly Shonen Magazine on December 28, 2013 with a special edition chapter. The sequel is produced by A-1 Pictures and Bridge, featuring character designs by Shinji Takeuchi; the original series' voice actors also returned to the project along with director Shinji Ishihira and writer Masashi Sogo. The official website for the sequel was launched on January 7, 2014. The series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 5, 2014, and is being simulcast by Funimation Entertainment.
Original video animation
Six original video animations (OVAs) of Fairy Tail have been produced and released on DVD by A-1 Pictures and Satelight, each bundled with a limited edition tankōbon volume of the manga. The first OVA, Yōkoso Fairy Hills!! (ようこそフェアリーヒルズ!!?, lit. "Welcome to Fairy Hills!!"), is an adaptation of the manga omake of the same name, and was released with Volume 26 on April 15, 2011. The second, Yōsei Gakuen: Yankee-kun to Yankee-chan (妖精学園 ヤンキー君とヤンキーちゃん?, lit. "Fairy Academy: Yankee-kun and Yankee-chan"), is also an adaptation of the omake of the same name, and was released together with Volume 27 on June 17, 2011. The third, "Memory Days" (メモリーデイズ Memorī Deizu?), was released together with Volume 31 on February 17, 2012, and features an original story written by series creator Hiro Mashima. The fourth, Fairies' Training Camp, is based on chapter 261 of the manga, and was released with Volume 35 on November 16, 2012. The fifth, Dokidoki Ryuzetsu Land (ドキドキ・リュウゼツランド Dokidoki Ryuzetsurando?, lit. "Exciting Ryuzetsu Land"), is based on chapter 298 of the manga, and was released with Volume 38 of the manga on June 17, 2013. A sixth OVA, titled Fairy Tail x Rave (フェアリーテイル x レイヴ Fearī Teiru x Reivu?), is an adaptation of the omake of the same name, and was released on August 16, 2013 with Volume 39 of the manga.
An anime film adaptation of Fairy Tail, titled Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess, was released on August 18, 2012. It was directed by Masaya Fujimori, and its screenplay was written by anime staff writer Masashi Sogo. Series creator Hiro Mashima was involved as the film's story planner and designer for guest characters appearing in the film. To promote the film, Mashima drew a 30-page prologue manga "Hajimari no Asa" (はじまりの朝?, lit. "The First Morning"), which was bundled with advance tickets for the film. The DVD was bundled with a special edition release of Volume 36 of the manga on February 13, 2013, and included an animated adaptation of "Hajimari no Asa" as a bonus extra. The film was aired on Animax Asia on March 23, 2013. Funimation has licensed North American distribution rights to the film. The English dub premiered at Nan Desu Kan on September 13, 2013, and was released on Blu-ray/DVD on December 10, 2013.
A second anime film was announced on May 15, 2015.
An action video game for the PlayStation Portable, titled Fairy Tail: Portable Guild, was unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show. The game was developed by Konami and was released on June 3, 2010. Two sequels to Portable Guild have also been released for the PlayStation Portable—the first, subtitled Portable Guild 2, was released on March 10, 2011; the second, Fairy Tail: Zeref Kakusei (FAIRY TAIL ゼレフ覚醒 Fairy Tail: Zerefu Kakusei?, lit. Fairy Tail: Zeref Awakens), was released on March 22, 2012. Two fighting games, Fairy Tail: Gekitō! Madōshi Kessen (FAIRY TAIL 激闘! 魔道士決戦?, lit. Fairy Tail: Fight! Wizard Battle) and Fairy Tail: Gekitotsu! Kardia Daiseidō (FAIRY TAIL 激突! カルディア大聖堂 Fairy Tail: Gekitotsu! Karudia Daiseidō?, lit. Fairy Tail: Attack! The Greak Kardia Cathedral), were released for the Nintendo DS on July 22, 2010 and April 21, 2011, respectively. The characters Natsu and Lucy also appeared in the crossover video game Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen as playable characters.
The music for the anime was composed and arranged by Yasuharu Takanashi. Four original soundtrack CDs have been released, containing music from the anime: the first soundtrack volume was released on January 6, 2010, the second volume on July 7, 2010, the third soundtrack volume on July 6, 2011, and the fourth soundtrack volume on March 20, 2013. Character song singles were also produced; the first single, featuring Tetsuya Kakihara (Natsu) and Yuichi Nakamura (Gray) was released on February 17, while the second single, featuring Aya Hirano (Lucy) and Rie Kugimiya (Happy), was released on March 3, 2010. Another character song album, entitled "Eternal Fellows," was released on April 27, 2011. Two of the songs from the album, performed by anime cast members Tetsuya Kakihara (Natsu) and Aya Hirano (Lucy), were used for both OVAs as the opening and ending themes, respectively. Other songs on the volume are performed by Yuichi Nakamura (Gray), Sayaka Ohara (Erza), Satomi Satō (Wendy), Wataru Hatano (Gajeel), and a duet by Rie Kugimiya (Happy) and Yui Horie (Carla).
According to Oricon, Fairy Tail was the eighth best-selling manga series in Japan for 2009, fourth best in 2010 and 2011, fifth best of 2012, dropped to ninth in 2013, to 17th in 2014, and was 15th in 2015. The fifth volume of Fairy Tail was ranked seventh in a list of the top ten manga, and the series once again placed seventh after the release of the sixth volume. About.com's Deb Aoki listed Fairy Tail as the Best New Shōnen Manga of 2008. It also won the 2009 Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen manga. At the 2009 Industry Awards for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the organizers of Anime Expo, Fairy Tail was named Best Comedy Manga. Volume 9 of the series was nominated in the Youth Selection category at the 2010 Angoulême International Comics Festival.
Reviewing the first volume, Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network felt Fairy Tail followed standard shōnen action manga tropes, writing "the mix of goofy humor, face-crushing action and teary-eyed sap is so calculated as to be mechanical." Carlo Santos, also of Anime News Network, agreed in his review of volume three; having positive views towards the art, particularly the action scenes, but citing a lack of story and character development. By volume 12 Santos suggested that Mashima's true talent lies in "taking the most standard, predictable aspects of the genre and somehow still weaving it into a fun, fist-pumping adventure."
Kimlinger, his colleague Rebecca Silverman, and A.E. Sparrow of IGN all felt Mashima's artwork had strong similarities to Eiichiro Oda's in One Piece. While Sparrow used the comparison as a compliment and said it had enough unique qualities of its own, Kimlinger went so far as to say it makes it difficult to appreciate Mashima's "undeniable technical skill."
The anime has also received positive response from critics and viewers alike. In Southeast Asia, Fairy Tail won Animax Asia's "Anime of the Year" award in 2010. In 2012, the anime series won the "Meilleur Anime Japonais" (best Japanese anime) award and the best French dubbing award at the 19th Anime & Manga Grand Prix in Paris, France.
In reviewing the first Funimation Entertainment DVD volumes, Carlo Santos of Anime News Network praised the visuals, characters, and English voice acting, as well as the supporting characters for its comedic approach. However, Santos criticized both the anime's background music and CGI animation. In his review of the second volume, Santos also praised the development of "a more substantial storyline," but also criticized the inconsistent animation and original material not present in the manga. In his review of the third volume, Santos praised the improvements of the story and animation, and said that the volume "finally shows the [anime] series living up to its potential." In his reviews of the fourth and sixth volumes, however, Santos criticized the storyline's formulaic pattern, saying that "unexpected wrinkles in the story [...] keep the action from getting too stale," but calling the outcomes "predictable".
- According to the Fairy Tail Volume 2 Del Rey edition Translation Notes, General Notes, Wizard: So this translation has taken that as its inspiration and translated the word madôshi as "wizard". But madôshi's meaning is similar to certain Japanese words that have been borrowed by the English language, such as judo (the soft way) and kendo (the way of the sword). Madô is the way of magic, and madôshi are those who follow the way of magic. So although the word "wizard" is used in the original dialogue, a Japanese reader would be likely to think not of traditional Western wizards such as Merlin or Gandalf, but of martial artists.
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