Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Premium Review

I have gone through most of the Slayers franchise and have finally arrived at the last movie. The movies have typically been one of the best parts about the Slayers franchise as we clearly saw in the last installment. Unfortunately, this one is not able to keep up. For some reason, it’s only about 30-35 minutes in length so there’s not a lot of time for anything to happen. It simply feels like an episode. A decent episode, but not one that will rock your world. All right, let’s check out the Premium film!

Lina and Gourry are enjoying a nice Octopus dinner when Gourry starts to talk in gibberish. Apparently, the Octopus have all gone bad and anyone who eats them will talk in the creature’s native language. The effects start to spread and simply living puts you at risk of getting this illness. Lina must find the big boss behind this and put the creature to justice, but how can she win when she can’t even understand her friends? A wise mage may know a spell to stop this, but he is already infected with the curse. Luckily, Amelia and Zelgadis show up to help, but will their combined strength be enough to win?

As I mentioned, this movie is only half an hour so it really goes by in a flash. It’s a fun ride as always since Slayers typically does a good job of mixing humor and action. I’d say that it succeeded here as we still got a decent fight without the comedy going over the top and the atmosphere felt right. It’s similar to the Son Goku and Friends Return OVA while having a little more substance. The cast from the TV show is in this movie, which is a big change from the others, but the voices couldn’t come along with them. While Xellos may have an improved voice, I’m too used to the TV show versions to care for the others. Lina is the exception of course as I am already fairly used to her movie accent. She’s really toned down the Southern aspect of it though and I kinda miss that part. Ah well, she still takes charge and defends the world fairly well. Gourry is now more defensive of his meals, but Lina still manages to get the last laugh. As always, Lina never disappoints as the leader of the gang.

Gourry is back to being rather under average and it’s barely his fault this time. Speaking in Octopus distorts a person’s words, but they don’t hear the result. So, Gourry will hear himself say, “I’m awesome!” but to everyone else it may sound like “Larry!” As a result, Gourry says a lot of provacative things even though he means to say something else. So, technically, he is a good character here, but the gag ends up turning him into an unlikable one. At least he helps out against the villains.

None of the other heroes are able to do that. Xellos is around, but since when does he help the heroes? He mostly observes and has a good laugh at the heroes’ expense. Amelia may have been a fighter back in the day, but she is completely ineffective against the Octopus. She was really looking forward to eating them for dinner, but maybe that’s the problem. They certainly weren’t going to show her any mercy after they heard that! Amelia was a good character here. She may have been a little more strong willed than usual, but she almost felt like she could have been the main character if this was another show.

As for good ole Zelgadis, he also looks very bad against the Octopus minions. You would think that this could have been his big moment, but Lina had to save him like she did with everyone else. Gone are the days when he was known as a tough guy and he is really just a punching bag at this point. I can’t say that I’m a fan, but he didn’t look bad here. Just really weak. There was also a filler character who told Lina and the others about the plight, but as the movie was so short, her role was minimal. She technically plays a crucial role with her spells, but she’s just your average filler character.

The villains are all rather inconsequential as well. The main Octopus has a nifty hair style, but that’s about it for him. He wants revenge on the humans, but is doomed. The final boss is a giant Dragon/Sea Lord who hungers. Its energy blasts are able to destroy a tree, but it takes a few shots. He was your average giant monster. Cool design, but he ultimately went down very quickly when matched up with the boundless power of the Dragon Slave!

The ending is fairly tragic for the Octopus. They are reminded that the town’s economy really depends on eating them so the new agreement is that the Octopus will still be eaten, but only their tendrils since they can grow back. This way, there’s an endless supply of them to eat and the Octopus can keep their lives. It doesn’t sound like a very fair bet if you ask me. Meanwhile, Naga gets a very small cameo here. I guess we will probably never get to see her interact with the TV show cast. That would have certainly been interesting so that’s too bad, but in this case, it could be for the best that she didn’t get a real role. Sometimes, it simply isn’t worth the risk with her character.

Unfortunately, this movie dipped back into some of the negatives, which hurt the OVAs. We get the chest comments once again and that gag got old the first time that it ever showed up in the franchise. Seriously, at this point, it should just stay down. Also, Amelia of all characters is actually used for mild fanservice. It’s rather mild at least and it’s not as in your face as some of the other Slayer products, but it’s a little sad that Amelia is the victim here. She’s still just a kid so the whole situation doesn’t make sense. This keeps it from getting a solid seven like some of the other Slayer movies, but it’s not bad enough to cripple the score either.

With this movie, the animation is finally starting to look more modern. This is easily the best animation that we’ve seen from the franchise. Everything is really bright and vibrant. The character designs are all updated and the Dragon Slave really looks good. While the other Slayers products looked like the good ole 90’s style, this one is clearly from the 2000’s era. It just goes to show what a difference a few years can make.

As for the soundtrack, it’s a little on the uninspired side. The final theme for the credits isn’t that good and the animation in the background didn’t have much of a budget. Most of the other songs are also old or simply not memorable. Slayers is a franchise that really isn’t known for its music. Perhaps the staff in charge of the music will read this review and quickly decide to make a new movie just so they can show off some new tunes. That would certainly be epic.

Overall, Slayers Premium is a decent Slayers movie. It’s so short that you may as well just call it your average episode or an OVA. The animation is at its best and it is fun to see the TV show cast appear once again. The only design that is a little worse than the show’s would be Gourry’s sword of light. It looks way too thin if you ask me and comes off as a generic beam sword. The Sword of Light used to be a little more unique. While the film was not strong enough to match up to the other films, it was still a fairly fun ride. I recommend this to Slayer fans, but otherwise I recommend watching the Slayers film before this one if you want to see the franchise at its best. It’s been a long time since this film came out so I guess we really may not get another Slayers movie for quite some time. Once the fans are ready for some nostalgia in a few years, then I guess it’ll be time for a new one. I’ll certainly be ready for it and I still say that Lina Inverse is a better heroine for a series than Sailor Moon. Lina could be the very best female led protagonist in anime, but that’s a much trickier question to answer since there are quite a few. Off the top of my head she would certainly take the lead.

Overall 6/10

6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Slayers Try Review

It has been a while, but I am finally back with a review for the third Slayers series! I enjoyed the first series and then the second upped the ante in just about every way. Slayers Next will likely be remembered as the pinnacle of the Slayers franchise, but there is still more to come. Slayers Try…tries a little too hard to be a mix of Slayers and Slayers Next by adding some powerful threats, but also trying to go back to the days of random adventures like in the first series. It is a mix that backfires quite a bit like GT, but still ends up being a good show.

Lina Inverse and her gang of heroic crooks are fairly happy about how their latest victory went. They decided to split up for a while and maybe they would bump into each other at some point in the future. Well, this happens sooner than they may have expected! Aside from Sylphiel, the gang meets up with Zelgadis who is still trying to learn the secret of how to transform himself. He’ll never accomplish this goal, but at least he is still trying. Zelgadis decides to stay with Lina and pals after they meet a mysterious figure who goes by the name, Filia.

Filia tells the heroes that they are destined to save the world! Lina refuses, but Filia explains that the heroes are her last hope as all of the best heroes don’t want to do this task. Lina and the gang are forced into accepting the quest under threat of imminent destruction (Lina’s sister is too powerful for them) and they must now….stop this threat. The problem is that they have no idea how to stop the danger that is approaching since the heroes don’t even know what kind of trouble to expect. They only have Filia’s guesses and intuition to guide them! I may as well say that the threat is caused by Overworlder’s (gods) who seek to change the status quo and unleash ultimate darkness across the world!

Typically, it only takes me one paragraph to describe the plot, but a lot has happened so two was necessary here. The lack of plot can be a little eerie, but it works into Try’s gameplan. It want to be episodic like the first series, but with serious stakes like the second one. This is still a dicey mix to achieve and I should explain why it doesn’t work out. The classic way to handle this would be to have the episodic parts for the first half and then to throw in a plot. This has worked in many shows like Trigun, Cardfight Vanguard, Digimon Savers, etc. The problem is that Try threw in the plot as early in as episode 1 and then ditches it towards the middle of the show. We get 6-15 filler episodes in the show.

All right, let’s not guess here. A quick Wikipedia search tells me that we have 7 “filler” episodes. The quotations are necessary as they technically have canon elements. We have a 2 part episode involving a holy grail weapon, which shows us that dark magic can be destroyed for the first time in the series. It is what inspires Lina’s final attack on the monster in the final episodes. 2-3 of the other filler episodes involve finding the characters after they failed in the fake climax, but I would still count them. That’s also not counting the episodes that were 15-18 minutes of filler with a plot heavy beginning/ending.
So, this really disrupted the pacing. The episodes where the heroes were on the boat were easily the worst ones. Slayers has always been a roller coaster series of ups and downs, but it has typically been more steady than this one. Try’s best episodes rank up there with the best of Next while the worst ones are some of the worst in the franchise. Not really because of anything relating to content, but they simply felt boring and unnecessary. Case in point, the two part episode about getting 2 Kingdoms to make peace with each other. I feel like we’ve seen this plot so many times already and I really didn’t understand what the point of it all was. It destroys whatever tension you had thanks to the villains showing up.

Luckily, that’s where the good episodes come into play. For just about the whole series, I was positive that this show was going to get a 6. Then we got the good climax, which made this more of a real battle. The fights in this series could take up a whole episode at times, which was great. The final batch of episodes is really one big fight that keeps on restarting and it is good to see the feats from both the heroes and the villains. There is no shortage of action and excitement in the climax of the series and we also got a nice batch of fights during the middle of the series as well. During these two high points, you would never be able to tell that this was the same series that we had started with.

Lina Inverse is the main character and she is once again leading the charges against those who would stand in her way. As a human, Lina is essentially the enemy of all other races so she needs to have a strong personality to combat these threats. Lina has also grown more powerful over the course of these adventures. While she used to not be able to deal any real damage to the big threats, now she has two aces up her sleeve. The Ragna Blade and the Giga Slave. These two attacks have been shown to work on almost any opponent with virtually no exceptions. It likely couldn’t completely KO a Dark Lord (The Blade anyway) but these attacks have allowed Lina to stay on the offensive. Her speed is not increased and I’ll mention that a little more towards the end of the review, but this is still a great improvement. Now, she can back up her tough talk!

Lina’s endearing personality is what makes her a great lead. She certainly won’t take any insults from someone without a fight. Whether it is an ally or an enemy, she will quickly unleash her full power. Lina is still not your average hero as she will occasionally blow up villages and mountains by mistake, but she does end up saving the world so hopefully it all balances out. Slayers wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without her in the lead.

Gourry is Lina’s partner and he’s always been a very interesting character to watch even if he is very unlikable. It is a bit of a tricky puzzle eh? The first episodes of this show continue to prove why he will never be likable, but at least he does provide the show with a lot of its humor. He never understands the gravity of a situation, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best. Gourry always has his game face on and with his Sword of Light, he can deal some heavy damage to just about anyone. He did go up against Valgaav after all! He’s about the same from the past two series, which is good. If they made him likable, then that would be even better.

Amelia’s role here is certainly smaller than in the first two series. She is still a member of royalty, but she doesn’t get her own adventures this time. She’s simply tagging along for the ride like Zelgadis. She’s still a nice character and she gets her hits in at times. It’s hard to say who the weak link of the team is at this point as it is between her and Zelgadis. It is very close, but she tries her best and fills the team with optimism. They certainly need at least one hero on the team right?

Zelgadis continues to lose more and more of his dignity. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the writers for Try did not like him as a character. He is literally used as bait, an anchor, and simply tossed around when it is time for jokes. He may have been a decent character in the original series and almost decent in Next, but now he’s just a really bad character. I find it almost impossible to like him. It is too bad since he gets a lot of scenes that are supposed to make you say “Snap, this guy’s cool!” That is not my reaction to the scenes and I can’t think of a single moment where Zelgadis actually did a critical thing here. Not a single scene……his fans will not be pleased.
Filia is the new addition to the group and she ends up replacing Sylphiel. She is a gold dragon and her powers are impressive during her first appearance. As a gold dragon, her speed was so great that none of the main characters could land a hit on her. (An accurate depiction of speed…impossible!) Unfortunately, that’s where the buck stops as she is not really useful against any other opponents for the rest of the series. She evidently has some useful abilities like super strength and her spells, but the enemies are always one step ahead of her. It’s too bad as the exact same thing happened to Sylphiel.

As far as personality goes, she has a little Amelia in her. Filia thinks of herself as a bit of a hero so she is always dismayed when the heroes engage in criminal activities. She also does a lot of soul searching as the series goes on because of what her fellow golden dragons did. Perhaps she takes this a little too personally as she had nothing to do with most of their evil deeds. It is regrettable, but she doesn’t need to lose all hope over it. She nearly jeopardizes the final battle as she proved to be indecisive. Her rivalry with Xellos is fun though and while she is no match for him in a fight, perhaps she can defeat him in the battle of burns. (Burns=Insulting an opponent so well that you metaphysically burned them) As far as the main cast goes, it is: Lina>>Amelia>>Filia>>Sylphiel>>Zelgadis>>Gourry>>>>>>>Xellos. So, Filia’s rank isn’t all that bad. She could certainly better, but her personality fits in well with the team and doesn’t get old quite as quickly as Zelgadis’ gimmick. It’s also good to have a little more muscle power on the team.

Ah…now it’s time to talk about Xellos. A seriously disliked him from his very first appearance. While he will likely never look quite as bad as in Next, he’s still not my kind of character. For starters, he is constantly betraying the heroes to advance on his own goals. He is a monster through and through so he does remind the heroes that they should never trust him. Just because he makes that clear from the start, doesn’t make it any less sad when he betrays them again. Xellos has physically attacked the team during their scuffles and while he typically holds back so they aren’t very injured, he has come close to destroying the world. The heroes really need to treat him like a total enemy and stop pulling their punches. The sad thing is that Xellos could easily destroy the heroes in an instant if he so desires. He is really just toying with them and that can’t help the egos of the heroes all that much. As a villain, it can be fun to see Xellos act so smug and insult all of the other villains, but I wish that the show would totally keep him on the villain side. It would make him much more bearable. Still, it we’re just talking about this series, he is not that bad. I’ll never consider him as a villain though. How would the rankings change if we just counted this series? I suppose that he would jump over Gourry and Zelgadis. It’s possible that he could also pass Sylphiel, but it would be close.

All right, it is time to talk about the best villain in the show. He is also potentially the best character in the series as well. I’m talking about Valgaav! Valgaav is a mix of monster and dragon so his abilities are quite formidable. He is one of the only opponents to be on the winning side against Xellos and he takes on a good portion of the cast at once. That is before the final power up that he gets, which made him virtually unstoppable. He is a villain who had a tragic past and he loves jumping into peril. He’s simply my kind of villain and he acts like other all stars. (Grimmjow comes to mind) All of his fights are interesting and I’m glad that he didn’t decide to listen to Almayce like the average pawn. If Valgaav wanted to do something, then he would just go and do it! He had a nice blend of emotional moments as well as intense ones. Really, when it all boils down to it, Valgaav is probably the best character in the franchise. I thought about it for a bit and there is really no better character. It is a shame since he will likely never appear again, but at least he got a grand role in this series. Thanks to his final power up, you can definitely make the claim that he is the strongest character in the series. The Lord of Nightmares may contest that though. Valgaav got to prove that he was stronger than the other three villains, which is a good enough start for me! Maybe we’ll get a spinoff/prequel about him someday..maybe. (His origin isn’t exactly something that I’m very interested in though so I’d want it to take place right before Try) Valgaav also gave us the very first, big fight of Try so his debut was a very memorable one.

Almayce is the big villain for most of the series, but it is safe to say that he overestimated his power. He’s actually weaker than the other three big villains of the series although it seems like he could potentially still defeat Xellos. So, maybe he also outranks two of the other opponents, but it is hard to say. His design is great and he looked like a very menacing villain for a while. The problem is that he doesn’t know where he stands. On one hand, he is certainly a villain as he is constantly hurting people and endangering lives. On the other hand, he is trying to save the planet while getting rid of Dark Star…..I’ll just count him as a villain.

Because he is constantly switching sides, Almayce loses sight of what is happening and that’s when the villains make their move. Almayce went down rather easily even though he should have been expecting someone to destroy him. He was causing trouble for both the heroes and the other villains. It would have been cool to have seen him fight more, but he still made for a fun boss to oppose the heroes.
Erulogs joins the fray towards the end of the series along with Sirius. It was odd to see him join in as the series was already heading to a close, but the more villains the better right? I liked him more than Sirius, less than Valgaav, and slightly more than Almayce. His abilities were very impressive as the heroes could not hold a candle to his power. He felt like the average DBZ villain and that is always a good thing. It is too bad that he didn’t get more of a role.

It was still bigger than the role of Sirius though. Sirius is the more rational of the two villains and he wants to learn as much as he can. He also doesn’t mind sparing the Earth as long as it won’t hurt his chances of survival. He is a villain that the heroes can work with and his abilities are still impressive. He doesn’t seem to be as tough as Erulogs, but he is still tough enough to keep the heroes back. While his design was not too good, his personality made him a decent villain.

It is worth mentioning the Dragon King Elder because he is so terrible that it becomes laughable towards the end. Not literally as this guy did single handily bring two different species of dragons to their extinction. (Filia may be the only dragon in existence anymore. Certainly the only Gold one left and the ancient ones are gone as well) The Elder wants the gold dragons to rule over all, but his life comes first and foremost. He is defiant to the end as he dies while explaining that he regrets nothing and he would do it all over again. He betrays his heroes to the villains and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of common sense. It is regrettable that he became the leader of the Golden Dragons since he definitely did not have their best interests at heart.

Dark Star is the big villain for this series and he lives up to the hype. It is always fun to meet another Dark Lord from the tree of power. Shabranigdo is still the most impressive beast, but Dark Star is no slouch in the power department. Simply by flapping his wings, he can bring the heroes to the verge of death and he can shoot a variety of energy blasts. Dark Star’s flight speed is incredible and he’s a known planet destroyer. Everything about this villain is cool and hie design is actually like the symbiote from Marvel. At least the face resembles Venom. Dark Star is virtually unstoppable and his only weakness are the legendary weapons of light. Without them, you can essentially confirm the destruction of your planet. Spells don’t hurt him because Dark Star’s soul is in another plane of existence so physical attacks are the only way to challenge him. Dark Star made for a great end boss to the series and he’s probably the second best monster villain behind Shabranigdo.

Aside from the serious villains, we also got some low ranking ones to mention. Jillas was mostly played for laughs, but he actually got a serious subplot towards and the end and it hit you right in the feels. (Feels=Emotions. So, if something hits you in the feels, it’s like metaphysically hitting your sad or happy emotion and triggering that feeling inside of you. That’s how I’ve always thought of it anyway.) He has to leave his family at the end to help defend the planet and he also decides to finally move away from his thoughts of revenge. While most of the characters in the series have magical abilities, Jillas is stuck with his sheer intelligence. He is good at making bombs, but that certainly won’t carry him very far against the kinds of villains that are present here. He was fairly likable though at times and he was much better than his partner.

Gravos is an ogre type of demon and he never becomes likable. The writers don’t even try to make him sympathetic aside from an incredibly brief origin story. He means well I suppose as he is just following orders, but he isn’t nearly as interesting as Jillas. At least Jillas has his motivations and desires to keep him going, but Gravos is more of a two dimensional villain. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t exactly help me like his character either.

While the series is typically very light toned, there are a few moments of violence that clash with the rest of the series. The battle between Xellos and Valgaav was pretty brutal and likewise for the origin stories of Jillas and Gravos. This happened in the previous two Slayers series as well as everything would be very chipper until a sudden violent scene makes you take a double look. It’s nothing over the top though and it is typically quick so you don’t need to dwell on it, but the violence is certainly around. The dragons get extinct…twice, and they certainly don’t go down without a fight. Xellos vs Valgaav is still the one that will stick out the most simply because the show still plays Xellos off as a hero of sorts and this is certainly not heroic behavior. He is a monster and he is technically a villain, but the heroes barely treat him as such.

It is also about time for me to quickly address the plot hax that is present here. Now, this is a problem is virtually all forms of media and in almost all titles. Still, the plot hax is especially prevalent here as Lina and her friends are a group of humans who are trying to stop extremely powerful forces. No matter how many great spells they get like the Ragna Blade, there is no way that Lina and friends should last a minute against such powerful foes. Almost all of the high level monsters and gods are shown to move at hyper speeds. Lina is still a human and can’t run much faster than a normal one. At most, she is Captain America level in speed and power. She should still get speedblitzed at the beginning of every match.

The Slayers verse seems to place a lot of emphasis on physical power and none on speed, which is a little misguided. Raw power does not matter if you cannot hit the opponent and that’s my main problem with the title. Lina should be way too slow for any of her attacks to be useful here and she still manages to get in some good hits at times. It’s just a little odd and certainly unbelievable, but it is simply the route that the show has gone. Perhaps the writers feel that Lina and her pals would be less relatable if they had special powers aside from their spells. It’s their choice I suppose.

The animation is a step down from Next, but it still looks good. I’m assuming that the budget was likely reduced, but the series still has enough juice in it for some epic action scenes. The rest of the series is just a little more pale and dated than the vibrantly colorful Next. The fights are the important part though and the long action scenes are as good as you could have hoped for here. The heroes give it their all now that they can finally fight a little more: Gourry with his improved Sword of Light mastery, Lina with her Ragna Blade, Zelgadis with his sword, etc.

There’s not much to say about the soundtrack since it is the same as in the previous two shows. As for the theme song, it is all right, but it could be better. It is just not as exciting and moving as it could have been, but it is not a bad theme song either. Perhaps the end themes of the Slayers movies have simply spoiled me as they would certainly work better as a theme song than what we got here. The theme song is also a little misleading. As the overall soundtrack has not changed, Slayers Try sounds just as good as the first two installments.
Overall, Slayers Try is a good series. I was hesitant to give it the full 7 as it did have its share of issues with the pacing and just not being quite as fun as the first two series, but it comes very close to reaching that mark. The soundtrack has not changed and the animation has only dipped a little. The main team of Lina and Gourry is still one of the driving forces of the show. The ending certainly feels like it could have been the end of the franchise, but it still would have been a sad one as I disagreed with Gourry’s decision. We got to meet some more powerful beasts from the Slayers verse and I look forward to eventually seeing an ultimate confrontation between the humans, dragons, monsters, and gods. My money is certainly on the monsters, but it would be a good fight. The balance between humor and action can be awkward, especially when mixed. Xellos being defeated by a song towards the end was a little random, but I’ll assume that he is just trolling as per usual. Jumping from serious moments to comedy ones is a delicate art that is hard to master. Slayers Next probably did the best job, but Slayers Try gave it a fair effort. I recommend checking this series out if you want a good fantasy title and while you don’t need to watch the first two series first, I would still recommend doing so. At least, Slayers Next, since one of the main villains wants to destroy the heroes because of what happened there.

Overall 6/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Slayers Next Review

I have now finished the second installment in the Slayers franchise. The previous title managed to be a pretty good anime as it was a pretty unique title with a main character who wasn’t afraid to deal with collateral damage. The concept may not seem unique to older anime viewers, but there aren’t many fantasy titles that take place in the olden days like this one anymore so it was pretty fresh for me. Slayers Next definitely takes most of the aspects from the first show and brings them to new heights. This works as a double edged blade, but it is definitely another anime worth watching.

The series takes place shortly after the climax of the series finale as Lina and Gourry have split up from the rest of the party. They seem to just be wandering around without much of a goal, but they meet up with Amelia and Zelgadis. Zelgadis still wants to be turned back into a human so he is working for some corrupt dealers. Lina quickly sets him straight and the 4 heroes decide to search for some manuscripts to the Claire Bible. The Claire Bible is supposed to have unlimited knowledge so that should help Zelgadis in his quest. This artifact becomes more and more crucial to their quest as some strong monsters start showing up to destroy Lina. Lina Inverse begins to suspect why they are after her and let’s just say that there are some planetary ramifications involved. The heroes are going to have to grow even stronger if they want to counter this new threat.

Now, you can argue that the Claire Bible arc is the entire show or you can divide it up by having the search for it be the first half while the battle against the monsters is the second half. It’s debatable I suppose, but it’s really just all one arc in my mind. A mysterious figure by the name of Xellos helps to distinguish these parts as he leads them on a lot of wild (filler) goose chases to various parts of the planet in the first half of the series. Also, we can’t forget that this is still Slayers. There are quite a few filler episodes where the cast gets to help liberate kingdoms and solve mysteries as they take a break from the serious dealings with the monsters. Sometimes, a filler episode will even squeeze in a moment or two to add some details to the real plot as they go on their journey.

The series is still pretty light as with the first title with only a quick scene or two where the violence gets ramped up. It never goes overboard as the show keeps it real and that makes the scenes even more surprising. As with the first show, this only occurs at the very end when the climax starts. The body count begins to rise and you can tell that the main villains mean business. Slayers does a good job of knowing when to get serious and when to keep the mood happy and light.

I also have to give the writers credit for their depiction of Lina Inverse. It would have been easy to pull a 1st Hokage or Goku/Gohan where they are always very nice, but instantly become feared amongst their allies when they get serious. I never liked that aspect of a character since it’s okay to intimidate a villain, but your allies shouldn’t fear you. Doesn’t that basically just make you the next villain? Lina’s pals never fear her except for comic relief scenes where they back away. That’s more acceptable since it’s just for laughs anyway and you can tell that they aren’t serious.

Lina starts to question her use of the dark magic from the Lord of Nightmares after she sees a vision, which unfortunately hampers her ability to fight towards the end. At least she still pulls through when the chips are down, but I disagreed with her hesitation from the start. The world may blow up, but it wouldn’t matter anyway since the villain would bring a lot of ruin to the planet as well. Lina is primarily a thief, but she always gets tangled up in these wars since she is a mage of world wide renown and she does have a sense of justice deep down. (Although she doesn’t admit it, which is a plus) The heroes are lucky that she is around since Lina is vastly superior to all of her allies in terms of raw power. We rarely see a main character shooting off blasts that can level cities so casually. (We also see proof of this as seen when she does blow up towns and mountains as opposed to Goku who can’t afford to blow up a planet so the doubters still have a little bit of wiggle room there)
Sadly, the anime does use Lina as an excuse for some fanservice now and again. (For once, I wouldn’t actually blame Lina’s character for it since it’s usually people insulting her, which is hardly her fault) It’s not drastic since Lina’s character is meant to purposely not be able to give us a lot of fanservice so it’s mostly just a lot of chest comments from villains that Lina quickly decimates. Martina is usually the one who initiates this and she also gives us some more fanservice. I’d say that Next definitely has more of this overall than the first season, but it’s still reasonably light compared to most shows. As mentioned, the fanservice is mostly audio based as opposed to the standard visual. (There’s only one or two hot spring scenes that would beg to differ) I’d say that this is preferable, but they are naturally both uncalled for and I’m just glad that they aren’t heavily featured here. It should be noted that there are some brief romance elements to be found here. From the parody Sylphiel to the filler princes, Slayers Next does include a bit of it. The final episode also has a quick moment, but luckily the characters realized that they just panicked and pretended that the whole thing never happened. Forget and Forget is their motto and it worked pretty well.

Gourry is about as likable as he was in the first show. This means that he is a great character 90% of the time, but he still can’t help, but make insulting remarks about Lina’s chest, which quickly drops him down as a character. To be a truly good character, you must be good at least 99% of the time. Gourry is always a little slow on the ball when it comes to just about anything, but it arguably gets even worse in Slayers Next for him. A scene that captures his personality perfectly is when the heroes go to the hot springs. Gourry takes so long to change out of his clothes that everyone is already leaving when he’s getting there. He tries to tell Zelgadis to wait up since he was just about to go in, but he doesn’t listen so Gourry is forced to enjoy the hot springs by himself. It’s hard to tell whether you should cry or laugh since it’s just so sad for the guy. You also have to wonder how long it took him to change since you’d think that the heroes had already been in the hot springs for a while.

Gourry’s also fairly outmatched in this series by just about everyone. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to use magic, which is pretty dangerous in this world. He has the famous Sword of Light, but it feels like anyone can just block it or dodge the strikes. So, Gourry doesn’t look very good when it’s battle time, but you do have to admire his determination. He’s typically the first guy to attack and the final one to fall. That speaks highly of his durability and his actual swordsmanship is great. We get a glimpse of how strong Gourry could be if he was serious during the final batch of episodes and he looks very impressive there. If he could learn to fight at that level consciously, he would be a real threat. Technically, the Sword of Light is great since it’s unbreakable and it can block any magical blast. (Within reason) It protects him from all projectiles and one good hit can destroy any monster. Gourry’s main drawback is that he is only a human so it’s hard to block a blast if he’s not prepared for it and he can’t fly. Gourry can only move at normal speeds as well. When he was “awakened” Gourry’s reaction times were the critical change as he could block just about every blast and his raw power seemed to go up. So, his overall ability was not altered very much, he was just able to utilize his abilities to their fullest extent. If he could do that every time…I’m confident that he would be one of the top tier fighters here. At least, he could be the second strongest hero! (Behind Lina)

Zelgadis has certainly changed a lot since his days in the original series. He’s totally used for comedy now and he’s barely serious at all. He’s also shown to be significantly weaker than Lina at this point so he can’t really help when it comes down to a fight. Ironically, he did get a cool new sword, but it’s no Sword of Light and the villains tend to be too fast for him. All of this doesn’t bode too well for him, but you could argue that these developments were not downright terrible for him. No, the worst part is that Zelgadis completely turns against his friends just because he believes that someone can cure him. He betrays them without a second thought even though he knows that he’s working for an evil person. I have to admit that this was going pretty far and while he may have joined up with Lina’s team on good terms by the end…it was a little too late for him. He just went way too far in his quest.
Xellos is easily one of the worst characters in the series. He’s played off as a mysterious fighter who is also incredibly strong, but it worked better for Blues. (Proto Man) Xellos has an extremely nasal voice to continue the franchise’s interesting ensemble of voices, but it’s not enough to make him likable. He likes to troll the heroes, which isn’t terrible in itself, but he does it in an evil way. You can tell that he’s a villain, but the anime tries to play it off like he’s just above such disputes. He humiliates Zelgadis and typically just gets the heroes into trouble, but they still allow him to tag along on the journey. He also makes random romantic advances to keep people quiet, which also makes him pretty tedious. He has a few twists and we discover just how powerful he is, but he still manages to look terrible. After all of the hype, he can barely take on a minion (He needs Lina’s help) and he gets utterly wrecked by the first real villain that he encounters. Sure, he took on an army in a flashback, but flashbacks are like banana peels. They used to be good and now they’ve just spoiled our image of what things could have been. whenever Xellos appeared, I would hope that someone would take him out. The heroes never really tried to do anything about him so it was up to the other villains.

Amelia has stayed pretty true to form in this sequel. As with Gourry and Lina, she really hasn’t changed at all and that’s a good thing. The first episode was a change of pace since she seemed to be more confident in her role as a princess as well as her combat abilities. She may be a little more aggressive and eager to fight here, which can only help her character. She is still a hero of justice and Amelia is easily the most heroic member of the party. (Gourry may be a close second, but Amelia really just wants to help people out. It doesn’t get more heroic than that!) She is the first fighter to finally enhance her hand to hand skills with spirit energy, which is a classic Shonen technique. She can’t really match up against the villains so she is forced to watch on the sidelines with Sylphiel and Zelgadis for the majority of the series. Her determination is simply not enough to close the gap, but she’s still a pretty great character.

Martina has quickly become one of the main characters of the series, but she’s only good in a parodyish way. Sometimes it can be hard not to root for her to defeat Lina so that she can finally have a win, but usually you are just hoping that she will go away. She crushes on people pretty quickly and she worships a made up monster that she thought up during her desperate hours. I do admire the fact that she is always going after Lina, whether it means going through a den of monsters or burning one of the Claire Bible manuscripts. I think the series should think twice before making her a permanent member of the team, but she’s still better than some of the party members that we’ve seen in other series.

I have to wonder what happened to Sylphiel. I’m thinking that the writers must have forgotten about her and how skilled she looked in her debut in the original series. Sylphiel started out her anime history by blocking one of Rezo’s ultimate blasts with a barrier. Not even Lina and Zelgadis’ combined efforts were enough to block this, yet Sylphiel stopped the blast with ease. After that, she has never managed to pull off a decent magic feat again. For most of this series, she just provides the heroes with moral support. Sylphiel does get one good moment where we find out that she knows how to use the Dragon Slave (City Buster) attack, which was a great improvement, but her other abilities are still below average. She is mainly a healer and it seems like she will be sticking to that. I think the writers dropped the ball here since she could have been the ultimate defense fighter with her powerful barriers and healing magic. She’s still a decent character, but she’s probably a little less likable than she could have been. Also, she says “Dear Gourry” instead of “Gourry dear” in this show a lot. I guess it’s because Gourry isn’t usually around, but it’s hard to get used too. She means well, but I’m not sure what she can really bring to the table when a fight draws near. Lina has some healing magic to use in a pinch as well.

Gaav is one of the big villains in this series and he’s pretty great. He’s a villain who relies on his physical attributes while also utilizing his energy blasts. Think of him as an evil Goku and you’ll have the right idea. He’s easily the best villain in the franchise so far and I don’t see him dropping anytime soon. He doesn’t appear until the series is almost over, but he makes his presence known. His end is pretty unsatisfying, but I think it was better than some of the alternate ways that the show could have gone about it.

The Lord of Nightmares is a supremely powerful being who is capable of doing just about anything. She is above all of the other cosmic beings so she can be used as a Deux Ex Machina whenever the need arises. She is known to be a really evil and dangerous figure by reputation, but we find out that she’s not really a bad person. She blows up galaxies and star systems, but she doesn’t do it for any petty reasons. It’s just the natural cycle of life. She will alter her plans if she wishes to do so. She gets a bit of a role in the climax and I was glad that she lived up to the hype. I doubt we’ll ever get to see her seriously fight since it would be impossible for another fighter to match her, but I’ll take this over nothing. She’s easily one of the better cosmic beings since she is at least a reasonable person and she doesn’t drone on about how we can’t change the inevitable.

Phibrizzo is the final villain of the series and he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. His true form seems like it would have been cool, but we don’t really get to see it in action. Phibrizzo makes the intriguing decision to fight the heroes as a little kid and I can’t say that I appreciate the gesture. This means that we can’t really look forward to any close combat situations with him. He likes to terminate his opponents from afar by simply willing it to be. He has power over death, which makes him very powerful, but not very fun to watch. I didn’t like him as a villain from the get go. As I mentioned, he’s very tough, but that doesn’t make him likable. As far as final bosses go, Slayers could do better. If only Gaav had been the final he was a villain!

Kanzel and Magenta are two of the monsters who challenged Lina and her friends during one of the mini arcs. They were actually relevant to the plot by the end since they had orders to get Lina, but their episodes tended to feel like filler. No matter, these guys were pretty tough and especially Kanzel. Both of them could have easily defeated Lina’s group if they had fought seriously from the beginning. The battle with Kanzel was pretty fun to watch since he could spam his teleporting ability and his defensive capabilities were unbelievable. He was able to take on a Ragna Blade and a Dragon Slave. His design is also pretty great when he enters his super form. Both of these villains were actually pretty likable and I would take them over Phibrizzo.
Halciform is a villain who gets a pretty minor role, but his immortality gives him a fighting chance against Lina. I always felt like anime writers gave immortality a little too much credit. Even if a villain is immortal, they are still vulnerable unless they have instant regeneration. At one point, Gourry slashes Halciform, which destroys him until he regenerates. It takes him a few seconds and they could have gone for a more serious injury that would have slowed him down some more. He also has some magic spells, but it’s nothing that will really be able to take Lina down. I didn’t find Halciform to be that likable, but he was a decent threat as far as one shot villains go.

Zangulus only gets to appear briefly for about 2-3 episodes, but he arrives at a pretty crucial moment. He looks pretty good here as he just wants to fight Gourry and he’s more of a rival than a villain now. He doesn’t resort to cheap tricks and he just wants to have a fair one on one fight. I can’t say that I really cared for him in the previous show, but he’s much better here. It can be a little hard to take him seriously since he’s outclassed powerwise, but he still puts up a good effort. His sword certainly comes in handy as well. His screentime may be limited, but Zangulus certainly makes the most out of it.

Seigram is actually one of the biggest villains in the show. He’s technically just a minion to Gaav, but his abilities speak for themselves. He was strong enough to give Zellos a good fight and he was also outclassing Lina and her friends. It’s hard to land a hit against him since he’s constantly teleporting. It’s sort of like Tobi’s trick from Naruto. He’s a cunning and resourceful villain and I became a fan by the end. He reminds me of The Other from Avengers. He has a cool mask and epic powers so that’s basically all that I needed from him. He’ll probably just be known as one of the more obscure villains as the franchise goes on without him, but he was pretty cool.

The soundtrack is decently good. I’m still not going to say that it’s great, but it fits the fantasy setting that the show is in. You’re certainly going to remember a few tunes by the end of it and they won’t annoy you, which is always a good thing. I’m still not crazy about the theme songs since they do feel rather dated (In terms of sound), but you can tell that the budget for them was also a lot higher than the original show. The characters look very sharp and the openings also have more action, which is great. (There should have been 2 openings since this is a 26 episode show though…)

The animation is also a noticeable step up from the first show. Some episodes may look a little bit like the original, but the climax as well as the first episodes can really show you how the animation has advanced. The colors are a lot brighter/sharper and JC Staff has once again showed us that they are ahead of the curve. Mixing that in with the DBZ effects just makes it incredibly enjoyable to behold. Slayers is able to keep that 90’s feel while bringing in some animation that looks like it’s in the latter 2000’s era.

One area that could come back to bite Slayers are the power levels in the series. Lina continues to learn new spells, but physically she is still just a human. This affects the whole cast since it doesn’t matter how much they train their offensive capabilities if their speed and durability to not improve. As it stands, the heroes get nervous whenever a monster shows up. If a normal monster can give them a good fight, then it’s even harder to see how they can stand up to the higher ups. They were lucky that Phibrizzo decided to take their ultimate attack and that the Lord of Nightmares found the heroes intriguing because things could have gotten very dangerous otherwise. Lina’s attacks deal damage over a pretty wide area, but that’s still not going to cut it against enemies who move at high speeds. We saw Zellos take on one of the commanders in a hyper speed battle and Lina’s group couldn’t even see them half of the time. The heroes simply wouldn’t stand a chance and the opponent wasn’t even one of the high ranking villains. This series certainly had a decent amount of plot hax, but it wasn’t spectacularly obvious. All shows have some plot hax to a degree, but it’s all about minimizing these scenes.

Slayers definitely deserves a lot of credit for the character roster. We have some pretty likable heroes and villains. Since the show lacks some of the advantages that other titles have, it has to make up for it with strong writing and solid characters. (For example, Sword Art Online started out with a huge budget, top notch voice actors, and an amazing soundtrack. Slayers has to start off without any of that) The voices are still a little retro in an unintentional way, but they can make the characters a little more humorous as well. One way to tell whether the characters are really good or not is to pay attention to the filler episodes. There are plenty of them to be found here (Dragon Fishing, Tennis matches, mysteries, etc) and a filler episode can hold up well if the characters as good. If they’re boring or can’t hold their own episodes with a bad plot, (Like Naruto and DBZ without the Saiyans) then they may not be as good as you think. Some of the filler episodes weren’t that good, but the characters always stayed in character and they weren’t as bad as the filler that I am used too.
Overall, Slayers Next is a pretty solid show. I’d basically say that it’s the very definition of a good/fun anime. It was slightly better than the first show, but it’s pretty close. This one had more action, but some of the filler episodes as well as Xellos’ character as a whole kept this from being a stomp. That being said, we’ve moved away from the days of the random mobs and monsters as real threats are always around now. Slayers Next also had a little more fanservice humor, but it was not overdone, which was a very good thing. The soundtrack can hold its own and the animation has improved. As long as Lina and Gourry are the two main characters, we can look forward to fun episodes since they can really hold their own stories. Their interactions are always fun and the voice acting keeps you entertained. I recommend this title to all fantasy fans and viewers who want to see a traditional RPG styled title.

Overall 7/10

Battles, Gourry Battles, Lina Inverse Battles

Gourry vs Lina Inverse

Gourry may have jumped to a 2-0 start, but now it’s time for him to take a loss. Lina Inverse has proven time and time again that she is the stronger warrior from the two of them. Her magical spells have a lot of destructive power behind them and Gourry’s Sword of Light can only keep him safe for so long. Gourry is tough to be sure, but he’s only human and his physical stats aren’t great. Lina Inverse wins.

Battles, Gourry Battles, One Above All Battles

Gourry vs One Above All

Gourry is back and now he’s up against the One Above All. Now, this is a match that I think everyone can agree on assuming that you consider the One Above All to be a malicious entity. The Sword of Light destroys all evil so a single hit would easily crush the One Above All. Case closed am I right!? Gourry wins.

Battles, Captain Kirk Battles, Gourry Battles

Gourry vs Captain Kirk

Captain Kirk is back once again and he’s up against a legendary swordsman of light. “Light come forth!” is Gourry’s epic catchphrase and it never gets old. He’s a bit of an intriguing character since he definitely has many likable moments while also making you wish that he would go away at other times. It’s just how it goes I suppose and his agility should give him the edge that he needed. Gourry wins.

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Slayers Review

There aren’t many TV shows that really deal with the fantasy genre. Or at least, most of the titles I would not consider to be a true fantasy title. A true fantasy title means that the heroes must go to the wilderness or to towns/cities that look as if they were created in the olden days. Of course, this is a risk since it is basically impossible to pull off in a live action movie. An anime can achieve this though and that’s what Slayers sets out to do. It’s like an old fashioned RPG or what Sword Art Online would have been if it came out 20 years ago. It’s a pretty fun anime with its ups and downs.

The story revolves around an experienced sorceress by the name of Lina Inverse. She is always on the lookout for some extra money or jewels to obtain and she doesn’t mind being used as a mercenary to obtain such treasures. She meets up with a gallant bodyguard by the name of Gourry and he decides to escort her to the next town since he thinks that she’s just a little kid. The two of them have many adventures until the plot finally begins.

Rezo, The Red Priest, is one of the strongest beings on Earth. Or at least, one of the strongest humans. He is supposed to be a wise sage from the past, but he seems to be pretty shifty and he tells Lina and Gourry that they possess an item that many villains are after. They will stop at nothing in order to get the object and Lina doesn’t even know which one it is! The heroes may be outgunned here.

The second half of the show’s plot is pretty similar to the first one’s or it at least builds off from it. Lina, Gourry, and some new friends are having a decent time when they find out that someone is attempting to unleash another power on the planet. The culprit responsible for this wants to destroy Lina and her friends because of something they did in the past and he has framed them. Lina cannot earn money freely because of this situation so she has to get to the bottom of this and fast! Luckily, she has made friends with a Prince’s daughter so she does have some more connections now.

It’s an intriguing plot summary, but many of the episodes are pretty episodic so it all works out. The series mostly acts as a comedy/adventure title, but the climax typically adds some more action to the mix. The series is very light toned and the violence is also kept at a very low level so it’s a mainstream title that you can easily recommend to someone else if they are looking for a fantasy title. Things just tend to heat up during the climax. The final batch of episodes is the only place where you will really see a big blood puddle like in Bleach or a character getting stabbed as an instant KO. The rest of the action scenes borrow elements from DBZ while maintaining a hit and run tactic so it is rare that any serious damage is dealt to any of the characters. If a character is burnt, they will typically look more like a Pokemon Trainer when he gets zapped.

So, I would consider the action segment to be a pretty good positive for the show. They’re fun to watch although the comedy can be a bit much at some points. The timing is crucial for such a thing and a character can go from being very powerful to very weak in a short amount of time depending on what genre the show is currently operating on. I’ll likely address this more as we go into the review.

Lina Inverse is the main character and she’s debatably the strongest hero on the planet. She is also one of the strongest beings on the planet not counting the big deities like the Lord of Nightmares. Unfortunately, the comedy tones of the show can make it a little hard to say just how strong she is. Sometimes Lina will casually take on a planet buster and other times she will attempt to run away from your average batch of minions. The inconsistency can definitely be more than a little tricky.
Personality wise, Lina is definitely not your average lead. That’s because she really not even a hero! She just does whatever she wants whenever she sees that there is some money to be earned. One running gag in the series is that she loves to use her Dragon Slave attack, which can instantly wipe out a city. She actually does wipe out a few towns and mountains using this attack and there are typically a lot of casualties. It’s played for laughs of course, but the amount of innocents that she ends up taking down is a pretty large number. At least that does say something for Lina’s abilities. It’s why I always find it a little hard to believe when she just runs away and barely puts up a fight sometimes. Lina typically acts tough and likes to insult Gourry a lot. He makes it pretty easy for her to be honest, but he’s a good guy deep down. Lina is a charismatic lead though so despite her not heroic actions, you can typically root for her. You just shouldn’t look at her as a hero and then you’ll be okay. She’s not the next Medaka or Kirito, but she’s much better than Harayuki and Sailor Moon.

Gourry is Lina’s main sidekick and he’s an “interesting” character. Have you ever met a character that you found pretty entertaining while on screen, but the character was technically pretty bad and you would have to root against him? Gourry’s like Furuichi in this case, but I’m not sure that many of my readers will understand the reference. Gourry spends most of his screen time being pretty unaware of the situation and making rookie mistakes whenever possible. However, he balances this out by also having some moments where he goes a little too far in his teasing about Lina being a little girl. The latter is why I ultimately can’t like Gourry. He acts a little perverted in that sense even if he’s really just not bright enough to fully understand what he’s doing. Ignorance is still no excuse so that ends up dropping Gourry. He’s still a lot of fun to watch when he’s on screen, but it just goes to show that a few bad scenes can really destroy a character.

When he’s a gentleman, Gourry is definitely at his best. He can turn his “hardcore face” on and off very quickly. He gets a rival in the second half of the show so Gourry will have to keep on switching between acting casual and intense in the blink of an eye. “Light come forth!” is his catchphrase and it signals that Gourry is going to use his legendary Sword of Light. While Lina is a magic specialist, Gourry is a more traditional fighter. He uses his swordsmanship to attack opponents and he wasn’t really aware of demons and monsters before the series began. Ultimately, Gourry tries to be a nice guy whenever possible, but things don’t typically work out for him.

Zelgadis starts off as a fairly intense villain and he slowly starts to warm up to the heroes by the halfway mark of the series. His skin is that of a golem’s and he wants to find a way to turn himself back to normal. To do this, he must defeat Rezo and possible use the philosopher’s stone. It’s going to be tough though and his journey could be a long one. He makes for a decently good ally, but I prefer when he meets up with the heroes from time to time instead of travelling with them. He just ends up being the straight man in all of the jokes and he just brings the humor down. He works better as a rival figure than as an ally. He’s definitely one of the better characters in the show though and he’s possibly the only other hero who can fight alongside Lina as a magic master.

Sylphiel joins the cast towards the end of the show and she has known Gourry from back in the day. She’s very soft spoken and is a Hinata type character. If you don’t know about Hinata, just know that Sylphiel always starts off her sentences by saying “Gourry dear” and she typically doesn’t fight when the going gets tough. She did have one really good scene where she blocked a huge blast that Lina and Zelgadis couldn’t stop with their combined effort, but it was just another outlier since she never shows that level of ability again. Towards the end of the show, she can barely muster up a fire arrow, which was a little sad. She’s definitely not my kind of character and she really blew it at the end of the show when she tackled Lina to protect the planet at the cost of her friends. That’s not a good trade off and especially when you realize that the planet likely would have been okay anyway.

Shabranigdo is one of the big villains from the first arc. He gets a whole lot of hype from one of the very first episodes and it never dies down. I was one of the first people to jump on the hype train so I was really hoping that he would end up looking impressive. Luckily, I was not disappointed! His character design is decently similar to Zorc’s and this beast is worthy of the term “Kaiju.” He doesn’t get to fight the heroes while at full power, but he still puts on quite the display. He’s above the usual spectrum of emotions so he’s pretty detached from everyone when he appears. He actually congratulates the heroes at one point so you know that he doesn’t take these things personally. He was easily the best character in the series and I hope that he returns someday.

Rezo is the main villain of the series and he is basically around for the whole series in a sense. The first arc shows how he became mad in his quest to heal his eyes. He decides to resurrect Shabranigdo so that the monster can help him so he naturally crosses paths with the heroes. He’s known to be incredibly powerful, but we don’t get to see him use that many attacks before the arc is over. His design is very interesting and he’s as sinister as they come, but I still preferred Shabranigdo.

Arc 2 changes things as Rezo’s goal switches. The heroes are shocked to see that he is around since the end of Arc 1 was pretty dicey. He decides that the heroes must die and his powers have grown by a considerable amount. Arc 2 was more action packed than the first half so the fights were a lot better and we really got to see his abilities. With a single attack, Rezo was able to take down the entire city and he consistently beats up the main characters with ease. He also grows to be a lot more confident as he challenges Lina to use her strongest attacks on him so that he can prove his superiority. I definitely gained a lot of respect for the character and Arc 2 Rezo is much better than the first half Rezo in just about every area.

Eris worked for Rezo and she was pretty distraught to see him go down the path of evil. Unfortunately, her loyalty to her master is pretty misplaced since it ends up turning her into a warrior for darkness as well. It’s hard to gauge her abilities since she rarely fights, but it would appear that she is a decent sorceress. I can’t say that she is too likable though and her goals are pretty hard to sympathize with. She appears out of nowhere and then gets thrown back out of the spotlight just as quickly.
Amelia is another addition to Lina’s party and it’s safe to say that she’s easily one of the better characters. She’s always talking about justice while striking really dramatic poses. She’s not all talk though since she also has access to a wide variety of light and fire magic spells. She can hold her own in a fight and she can prove to be just as dangerous as Zelgadis and Lina when she’s serious. (Which is very rare I’m afraid) She helps the team to stay light during serious moments and the heroes could really use the firepower. It’s also ironic since she may be the only heroic member of the group besides Gourry until Sylphiel joined up. Amelia is also very polite so she’s really the polar opposite of Lina and she could easily pass for the main heroine of the show if you didn’t know better.

Prince Phil is Amelia’s father and he also strongly believes in Amelia. Their character personalities are very similar, but Amelia pulls it off a lot better than Phil. Phil gets insulted by the heroes a lot since he’s not the prince that they had been expecting, but he has a strong bond with Amelia. A running gag is that he may just be a human, but he can still hold his own against all kinds of monsters and demons. Phil is not to be underestimated and I may not have been a huge fan of him, but he was still a good character. He’s just better in small doses so he shouldn’t appear too much.

Zangulus is Gourry’s rival in the second half of the show and he’s a pretty decent character. He fights with honor and he may be a villain, but he’s not downright evil. He just wants a good fight and you could argue that he basically turns into a hero by the end. It all depends on where he goes from that point of course, but I definitely wouldn’t mind if he stayed as a hero. He’s very determined and he follows the heroes across the whole world until he finally gets his big fight. His sword is able to shoot blasts of wind that are very dangerous and Gourry may have been done for if not for his sword of light.

Vrumugun is Zangulus’s parter and he was a decent character at first, but he quickly dropped after a certain plot twist. He can give Lina a good fight when necessary, but it’s clear who the better fighter is. He doesn’t have much of a personality though since he basically lives for the mission. Even when the heroes are heading to the place that Vrumugun wants them to go, he can’t help but try to fight them some more. He also gets humiliated during a play that the heroes performed, which was pretty sad for him.

One of the negatives for Slayers would be that there can be some heard fanservice. “What’s heard fanservice sir? I don’t believe that’s a real term…” Well, it is now! Basically, “heard fanservice” is when you talk about something fanservicey without actually showing it. For example, Lina gets teased about her chest a lot and I would still consider that to be fanservice in a sense. Luckily, the show does a good job of not really showing it. There are the occasional moments where Gowry will fall on Lina and make a grab, but luckily they are few and far in between. “That time of the month” is also a running gag for about 2-3 episodes, which can get a little old. This is an area where the light nature of the show really helps since the moments are really used for humor. Unfortunately, it’s definitely not my kind of humor, but the show glosses over this as quickly as possible so the scenes don’t last for as long as they could. This does hurt the show, but it won’t actually cripple it. This is nowhere near as bad as many other titles and the 90’s animation also helps since it’s so old school. Shows had more class back then…

The animation for Slayers holds up pretty well. It’s fairly old so you shouldn’t expect it to look like Accel World or something like that, but this show did come during a pretty good time for character designs. The 90s were fun in that respect and all of the characters should be instantly iconic. Memorizing the names is pretty effortless as well since they’re all straightforward. You can see how the show was inspired from DBZ as it shares many of the same sound effects and the energy blasts look fairly similar. One of the fighters even powers up before unleashing his strongest attacks in very DBZish moments.

The soundtrack is good, but I wouldn’t call it great. The tunes aren’t extremely memorable and I mostly just remember the To Be Continued music as well as the title theme. Others I would recognize if I heard them, but I probably couldn’t keep them in mind from my head. They fit in pretty well while you’re watching the show, although I wouldn’t mind if they added some fast paced rock themes. (They would just need to extend some of the fight scenes)

The dub voices definitely need to be mentioned. Most of the dubs in the 80s to 90s can sound a little interesting at times since they are so old at this point. There is typically a lot of gravel or a hoarseness in the voices as the transition wasn’t as smooth as it is now. That being said, Slayers takes it to a new level and you can argue that the voices are the worst or the most unique that you’ve heard before. There’s nothing wrong with Lina’s voice, but let’s take Gourry. He takes the oblivious strong, but not very smart guy voice to a new level. His voice is completely flat and he talks in a way that will purposely make you chuckle. Sylviel’s voice is the kind of voice that you know you would never hear in real life. She doesn’t put emotions into her words and her voice is way too light. Zelgadis talks like he’s half whispering in the first half and his voice ends up being flat as well. Amelia is the opposite as her voice is very high and it can almost sound like screeching. To an extent, I have to imagine that this was done on purpose. Maybe the voice director just thought that it sounded really cool or something. So, it depends on how you use the word “worst.” Technically, I would probably say that it is, but the voices actually help to make the show more entertaining. It fits the comedy undertones of the show so I’m actually glad that the dubbing is not more refined. If it is intentional, then I have to give the show some major props there. It’s an interesting tactic and it’s one that really works out well for the show.

There are several other side characters that I did not mention, but they are pretty unimportant. We had a fish man whose design was creepier than you could imagine. The voice made him appear to be quite the threat. Zelgadis also had two minions and one of them was pretty bold. He mentioned how humans have surpassed monsters and his speech is pretty brilliant as he attacks Shabranigdo. It’s a moment that you can probably imagine ending pretty badly for the guy, but at least he gave it his all I suppose.

Going back to the inconsistent power levels for a second, it can be a little jarring. Lina is able to go up against one of the four legendary priests in one scene and then she’s having trouble with your garden variety monsters in the next one. It appears like Lina just likes to troll her allies sometimes, but it goes a little far. We know that she’s immensely powerful and she somehow seems to know just about every spell so they may as well play it straight. There are quite a few third wall breaking moments to also make sure that the show doesn’t get too serious. It’s pretty interesting since the show is very direct on this approach. Gourry also suffers from this since he is usually an expert swordsman, as seen when he faces his rival, but he can also be pretty helpless at other times. For better or worse, it’s just the kind of show that Slayers is I guess. Every show has its weakness so having a minor one like this isn’t bad.
Overall, Slayers is a pretty fun anime. If not for the chest insults and other bits of mild fanservice, I probably wouldn’t have any issues with the show. It’s a light hearted adventure where it’s easy to get into the show after only a few episodes. It helps to remind me why I miss the 90’s and the show brings back most of the elements that you just don’t get in today’s shows. The cast is pretty likable and the villains are also pretty interesting. The second half definitely ramps up the action and we also get one or two scenes that are decently violent, but it’s a good trade off. (You still will be shocked when one of the characters dies since it just doesn’t feel like Slayers for a while there) Of course, the show can definitely work on its transition between action and comedy. The show needs to be a little more subtle about it since it can wreck the overall power levels. Slayers is a big franchise and this is just the beginning so I’m sure that it won’t be the final review that we’ll see on the blog. I recommend this show if you’re looking for a fun adventure or a nice, retro anime. You should be pretty pleased with the experience and I can see why it is so popular. Time to see if the next show can match this one!

Overall 7/10