Slayers Great - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: D
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: �19.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Slayers

Slayers Great

By Dani Moure     November 02, 2004
Release Date: July 19, 2004


Slayers Great
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
The vixen, the doll, and the super golem contest: don't miss another exciting Slayers tale!

All Lana Einburg wants is for her golem-making father Galia and her equally ambitious brother Huey to end their long-running feud. But her world gets turned upside down when short-statured Lina Inverse and overly endowed Naga the Serpent save Laia from a rampaging golem.

A grateful and smitten Galia asks Lina to beia model for his work. Not to be outdone, his son Huey makes a similar request to Naga. The results are towering remote-controlled golemsiin the image of our favorite sorceresses! Huey gets all the proportions right, but Galia's taste is just plain, well, weird!

Officially, Lords Haizen and Granion commissioned these golems for a contest to determine the ruler of the city of Stoner but the lords have other plans for the larger than life prototypes. Can Lina save herself from Naga and save the city from tyranny?


The Review!
And so the Slayers franchise churns on, with yet another movie. Only this one isn't quite as much fun as the last.

Audio:
I listened to the Japanese stereo track for my main review, and noticed no dropouts or distortions, and the track itself was a solid sounding stereo mix, with a bit of directionality. I also spot-checked the English dub, and noticed no problems. The dub sounded really good from the bits I listened to, with Cynthia Martinez nailing Lina, and Kelly Manison being an excellent Naga. She still doesn't quite nail the evil laugh, though, which just has to be experience on the Japanese track, as performed Maria Kawamura; it has me laughing out loud almost every time.

Video:
The video is mostly a solid transfer that does its job but isn't going to blow anyone away. Unlike the last movie, which was done in widescreen letterbox, this one is full frame. The print is mostly free from nicks and dirt, but there are a couple of moments where I noticed huge black splodges flash up (from what I recall, during scene changes). There's also a fair bit of grain present which is pretty noticeable. The transfer is also not quite as sharp and clear as some more recent shows, which is probably to be expected.

Subtitles are the standard ADV (older-style) font, in yellow with a black border; they're nice and easy to read. There is one noticeable subtitle issue though; the first one after the change to chapter four flashes up for a fraction of a second, meaning if you're watching in Japanese you won't know what Garia said. It seems to be a problem in that the subtitle appears just before the chapter change, and then disappears when the change takes place.

Packaging:
The front cover follows the style set by Slayers Return, with the same font used for the logo and the rest of the cover taken up by a great piece of artwork featuring all the characters from the movie. Lina and Naga appear at the bottom, with Laia bundled between Garia and Huey, who in turn are sided by their sponsor. The back has the blurb for the show (with an amusing tagline - "The vixen, the doll, and the super golem contest!"), with a couple of screenshots. The bottom half is dominated by production credits, and ADV UK's standard bars of technical information. I really like this cover.

Menu:
The menus are nothing particularly exciting, and really there's not much to say about them. The main menu is static with an image of Lina and Naga in spell poses taking the right side of the picture, and the various selections on the left, with the theme tune playing. Sub menus are all static, too, with a different piece of music playing on each. Given how basic they are, access times are naturally nice and fast.

Extras:
The only extras again on this release are trailers for the four ADV Slayers releases due this year; this movie's trailer, plus ones for Slayers Return, Slayers Gorgeous and Slayers Excellent. Unfortunately, like a few of ADV's older shows that are only just being released, this disc is just lacking extras-wise, which is a shame as it could've been an area to add a bit of meat to the disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having really enjoyed my first foray into the franchise with Slayers Return, I was looking forward to this latest movie. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a movie of two halves. What started out as an amusing, fun and intriguing adventure dovetailed into a rather ridiculous and repetitive outing that left me feeling a little disappointed. It's quite a shame, as for a while I was really getting into it.

The movie opens in what is apparently typical Slayers fashion, with Lina and Naga having a good old feast. Once they finish, they're walking the streets of a town and find a giant golem shaped like a bull stampeding towards them. A woman trips and falls in its path, and just as its about to trample the three of them, Lina and Naga double team it with a massive spell. The woman, Laia, thanks them and goes on her merry way, but as is typical, the pair aren't going to leave without some reward. They do the usual graceful "we don't want any rewards" routine, but all the while following Laia, even to work. She gets a bit annoyed, as she has nothing to give, but Lina soon finds out that she's the daughter of one of the most famous golem creators, so she and Naga know what they want in reward: a golem they can sell for megabucks!

Laia takes them to her home, where they meet her brother Huey and father Garia. Both are golem creators, and Garia himself hasn't made a golem in years because of a lack of inspiration. Enter Lina, with whom he's immediately inspired (much to the chagrin of Naga), and vows to make a new golem. Huey, on the other hand, is struck by Naga's beauty and decides to use her as a model for his golem, with both the warring father and son set to face off in the town's golem contest. But more sinister plots are at work (or so they'd try to have us believe), with two feuding Lords sponsoring the contest, and taking opposite sides in hopes of creating an army of golems thanks to their respective creators.

And then the story goes a little to pot, and gets a bit too silly. I had really enjoyed the interplay between Lina and Naga up until this point. In fact, throughout the movie they were as hilarious a paring as I'd found them before. Though much of the story has them as travelling companions that always find themselves at odds with each other, trying to get one over on the other and bickering constantly, they have such a great rapport that it makes the two characters a lot of fun to watch, which is just as well, since they're central to these early Slayers adventures. And Naga still has that awesome laugh.

In particular, in terms of the story (and I know I should be using that loosely because this is a comedy, after all), I'd really enjoyed the way they set up the warring Lords and how Huey convinced Naga to take his side, like she really was picking the dark side of the force (and watching her turn on Lina and their subsequent fight provided a lot of laughs). But when it got to the crunch - the fight itself - I found myself thinking they'd got there a bit too early, and that they spent a little too much time on the fight itself.

Not that it didn't have its funny moments. Seeing a gigantic Naga golem complete with bouncing breasts was a riot, and the build-up to the super-cute Lina golem was funny; there were some great touches in there, like the noise that her golem made every time it took a step. But the fight itself just dragged a fair amount, and it meant there wasn't really much time for anything significant once it was all over, and in the end it left me feeling the whole thing was a tad pointless. Granted, comedy rarely has the most significant of plots, but generally even if they're wafer thin they try and accomplish something. Slayers Great just didn't really do that. It's kind of just there. It's funny, hilarious at times, but there's just not much point to it all.

It's hard to really encapsulate the feeling without giving away the whole fighting sequence, but it literally takes up the whole second half of the movie and ends up getting repetitive because of that. It's disappointing as it mars what could've been a really good adventure. That's not to say it's terrible, far from it. It is a comedy at the end of the day, and in that sense it provides quite a lot of laughs and some hilarious situations. The characters are pretty good, with a fun supporting bunch, and Lina and Naga are awesome in carrying it off as the leads. If you're not too fussed about having an inkling of substance behind it, and can stand a little bit of the same old within the movie, there are definitely plenty of worse ways to spend an hour.

The animation continues to be really good for the movie series, with lots of great movements, some nice details and very little in the way of heavily static scenes. The music is pretty fitting, if nothing extraordinary. It's a good package in that sense, and I would imagine it's quite a step-up from the multiple TV series.

In Summary:
As one of the feuding Lords puts it part way through the movie, things just get more silly as Slayers Great goes on. But while the plot may not be the most satisfying around, even for a comedy like Slayers, the characters are as strong as ever and there's a lot of laughs to be had. The package could be better value, given the length of the movie and the lack of extras, but the on-disc presentation is as good as you'd expect. It's not going to change your life, but if you can put up with the misgivings, Slayers Great is a lot of fun. Bring out your inner fantasy geek and give it a whirl.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Slayers trailers

Review Equipment

Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.

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