Based on the manga by Hiro Mashima, the comedy-adventure Fairy Tale
(2009) ran for 111 episodes in Japan, and it's easy to understand why: the series has a freewheeling nuttiness that plays like an irreverent mash-up of Slayers
, and One Piece
. Lucy, a young celestial wizard, arrives in the city of Magnolia, hoping to join a sorcerer's guild. She stumbles into the headquarters of the eccentric Fairy Tale guild, and quickly forms a team with three of its zaniest members. Rough-and-tumble Natsu is a powerful fire wizard; he travels with his blue talking cat, Happy. However, Natsu gets violent motion sickness on trains, boats, carriages, and every other conveyance, which undercuts his effectiveness. Gary is an equally strong ice wizard, but he keeps losing his clothes and has to fight enemies in his boxers. Erza's transformative magic awes Lucy, but the hot-tempered redhead is no saner than the others. The improbable quartet tackles various assignments, battling demons and evil wizards. They invariably come out on top, but wreak havoc on their surroundings--which lands them in trouble with the Council of Elders. In a four-part adventure (episodes 5 to 8), they destroy a cursed flute whose melodies kill everyone within earshot. But they blow up a railway station, level a trestle bridge, and flatten an entire village in the process. Although many anime series have offered similar blends of slapstick and supernatural derring-do, director Shinji Ishihara and his crew keep the material fresh and funny. Voice actors Todd Haberkorn (Natsu) and Newton Pittman (Gary) bring a lively edge to their feuding friendship, and Cherami Leigh (Lucy) avoids the clichés of the ingénue role. Fairy Tale
spawned an OAV in 2011, and a theatrical feature is slated for 2012. (Rated TV 14: cartoon violence, minor risqué humor, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
(1. The Fairy Tale, 2. Fire Dragon, Monkey, and Bull, 3. Infiltrate the Everlue Mansion, 4. Dear Kaby, 5. The Wizard in Armor, 6. Fairies in the Wind, 7. Flame and Wind, 8. The Strongest Team, 9. Natsu Devours a Village, 10. Natsu vs. Erza, 11. The Cursed Island, 12. Moon Drip)
In the Kingdom of Fiore, powerful wizards make their living by joining magical guilds and contracting out their services to become "wizards for hire". Harnessing the forces of Dragon Fire, Ice, Weaponry, and the Zodiac, four young wizards of the infamous guild Fairy Tail team up to seek their fortunes. Growing stronger with every mission, they travel the countryside helping people and battling rival guilds, but with personalities as different as their magic skills, this team may end up doing more damage than good.