The Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry movie has English anime fans all hyped up to buy tickets at US theaters. The film released in Japan in May of 2017 but the North America release date did not happen until June 6, 2017. Director Tatsuma Minamikawa and producer Yohei Ito attended MCM London Comic Con, and they had a chance to discuss how the Fairy Tail movie related to the manga story and how the international audience changed the way the movie was produced.
Hiro Mashima, the creator of Japanese manga, Fairy Tail, reportedly gave the director an entire rough draft in manga form. Even though the film is original content, the author told the director that Fairy Tail has a “series of specific rules that have to be kept to” no matter what.
“When I had a meeting with Mashima-sensei, he told me that the story of Fairy Tail has a theme, and that theme is ‘bonds with one’s comrades.’ Whatever happens, that theme cannot fall apart,” Minamikawa explained. “Mashima-sensei told me that he wanted me to keep that in mind while working on Fairy Tail.”
[UPDATE: The final anime season of Fairy Tail has officially been confirmed. Please see the new article for the details!]
The Fairy Tail Timeline
When Toon Zone spoke to the two men in London, they asked where does the film take place in the Fairy Tail manga timeline.
“The story of Dragon Cry happens between volume 51 and 52 of the manga and it tells you what happens at the beginning of the final chapter,” replied Ito. “So rather than the ending it gives you more depth to the final chapter.“
To put the comment into its full context, the Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry movie takes place shortly after the events of the last anime episodes to be released internationally. Fairy Tail Episode 278 will continue the anime series within Fairy Tail Season 9 (which some fans refer to as Fairy Tail Season 3 based on the years of release).
These future episodes will have Lucy, Natsu, and Happy the Cat trying to reform the Fairy Tail guild by finding all its former members. But things don’t go as easily as they’d wish since a cult called Avatar wants to destroy every mage who doesn’t pledge allegiance to Zeref. Ito’s explanation means the movie’s story takes place after the Avatar story arc from the manga.
The Fairy Tail US Theaters Audience Changed The Film
The interview noted that the Fairy Tail series has found “wild success outside of Japan.” Ito thinks the popularity has a lot to do with the huge variety of Fairy Tail characters.
“There are a lot of characters and each one has their own backstory, personality, things to like about them, reasons you might fancy them [laughs] and they’re very deep,” Ito explained. “There’s going to be somebody for everyone to place themselves in the shoes of and these characters are in a very appealing fantasy world, leading me to feel it’s quite easy for fans to empathize with the characters.“
Ito says his favorite character is Happy the Cat “because he’s cute and…he’s a really useful character,” since he “works in cute scenes and serious scenes.” Minamikawa prefers Juvia Lockser because “she’s straight talking and wears her heart on her sleeve.”
The two men believe it’s not just the characters, but the presentation of the story that has led to international success. Director Minamikawa says the Fairy Tail manga feels “different” from other Japanese manga.
“It feels more similar maybe to Marvel comics, to American comics in terms of the way it’s laid out and the pacing of the story,” he said. “It’s a bit different to other Japanese manga but at the same time it feels familiar to Japanese readers. So maybe that has something to do with the popularity overseas, that people feel that it’s something they are familiar with.”
Minamikawa says he tried to reference western movies when creating Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry. He borrowed “techniques for the flashbacks in the film,” with the movie Fight Club being cited as the direct inspiration. In a previous interview with Anime Now, the director also noted how the series was heavily influenced by European fantasy.
“With its dragons, buildings, and scenery, Fairy Tail has a very Western European feel to it,” he explained. “Japanese clothing like kimonos do show up, though, like the one Erza wears. However, I’d have to say that Fairy Tail is a work that mainly uses designs with elements from outside of Japan.”
The second half of the Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry movie is packed with action scenes. Minamikawa says he’s especially proud of “the fights with the dragons and the guild members” although he admits he “decided to take [his] time over” the “sexy bits” during Carla and Erza’s transformation scenes. Anime-only fans may question how Carla the Cat could be considered “sexy” but keep in mind that Carla now has the ability to transform into a human; an ability that won’t revealed in the anime until Fairy Tail Season 9.
Minamikawa and Ito were asked if they had a “sentiment” that they’d like fans to take away from watching the film.
“There’s something there for existing Fairy Tail fans to enjoy and there’s also something first timers can enjoy,” Minamikawa said. “There’s lots of entertaining stuff happening in the movie so I recommend people see it over and over and find more details they can enjoy in each viewing and laugh at.“
“Fairy Tail always has a positive message and a positive theme and I think with the film we’ve managed to get the themes of camaraderie and caring for your friends, not giving up when you face strong enemies,” Ito said. “So if audiences watch it and come away feeling positive that’s good.
The Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry US theaters release date is already upon North America. Be sure to check with your local theaters for your tickets!
[Featured Image by A-1 Pictures/Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry]