Taking place between the last two story arcs of the hit manga by Hiro Mashima, Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry is a movie generally intended for Fairy Tail’s most avid fans.
If you are faithful to the anime, the second movie is set to give you goosebumps for finally seeing the guild back in action after the TV series’ year-long hiatus.
However, whether you have or haven’t caught up to the manga or the latest anime episode yet, the movie’s plot is pretty straightforward that even newcomers to the series would be able to understand it and enjoy the movie.
In case you’re still thinking if you want to watch the popular franchise’s second movie, we’ll help you with this Spoiler-free review.
The Dragon Cry is a magic artifact with enough power to destroy the world. Enshrined within a temple in the Kingdom of Fiore, the Dragon Cry is stolen by Zash, a traitor of Fiore, and delivered to Animus, the ruler of the Kingdom of Stella.
The task of recapturing the Dragon Cry falls to Natsu and the Wizards of the Fairy Tail Guild. During their mission to track down Zash, they infiltrate the Kingdom of Stella, and it is here they meet Animus’ magician, Sonya…
What does Animus plan to do with the Dragon Cry? Sonya wants to save her country, but what secret is she hiding? Within the interlacing ulterior motives, Fairy Tail fights against the danger that is the menacing world!
And in the middle of this heroic battle, Natsu’s instinct awakens… (Synopsis from Madman Entertainment)
Dragon Cry makes use of its funds to make impressive visuals, which has become its greatest strength.
Unlike what most series-based movies do, the second Fairy Tail film smoothly fits in the story’s timeline, bridging the gap between the end of Tartaros arc and the beginning of Alvarez arc.
The movie serves as a nice breather before the final arc, with the TV series’ final season scheduled to come back some time in 2018.
With Dragon Cry being just Fairy Tail, expect the elements that have made your love-hate relationship with the series possible: comedy, action, fan-service, ships, and nakama power.
Prepare to laugh at the guild’s hilarious antics, swoon at the cute pairings (with some characters even added for the sake of ships despite being irrelevant to the plot), and cringe at over-the-top fan-service and sudden “friendship” power boosts that the franchise is known for.
While the film is basically a crammed filler arc with a movie budget, Dragon Cry makes use of its funds to make impressive visuals, which has become its greatest strength.
A-1 Pictures surprisingly did better on the characters and background designs than what’s expected—bright and crisp animation, perfect lighting and dynamic colors, a stark contrast to the 2014 TV adaptation by the same production.
Movie director Tatsuma Minamikawa’s directions also brought new cinematographic elements not typically seen in the anime—e.g. camera panning—that added to the overall aesthetics of the movie.
Although the visuals is great, there are still some noticeable lapses like the awkward transitions in selected scenes. Some transitions felt choppy that you’d wonder if that was originally the case or it was cut that way to make up for the 85-minute time constraint.
The fight scenes also enjoyed a fair share of the production budget, as evidenced by the finer details and smoother choreography, a step up from the usual stop motion-like battle sequences of the TV series.
However, these improvements immediately fell short as the final showdowns felt rushed, given the simultaneous fights going on left and right, a staple in shonen series.
One of the key elements for the anime’s success lies in Yasuharu Takanashi’s masterfully done soundtrack.
The series composer returned to share his works for the movie, however, Dragon Cry’s musical score didn’t come as powerful as the ones used in the source material. There are no tearjerker soundtracks unlike in the first movie, Priestess of the Phoenix, but that is to be expected since Mashima intended this movie to be more action-packed and less emotional.
On that note, Takanashi still succeeded in spicing up the battle sequences with heart-racing soundtrack that can get the audience on the edge of their seats.
the film-original characters failed to impress with their own voice acting abilities due to limited screen time and bland characterization.
If Aya Hirano, who portrayed “Lucy Heartfilia”, got you on the first movie with her dramatic voice acting prowess, Tetsuya Kakihara, who portrayed “Natsu Dragneel”, played the right emotions during his intense battle scenes in Dragon Cry better than his usual works in the series.
This only shows the dedication of the series characters to display excellent voice acting skills for the movie.
On the contrary, the film-original characters failed to impress with their own voice acting abilities due to limited screen time and bland characterization.
For example, Aoi Yoki’s character, “Sonya”, lacks interesting qualities as compared to her Priestess of the Phoenix counterpart, Eclair, shoving her off on the sidelines for most of the film’s duration.
Jiro Saito, who portrayed “Zash Caine”, on the other hand, did a convincing job to play the role of a madman and the movie’s primary villain.
Overall, Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry is a fun movie to watch especially if you’re an avid fan of the manga or the anime.
With its great visuals, action-packed scenes and hilarious stunts, it brings great nostalgia of the same old Fairy Tail series you’ve come to love despite its cringe-worthy elements.
However, the film may contain a bit of spoiler if you are an anime-only fan, so watch at your own risk.
In fact, the movie contains a certain character’s past that was not revealed in the manga that you’ll only learn by seeing the movie.
On the whole, the film is not recommended for audiences without prior background to the series, although its straightforward plot is enough to share a good laugh and enjoy the story anyway.
Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry is Now Showing in Selected SM Cinema branches, Book your tickets at bit.ly/FTDCatSMCinema. Distributed by Odex Pte. Ltd. (Singapore).
This movie review was written by Shin Jalothot, Anime Pilipinas Correspondent. You may follow him on Twitter at @OreWaShinJei.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views of Anime Pilipinas, its members, partners, and colleagues. If you have comments or reactions, please email at [email protected].