Slayers Movie Collection (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:John Eriani
Review Date: Monday, October 09, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2006



What They Say
Contains 285 minutes of Slayers goodness, including not only Slayers: The Motion Picture, but also the standalone Slayers: Return, Slayers: Great, Slayers Gorgeous, and Slayers: Premium.

Plagued by a recurring dream, master thief and sorceress Lina Inverse discovers ancient evil and lovers cruelly parted. Dragged into a vortex of time, she must fight to restore history to its proper course. But what will she do when the fearsome power of the Dragon Slave spell fails her as she tries to change the past and save the future!

Contains all 5 movies on 3 DVDs

The Review!
Audio:
I watched The Motion Picture, Return, Great and Gorgeous in its original language of Japanese 2.0, it's your standard stereo mix with nothing in the rear channels, the 5.1 English dub on The Motion picture is much better in that respect but I'm a sucker for Megumi Hayashibara so I stuck with Japanese. I watched Premium in Japanese 5.1 and things sounded good with some nice directionality throughout but nothing overwhelming. I also checked in on the English 5.1 and it was pretty much the same. There were no drops outs or distortion in any of the soundtracks

Video:
I've split the video up into each movie as each has its own issues.

Slayers the Motion Picture: The video is presented in 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen as no anamorphic master exists. The movie is showing its age a bit with lots of edge enhancement and shimmering and interlacing which makes panning shots jump a lot. Luckily for 16:9 TV owners as apposed to the region 1 release the subtitles are on the actual video and not the widescreen bars so you can zoom in if you have the function to give you a full picture.

Slayers Return: The video is presented in 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen and things are lot a little better here with less edge enhancement and everything seems just a little bit clearer, there is still interlacing and this time the zoom option for 16:9 TV owners isn't that great as the bottom of each subtitle letter is cut off.

Slayers Great: The video here is presented in its 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio; with many of the problems that the other ova's in the collection have. There is edge enhancement, interlacing, and something new with film artefacts and a lot more shimmering. This is probably on par with Gorgeous for the worst looking of the collection

Slayers Gorgeous: The video is presented in 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen and the subtitles are back in the video so owners with the zoom feature can have a full picture. All the normal problems mentioned above apply with edge enhancement, interlacing, film artefacts and shimmering. Everything looks a little faded as well.

Slayers Premium: The last in the collection is presented its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic widescreen. Everything here looks fantastic, almost. There is interlacing but otherwise this puts to shame all the other movies in the collection, everything is clear and vibrant with lots of colour. The CG used throughout looks fantastic as well with none of the problems that it can sometimes bring. This is the best Slayers has looked on DVD.

Packaging:
The artwork for this release comes from Slayers Premium with Goury and Lina on the front cover eating squid with lots of yellows and maroon surrounding them. The OFLC logo is found at the bottom but because of the inclusion of yellow in the cover it doesn't become that intrusive in the overall look. The back cover has an image of Naga and Lina down the side with a synopsis for each movie within the collection taking up most of the space. The standard Madman technical grid is found across the bottom telling you almost everything you want to know, except if the collection has extra's (which it does) but its just not listed. Inside there is a few more pieces of artwork Slayers Premium with most of the main cast. This is a pretty good looking package with lots of nice artwork.

Menu:
The menu's for each disc is pretty much the same except for The Motion Picture which has a static shot from individual release with Lina and Naga posing and about to let off a magical attack. As each of the other discs' starts you are given the option to choose which movie you want to see and then you're presented with a bit of static artwork, normally being Lina and Naga with the end theme from whatever movie it is playing in the background. Everything is quick and easy to access with switching between each movie's menus being really simple.

Extras:
The only real extra's besides the Madman trailers on each disc is for the first and last movie in the collection. Slayers the Motion Picture has an audio commentary with Cynthia Martinez, Kelly Manison and Matt Greenfield. Slayers Premium also has an audio commentary with Cynthia Martinez and Crispin Freeman as well as an interview with Crispin Freeman about reprising the role of Zelgadis all these years later, its run about 20 or so minutes long and a few topics are covered such as coming back to the character and his love for it. Although there is a lot to see just in the actual movies themselves its good to see a few extras in the collection.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

The Slayers series is something that I have always been aware of and watched the odd episode here and there but I've never been a fan, I always thought that the show dragged itself out for too long but the Ova's and movies were a much better fit for me with simple easily accessible stories in smaller doses.

In her younger days Lina Inverse had several adventures while being accompanied by the rather buxom idiot Naga The White Serpent, some of these have been collected into one release that includes 4 Ova's from this time and the supposed last Slayers animation that stars most of the TV cast. It's interesting to see each new movie with improved animation and gags this collection is an almost historical look on a long running series.


Slayers the Motion Picture: The first in the collection is the story of Mipross Island and a curse that has befallen it, it isn't always close to the continent and when it is it's a rather large tourist attraction with hot springs and lots of squid merchandise. Lina and Naga stumble onto some tickets while being attacked by bandits and rush off to go to the island. Lina is also having trouble sleeping as she is having the same dream over and over and this is of course connected to the island. An old man has invaded Lina's dreams and appears to be a relative of Goury from the TV series as we see him in his younger day's weilding the sword of light. His name is Rowdy and wants Lina's help to destroy Joyrock a demon that has taken over the island for his own needs. With lots of idiotic bad guys in the way and a bit of time travel thrown in for good measure, Slayers the Motion Picture is an enjoyable tale and probably my favourite in the collection.

Slayers Return: The second in the collection is rather different from the first as it's basically all comedy. Lina and Naga are out eating and fighting over who should be able to eat what when they are beseeched by a young girl to help her village. The village of Biaz is being harassed to unearth an eflen artefact by the Zein "organization". The artefact and the organisation are both rather silly but it makes for an enjoyably simple and funny story with a bit of everything, magic, fan service and golem love. Some of the jokes seem to drag on for too long and others are just not funny but once and a while you get gems like the becker strike. Not bad but not great.

Slayers Great: The third in the collection deals with two lords who want control over Stoner city. Lina and Naga save a young girl named Laila from almost being killed by a runaway Golem and then basically harass her for a reward, realising she cant get rid of either of them she invites them back to her home and she will try and give them what she can. Lina and Naga also find out that she is the daughter of a famous Golem craftsman Galia Einburg. Before long we meet the rest of the Einburg family and it seems that Huey, Laila's brother is also a Golem craftsman but is at odds with his father over the form in which his golems take. The two lords who want control Stoner decide to see if they can employ Galia to make them a golem to decide who should rule. While one gets Gaila to help him the other employs his son. Basically the story becomes a father vs. son battle with golems, Lina and Naga are the models for these golems and a battle ensues. This is probably the funniest of the collection with lots of jokes and the golem fight to end all golem fights. There isn't much else to the story but that's what makes this one work so well, it doesn't really slow down in any department.

Slayers Gorgeous: The forth in the collection is the ridiculous story of a family feud between a royal family. The king is fighting with his daughter because she wants her allowance raised, when he refused she took all the kings dragons with her to wage war on her father until he agrees to her demands. She has assembled the Tetrad knights who currently consist of two members to do her bidding with the dragons. Lina and Naga stumble into this one day while coming into town and defending themselves from an attack by a large red dragon. They get called upon by the king to help and Naga disappears after hearing the daughter who is named Marlene laugh and feels the need to school her in the way of the obnoxious laugh. Lina sticks with the king to hear the rest of the story in all its absurdity and form a plan to stop it. Both sets of armies march on each other to only miss each other on the road soon they finally meet up and the battle begins with Lina and Naga on opposite sides, when things seem to be over the real battle starts with a dragon that was hiding behind the scenes and manipulating everything to his advantage and take revenge on the humans for using dragons as slaves. This is where an actual plot kicks in and apart from The Motion Picture has something serious to portray, there are still a few jokes but is just feels a lot more serious in tone for at least 10 minutes anyway

Slayers Premium: The last in the collection is also the shortest. Clocking in at 30 minutes and starring most of the TV cast it deals with squids wanting revenge on a sea side town that is know for its wonderful squid dishes. Their revenge involves cursing all the squid that is eaten and thus causing the person who ate it speak gibberish known as "Octopese" this causes a lot of confusion and fear in the people and this is taken by the squids to revive their god and destroy the humans for what they have done. Goury and Lina are fighting over one such squid dish when Goury becomes the first of the main characters to suffer from the disease. This leads to some hilarious conversations and the fact that the phrase how horrible in Octopese is a phrase that Lina absolutely hates. Soon the rest of the TV cast show up and find out what is going on but before they can do anything they all start speaking gibberish, its up to Lina to save the day with the help of a young girl who also happens to be a white mage that may be able to cure the disease. Premium looks fantastic, from Lina's spells to Gourys bullet time; this is the way all Slayers should look. It's unfortunate that out of the collection this is probably the weakest offering. All the cast are reunited but for no real reason its as if someone was just taking a role call and making sure everyone was present. If this is the last Slayers animation then it's a disappointing end to it all, none of the characters besides Lina get much screen time. It could have worked so much better as a 60 minute movie instead of 30. While this is the best looking Slayers it's also the most disappointing.

In Summary:
The Slayers Movie Collection is a good starting place for anyone interested in Slayers and fans alike. Most of the stories are self contained and straight forward fun light entertainment although Slayers Premium is the last animation it does not give away any conclusions to the series nor does it spoil any of what came before it in the TV series. While there are video problems throughout with 5 movies in one package it is still really good value. There is a little bit of everything here with humour, monsters, sorcery and fan service, you can't go wrong with a little bit of Slayers and that's what you'll find here.

Features
Commentary with Cynthia Martinez (Lina) and Kelly Manison (Naga) and English Dub Producer Matt Greenfield (Slayers: The Motion Picture),Commentary by Cynthia Martinez (Lina) & Crispin Freeman (Zelgadis) (Slayers Premium),Behind the scenes with Crispin Freeman (Slayers Premium)

Review Equipment
LG 32LX2D 32" HD LCD TV, Sony DVP-NS50P Progressive scan region free DVD player, Monster component cable, Yamaha TSS-15 Home Theatre Sound System



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: TV PG
Region: 4 - Australia / South America
Released By: Madman Entertainment
MSRP: 49.98
Running time: 285
Aspect Ratio: Mixed
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Slayers