Slayers Great (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, January 15, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, January 06, 2004
What They Say
All Laia Einburg wants for her golem-making father Galia and her equally ambitious brother Huey is to end a long running feud. But her world gets turned upside down when short-stature Lina Inverse and overly endowed Naga the Serpent save Laia from a rampaging golem.
A grateful, but smitten, Galia asks Lina to be a model for his work. Not to be outdone, Huey makes a similar request to Naga. The results are towering remote-controlled golems in the image of our favorite sorceresses! Huey gets all the proportions right, but Galia's taste is just weird. Adding insult to injury, Galia turns Lina into a magical battery pack!
Officially, Lords Haizen and Granion commissioned these golems for a contest to determine the ruler of the city of Stoner. But the lords are secretly planning to use the golems as prototypes for an army of conquest! Can Lina and Naga save the city from tyranny?
When Naga and Lina spend time in a town that’s almost obsessed about golems, it doesn’t take long before the two of them end up in a situation of oversized proportions.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Having listened to the bulk of Slayers this way in the past, it feels only natural to continue to do so. The audio mix here is decent if not terribly dynamic, with the bulk of sounds coming through the center channel while the music mix makes up the majority of the stereo sounds. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released back in 1997, the hour long movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 theatrical framing and looks great here. While the short movies have had decent budgets in the past, this one comes across even more fluid in many scenes as well as having some very rich colors and detailed backgrounds that show through beautifully. There is a slight touch of a grainy feel to it, adding more to the film nature of the elements, but this tends to work in favor of the show giving it a bit more of an earthy feel. Overall, this looks really solid and problem free.
The artwork for this release is just about perfect in providing a balance of the shows opposites. With the center image of Laila, the young woman who inadvertently brings everything together, flanked along each side of her are the opposing elements, such as Lina against Naga, father against son and two opposing Lords. This combined with the good detail and really nice coloring used creates a great looking cover. The back cover provides a few shots from the show and several paragraphs worth of summary. The usual array of production credits follows and the bottom has the informational grid of technical specs that I continue to adore. Everything is clearly listed and easy to find. The insert provides another look at the front cover but without the text and a bit closer to just the artwork itself while the reverse side lists the chapter stops and basic technical bits.
The menu layout is similar to other Slayers releases with a static image of Lina and Naga in action while the strip of menu selections comes down through the center left of the screen. A bit of music with vocals plays along as well, but overall this is a straightforward and simple menu as there’s little here beyond the show and trailers, both for other shows and for the Slayers related shows. Access times are very fast with this disc and everything loaded quickly and accurately.
None. Well, they want to say the trailers are extras but we continue to not really include those as extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Slayers Great is probably one of the more enjoyable Slayers OVA/movie releases I’ve seen so far. With a very simple premise and a quickly moving plot, all of the elements that make Lina and Naga so damn enjoyable are present here and are played out to perfection.
As most episodes of Slayers open, the pair are either eating away or traveling. Lina and Naga have just arrived in the town of Stoner and are fascinated by the sheer amount and variety of mechanical golems used throughout the city. From horse style ones to small completely customized ones that do little dances and perform chores. Neither of them have seen anything quite like it before and are just soaking it all in. Well, until a giant bull-like golem as big as a two story building starts charging down the streets and causing all sorts of damage while scaring the populace.
Lina and Naga of course step in at the last minute to save the day as well as a young woman named Laila who was nearly crushed by the beast. She’s quite thankful and grateful, but has nothing to offer – even though Lina and Naga continually go on about a reward that they don’t deserve. Seeing that they won’t lose her, she takes them back to her house where her brother Huey and father Galia live. It’s at this point that Lina realizes Laila is the daughter of the legendary golem maker Galia Einburg. Sensing that she can turn her chance meeting into an event where Galia makes her golem that she can sell outside of the town for an immense amount of money, she plays him like a fiddle as he finds her to be the perfect model for his next masterpiece.
Naga, of course, is not thrilled. Watching the way the two of them vie for Galia’s attention at first is beautiful, with the little snickers coming out of Lina to the wicked grins that Naga uses in between bouncing her bountiful bosom. As things move along though, we find that Galia is being courted by Lord Haizen to create a huge battle golem. He presents the idea as a way to stop one of the other Lords of Stoner, Lord Granion, from taking over the city and building a massive army of golems that would let him conquer the world. His initial plan to get Galia on his side is thwarted by Lina and Naga, but circumstances set it so that Naga and Galia’s son Huey end up working for Granion while Haizon brings Galia into his employ.
With the sides evenly set up, there are all sorts of comedy that shines through as each gets things ready for the big contest that will determine which Lord will take over the city. The actual event itself is hysterical, from the types of golems that are built to the way they’re employed. The relationships of the characters throughout this movie are the really fun part though, since they’re either at odds with each other or going after the same thing. Huey and Galia have the classic father/son one, where the son can’t seem to live up to his fathers expectations of quality and skill after he takes up the golem making trade. The two lords both dream of world domination with the golems that are being built for the contest while Lina and Naga just continue to go at it for the usual things, often coming down to the chest size gag. Plenty of standard goodness in there.
There is simply something just fun and enjoyable about this particular movie. Between the really good looking animation and the quick and snappy storyline, it flows very well and was a great diversion for the evening. I always approach every Slayers release, even these, with some trepidation since there’s something in the back of my mind that makes me cringe over how it could be. But the OVA’s and movies continue to be quite enjoyable. Slayers Great is no exception and is just good fun that doesn’t tax the brain much.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2