[Movie Review] ‘Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry’ thoroughly embraces anime fans and tropes

Gray and Juvia in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Gray and Juvia in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Natsu in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Natsu in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? No.

Score: 3.0/5

Secret ending? Yes.

Running time: 85 minutes (~1.5 hours)

New character Sonya in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
New character Sonya in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” is a Japanese 2D animated fantasy action film that’s part of the “Fairy Tail” anime and manga franchise.

The film sees the Fairy Tail team going after a devastatingly powerful artifact in another kingdom. However, this task isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” is directed by Tatsuma Minamikawa and written by Shoji Yonemura. It features the voice talents of Tetsuya Kakihara (Natsu Dragneel), Aya Hirano (Lucy Heartfilia), Rie Kugimiya (Happy), Yuichi Nakamura (Gray Fullbuster), Sayaka Ohara (Erza Scarlet), Mai Nakahara (Juvia Lockser), Makoto Furukawa (King Animus), Aoi Yuki (Sonya), Jiro Saito (Zash Caine), Ryota Takeuchi (Doll), Taku Yashiro (Gapri), Akira Ishida (Zeref), with a cameo by Kosuke Toriumi (Acnologia). It is rated PG13.

Gray and Juvia in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Gray and Juvia in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” is a standalone story that sees the Fairy Tail crew off to battle a whole new gang of villains. While the five main characters play a starring role, the supporting Fairy Tail guild members only make a token appearance, so don’t expect too much from them. It’s a fun adventure with the characters while you’re waiting for new episodes of the anime to be announced (hopefully), and it’s self-contained so you don’t have to worry about catching up on everything before watching the film.

Ezra in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Ezra in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)


Plenty of action

Almost half of the film is dedicated to intense battles between the protagonists and the film’s villains. In fact, the final showdown takes up at least a third of the film, with each character getting a dedicated scene as they face off against their nemeses. If you’re watching “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” just to see the guild duke it out with new opponents, you won’t be disappointed.

The Dragon Cry staff in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
The Dragon Cry staff in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

Embraces anime tropes

Since “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” is skewed towards younger audiences, there’s plenty of humour and light-heartedness. It also knows what fans want, so there’s plenty of fan service along with the usual “Fairy Tail” quirks. Since it doesn’t take itself so seriously, it indulges in almost every anime trope in the form of sight gags, exaggerated physiques, and massive explosions. It looks like a film for anime fans by anime fans.

"Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

Startling plot twist

For a frivolous, light-hearted comedy, “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” has a surprisingly emotional and somewhat disturbing twist. It’s also thematically similar to the journey that Natsu (Tetsuya Kakihara) has to go through, but done in warped fashion. It’s a revelation that’s handled and set up well, and this serious counterpoint sits nicely in the midst of all the fun action.

"Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)


Dangling plot threads

There’s a gaping plot hole that’s completely unaddressed by the end of the film. While you could rationalise it away, it’s still an assumption you have to work at that’s not confirmed in the film itself. It also cheapens the stakes by a fair bit, since your support for the heroes is also founded on this plot point (which becomes a hole by the end).

Lucy in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Lucy in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

Fights don’t reach the same spectacular levels of the anime

The fights escalate quickly and result in lots of collateral damage, but they don’t surpass the battles seen in the anime series itself. Granted, the anime has had more time to build up its villains and heroes, so it can show battles with more emotional depth and physical destruction. The conflicts are worth watching in and of themselves, just that they could have been grander in their sale.

Explosions in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Explosions in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” throughly embraces anime fans and tropes as we see the Fairy Tail guild in action again.

“Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry” opens in cinemas:
– 8 June, 2017 (Singapore)
– 27 July, 2017 (Malaysia)

Happy doesn't look so happy in "Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry". (Odex)
Happy doesn’t look so happy in “Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry”. (Odex)

This article was written for and first published on Yahoo Singapore.

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I’m a a Singapore television scriptwriter who’s written for Crimewatch, Police & Thief, Incredible Tales, and Point of Entry. I’m also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find me on social media as Optimarcus and on my site.

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