Slayers Evolution R Review

It’s been a little while, but it’s time to review the final season of Slayers! I actually saw this one some time ago, but it ended up getting buried in the backlog of reviews. I’m trying to set everything free from that backlog so at last, Slayers is here! I’d say that the franchise ended on a high note. Evolution R was more fun than Revolution although I’d probably still say that Next is still the best season. The short episode count does this season no favors as well.

Lina and her friends are still seeking the Hellmaster’s jar to free the people of Pokota’s kingdom. It’s a tough journey though and the heroes don’t even know where to look. Luckily, they run across a lady named Nama who believes that she knows where it is. The heroes find out the hard way that the journey won’t be so easy. Zuuma is still on the loose and wishes to destroy Lina, but even worse is the fact that the heroes will need to revive Rezo in order to save Pokota’s people. Is this a good tradeoff as Rezo was a fairly intimidating villain?

Considering that the season is only 13 episodes, the show definitely felt no pressure to speed things up. The first 4 episodes are basically stand alone fillers as the heroes experience a lot of tough situations with Nama. A fish claims that Gourry is her husband and there’s an episode where Nama and Amelia get to bond as they fight dragons. Luckily, these stand alones were actually pretty good for the most part and I would say that they were a significant improvement over the fillers in Revolution. Of course, Slayers is one of those series that always get to its height when the plot starts and this season was no exception.

The three episodes that followed wrapped up the Zuuma arc. He ordered the heroes to protect Radock as he would come for the guy and destroy the heroes on the way. They comply, which leads to an ultimate confrontation with him as well as two monsters who randomly jumped in. Honestly, that was easily the most random part of the whole arc. I suppose that Zuuma has connections, which is how he was able to summon them.

Those three episodes were a lot of fun. I actually enjoyed the Radock plot as his son gave the heroes a hard time and Radock was always very stern and strict. There is a twist about him that I can’t say I was too pleased with, but in theory it’s a good twist. One thing that I liked about this mini arc was that Zelgadis and Amelia actually got to fight for the first time in a long while since the monsters targeted them. They were lucky that Lina was around the first time and lucky that Xellos showed up the second time. The fights just showed everyone how Zel and Amelia are completely outmatched by the modern villains. They got some good hits in and are still good fighters, but the problem is that monsters are typically better than humans. Add in the fact that these monsters were pretty tough and that’s the game for the heroes.

Still, even though they lost, they did put up a good fight and I can’t put enough emphasis on how glad I was that they got to fight. I feel like the side characters should at least fight once in a while to remind us of why they’re even here. With the Zuuma plot out of the way, the heroes could finally focus on bringing back Rezo, that is…if they want to bring him back! With 5 episodes to go, that’s a decent amount of time.

We get some happy episodes for a little while and then the heroes finally revive Rezo, who had pretended to lose his mind. It was interesting as it feels like he was pretending, but maybe he was actually in an artificial “drunk” state due to being in the jar for so long. That’s one way of looking at it anyway. Zelgadis also almost betrayed the group as he tried to destroy the jar, but couldn’t bring himself to do it and Pokota tried the opposite thing. Once the heroes settled down and thought about this, they still brought Rezo back.
Well, he kept his end of the bargain at least. The parties started up and I wondered if the second last episode would actually end on such a mild note, but then the twist ending occurred as Lina appeared and confronted Rezo on the roof. The reason why he had been making some odd decisions was that he was still merged with Shabranigdo. This has given him a significant boost to his power. Xellos arrives to stop this as that level of power could even threaten the monsters, but he is completely and utterly crushed. Rezo then admits that he can’t handle the power and tells the heroes to deal with him before blowing up. The big battle is here, can Lina handle Shabranigdo once more?

The cool part about the final battle is that the show pulled out all of the stops. Sylphiel returned for a quick cameo as she made a barrier to stop one of Shabranigdo’s hits. Like always, she started out strong, but ended weak as she started overreacting and basically being a non factor. Even the famous Inspector appeared to talk tough for a little while. Shabranigdo looked supremely impressive and I’m always reminded of why he’s such a great character. He talks about dreams a lot here as he stomps those of the heroes. There are really no bosses who can stand up to him as he makes strong fighters like Xellos and Lina look like children. Seriously, Xellos can’t deal any damage to the guy and Lina’s attack only works if he gives her about 10 minutes of time to charge up. In a one on one fight, that’s not happening.

All of Lina’s allies joined up in the attack for one of the most brutal moments of the series. They’re all taken down and one of the heroes had her fist literally crushed by Shabranigdo’s immense power. You always feel bad for Lina’s allies as they get beaten up pretty badly in every climax. This one was no different and it’s how the show tells you that the stakes just got real. Typically, it’s all fun and games even while in the middle of an intense fight scene, but the comedy angle is always dropped for the big battle.

As for the characters, there’s not much more to say about them than what has been said for previous seasons. Lina is still a good lead and easily one of the best female anime leads of all time. At this point, I’m going to say that she is the best lead and none even come close, at least I can’t think of any at the moment. It was great to see her finally use the Giga Slave once more as that attack is really great. She even gets a new design out of it although it doesn’t act as a power up in this case. (Which is surprising)

Gourry’s still a good sidekick even if he can be a little naive. Actually believing that he was the father of a fish was a little dramatic for him, but I am glad that Gourry gave the task his all. If you’re going to do something…do it right! It’s unfortunate that he didn’t have the Sword of Light for most of the series though since it meant that he couldn’t really participate in most of the action scenes. I suppose that he will get another chance in the future, but at least he did get to fight in the final battle and he was also around for Zuuma.

Amelia was a solid character as always. Her role was fairly minimal, but she keeps the group chipper with her optimism. I also do think that she’s still a little stronger than Zelgadis although it’s probably close. Zel continues to be used mainly for comic relief in the series. He finally cracks in this one and tells Rezo to make him human again, but the guy gives him the classic….”I can’t!” Since Zelgadis seems to believe him, that may have finally ended that plot. The fact that Zelgadis still thinks of Rezo as his teacher is a bit annoying though and I’m seriously not a Zelgadis fan.

Pokota is still a pretty bad character and I’d go as far as to say that he’s a terrible one. The show would be better if he was simply not here at all. As it stands, he’ll disappear for a while at times and his lack of lines in other episodes will make you forget about him. He just wasn’t needed in this season and I wish that the show could have made him more likable. At least the Inspector briefly appeared to help us forget about Pokota.

Nama was a fun new supporting character. The show makes it obvious what her secret identity it, but it was still a fun injoke for the fans. We finally got a crossover between the show and the movies. There’s even a battle between Lina and Nama to parody the films and it’s a great homage. Nama always was a fun character to have around and I wonder how her dynamic with the other members would have been had she not lost her memory. It’s something that the series should explore as it would be quite enjoyable to see. Nama didn’t get to help too much before she was taken away, but her abilities are still on par with Lina’s from the olden days so she could have been a very valuable asset to the team.
Zuuma is still a cool villain although he went a little lower in the ranks for me after the twist. I don’t think Zuuma even needed a twist, but he’s still a cool assasin. He was doing quite well against the heroes, but then Xellos appeared and that was basically game over for him. As good as Zuuma is, he doesn’t have nearly enough firepower or speed to deal with a monster on that calibur. Xellos also has high speed regeneration in case he ever was hit in that battle. Zuuma will likely never appear again, but he definitely had a good run.

As for Xellos, he was good in this season. It’s still a little iffy how the heroes get along with him, since Xellos is constantly betraying them, but that’s their choice I suppose. I was glad to see Xellos get some action scenes here since that meant he wouldn’t be all hype and no action. His fight against Zuuma was short, but showed how powerful he was and I liked his battle against Rezo. We rarely see fights between beings on their level of power in Slayers so it’s always a treat. I feel like Xellos is awkwardly in the middle of the power levels. Either he completely wrecks his opponent like with Zuuma and Lina or he gets completely destroyed like with Gaav or Shabranigdo. There is never a middle ground with him although the closest would be Valgaav. It’s always fun to see him lose, but he was actually a good character in this season so that’s good.

As for Rezo, this show should definitely prove without a shadow of a doubt that he is still evil. He did some good works along the way, but we find out how he experimented on people and basically did not care about their lives. He was doing it all just to get his sight back. He sacrificed a whole lot of people just so that he could gain his eyesight back for a minute or two before deciding to die once again as Shabranigdo awakened. All of that…just for a few minutes of eyesight. He certainly only cares about himself, but Rezo certainly makes for a powerful villain. I don’t care for him as a character, but he’ll always have that nostalgia feel to him. I already talked about how awesome Shabranigdo is so I don’t really need to go into that again.

Evolution R was really just one big nostalgia trip. We got to see old faces like Sylphiel, Rezo, and Shabranigdo again. That was really neat and it makes you want to watch the first season again to relive the good ole days. Even having the Giga Slave back was a nice homage to the good ole days. If this is how the animated Slayers franchise ends for now, I’d say that ending with nostalgia is always a good way to go about things.

As always, one of the reasons why Slayers is so fun is its balance between action and comedy. There can be a lot of serious moments and then a lot of light ones. Sometimes the show will do both at the same time. It keeps the show from taking things too seriously while still treating us to a lot of good fights and interesting plots. This formula is what has really made Slayers what it is. Luckily, the chest jokes were also pretty minimal here and the show was extremely light on fanservice if there was any at all. I can’t remember a single hot springs moment, although I suppose there may have been one in there somewhere. Either way, it was very light overall like I said.

As expected, the animation is really good for this season. The energy effects are spectacular and that really helps for the fight scenes. After seeing this, the older Slayers seasons will probably seem extremely dated by comparison, but I like that 90’s style so it’ll still be cool. That being said, the modern style is so sleek and streamlined that it is very nice to look at and makes all of the characters look even more impressive since their attacks have basically leveled up.

The soundtrack is also good. At this point, I’m very used to the themes and feel that they work well. I liked the ominous track for the rooftop confrontation and the battle themes work well too. It’s not exactly a 5 star soundtrack, but I’d probably give it a 7. It’s good and sometimes, that’s good enough when all of the other areas of the show are on point.
Overall, Slayers Evolution R was a success and it was quite an enjoyable show. In some ways, it may have even been better than Next. It was shorter, but I can’t say that it really had any miss episodes. Pretty much all of them were great, or at least good. The filler could get to you sometimes when it was too many of them in a row, but once the action started up, the show never really looked back. If a good climax can save a movie, the solid second half for Slayers is what always tips the scales. I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a good fantasy anime and even if you haven’t seen the older seasons before, the nostalgia factor should help you get into this show. I’m going to miss Slayers. Hopefully it gets a new film or show someday!

Overall 7/10

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