Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Premium Review

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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

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Perfect Review

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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