Best Animated Film of Each Year

It’s time to look at the best animated film of each year! This post is going to have a lot of gaps during the early parts as there are many years where I didn’t see a film, but I wanted to keep it separate from live action so both sides got their time to shine. Naturally if the only film that I’ve seen in a year got under a 5 then I won’t be counting it. I mainly used Wikipedia for researching this list, but you never know if I missed one or not so if I find a better movie for a year then naturally I’ll update it. 2018 is pretty early so far and I’m sure it’ll change, but I’ve still added it. Without further adieu, lets do this.

1937 Snow White

Certainly a classic film and it has the honor of being the very earliest animated film that I’ve ever seen. Considering that this was back in the 1930s the animation is actually quite good. It’s really impressive and just makes me even sadder for some of the current animated stuff that comes out.

1940 Pinocchio

Pinocchio is definitely a fun film and one that is certainly more intense than you may remember. The whole scene of the kid getting drunk and then everyone turning into Donkeys was quite unexpected. Definitely a film that you will take a second glance at while watching to make sure that it’s the right film.

1941 Dumbo

How can you not like the concept of Dumbo? It’s about a big elephant who always knew that he had what it takes to be the best. We had some solid supporting characters here and while it would never hit it off the same way that many of the other Disney films did, the important thing is that the film had heart and never gave up without a fight. Yeah, I was having a hard time filling out this paragraph, but I did a good job I’d say.

1950 Cinderella

Cinderella is definitely an intense story and one that has really aged well with the animation. 1950 was a very long time ago, but the story is remembered just as much now as it ever was. Maybe even more so with the recent remake.

1959 Sleeping Beauty

Just from this picture you can see how far Disney has come in 9 years. The animation was solid and we actually got a fight scene here which was really epic. You can’t go wrong with big dragon battles and this movie did a really good job of handling it.

1964 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph is definitely a classic film. Santa may have been rather mean the whole time, but Rudolph never let it get to him. He’s just a very nice reindeer who always tries to do the right thing. That’s just the kind of guy he is and it’s why this special is always so emotional. The Island of Misfits was always a fun scene as well.

1969 A Boy Named Charlie Brown

The Charlie Brown series is certainly a very large franchise. This was one of the really early ones and it was a good way to get used to the cast. It’s not as if there is a huge plot or anything, but it’s a fun slice of life adventure that will claim your attention.

1970 Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

You may think that Santa was already in town, but it turns out that he had to travel. This wasn’t a great movie or anything, but it was in a relatively weak year. It’s fun enough though and will certainly put you in a Christmas mood.

1973 Charlotte’s Web

I saw Charlotte’s Web when I was really little and it was only recently that I rewatched it. It’s definitely an emotional story with Charlotte. While the parents weren’t very likable, at least the main character was ready to protect the pig. It’s a film about hard decisions for sure.

1976 Rudolph’s Shiny New Year

Who ever thought we would get a Rudolph film with a convoluted plot? Well, that’s exactly what happened with this film and it definitely turned out pretty well. It has good replay value since you’ll likely want to watch it a second time to truly appreciate how meta the plot is. It’s a film that has been forgotten by many though.

1977 Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

It was finally time for Charlie to get a long sports film. The bullies may have been a little too intense here, but I can always appreciate a good competition. It’s not like you’d expect Charlie to do too well in such circumstances anyway, but I was still hoping that he would come out on top and finally show the world that he was a champ. Maybe next time.

1979 Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July

Who wasn’t excited when this crossover was announced? It makes so much sense and yet this film never got too popular. The plot may not have been amazing or anything, but Rudolph looked really good in the action scenes and the story just writes itself. This is hype confirmed.

1983 Mickey’s Christmas Carol

A classic take on the Christmas Carol and one that really works well. Mickey and Scrooge are perfect for the roles. Scrooge was practically born into it with such a name. It definitely has a happy ending and Scrooge does a good job of resisting the Christmas spirit before getting sucked into it.

1986 Transformers The Movie

Take a look at the picture and can you tell me that this film came out in the 80s? It’s another film where the animation was utterly spectacular and the movie gets better every time you see it. I couldn’t really appreciate it the first 3-4 times, but the final time I saw it the whole thing finally clicked. This is the ultimate Transformers experience and a big reason as to why the franchise is so good.

1987 Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers

I can’t really get behind Shaggy’s red shirt, but this was a fun special. I never really knew the Boo Brothers too well, but who wasn’t familiar with Scooby Doo? I wouldn’t mind if they brought these movies back as the Shaggy and Scooby dynamic works pretty well. Of course, having the whole gang around is probably the better dynamic, but it’s close.

1988 Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf

I saw this film so many times back in the day. It may not be the greatest Scooby Doo Adventure, but the race is solid and it’s certainly nostalgic. With everyone cheating and the actual terrain being pretty suspect, the heroes had to use all of their skills to drive through that mess.

1989 Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone

Dead Zone started DBZ’s long reign of destruction as it kept getting best film of the year awards. Dead Zone had some really good action scenes and while they may not be as high tier as the later films, that didn’t take away from the actual fights. These fights had a lot of heart and you could feel the effort that was put into them. It was a solid start to the movie series.

1990 Dragon Ball Z The Tree of Might

The Tree of Might had the first Goku Black since before Super was even thought up. The film surprisingly didn’t really go into that, but it’s still a really solid DBZ film with a lot of fight scenes. Goku may have been a little outmatched, but it was good for hype. I’m not a big fan of throwing in the apes at the end, but people like them so I guess the film had to do it.

1991 Dragon Ball Z Cooler’s Revenge

Definitely one of the best DBZ films. It was a great way for Super Saiyan to debut and the movie was basically nonstop action. It’s easily the best early DBZ film and was a great transition to the Super Saiyan adventures. Even the soundtrack was 5 star material and this is just a very complete movie.

1992 Dragon Ball Z Super Android 13

Super Android 13 may have been extremely short like a lot of the early DBZ films, but the action starts almost within the 5 minutes and continues to the end. It’s awesome if you came for the fights and naturally I did so this worked quite well. It’s easily one of the best DBZ films and is just incredible in general.

1993 Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan

While Resurrection F may have finally passed this film as the best DBZ title, Broly is still absolutely amazing. The animation was certainly ahead of its time and Broly makes for an incredibly imposing villain. The fights here are some of the best choreographed in all of anime and I really hope Broly returns someday.

1994 Broly-Second Coming

Broly Second Coming may not have been as good as the original since Goku and Adult Trunks weren’t around, but his fight with Gohan was still pretty solid. I was glad he got to appear again at any rate and it’s still a lot better than the third film in the trilogy would be. This one still had a solid plot and a good portrayal for Broly.

1995 Dragon Ball Z Fusion Reborn

Fusion Reborn is a pretty hype DBZ film even if it wasn’t as great as it could have been. Focusing on the Goku and Vegeta plot would have made this film much better. It’s rare to see SSJ3 Goku so overwhelmingly outmatched, but he still tried his best. Janemba has a great design and this film is a must watch for DBZ fans as it effectively ended the initial DBZ adventures. I mean there was one other film, but it didn’t really have any big fights…

1996 Sonic The Hedgehog

I’ve seen this Sonic movie many times. Technically it’s an OVA, but I’ve seen it in movie format each time and it’s the definitive Sonic experience. The fight with Metal Sonic is incredible and it’s what I expect when watching something Sonic related. I doubt the film will ever be surpassed and that’s fine since it sets such a high bar. Still, if you have not seen this movie then you need to change that as soon as possible!

1997 Slayers Great

Slayers has made it into the fray! The movies and OVAs for typically prequels while the TV show focused on the current events. That was actually a pretty smart move and a good way to keep both sets of adventures going. It was a fun movie that had solid animation which were good for the fights. Otherwise, Lina was pestering Naga as much as you can expect and that dynamic is always fun.

1998 Pokemon The First Movie

The first Pokemon movie was incredible and to this day it makes a strong case for being the absolute best one in the series. Mewtwo is really powerful and is probably still the most powerful Pokemon. Ash got to throw a good punch and all of the characters were at their best here. It’s a film that I’ve seen many times and is always as fun as the last.

1999 Pokemon 2000

Pokemon 2000 may have been a lot more low key than the first film, but it’s still a nice adventure. Adventure is the right word to use for this film because the whole film is essentially Ash trekking through the snowy island that he is on. There isn’t a whole lot of action, but it’s an enjoyable film and it’s always nice to see the original cast.

2000 Batman Beyond Return of the Joker

Return of the Joker was definitely a very intense film and a good way to cap off the Batman Beyond series. The animation was definitely really solid and the soundtrack was great as you always expect from the series. Joker and Bruce Wayne finally got some closure and this film is the main reason why we want the Beyond series to return someday.

2001 Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase

Scooby Doo Cyber Chase is probably the best of the Scooby Doo films as I think it even has the slight edge over Zombie Island. It was a really fun video game inspired film with even some crossover elements like meeting the other Scooby Doo gang. It’s a really fun film and for Scooby Doo to take a win in the post 2000 era you know that the film had to be solid.

2002 Pokemon Heroes

Pokemon Heroes was a pretty fun film. It was good to see a more experienced Ash take charge here. The film was rather light on action and Latios looked fairly weak, but I guess not all of the legendaries can be fighters. It was definitely fun watching this film in theaters and the visuals still hold up well.

2003 Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

While the mystery may be the biggest incentive to watching this film, I was mainly interested in the fight scenes. The film had a lot of them and they were all quite solid. Even Penguin’s two bodyguards were actually able to fight this one as the ladies were even defeating Batwoman quite handily. It’s definitely a very solid Batman film to watch and one that I’ve seen many times.

2004 Yugioh and the Pyramid of Light

You may wonder why Yugi has 2 copies of Ra, but that’s not important right now. This was a very fun Yugioh film with some solid card duels. It may not have gotten the same acclaim as the other 2 newer Yugioh films, but it was a good way to get the ball rolling. Kaiba gets the hype you’d expect from him and the new villain is solid as well. Just a very good all around movie.

2005 Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

This film had a long history of being my all time favorite. It has since been surpassed a few times, but it’s still an incredible film that shows off the potential of CGI. It can look good if applied properly and this film proves it. The soundtrack and plot are also awesome making this a great film that could win almost any year with ease.

2006 Bleach: Memories of Nobody

The first Bleach film was a lot of fun. Ichigo was relentless against the villains here and we got to see all of the Captains get to do something by the end. The villain was a credible threat and the animation was movie level as well. When I think of Bleach, this film captures the essence of the series the best even if Hell Verse is still the best movie. This film got Bleach off to a great start.

2007 Bleach: Diamond Dust Rebellion

A film about Hitsugaya may have been a rather intriguing call, but it’s one that worked reasonably well. You can’t help but think that the movie would have been better with Ichigo as the lead, but we got a good amount of action either way. It also helped prove my theory that Soul Society is actually evil and must be defeated someday.

2008 Bleach: Fade To Black

Dark Rukia was a cool concept even if the film didn’t really go all out with it. The third Bleach film may be the weakest of the Bleach films, but it’s still a very solid movie in its own respect. It was just lacking in action when you expect a lot more from the series. Throw in just one more action scene and this film would probably have a far better rep.

2009 Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire

The Will of Fire is the best Naruto film for the simple reason that it had the best fights. All of Naruto’s friends may have betrayed him and I lost respect for all of those guys, but Naruto always held true to his beliefs of making sure to save everyone. This film really shows why Naruto is a very likable main character and I’d highly recommend checking it out to see for yourself.

2010 Yugioh Bonds Beyond Time

The greatest film of all time! I don’t see anything ever possibly topping this movie. I don’t care if it’s the big Goku Ultra Super Saiyan 6 vs Whis Level 5 or if it’s a big budget RWBY series finale movie. This film cannot be stopped as it was the ultimate crossover and still had the best audience I’ve ever seen at a theater. With a super cast and nonstop action, Bonds Beyond Time is the champ for good reason.

2011 Tekken Blood Vengeance

Tekken is definitely a very fun film. The action doesn’t really heat up until the heroes make it to the tower, but we get a few fights before that. Tekken has always been well known because its a fighting game series that also has a good story so it makes sense that the film would be an example of this. It’s also one of the few CGI films that still looks really great. It makes sense since the games use a similar visual style.

2012 Justice League Doom

Justice League Doom is a pretty fun film. It’s certainly a little more low key than Crisis on Two Earths, but still gives us a lot of action scenes and more quality time with the Justice League. It shows why Batman is so feared since he can easily come up with plans to stop anyone. The guy cannot be underestimated.

2013 Dragon Ball Z Battle of Gods

Battle of Gods was huge when it first came out since it meant that we finally got to see the old characters again. Nostalgia initially helped me give it such a generous score, but either way it is still a very solid film. The ending may not be satisfying, but Goku finally getting a new super form was a long time coming. There were some solid action scenes so how could you not like this film?
2014 Naruto The last

Romance aside, it was great to finally see a grown up Naruto who could really cut loose. He wasn’t holding back at all in this movie and the fight scene on the Moon was incredible. The movie is definitely very action packed and feels a lot like DBZ in a good way. It was a very nice way to wrap up Naruto’s story before his son would take over.

2015 Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F

Finally, a new Super Saiyan form! This film got a lot of hype and lived up to all of it. It has the best soundtrack in a DBZ film and while the power levels were wonky it didn’t make the viewing experience any worse. Just sit tight and enjoy the hype combat!

2016 Yugioh Dark Side of Dimensions

Dark Side of Dimensions is definitely a great film. The duels are absolutely top notch and Kaiba really looked great. The writers seemed to look at why people like Yugioh and then incorporate all of the best elements into the film. They did a flawless job and I don’t see how they can possibly top this with another classic film. If this is how the original part of the franchise ends, I would be satisfied.

2017 Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale

I was a little worried when walking into the theater for this film since SAO is a series full of highs and lows, but the movie was firing on all cylinders. The action is intense and the animation is amazing. With tight pacing and a great plot, you couldn’t go wrong with this title.

2018 Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Scooby Doo has returned to claim the 2018 spot! This was a fun crossover with Batman and definitely was a good way to bring this Batman series back. I doubt it will keep this spot for very long, but we have to give credit where it’s due. The gang really outdid themselves this time.

Congrats on getting to the end! This post was definitely a lot of fun to make so be on the lookout for other sections like Live Action Movies and TV shows at some point. In the meantime I will be sure to keep this list updated.

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

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Review

After watching all of the Slayer seasons, it was time for a slightly more serious take on the fantasy genre. By “slightly” more serious, I mean that this one is very somber and dramatic for the entirety of its run. (Ignoring the sequel series/season) You can tell that this is the tone that it is going for as soon as the first opening plays. It’s catchy, but the images are also quite sad. It depicts a barren wasteland and a solitary hero who must wander through life on his own even when his friends are near. His mission is a fire one and the stakes are high. It’s a fun series even if one of the characters goes through a personality shift a little too quickly at the end. (Azalie)

A long time ago, Orphen was taught magic at the Tower of Fang. Things went well for a while and Orphen became one of the strongest magicians in the world, but his mentor (Azalie) became greedy with power and used a mystical sword to stab herself which transformed her into the dragon, Bloody August. The Tower of Fang decided that she must be eliminated which caused Orphen to leave on a mission to save her and to defeat the Tower of Fang if necessary. On his travels, he ended up meeting up with a kid named Majic and a rich lady named Cleao. Majic gets involved in the quest because Orphen decides to take him in as an apprentice (For a good amount of money of course) As for Cleao, her family owns the legendary sword that transformed Azalie in the first place so Orphen decides to take it back. Cleao follows him so that she can take the sword back once he’s done with it.

The sword isn’t powerful enough to change Azalie back to her human form though so Orphen needs to find a few relics to amp up its power and allow him to cast the spell. Is it that easy though? A lot of complications occur and naturally the Tower of Fang aims to stand in his way. Along the way, Orphen softens up a little with the group, but for the majority of the series, he’s serious business through and through. He can’t relax until the mission is complete.

Orphen’s plot is pretty engaging and this first series builds up a lot of the universe as we learn about the current status quo. The Tower of Fang seems to be the only ruling body in the world or at least the main one by which all others look to for advice. I wonder how they got such a high rank since the group doesn’t seem all that tough. If I could change one thing about the show’s plot, it would be that I’d like a better resolution at the end, fight-wise. There wasn’t really a big fight to end the series surprisingly and Orphen never got to have a big fight with Childman. Even fighting Azalie in her final form would have been a blast to see as the student surpassed the mentor. Unfortunately, all of these fights never got to happen which was a little disappointing. The series had a good amount of action in its run, but I feel like all anime should end off with a big fight. End on a high note right?

Orphen’s the lead of course and he makes for a good one. He’s completely focused on the mission so he rarely humors his comrades on their comic relief subplots. He’s an excellent mage so he rarely ever loses a fight. He reminds me a little of Train Heartnet although he is typically in denial a little more. Azalie isn’t quite as selfless and nice as Saya was in Black Cat. It’s still a noble goal to save her of course, but he certainly bites off a lot more than he can chew here. Regardless, Orphen’s tough personality and ace combat skills make him a great lead.

Cleao’s the main heroine and she always means well. Unfortunately, she’s not much of a fighter. She gets into arguments with Orphen quite a lot, which ultimately help him not get too focused on the mission to the point where he’ll lose everything else. When a fight starts, Cleao’s glad to try and help even if it’s only a little. It’d be great if she could learn a spell or two, but Cleao is certainly charasmatic so she’s got that going in her favor. The group needed an energetic character in the mix for the good banter and contrast that it brings. She owns Leki, a magical dog of immense power who comes in handy quite a bit. This also ended up helping Cleao a lot since Leki is immensely powerful and can blow away most opponents with ease. When Leki grows up, he could even end up being stronger than Orphen if the bigger versions of him are any indication.

Then…we have Majic. Unfortunately, he’s a bad character. He’s one of the main comic relief characters of the series and a running gag is that his magical abilities are terrible and seem to never actually improve no matter how far the series ends up progressing. One scene towards the very beginning of the series doomed him though even if it was meant as a quick comic relief scene. Majic uses his spells to make a mirror next to where Cleao was bathing so he could watch. It’s a pretty despicable act and while Orphen put an end to it, it shows that Majic definitely has no standards. It’s a quick scene and Majic never does anything like it again, but there’s no way that he could be a likable character after that. When you’re in a small group on the road, you have to be able to trust your partners. After an act like that, there’s no way you can really trust Majic so it’s good to see him fail at performing spells for the rest of the series.

Volkan and Dortin are the other comic relief characters. Volkan always acts as the voice of reason against Dortin while Dortin forces him to come along anyway. Dortin is like Hercule or other comic relief characters who always talk a great game before getting wrecked. It works really well for Dortin though and he is easily one of the best comic relief characters of this type out there. He gets most of the best lines in the entire show and the banter between him and Orphen helps to make the series so enjoyable. Typically, any scene with the two of them is going to be pretty good and a lot of Dortin’s schemes are fun even if they’re doomed to fail. I don’t really care for Volkan, but then again, I typically don’t care for the “straight man” in jokes or the serious comic relief character. It just doesn’t work for me at all and destroys the point of a comic relief character.
The whole show is really about saving Azalie so she has a big role in this. For the first half of the series she’s essentially mindless. Not completely as seen when the dragon turns into Childman and he still has control, but it is hard to see what her plan is. Later on, we find out a lot of startling plot twists about her. The sword transformation may have not been how she planned it to go, but she was aiming for power for all the wrong reasons. She always wanted Childman, but as he was a reasonable mentor, he placed the friend zone card. That’s what Azalie wanted vengeance and she ultimately ends up taking over Childman’s body.

From there, she freezes one of the Fang members, tries to destroy Childman, and also breaks the mind of one of the Elders. She is a complete villain through and through, there’s no way to get around that. Despite all of this, everyone treats her as a likable hero by the end who just went a little off course. You can make a plot like that work such as Cardfight Vanguard where Kai went around doing quite a few evil things before being taken down, but it has to be gradual. In Orphen, this turnaround is just about instant as soon as she is essentially defeated and Childman is turned back into a baby. Also, we learn that she essentially becomes the boss of the Tower of Fang in the sequel series. She never gets to pay for her crimes of murder and assault in the slightest.

Don’t get me wrong, Azalie makes for a great villain, but it’s incredibly hard to buy the fact that she is now a “hero.” It’s not that easy and quick to switch sides and especially not when we see her being evil for quite so long. All it took was for Childman to remove the friendzone card from the table, but it’s way too late for that. So, while Azalie is cool, I think that the end plot development simply did not make any sense by the end. It could have been handled better.

Childman is Azalie’s mentor and seems to be generally considered as the strongest magician in the world. His abilities are quite high and it is revealed at the end that he could even have defeated the Bloody August if he had wished to do so. I don’t like this guy though because he is supremely annoying. All along he wanted to save Azalie as well, but he just decided not to tell anyone and as a result, he made no real progress in his quest. Either way, he would need some artifacts if he wanted to do anything, but he never got any of them and then Azalie took his body with ease while Childman was in awe of her. He really could have handled the situation 100x better than he actually did. I respect his power, but that’s about all.

Hartia is Orphen’s childhood friend, although you could barely tell from this season. Hartia acts like a friend and tries to act as a mediator between Childman and Orphen, but it’s tough since Orphen wants nothing to do with him. It also doesn’t help that while Azalie was in Childman’s body, she kept incriminating herself and Hartia intentionally to further widen the wedge between the friends. By the end, Orphen and Hartia had some all out battles with each other. Hartia could certainly have done a better job of explaining things at different points, but in the end the fact of the matter is that he chose the tower over Orphen and that’s probably at the heart of Orphen’s grudge. I like Hartia’s superhero identity even if it certainly doesn’t help to smooth things over with Orphen. He’s actually a lot stronger than he lets on.

Flameheart is one of the main villains and he is the first opponent to flat out defeat Orphen before the fight was interrupted. He may not be the coolest villain around, but he is quite powerful. He meets with a bit of an anticlimactic end though as he made the same mistake as Azalie as he tried to grab the sword. I suppose that the sword is just hard to resist. I’m not really a fan of this guy though and he does do a lot of whining when things don’t go his way. Good villains have to keep their calm and activate a backup plan when things don’t go well.

The show has some mild fanservice towards the beginning and the end. For the end it’s mainly through the astral projection of Azalie appearing for no real reason. It’s her astral form, but it is still overused quite a bit and Cleao also gets some towards the beginning, but by and large Orphen manages to dodge this trap for the most part. There are definitely a few filler esque episodes, but they’re typically not bad. At the very least, filler helps you appreciate the real episodes a whole lot more.

Power Level wise, I’d place Orphen the character above several magicians like Dr. Strange and Lina Inverse (Definitely a close fight though and composite Lina could be another story with her Sword of Light) but physically he is around human level which can hurt him against fast opponents. As a series, Orphen is fairly realistic despite the magic so it wouldn’t rank too high next to other anime titles, but I’m sure that we’ll be getting some power ups as the franchise goes on.

The soundtrack for the show is pretty good. We have a solid opera theme that plays for the big moments like when the Bloody August attacked the Tower of Fang. It was a great scene I have to add as it came out of nowhere and was pretty unexpected. Who would have thought that the big villain organization would be taken down so suddenly and in the span of around 2 minutes? These guys talked such a big game, but they crumbled in the end. There are quite a few other good battle themes in the series as well. Both of the openings are also quite good with the second one having better action scenes, but the first one probably encapsulating the themes of the show a little better. In the end, I will actually choose that one as my favorite for this series.

As for the animation, it looks pretty solid. Especially when the high budget scenes show up, there is a noticeable difference. The colors are nice and vibrant and this is especially useful for the action scenes. Even when the budget is normal though, the show looks very clear. Naturally, the sequel series looks a lot richer with detail, but this one is definitely solid. There are even some illustration type shots towards the beginning of the series which are always fun. As long as they aren’t spammed of course, but that’s not the case here.

Overall, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a solid show. It’s definitely one of the more somber anime that I’ve seen in a while at times, but there is no shortage of comic relief characters, which keeps the atmosphere fairly light at well. The animation and soundtrack hold up very well and fight scenes are solid as well. It’s an all around solid show and one I’d recommend to all fantasy or action fans. If you like good banter a lot, but are not necessarily an action fan, I think you can still enjoy this show quite a bit as well. I’m just about done with the sequel series so you can expect a review for that as well fairly soon. It opts to drop the serious angle so it’s more of a lighthearted adventure which works well enough in its own right, but it is definitely different.

Overall 7/10

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

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

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

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

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Premium Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

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

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

Slayers Try Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

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 Return Review

Slayers has returned once again and we’re back to the retro cast from before Gourry’s time. It’s certainly an improvement from the last OVA that had been pretty dicey although we’re not quite up to the level of the first two shows yet. The film works on the negatives from the OVA without totally eliminating them, but slow and steady wins the race right?

Lina and Naga are on their usual travels when a girl asks them to come to her village. It has been taken over by a mysterious villain and his army of henchmen. Saleena promises to pay Lina and Naga whatever she can although the village is pretty poor. The heroes go along, but only because Lina suspects that she can get rich from the stone that is in the village. Of course, the villain seems to have the same idea! Can Lina liberate the place and collect her reward?

This story is pretty straightforward and that’s probably a good thing. The heroes just have to defeat the villains, but that will be a little tougher than expected. The villains aren’t great at using magic, but there are a lot of them. The main villain ends up to be weaker than most of the minions though as he is really just trying to trick everyone. Most of his spells are really just smoke and mirrors. Galav (The main villain) certainly isn’t a great villain and that’s mainly because the series still loves to make the villains comic relief from time to time. This is especially prevalent in the films/OVAs. I think that Slayers can go a little far with this sometimes, but it’s mix of action and comedy are what have made it so unique in the past. The series is just naturally better at blending the two genres together.

Galav’s minions are also mad at him because of his portrayal so the whole ordeal turns into a bit of infighting for the villains. The heroes quickly take advantage of this. Lina and Naga barely even need to help, but they arrive anyway and it’s probably a good thing that they did. Although, Naga’s statue only makes the situation worse after she summons it. I guess you gotta take the help with the extra problems that it creates.

Lina still looks pretty strong and cunning. At this point, she basically does outrank all of the other characters who are present. This seems to still be a little before the time where she learned to really love food as jewels is at the top of her mind. While I may have been skeptical of the accent at first, I have now decided that it was a very good idea to add it in. It really helps to distinguish the Lina Inverse from the prequels compared to the normal one. I also feel like it really works for her so that’s a plus. She’s still a likable heroine for the film.

Naga is still not a great ally. If she wasn’t used for fanservice at times, I would like her so much more. I like the fact that she is constantly laughing and making a mockery of anyone who dares to approach her. Naga also does have some magical abilities of her own so it’s not like she’s just around to hold Lina back. That being said, we can’t ignore the fanservice that is around and she can be tricked rather easily. She won’t match up to some of Lina’s other allies, but she could be worse.

Saleena is the main ally who was made up for this film and she isn’t bad. The problem is that she’s just a human with a sword that isn’t made of light so she really can’t help much here. She tries to fight some of the demons, but she just ends up getting in the way. It’s good to have enthusiasm, but you also have to know when your efforts are just not helping. She’s much better than the rest of the new characters though and that includes the villain group. They appear towards the end and in a twist, they want revenge on the main villain. Unfortunately, this means that they are also very unimpressive when it comes down to a fight.

The animation is good. It’s certainly not at the same level as Index or Railgun, but this did come out quite a while ago. Also, there isn’t a ton of action and spells to be found here so the animators couldn’t show off all that much. There’s nothing bad about the animation and it’s consistent from start to finish. That’s certainly an important attribute so it’s good that the movie was able to keep up. The soundtrack is rather peaceful. There are no serious fights here so I’ll let it slide. The themes are fun to listen too while the scenes are playing, but you shall forget them very quickly.

One of the negatives that holds the film down a little is the fanservice. It didn’t get out of control like in the OVA, but it is still present. If you can get past Naga’s attire, then you’ll be okay. It doesn’t really get any worse than that, but I would be happy if the film could place a little less emphasis on her. It’s one of the reasons why I won’t miss her when the other characters show up instead. Gourry and pals have their own set of issues, but they’re typically not as bad.

I also think that the films do have a bit more of an issue trying to separate the serious moments from the light ones. It really wouldn’t hurt to have a serious villain here…or it shouldn’t hurt. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry, but you still can’t help, but feel a little disappointed when the main villain turns out to be a fraud. Despite myself, I had been waiting for him to put up a fight. If it helps, his “lair” has a cool twist to it and that was genuinely humorous.

Overall, Slayers Return was a fun film. It doesn’t totally feel like a film as this could have just been your average episode, but I’m okay with that as long as it inflates the film count. Having episodic movies also works as a nostalgia boost sort of like what DBZ did with his OVA. (Goku and friends return) This is a little early for that of course, but it still works. It could have been better and Slayers will have to continue to work to make sure that they get rid of all the fanservice, but I believe that it is possible. It’ll be difficult for sure though. You should watch this movie as a comedy rather than as an action because the film acts more like the former. The shows are where things get a little serious and the films are for the laughs. It’s a balance that actually works pretty well as long as you go in with the proper frame of mind. I recommend this to Slayers fans and if you’re looking for a fun adventure film, this fits the bill. You can also compare Lina to other female protagonists and see if she really is the strongest one!

Overall 6/10