Which Anime/Studio has the best animation?

It’s been a little while since I did my last editorial so it’s time to finally get back with it. I’ve had this one in drafts for a bit. Animation is certainly a critical aspect for any show you’re watching. You can have the world’s best script but if the animation is terrible or sub par then it’s going to hurt the product. Likewise if an anime has stellar animation then even if the story and such isn’t great it can at least be visually exciting to watch. Some anime know how to make what would usually be standard dialogue really interesting with the visuals or general angle direction while others allow a show to just drag on. For example shows like Railgun and Dr. Stone have excellent direction while to this day I would say Naruto Shippuden’s is pretty weak where it actually succeeds in making parts of the war not very eventful.

I’ve broken this down into a few categories though to tackle some of the nuance for animation. In general I consider hand drawn to be the absolute best. When in doubt always go for traditional hand drawn because you can’t go wrong there. The next tier would be CGI. CGI is at its best when it is supporting hand drawn such as the auras in Dragon Ball Super or many of the attacks in Fate Stay Night. When you blend it together it can look amazing but when the whole show is CGI…it usually can’t keep to the same standard. Your final resort is flash animation. You’re very limited with this style but of course that makes it all the more impressive when you can nail down a good fight. Teen Titans Go for example is a show that manages to have a good fight once in a blue moon. Don’t even get me started on claymation or such for a show though. Let’s….just not.

Best looking anime: One Punch Man

While this is a pretty easy pick for me it’s fairly relative. I would consider shows like Fate Stay Night, Sword Art Online, and Railgun to also be at a really high level like this. Part of what helps One Punch though is that it’s only 12 episodes though and each episode is just at such an insanely high level. Madhouse deserves the props for this one. They grabbed a whole lot of talent for this show and it really shows. Whether you pick a fight like Genos vs Saitama, Boros vs Saitama, or really any fight in the season it looks incredible. It’s hard to see a show beating this one outright but animation is something that is always improving so I certainly would not count it out. For something like this that’s tech based there is always something ready to surpass you at any moment.

Best animation company: Ufotable

So when I’m talking best animation here, I’m thinking about what company comes to mind first when I’m thinking of a bunch of incredibly solid looking anime. Ufotable may not have nearly the extensive resume as other companies like Pierrot, Toei, and J.C. Staff but the shows/movies they do churn out tend to look amazing. Just look at Fate and Demon Slayer. They consistently make waves with how good looking the products are and they keep it up for the whole run. You can tune in to any episode of Fate and expect the same high quality animation. There are no episodes that look bad or off model. That’s very impressive. There’s always a lot of attention to detail so every little movement adds up and it flows together like very few anime can match.

Favorite animation company: Studio Pierrot

All right, so what do I mean by favorite? Well, Pierrot I would say is the strongest company. Not only do they have incredible animation but they do it for incredibly long running shows. Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, and then recently Black Clover are great examples of this. Sure, an individual level may not be able to quite reach Ufotable and it’s hard to take down One Punch from Madhouse, but the shows above are 12-26 episodes. These three shows from Pierrot are over 100 episodes and they look excellent. I know Clover gets a lot of shots fired for its animation for some reason but the fights tend to all be rather top tier. To date there’s only one big fight where I didn’t care for the animation and in that case they were experimenting with a different style that didn’t clique but it’s not like they got lazy or anything.

You can watch pretty much any Bleach fight right now and they all hold up amazingly. Yu Yu Hakusho’s fights still have a lot of impact to them and Black Clover has a lot of energy. This is why Pierrot’s always been my favorite company. They always turn up when they need to and I think it takes a special skillset to really handle these kinds of long running anime. It’s just very difficult and seeing as how these three are some of the best looking anime I’ve seen for 100+ titles then it stands to reason that Pierrot can make a case for being the best company. I won’t put them as the best, but they’re certainly my favorite.

Most up and down animation: J.C. Staff

I thought about Studio Deen for this one since they also get a lot of shots fired but I actually haven’t seen a whole lot from them. What I have seen (Original FSN and Orphen 2020) have been pretty solid. Particularly Orphen 2020 which had a lot of dynamic moments. So J.C. Staff would be my main pick for this one. Mainly because at their best when they have time they tend to churn out some phenomenal titles. I don’t think it’s even debatable that Railgun S and T look amazing. The first season was quality as well and to date I’ve always really liked the very first Railgun from the original Index season a lot. Then you have some of the more recent titles where they’ve had a bit of a tough time like parts of Index III, Accelerator, and One Punch Season 2. So the first gif I’ve attached is the big rematch with Accelerator while below is more of a low key fight from an earlier season. I would make the case that the fight below looks better despite the one above being a lot more important narrative-wise. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad looking fight per say, but it would get destroyed by pretty much every Railgun S/T battle when it should be able to compete with those. Especially considering a character like Accelerator who has so many cool abilities as part of the vectors.

In these cases I would say it’s less about animation being bad/off model and more about just taking a lot of animation shortcuts. For example, instead of animating a full jump, zooming out so the character appears far. Effectively using less animation to get the same visual across. It’s noticeable but it’s not necessarily going to look really bad. There are many companies you could choose for worse animation but J.C. seems to work well for range since at their best they can keep up with anyone and at their worst you feel like they’re taking on too much work. They do seem to be taking a bigger workload than the other companies though. Just compare their history to the other anime companies I’ve already listed. It’s a huge section to sift through.

Worst looking anime Pop Team Epic

Keep in mind of course and this applies to all categories but I’m only considering anime I’ve seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like Berserk would go under this. From what I’ve seen Pop Team deserves this almost hands down. The only show close to it would be FLCL which also looks awful. That first season is borderline unwatchable…I mean the same is true for the sequels but at least the animation got better in those. So Pop Team has to take this. The fact that there is a ton of reused footage in every single episode just further reinforces my point. The show needed the bare minimum of animation and it couldn’t even pull that off. Of course it’s a style choice but that can also just be an excuse to not animate a whole lot. The styles keep changing throughout and yet it looks awful episode after episode. When recommend anime to anyone I can tell you that this would probably be my last choice.

Best looking CGI show- RWBY

RWBY is totally computer generated and you know I had to include RWBY in somewhere here right? The fact that Rooster Teeth has made this show so effectively on what is considered a fairly low budget makes me wonder why every other company struggles so hard with CGI? Clearly anime know how to use it well when fusing it with hand drawn but why is it so hard when a show is completely CGI? I don’t get it. It shouldn’t be so hard. Maybe time consuming short term but in the long run since your character models can adapt to the animation paths it should save you time I don’t see why it can’t be polished more. RWBY continues to show us what true solid animation is and it allows me to keep on hoping that one day CGI shows will all be held to this bar.

So that’s my roster for best looking animation for shows/companies. As you can probably see from my selections I do really enjoy traditional looking anime a lot. A lot of times the more “unique” and out of the box anime don’t work quite as well. Additionally I like striking colors. It’s why you probably wouldn’t see a lot of the more mainstream theater films making the list. For example movies like Your Name or even Digimon Tri tend to go for a more washed out look so there’s less color. Compare that to the show version like the original Digimon Adventure or Pokemon and the color is basically exploding off of the screen. More color is always a good thing and if you throw that in with seamless animation and colorful special abilities then you’re really in business. For that reason action shows will always have an edge over other titles because there is more that you can do to show off the animation. By that token in theory it should also be easier to see if a show is low budget though so high risk high reward. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the winners for the various categories change over the years but right now they all have a pretty strong position in the rankings.

Azumanga Daioh: The Very Short Movie Review

I recently saw the Azumanga Daioh show so now it’s time for the short movie pilot/intro special. I enjoyed it more than the show because of its impressive pacing and improved animation. I suppose it’s easier to give a 4-5 minute short a high budget because of how short it is, but it would have been really neat if the whole show could have been animated at this high level. Aw well, it is what it is.

So, the new girl on the block has entered the school. Her name is Chiyo and her hair is detachable. One of her classmates finds this out the hard way as her hair tries to escape the building when Osaka pulls it out. This leads to a big chase scene where Chiyo gets pretty upset and Osaka realizes that it’s all her fault. Yukari makes fun of the students in another scene and Sasaki remembers that one time she got bit by a cat. A lot is constantly happening and this could have worked very well as the first episode. Everyone is still in the same class and everything, but none of them know each other yet (Except for Tomo and Yomi who were already friends) so it’s a way to introduce the characters before they all get to know each other. You see a bit of their personalities, quirks, etc. In the show they all got together almost immediately so we didn’t have much time to meet them.

As I mentioned, the animation is quite sharp here. There’s a lot more movement than in the show and all of the designs feel more modern by a few years. The colors really pop out of you and everyone is extra shiny. I’ve always considered J.C. Staff to be one of the better animating companies out there so I was surprised at the full show. This shows that they’ve still got the talent, I guess they just had to rush too much to really use it on the main show. There’s not much to say about the music. I suppose you really can’t hope to use much when you’ve only got around 4 minutes to show off.

Overall, This special is only about 4 minutes long so it’s not as if you can really say a whole lot about it. That being said, it was fun and none of my negatives from the show apply here. It’s not repetitive and none of the really unlikable characters got to appear either. Right away that was nice to see and since the special tried cramming in as many jokes as possible, we didn’t get to see any of them repeat. It was all pretty original and the pacing did a good job with that. It’s 4 minutes that doesn’t feel long but covers a lot which is always the final goal in this. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

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

Slayers Revolution Review

I’m closing in on the end of the Slayers franchise. It’s been a fun ride and this is certainly one of the definitive fantasy franchises out there. Revolution is certainly a lot newer than the other TV shows and you can tell as the animation is much brighter and more colorful compared to the old ones. Gone is the classic 90’s style and you can say hello to the 2000’s. The budget is consistently good for the animation and it is a lot of fun to see the classic cast return.

Slayers Revolution is only 13 episodes so that means that the plot can move at a much quicker pace than it usually would. A mysterious rabbit with hands for ears appears one day and starts destroying magical tanks. The cops believe that Lina Inverse is behind this so they hire special investigator Wizer Frayon so arrest her. To prove her innocence and get vengeance on the rabbit Lina and friends decide to find him. That being said, forces beyond what they may comprehend are also at play in the shadows. A kingdom which fell to a plague is involved and an evil kingdom is seeking the use the Zanaffar armor to make themselves a legitimate threat to the rest of the world. Finally, what does Zellos have to do with all of this?

While the series is only 13 episodes, it still makes time for some filler episodes. One of them involved a boulder contest as the heroes had to make the best golem possible to defeat the others and roll a ball up a legendary mountain. Pokota (The rabbit) decided to get involved as well for a fairly enjoyable one shot episode. Slayers has always been a series that had a lot of filler around to keep things from getting too serious with the main storyline. As far as the fillers go, they weren’t bad here and I at least did enjoy that one. The series is at its best when the show gets back to the plot though.

The beginning of the show is a little slow, but it starts to get more exciting as it shows up. Especially once the assassin, Zuuma, shows up. He’s fairly powerful for an opponent and then the heroes set sail for the evil kingdom to settle things once and for all. The final 5-6 episodes are essentially one long climax that takes a few pauses before continuing each time. The climax can certainly hold its own against any of the older titles. (It can’t win though, but it can hold its own) You’ll want to be ready for the giant monster at the end!

The series does a good job of mixing comedy with action as per usual. I’d say that Slayers has been modernized in a good way in that it is still similar to how it used to be in a nostalgic way. You could even make the case that Revolution feels more like a Shonen than the previous titles at times since the action was really nonstop for almost half of the series at the end. While Next still had some of the best fight scenes in the franchise, the sheer power of the animation keeps it close here.

As I mentioned earlier, the animation never lets up and it’s worlds beyond what we saw in the previous shows. One look at the theme song will show you that this series means business and that’s especially good news for all of the energy attacks, which have never looked so vibrant. As this is J.C. Staff, I’m not surprised since they are certainly one of the best animation companies on the block. I look forward to seeing how great the next show looks.

As for the humor, Slayers is typically funny and this series does a good job with that for the most part. The only downer in that area is the fact that the chest jokes are still present and more prevalent than ever as the villains always use this to taunt Lina before she blows them up. Still, while it is annoying, it’s probably the tamest form of fanservice that you can even have in a show and isn’t really enough to hurt the score. It also vanishes once we are around halfway through the series, which was certainly nice to see.

As always, Lina Inverse makes for a pretty great main character. She’s easily the strongest member from the main heroes and her Lord of Nightmare’s techniques really make her a threat for any opponent. She never uses the Giga Slave as the risks are probably too great, but she has many other spells at her disposal to tip the scales. While I would have liked for her to have beaten up Zellos to show how skilled she is, Lina always has a plan up her sleeve. It’s hard to find a more likable main character than Lina and I’m confident that she will always be a likable protagonist at this point. When I think of epic anime heroines, Lina is certainly near the top.

Gourry is true to form as you would expect. He’s still a fun character to root for and you’ll feel bad for him since he no longer has the Sword of Light. For most of the series, that does prevent him from being useful and he tends to be in the way during a fight scene. He tries hard, but it’s tough to manage when you have a sword that breaks over and over again. He gets a great fight scene at the end of the show to make up for this tough and he certainly outranks most of the supporting cast members.

Zelgadis used to be the intense rival character of the show, but he’s typically played for laughs in the current seasons. He has a lot of serious moments as well, but he’s so weak that you really can’t take him seriously. While teaming up with Amelia, he was barely able to beat a puppet. His skills have definitely stopped improving and they may have regressed over the years. At this point, he’s easily the weakest member of the main group, but I suppose that he means well.
Amelia is certainly a more likable character than Zelgadis and her search for peace and justice is one of the reasons why the character is so endearing. It’s also good to see a fighter using magic as a close combat type of attack instead of just shooting energy blasts all the time. She’s still not quite as strong as Lina, which we saw in the filler episode where the two fought, but Amelia has become a dependable fighter in her own right. Unlike Lina and her other pals, Amelia never allows herself to be corrupted and tries to help everyone that she can.

Zellos makes an appearance in this season and his role was actually a little larger than I would have guessed. He mostly sticks to the shadows, but actually gets to fight at one point when he challenges Lina and her friends. That was great since we haven’t seen him fight in a very long time. He easily overpowered them and showed why the main characters would always be outranked. Even if their spells can destroy him, they can never hit because of the large gap in speed. Zellos was a fun villain to have in this series and he’s certainly gone up since Next. The new voice an intriguing switch and I’ll have to get used to just about all of the new voices, but it’s not like I’ll have to get used to them for very long at this rate. I expect to see him in the next season as well.

Sylphiel appears briefly for the final fight, which will be cool for long time fans. As in the first show, she starts off with a very impressive scene as she blocks a blast from the legendary Zanaffar. After that, she quickly forgets how to be a fighter though and goes back to fainting and being in distress. It’s odd as the exact same thing happened in the first season. Maybe that’s just her gimmick. She obviously has a lot of combat potential, but it’ll likely never be explored. She’s a good character, but a longer action scene would have helped a lot.

Pokota is one of the new main characters for this season and it’s safe to say that he’s not holding back in terms of personality. It doesn’t really work for me even though the show was trying to go for the tough guy routine. I can’t take him seriously in his present form and his quest to destroy the magic tanks felt pretty futile since they can be manufactured so easily. He has a tragic past and a few twists as well, but he didn’t really add anything to the show. He’s great at running and somehow knows how to use the Dragon Slave, but he was never very helpful when actual villains arrived. It’s a classic example of a character who’s great against heroes, but bad against villains. Sort of like the police in your average super hero film. They can sometimes have the edge against Batman, but fail to stop random muggers. Pokota certainly didn’t do wonders for the cast, but he should be a little better in the next season since he’ll have mellowed out a little.

Duclis is one of the big villains and his plot ties into Pokota’s. Duclis wants to make the world pay for abandoning his people in their time of need and gets a giant monster ready to destroy everyone. Towards the end, he loses confidence in his goal and basically just decides to leave everything up to fate. He had a solid design and his light saber was cool, but he’s certainly not one of the more interesting villains around. I also wouldn’t say that he was a great threat power wise although he was a decent fighter. The show hyped up a fight between him and Lina, but it got interrupted before it could start, which was regrettable.

Gioconda was probably the worst villain here though as she was fairly generic. She just wanted to become richer and richer with every passing year. A noble goal, but when you’re already a multi billionaire…what use is more money? She already had her own kingdom, army, and castles. I just wonder why she would need more money or power, but goals don’t always have to make sense I suppose. She’s a decent fighter when she has a weapon, but I’m confident that Gourry would have had the edge if he had the Sword of Light. As it stands, he was holding back anyway. Gioconda’s android was much more memorable and she also seemed to be a better fighter as she could heal.

Zuuma is an assassin who really wants to destroy Lina Inverse. He is a human who knows quite a few good spells and his shadow magic can nullify all other spells. That’s definitely a very handy technique to have against someone like Lina since he would have the edge over her in a sword fight. He did a good job of handling the whole team and I have a feeling that he’s going to do quite well in the next season as well. He was certainly the best villain here and a great addition to the overall cast.

Zanaffar is the big monster who appears at the end of the show and works quite well as the final boss. He can actually talk, which was certainly a good thing and his abilities were impressive. He is impervious to most spells and he has a giant laser blast which can deal massive amounts of damage. I don’t think that he could be Shabranigdo, but he could give the other giant monsters a decent fight. His lack of speed is probably the main thing that holds him back, but that’s where his immunity to magic comes in. He’s a solid all around boss when you really think about it.

As I mentioned earlier, the best part of the series is the last 5-6 episodes, but the best episode of the batch would probably be the 3 on 3 fight in the Gladiator Ring. That was a lot of fun and we got to see how some of the fighters handle themselves individually. Because Lina is always surrounded by her friends, we rarely get to see her fight on her own. It’s why I was sad that she didn’t end up fighting Duclis. If that’s one thing that Slayers Revolution needed more of, it was one on one fights. Next actually had several of them and I suppose that it is one of the perks of being about double the size of this show. The pros easily outweigh the cons for long running series and I’d gladly take another 10 fillers if it meant that we would get 3 more episodes with some great fight scenes. A longer Gourry vs Zuuma fight would have been great as well since you could tell that it would be a really fun rivalry.

As for the soundtrack, Slayers Revolution certainly doesn’t disappoint there. The theme song is easily the best one in the franchise and the theme is quite catchy. It plays during the climax of the arc and certainly fits in quite well. The ending theme is also solid and the music that appears during the show is good as well. While not amazing, there were two themes during the episodes that I certainly liked. One was the danger approaching theme (Not the title, but that’s the best way to describe it) which occurred whenever things were looking bad for the heroes and the normal battle theme was also decently good. The theme song is what really helps the series as the soundtrack can be a little bland otherwise, but certainly still good and it fits for the series. It fits so well that a lot of the tunes have been present for the whole franchise.

Slayers also ends this season with a lot of cliffhangers to ideally be wrapped up in the next installment. The Android who helped Lina and friends seems to be part of a bigger scheme and the Rezo jars are still around the world. If they are all destroyed, Rezo will die as well. We also can’t forget the fact that the heroes need to find Rezo and fast if they are to awaken Pokota’s people. These plots and more, you can bet that the next show is going to have a lot of action and even Zuuma shall return if you saw the after credits scene. He has the jar and he has the power. The heroes barely stopped him last time and unless Gourry is able to keep on using the Sword of Light, the heroes could be outclassed.
Overall, Slayers Revolution was quite good and the 13 episode set up worked well for the series. One thing that hurt Slayers Try a little was the large amounts of filler that the series had, which kept you from getting too invested in the story. Part of the appeal of Slayers is the random adventures that they have, but I prefer to have all of the filler before the main plot or after it so that it isn’t interrupted too much. That rarely happens though and it still works out all right, but the short length of the series forced it to go at a rapid pace. Whether you have seen the other Slayer titles or not, this is a fun fantasy/action anime to check out. I would highly recommend still watching the other Slayers shows if you liked this one though as you will see their origin stories and learn a lot more about the universe as a whole. There are a lot of wink-wink moments to season 1 for the fans and it’s always fun to know the references. I’ll be checking out the next show soon and we’ll see if it can manage to top this one.

Overall 7/10