Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Gorgeous Review

Looks like it is time to check out the next Slayers movie! We are nearing the end of the franchise so let’s see if this film could hold its own. After the last OVA, I was ready for something to get the Slayers formula right this time. Luckily, I was not disappointed as this film is the best Slayers one yet and besides the shows, it is the best Slayers product. This is how you get the blend between comedy and action right. I hope that the writers are taking notes.

Lina and Naga head over to a peaceful looking town to have their next meal. The tacos/wraps in this place are really good and it seems like the heroes will finally have a peaceful time. This does not last for long though as the inhabitants of the town go indoors. There is a civil war going on in the city between the King and The Princess over a matter so serious and deadly that the heroes have no real response to the issue. Lina decides to help the King out, but her mission proves to be much more difficult than expected when Naga joins the Princess’ side! Why is Naga doing this? Can Lina still win!? That’s the basic premise of the film.

This may sound like the average Slayers plot so what makes this one so much better than the others? (Keep in mind that I did like the first film as well, but this film is simply the best one) For starters, the film wisely decided to let go of the fanservice problems that have plagued the two OVAs. Naga’s outfit is still fairly revealing, but the animators don’t pay special attention to it. It’s essentially reduced to a non factor. We have no random hot spring scenes to get us either so the film effectively solved the problem. There is no real fanservice here and that’s already a big advantage over the OVA.

Next up, the animation is much better than the OVA and it could be the best animation that we have seen in Slayers aside from Next and even that is debatable. Next had better animation for the overall character models, but this one gives it a run for its money when it comes to energy blasts. You could tell that the animators gave the battle between the princess and Lina their all as the animation was much better than the other scenes in the film. It really worked out well for the action scenes. The rest of the film looks good as well, but its the fights that take it out of the good range and into the greats!

The final big reason for why this film was an improvement ties into the animation somewhat. As I’ve mentioned before, the balance between comedy and action is a tricky one and Slayers does mess it up quite often. The important thing is that Slayers has been able to get it right and this is an example of just that. There’s a good amount of comedy here like why the Princess is in a war with her father, and numerous other scenes that I could mention throughout the film. Naga’s actions are almost all for crazy reasons that could be called comedy. This is the bets way to use comedy, crazy reasons and illogical motivations to do things may be the best way to use humor.

Then, still play their actions off seriously even if their reasons or not. That is what the film does and we do get more than one serious fight. This film had the best Lina vs Naga fight that we have seen and the battle with the princess was also really good. That’s 2 really good fights in one movie and 2 more than we saw in either OVA. Slayers typically doesn’t have any real fights for the spinoffs as Lina quickly dominates or comedy steals the fight. Not this time! That was great since watching a movie level fight is a good incentive for any film.

Slayers still uses a lot of retro tunes, but there are some remixes, which are present. That livens things up as I have been saying that Slayers needs a new soundtrack. Remixes aren’t completely new, but they are the next best thing so I suppose that they will do. The songs still sound good and my favorite one is easily the end song that plays during the end of all the movies. The final scene with the coin is always slightly altered, which is fun. The most satisfying ending was probably the second time as Lina got away with the coin. In this one, a bird jumps in to save the day. Good for the bird if you ask me!

As always, Lina is a very good main character. While not always heroic, she still does whatever’s necessary to earn her gold. It is sad for her since she never manages to get her gold coins in the end thanks to various circumstances. She may have been able to have gotten her reward money if she had stuck around during the ending, but chasing off The Princess was evidently more fun for her. Lina’s reputation continues to grow larger and larger. Whole armies of dragons back off at the sound of her name now, which is pretty neat. Her spells ensure that Lina is still the strongest fighter among the humans and she proves this on more than one occasion. While Sailor Moon may be the most popular main heroine for anime, I dare say that Lina could be the best one.

Naga is back to being a traitor, but she is an amusing one and doesn’t make a single bad joke this time. That means that her portrayal in this film was actually really good and she makes for a fun rival. Her laugh is certainly iconic and potentially one of the best ones of all time. Joining the enemies on a whim or just to help them laugh more effectively is pretty ingenious. You certainly can’t say that she is not an original character. While Naga will never be as powerful as Lina, her abilities still aren’t bad and she can land a decent amount of damage. If Naga could always look like this, I’d certainly be a fan of hers. Unfortunately, her portrayal is rarely this good. I don’t think that she’s ever looked this good to be honest.

The final Dragon Boss is very intense and fans should definitely like him. He’s very huge and his abilities are so great that he is able to block a Dragon Slave blast at point blank range. There is a big twist about him, which could affect how fans see him, but he still looked so good before the twist that I think we can excuse him a little. Learning about the twist should actually give you more respect for the character depending on how you look at it. The final boss really talks tough and isn’t someone that you will want to mess with.

As for the two main filler characters, they weren’t bad. The King was more reasonable than most of the others and an actual character. I could agree with his thought processes and the demands of the Princess were certainly a bit much. The King is fairly courageous and a good person deep down. The Princess is rather unreasonable with her demands and did attempt to destroy some people so I’d say that she was a loose cannon. That being said, she could actually fight, which was impressive. Of course, there is a plot twist, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that she is able to fight in close quarters and doesn’t back down after hearing Lina’s name. She gives us a proper fight and that’s a good thing.

Overall, Slayers Gorgeous finally presents us with the Slayers film that we’ve needed. This is exactly how a film should be handled and every part of it was satisfying. The fights were excellent and really got to show off some solid animation. The writing was at its best and all of the characters were fairly good. The humor was finally back on track as well. This film eliminated all of the negatives that I had for the franchise and that resulted in a film that had no negatives. Everything about it was good. That doesn’t mean that I am about to throw out a 10 or a 9 as other films still outrank it and thiss title was very short, but it is still much better than the average title. I highly recommend this if you are a Slayers fan and it is also a great way to get started with the franchise. You certainly don’t need to watch much else to get what is happening since Slayers doesn’t bother much with exposition in the films beyond what you need to know. The next film is going to have a very tough time keeping up with this one!

Overall 8/10

4 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Slayers Excellent Review

Slayers has had some ups and downs as a franchise. Due to its unique mix of comedy and action in the main shows, it can be hit or miss. The shows are able to utilize this quite well and the movies have had success as well. For some reason, the OVAs are the ones that have a lot of problems. Just like the first OVA, this one was not very good. It focused way too much on the fanservice and comedy angle while neglecting the action that brought this series a lot of fame and fortune.

There are three episodes in this OVA. The first one involves the initial encounter between Naga and Lina, which is how their adventures ultimately began. Naga will stop at nothing to defeat Lina, which proves to be a thorn in the side of the main character. Naga may be decently powerful, but she’s also reckless and leaves a lot of damage and devastation in her wake. She claims to be Lina’s rival, but she’s really more of a tag along at this point.

It’s intriguing to see how these two met, but I can’t say that a whole lot came out of it. After the first few minutes, we are essentially back to the status quo except for the fact that Naga is trying really hard to surpass Lina when in the current days, she is already accepted as a rival. The episode had potential, but then the OVA decided to play up the fanservice angle. I’ll mostly talk about that towards the end of the review. Needless to say, of the three episodes, this was likely fell in the middle. I’m glad that Lina essentially proved that these two fighters aren’t even close, but more of a serious fight would have been nice.

The second episode involves a rich girl who has hired Lina to be her bodyguard. Lina accepts because of the huge sum of money that will be given to her as a reward, but this appears to be a rather large error in judgment. Lina has to pay for travel expenses and for the food so she quickly spends her reward. To teach the rich person a lesson, Lina arranges for some bandits to kidnap her, but this may backfire when real ones show up to take her!

The rich person seemed to be par for the course as far as these individuals tend to be in anime. Her laugh was very similar to Naga’s, which was eerie for Lina the whole time. Still, it wasn’t a bad segment at first, but the ending quickly drove it down to last place from the 3 episodes. It was simply terrible and an example of why mixing comedy with action is rarely done. Typically, the result is that both areas will fail and that’s what happens here. It’s one of those stories that was simply better off not happening.

Finally, we go to a village where two fashion designers argue about whether clothing should be classic or modern and risky. Lina and Naga naturally choose two different sides so then they argue about which one is better as they burn down each other’s bases. By the end, they start to learn the values of friendship, but I can’t say that it was a very entertaining episode. It’s actually tough to decide if this one actually beats the first episode or not, but I believe that I gave it a slight lead. At least Lina hesitates a little when asked to blow up the opponent’s base. Something that Naga certainly didn’t do!

All right, let’s look at the main reason why Slayers Excellent was doomed from the start. It all goes back to the fanservice angle. There isn’t a ton of it visually, but when you consider the chest insults directed at Lina, it gets to be a bit much. There was also a random hot springs scene thrown around and a lot of attention is given to Naga’s outfit. It’s seriously sad and I haven’t seen this much fanservice associated with Slayers since the first outfit. There’s nothing over the top, but it still happens enough to make me give it a thumbs down right away. This really just exposes the fact that the writers were not confident with their story so they felt like they had to add something to throw the viewers in at the expense of a few stars. A good Slayers story should always be a 7-8, but this one was not good.

At least the animation is decently good as can be expected. It’s rather old so J.C. Staff doesn’t look quite as good as they do nowadays. Right now, they are one of the best animation companies of all time. I would need to compare Slayers to other shows of this era to properly rank it, but it looks good enough. There aren’t many energy blasts after all so it’s a little harder to gauge. It has that 90’s feel, which is always a good nostalgia boost to any series. I consider DBZ to look great even though I have seen many say that it wasn’t very good even for its time.

Excellent’s soundtrack is decent although very generic at this point. The series needs to try and add in some new tunes at this point. Relying on the same classics is all well and good, but more variety is always a good thing. The new tunes may not be instant classics, but you’ll never know how good they can be if you didn’t give them a chance. These tunes are decent, but they certainly aren’t very thrilling or memorable at this point.

Lina is a good character as always. She may not be a hero, but you can still root for her as she typically only beats up opponents who get in her way. Getting rich is a noble goal and she typically doesn’t take any short cuts. Unfortunate things just tend to happen to her so that she never ends up with any money in the long run. She seriously has no luck when it comes to anything financial so it is a good thing that Lina is one of the strongest sorceresses on the planet.

Naga is really the only other recurring character and she still isn’t a good supporting character. She has some good traits like being overconfident and constantly trying to one up Lina, but that’s just not good enough to overshadow her negative qualities like the fanservice and chest comments. She also gets the duo into a lot of trouble by not thinking things through and just being very reckless. I like when characters are reckless, but when it is intentional, not accidental.

Overall, Slayers Excellent is a trilogy that you should just skip. It doesn’t add anything worthwhile to the Slayers mythos and you can essentially say that it is just poorly written filler. The actual filler in the series is better than these episodes, which really says something. The animation and soundtrack are decent, but that’s not enough to save this one. I’d advise you to skip this and just watch Slayers Next if you’re looking for a nice fantasy adventure. Slayers has a lot of different shows and movies so you just want to memorize the full titles. Next>>Try>>Gorgeous>>Whatever else the others were>>>Excellent. I do like the fact that all of the movie/OVA titles are basically synonyms. It’s a fun trend, even if the OVAs can’t live up to their titles.

Overall 4/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Great Review

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Slayers has returned with its next film! The prequel series has certainly had its ups and downs in the past so I was hoping that this one would be able to survive with the classic Slayers atmosphere. It’s a fun adventure that manages to avoid most of the pitfalls that you may have been worried about. It’s a fun adventure that may be a little light on action, but ends up being a nice addition to the franchise.

Lina and Naga are walking through town as usual when a rampaging Golem nearly trampels over a young lady. They help her so that they can possibly win a free meal, but they don’t realize that they will now be involved in an even deeper threat than they could have realized! Two Kings are fighting for control of the land. Well…I guess, they’re more like dukes as the actual king is the one who tells them how to settle this like gentlemen. They must have a golem fight and the winner claims the land. The father of the girl that Lina saved asks her to help with his golem and Naga gets an offer from the man’s son who works for the other king. It looks like money has broken the bonds of friendship between Lina and Naga. Things get personal once Lina and Naga go inside golems shaped in their forms. Everything rides on this duel!

The film is certainly very short as it barely reaches an hour. That’s not a whole lot of time so the film has to try and keep the pace up. It does help to limit the amount of screen time for some of the filler characters as they could have certainly been a little dull. I highly doubt that you will find any of them likable by the end. The main heroine is constantly complaining about how her life sucks. If you think about it seriously, her current situation is pretty sad, but she doesn’t need to keep on reminding herself of that. Her brother is very self centered and he doesn’t play fair, which makes sure that he isn’t likable. Finally, the Dad can be a little inconsiderate and over confident at times. Considering that he’s supposed to be the greatest Golem maker in the city…he doesn’t really live up to the title.

Luckily, you don’t need filler characters to be likable when you have a good main character right? Lina is as good as always. She still does the right things for the wrong reasons so that she can end up being rich and famous. These things never work out for her in the end, but at least Lina gives it a fair try. She’s also very competitive in nature so once the Golem match starts, she gets ready to win it! She is still one of the best sorceresses out there. From all of the humans in the Slayers verse she’s the most powerful hands down. The film tries to show that Naga is almost as powerful as Lina (Not equal as Lina was winning the battle when we disregard the comedy shenanigans) but I don’t buy that for a second. Lina is more experienced and tactically sound.

Naga’s attacks are good as well, but she just strikes me as a little inexperienced. Her attire of choice still leaves much to be desired, but at least the film has the decency to not focus on it all that much. The golem actually gets more fanservice than her, which is good since rock can never actually be convincing fanservice. That certainly kept the film at a higher level than it would have been otherwise. Naga’s laugh is still iconic at this point and I’m unlikely to forget it anytime soon.

The fight scene between the two Golems was done very well. It’s not taken seriously as it is a comedy battle, but it is a well written comedy battle. It goes on for a long time, but it never actually drags on. You feel bad for the Lina statue because it looks much better than Naga’s, but it’s also a lot weaker. Lina’s statue is short and chibi because that’s how the builder wanted to make it, but it means that Lina has a hard time dealing any damage. Ignoring plot hax, Naga’s statue had the clear advantage. It ultimately bites off more than it can chew when Lina goes outside to tip the scales, but since that was basically against the rules, we can essentially say that Naga actually won this battle.

Lina and Naga had a short fight in their human forms before that. The actual animation was really good for the battle, but I didn’t like how it played out. I never like it when an anime has two characters use two versions of the same attack, which results in such a stalemate. Seriously, it’s like saying that they were simply not enthusiastic enough to think of a real battle. So, the battle wasn’t handled very well, but at least Lina was shown to be the big victor there so I suppose that I can be satisfied with that.

The animation is very good here. The movie certainly has a theatrical feel to it. It feels very similar to the Pokemon movies in that respect. The soundtracks are almost identical at some points and likewise with the animation. It’s just like the first Pokemon film and you can even contrast certain scenes in the Mewtwo vs Mew fight to the Lina vs Naga battle. That’s pretty neat and Pokemon has experience being in the theater so Slayers is taking a good approach. It’s still hard to describe what the “theatrical” effect is, but the colors are simply deeper, the energy attacks darker, and the music more operatic or grand. Beyond that, it’s really in the eye of the beholder. It’s like how Battle of Gods felt anything but theatrical while the Broly film embodied everything that I could have wanted in that style. It’s all in how you handle it I suppose.

Naturally, the only mild negative is that the film still loves to use chest insults. Naga is constantly insulting Lina’s and it can certainly get old. It’s much preferable to actual fanservice, but it’s still not the greatest running gag. The fanservice is almost entirely gone here. There is a statue that’s meant as fanservice, but it’s a statue so I don’t really count it all that much. Naga’s attire certainly counts, but as I mentioned before, there is no real attention drawn to it, which helps to mitigate almost all of the damage.

That probably helps to keep it from a 7. It’s certainly a fun film, but I feel like a 6 is more deserving in this case. It’s a fun experience, but at the same time, it’s simply lacking something. A little more action would probably have been all that it would have needed to reach the next level. Maybe even some kind of epic tune although we certainly did have some good ones. I always like the end themes on these prequels as the song is quite catchy and the finishing montage does give the appearance that you just finished watching some kind of really grand adventure.

Overall, SLayers Great is fun. It may not literally be great, but it’s a good experience that brings us some classic Slayers charm. I dare say that the humor is the most well done that I’ve seen since Slayers Next and it can be good to see the old cast as a change of pace. I still think that Lina’s accent is quite brilliant and it helps you to contrast the old Lina from the current one. If you’re a Slayers fan then it goes without saying that you should watch this one. If you’re looking for a fun fantasy film to watch, then this is a good bet for you as well. You don’t need any prior knowledge of the Slayers universe to enjoy this film so just hop on and get ready for some fun.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Perfect Review

I’ve already seen the first two series (or seasons if you prefer) of Slayers and I’m currently in the middle of the third one so it’s good timing to check out the first film. It’s time to leave Gourry and friends as Lina teams up with a new ally this time…Naga! It certainly feels a lot different from the show in some regards while still keeping in many similar aspects. You could say the same about the title character, but I’ll discuss that more as we get deeper into the review. It’s a decent film, but it never manages to reach up to the level of the shows.

Lina is just enjoying a regular day of beating up thugs and gangs when she bumps into Naga, an old friend/rival. Naga informs her of some intense hot springs that are on a nearby country so they decide to go there since the Earth isn’t at stake at the moment. That changes when a wise sage visits Lina in her dreams and informs her that a demon is terrorizing many people. His name is Joyrock. Joyrock’s name may not be that scary, but his skills are respectable as it will take everything that Lina and Naga have if they want to defeat him. They also have to make time to defeat petty con artists and let people know the true nature of the hot springs. After all, the island has a ranking system so they will have to defeat all of the strong opponents if they want to become the very best!

Lina Inverse is our protagonist and she still has the reputation of being a pretty vicious fighter. That being said, she really doesn’t act like the Lina that we are used too from the TV show. She’s still pretty tough, but she has less interest in treasure and riches. Right now she is totally preoccupied with food so at least that is a trait that she has kept up with. Her abilities are also not quite as formidable as her Dragon Slave takes a lot more time to draw up and her array of attacks is considerably reduced. That being said, it’s not as if she’s going to have to face off against someone like Rezo anytime soon so she doesn’t need all of that extra power. She starts off pretty well by beating up a gang and she’s mostly taking charge during the whole film as she mows down fighter after fighter.

On the other hand, her inexperience shows at some points as well. She takes an old man’s word at face value about a special hot springs and she falls for a simple hypnosis trick. Finally, Lina doesn’t look very impressive against Joyrock. Now, Joyrock is a good fighter so I’m not going to take credit away from him on that front, but I would expect Lina to put up a longer fight. Throw some good spells at him or something! I always thought that magicians shouldn’t be afraid to just beam spam as long as their energy levels can hold out and that has never really been a problem in this series. I also have to admit that her voice really takes some getting used too. The accent is just very different from all of the other characters and it helps to make her sound younger, but it also makes her sound less self assured and confident than her TV show counterpart. I’m not sure how many years this takes place before the show, but I would guess no more than 10. I think I would probably like the voice more without the accent, but I’ll probably be used to it by the second or third film. It’ll be like Sonic’s new voice in Boom. I still end up liking it a lot as a good voice for Sonic, but nothing will beat the Adventure 2 Battle days. Overall, Lina’s still a solid protagonist who just needs to work on a few things.

I’m mostly pulling a blank on the soundtrack. I’m inclined to say that it was decent, but I can’t remember a single tune. It may be one of the most forgettable soundtracks that I’ve ever heard in an anime film. Slayers has never been at the top of its game in this area though. At least this gives the sequel an easy way to improve on this one since one good song is all that it would need to claim victory on this front.

Animation wise, it’s about on par with the first show. I’d say that it’s definitely worse than the high budget episodes of that series, but it can beat some of the earlier episodes. It’s probably not J.C. Staff’s best work, but sometimes it all depends on who works on the character designs or backgrounds. Usually, the energy blasts are what stand out, but Lina’s Dragon Slave just looked very unimpressive this time. It was just faded out and didn’t even look like it would be a threat to Joyrock. That being said, I think it would hold out pretty well if we compared it to other films of that year.

Naga is one of the big characters and she’s really similar to Martina. It’s never explained how she knows Lina, but they’ve clearly been friends for quite a while. She’s a skilled sorcerer as well although she rarely takes things very seriously. She does have a thing for hot springs though and she makes sure to put store owners on the spot if they try to use cheap ingredients to trick consumers. It’s hard to call her a hero, but at least she is usually on the side of justice if there is a reward to be had or just if she feels like it. She is unfortunately used for fanservice, but at least she typically acts like a decently good character. She’s not very likable, but as far as supporting characters go, she could certainly be worse. I’ll need to see her in more action scenes to see if she really has what it takes to stay on the crew.

Roudy is one of the main characters at the end of the film, but he doesn’t appear for most of the beginning. He’s a nice swordsman who grew up to be an old man who wasn’t quite as interesting. As a kid, he will definitely remind you of Gourry. I liked him in that form and he put up a brave fight against Joyrock, but he’s still just a kid. I guess he beat Gourry to the punch with mixing the Dragon Slave with the Sword of Light to create a form of the Giga Slave, but it’s not quite as all powerful. He was probably the best supporting character here if we ignore his elderly self. If we do not, then he ends up just being a decent character or maybe even a little unlikable.

Joyrock is the big antagonist of the film. He has a great design, but as a character he could certainly be better. He’s pretty generic and his overall goals are simply not that interesting. He’s a pretty good fighter, but you just know that he wouldn’t stand a chance if Lina had been more experienced. I guess he’s basically what you would expect from the average film villain. He doesn’t really get likable as the film goes on, but at least he treats us to some intense fight scenes. I suppose that this will have to do for now.

Naturally, Slayers Perfect’s biggest weakness is the fanservice. It’s a little more in your face than it is in the shows while still giving us more rude comments about Lina’s chest. It’s a running gag that unfortunately seems like it’s going to stick around and that’s not cool. Naga’s first appearance is quickly bogged down by fanservice as well and I could tell almost right away that this wasn’t going to be quite as good as the show. The show had some of this as well, but luckily it mostly died down after a while or we could go several episodes without it popping up. The film is only about an hour, but similar scenes occur throughout so it’s harder to cut the film any slack. I mean, just look at the poster! I had to apply some subtle edits since I thought that it would be a little too risque for the blog since this is still a family friendly blog with impressionable youngsters. So, this definitely took away a few points and was the main reason why a 7 was unattainable for Slayers.

The action scenes are pretty good when they happen. We get a few of them during Lina’s gauntlet against the island’s strongest fighters. The hypnosis couldn’t really fight, but we had someone who could multiply fish and naturally Joyrock’s fight. His stab against Lina was a pretty good cut although it was handled a little undramatic ally afterwards. The hit looked like it did a lot of damage, but in the end it appeared to be no more than a flesh wound. This is actually the main reason why I think the film should have been longer. A lot of the fights are fairly brief and a little more screen time would have been great.

Naturally, Slayers always tries to blend comedy and action together so most of the fights aren’t totally meant to be taken seriously, but a longer fight is always a better fight right? Exceptions are valid of course, but another 30 minutes would have been really good. The time travel plot also could have been longer since Lina basically had to save the day in a few minutes. That plot could have held its own hour by itself since time travel is always fun to see.

Overall, Slayers Perfect is a decent film. I would almost call it your perfectly average anime film as it has the pros and cons that you could expect from a normal film. The negatives include the excessive fan service and short duration (It’s not always a negative, but the film could have used some extra time) while the positives include some good action scenes and a solid main character. The soundtrack was surprisingly bland, but I’m sure that the sequel could get past this. I recommend checking this out if you are a big Slayers fan or if you want a fantasy adventure and don’t mind the negatives listed. That being said, you’re better off just watching the original Slayers series since it has the definitive version of Lina Inverse and Gourry is a better sidekick than Naga. Now that is the series that revolutionized the fantasy genre at the time.

Overall 5/10