Looks like it’s time for the next Slayers adventure. This one also takes place in the past so Lina is with Naga instead of the other fighters. This special is basically an OVA that consists of 3 episodes so you can also think of it as a mini series. Each episode has a stand alone plot, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the series. It doesn’t work this time though as this is probably the worst Slayers product yet. It’s not awful, but it just doesn’t have most of the qualities that makes Slayers a likable franchise in the first place.
The first episode involves a deal that Lina almost made with a mad scientist. Ultimately, she decided not to team up with him since he wanted to turn her into a giant monster. Years later, he has finally hunted her down with clones of Naga. Their laughter overwhelms Lina and she is brought to the enemy’s lair. Naga will now have to get past her clones to save Lina before she is turned into a Chimera. This could be her toughest mission yet!
This was definitely the weakest of the three episodes. The villain wasn’t very interesting and having the clones beat Lina so easily was pretty anticlimatic. It was unique to have Naga be the one to save her, but the actual episode just wasn’t that funny. It would have been cooler if they had just played it seriously since the actual plot could have been good otherwise. The dream sequence at the beginning is good though.
Next up, Lina and Naga are hired to protect a boy named Jeffrey. His mom wants him to get more confidence and experience in the real world so she hired some fake bandits to go on a mountain. Lina and Naga are to escort Jeffrey up the mountain so that he can vanquish these hooligans. Unfortunately, real bandits have defeated the fakes and Jeffrey turns out to be an incredibly weak fighter. Lina and Naga must defeat the villains while making it look like Jeffrey has done this on his own…which could be harder than expected.
This was the best episode of the three although that may not be saying a whole lot. The running gag of Jeffrey’s mom beating up the heroes starts to get old pretty quickly. The final boss was pretty intense until the plot twist that we had (not) been waiting for occurred. While the episodes try to start off on a serious note, they quickly go back to their comedy ways. It’s one of the things that typically makes Slayers a fun franchise, but this OVA just didn’t know how to transition from serious moments to happy times. As a result, it basically destroys the episode. At least Jeffrey has good intentions…he’ll need them since he has nothing else at his disposal.
Finally, Lina and Naga chase after a sorcerer who has stolen a mysterious mirror. He uses it to make shadow clones of the two heroines and they are opposites in every way. This means that the clone of Naga is really shy and Lina’s is a humanitarian who’s always ready for peace. Lina and Naga must get past these clones if they ever want to break the mirror once and for all. They can’t let these clones tarnish their reputations!
Using the clones plot two times in three episodes? You can tell that the writers were getting pretty desperate by now. It is certainly more entertaining than the first episode and the actual concept is pretty fun. That being said, I would have preferred a serious battle with the fakes than just watching them humiliate themselves. It’s also a bit much since I like to think that an opposite Lina would still know how to use self defense. The villain was better than the one in the first episode, but he still wasn’t a very good character.
Lina still has her accent, but she doesn’t seem as tough as in the film set around this period. She is overwhelmed by the laughing of the clones and she just doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to prove herself since there are no real villains to be found. She’s still a good main character and she’s still adventuring for riches and glory, but Lina is only a shell of her former self. We have her personality from the previous installments, but she is just there. Lina doesn’t get any big moments or fights.
Naga definitely looks a lot worse here than in the film. She may have done a good job against her clones, but she really seems to serve no purpose. When she’s not teasing Lina, she’s taking sides with the villains who fight her. She also gets blasted quite a few times by Lina when she stops paying attention to her surroundings. We know that Naga can fight, but as with Lina, she doesn’t get a chance to show this.
One of the problems that Slayers has always had is the fanservice. Typically, it is limited to chest comments, but it goes a little farther here. Naga seems to primarily appear for fanservice, which means that she doesn’t get a whole lot of character this time. Since all of her appearances involve fanservice with the usual chest comments still around, it doesn’t make for a good combo. This certainly drags down the OVA as it definitely would have gotten around a 6 without this unnecessary addition. The fantasy aspect can hold its own so the animators definitely didn’t need to resort to cheap tricks.
I never thought that I’d say this, but another one of the problems is what usually gives Slayers its greatest strength. I’m talking about the writing. It just was not up to par with what I’m used to seeing in the series and it really showed. The jokes typically relied on fanservice or overused tropes that have been played out. The banter between Gourry and Lina is gone since he isn’t here right now and Naga just doesn’t complement Lina’s character very well. It’s one of the reasons why the prequel continuity will never be as good as the main one. The supporting cast just isn’t very good. (The lack of action compared to the real deal is also a factor to be considered of course)
The animation is pretty decent. It’s definitely not what you’d call high budget, but it doesn’t look bad either. You could just call it standard or average, which will suffice. There are no real fights so that makes it hard to gauge the animation anyway. As long as the talking scenes look good and the backgrounds are clear, then the OVA is doing well. I have no qualms with it in this area. The soundtrack is pretty plain though. You will quickly forget that there is one and it may work well with the scenes as you are watching the episodes, but it is instantly forgettable. Again, that’s better than not having a soundtrack or having a bad one, but the OVA could definitely do better.
Overall, Slayers Special is not quite as special as it seems. Slayers Perfect did a better job of being good and I would still recommend the normal TV shows over both of them. At 3 episodes, you’ll be done with Slayers Special before you know it, but it’s still an OVA that you’d be better off skipping. At most, I would recommend it to ultimate Slayers fans who want to watch everything related to the main series, but it’s essentially three filler episodes so it’s not like it’s going to develop the characters at this point. The OVA just makes too many mistakes and a switch in writers may be called for at this point. At the very least, you’ll like the design for the main villain of the second episode.