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–ongoing)
|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 – August 16, 2013|
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 48 tankōbon volumes; the individual chapters are being published in tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, with the first released on December 15, 2006, and the 48th volume released on March 17, 2015. Fairy Tail follows the adventures of Lucy Heartfilia, a teenage wizard (魔導士 madōshi?), who joins the titular 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 six original video animations and an animated feature film, Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess. The series ended on March 30, 2013. However, on March 4, Mashima announced on his Twitter account that the anime would not end yet, and that reruns of the anime will begin airing on TV Tokyo under the title Fairy Tail Best! on April 4, 2013. On July 11, Mashima announced the green lighting of a sequel series of the anime. The new series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 5, 2014.
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 three seasons from 2010 to 2013. The anime has been licensed by Funimation for an English-language release in North America.
The world of Fairy Tail, called Earth-land (アースランド Āsu Rando), is populated by humans and numerous other races, including catlike creatures called Exceed, dragons, celestial spirits, and giant beasts. The majority of the series takes place in the Kingdom of Fiore (フィオーレ王国 Fiōre Ōkoku), a fictional country in Earth-land populated by 17 million people, 10% of whom able to perform magic. There are two categories of magic: Special-Ability (能力 Abiriti) magic allows a wizard to use magic from their bodies, and Holder (所持 Horudā) magic allows a user to cast magic with items. Individuals who practice magic as a profession are known as wizards, who coalesce to form guilds to hone their abilities and apply them to paid job requests, sanctioned by a higher wizards' council. The series also features guilds for other professions, including merchants, bodyguards, assassins, and treasure hunters. Fairy Tail is filled with anachronisms, like lacrima (魔水晶 rakurima?), a crystalline substance that can be used to store magic, and can function as crystal balls for communication, among other other uses.
Seventeen-year-old wizard (魔導士 madōshi?) Lucy Heartfilia runs away from home to join Fairy Tail, a rambunctious wizards' guild famous in the kingdom of Fiore for its members' overly destructive antics. She is invited into the guild by Natsu Dragneel, a dragon slayer (滅竜魔導士 doragon sureiyā?) wizard from Fairy Tail with the abilities of a dragon, who travels the land in search of his missing foster father, the dragon Igneel. Lucy forms a team with Natsu and his cat-like companion Happy, and are later joined by the ice wizard Gray Fullbuster and armored wizard Erza Scarlet. The five embark on various missions together, including the subjugation of illegal "dark" guilds and Etherious, demons created by the ancient dark wizard Zeref. They also gain numerous allies from other guilds and lands, including Jellal Fernandez, Erza's childhood friend from the Tower of Heaven who is initially brainwashed into serving Zeref; Gajeel Redfox and Wendy Marvell, two dragon slayers whose dragon guardians vanished together with Igneel; Carla and Panther Lily, members of Happy's cat-like Exceed race from the parallel world of Edolas; Juvia Lockser, an ameonna who falls in love with Gray; and Laxus Dreyar, a renegade Fairy Tail wizard and grandson of the guild's master Makarov.
During a promotional exam held on Fairy Tail's sacred ground of Sirius Island (天狼島 Tenrō-jima?), Natsu, Lucy, and several of their guildmates are drawn into conflict with the dark guild Grimoire Heart over Zeref, who has been living on the island. Although Grimoire Heart is defeated, the battle attracts the attention of the evil black dragon Acnologia, who assaults the island. However, the wizards are protected by the spirit of Fairy Tail's founding master Mavis Vermillion, who freezes them in time with her defensive spell. Seven years later, the missing wizards return to discover that their guild has become the weakest in the kingdom, but reclaim their status as the strongest guild in the Grand Magic Games (大魔闘演武 Dai Matō Enbu?) wizards' tournament. Fairy Tail also thwarts a plot to ravage the kingdom using dragons brought from the past through the time travel gate Eclipse (エクリプス Ekuripusu?), aided by Jellal's new guild Crime Sorcière and dragon slayer duo Sting Eucliffe and Rogue Cheney.
Acnologia later returns to interrupt Fairy Tail's battle with Tartaros, a dark guild of Etherious who aim to revive E.N.D., their master and Zeref's ultimate demon. Before Acnologia can obliterate both guilds, Igneel and the other dragon guardians emerge from the dragon slayers' bodies, having hidden themselves within their children to ensure they do not become like Acnologia, a former human. The wizards and dragons prevent E.N.D.'s resurrection and stop Acnologia's attack. However, Igneel is killed by Acnologia and disappears with the other dragons, who have previously lost their souls to the black dragon. Natsu and Happy embark on a year-long journey to prepare for another confrontation with Acnologia and avenge Igneel's death. Upon their return, they learn that Fairy Tail's members have disbanded across the country. Reuniting with Lucy, the three set out to reform the guild.
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 394 chapters and 45 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. Forty-six English-language volumes have been published.
On July 17, 2014, a monthly magazine titled Monthly Fairy Tail 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. 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, launched in Kodansha's shōjo manga magazine Nakayoshi on August 2, 2014. A fourth 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-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.
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. 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.
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).
In Japan, 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. Fairy Tail was in 2011 the 4th best selling manga in Japan (by series). About.com's Deb Aoki lists Fairy Tail as the best shōnen manga of 2008. It also won the 2009 Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen manga. It has also won the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation's Industry Award in 2009 for best comedy manga.
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".
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