Slayers: The Motion Picture Essential Anime -

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterbox Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Slayers

Slayers: The Motion Picture Essential Anime

By Luis Cruz     September 28, 2004
Release Date: September 28, 2004

Slayers: The Motion Picture Essential Anime
© ADV Films

What They Say
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!

The Review!
Lina and Naga are given the essential makeover as Slayers the Motion Picture hits the shelves once again.

My primary viewing session consisted of the Japanese stereo track. It certainly does not pack much of a punch when compared to more modern tracks, but it has held up quite well over the years. Action, dialogue, and music are balanced very well and are very clear; there were no noticeable distortions, dropouts, or other problems.

Every "Essential" title is given a new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track for the English soundtrack. ADV does a good job in the translation for this disc; there are some good ambient effects throughout, and the action moves across the front soundstage very well. While not as rich as more modern 5.1 soundtracks, it sounds great and enhances the experience nicely. Fans of both language tracks will be pleased.

While not anamorphic, ADV provides a solid transfer for the widescreen source; colors are vivid and provide some great details on the characters and the backgrounds. There were a few areas where the picture seemed to suffer from some blurring around the edges, but these occurred in only a few spots during some of the faster moving action shots. The overall video experience is quite enjoyable.

The original front cover shot is kept for this release and is placed between the standard "Essential Anime Collection" banners at the top and bottom. The cover shot prominently features Lina and Naga with Naga posed in quite the titillating shot. The back cover contains the requisite screenshots, disc specifications, and plot synopsis. The insert features the front cover shot on one side and adverts for other ADV titles on the reverse. There is one small mistake on the packaging as it lists the running time as seventy-five minutes; the actual running time is around sixty-six minutes.

The menus consist of a static image while music plays in the background; menu items are large and placed on the left of the screen. There are no transition delays switching between menus.

Character descriptions comprise one half of the extras. The other half consists of a commentary track featuring Matt Greenfield (ADR director), Cynthia Martinez (Lina), and Kelly Mansion (Naga). This continues to be one of the best reasons to pick up a title from the "Essential" line.

Mr. Greenfield always provides some great insight into the dubbing process as well as the history behind the title and ADV in general. The voice talent also provides some amusing insight into the process from their behind-the-mic perspective. These commentaries are always lively, and all involved have as much fun viewing the final product years later as they did recording it. The most interesting tidbit from the commentary is the fact that ADV went back and retranslated the movie for the "Essential" release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Years before the events of the TV series, Lina was a sorceress wandering the land in search of good food and good rewards. At the beginning of one such journey, Lina begins to have strange dreams about a human boy and an elven girl. A brief encounter with some thieves leads to a reunion with Naga, the busty but not quite brilliant sorceress. Together, they head to Mipross Island to take a dip in their fabled hot springs.

Once they arrive, the trouble begins as thugs and sorcerers begin to attack them. To top things off, the fabled hot springs prove to be a fraud. The dreams intensify until Lina learns the truth behind Mipross Island. Hundreds of years ago, the island was home to elves and humans and was very close to the mainland. This all changed when a demon named Joyrock came and slaughtered all the elves; a human named Rowdy could not stop Joyrock despite wielding the mythical Sword of Light. Rowdy has survived the ages due to the Island retreating from the mainland and altering the flow of time.

Rowdy enlists Lina's aid, and to a lesser extent Naga's, to go back in time and undo a past that should never have existed. My first introduction to Slayers was the second series Slayers Next; its blend of comedy, fantasy, and plot drew my into the series making a solid fan of the franchise. Slayers the Motion Picture has all of the same elements: comedy, action, endless jokes about Lina's minute bust. However, it just does not find the right balance that made the TV series so enjoyable.

The main reason for this would be the length; with just over sixty minutes to tell a story, the plot feels a bit rushed and does not allow the Island or the characters on it to really make an impression. The action feels cursory with Joyrock being a little more than a convenient target for Lina's spells. With the short running time, there are also some scene transitions that feel awkward, most notably near the end of the film.

In one sequence, Rowdy is explaining to Lina and Naga the history of the island, and the suddenly, they are facing Joyrock and his minions. While the narration provides a link between these two sequences, it feels as if there is a sequence or two missing in between. The two sequences just did not flow well into each other. Overall, the film seemed to only serve the purpose of linking Lina to Gourry's ancestors long before she even met him.

There are plenty of amusing jokes, a great ending theme song, and Naga always provides some good eye candy. However, the film just did not capture the same energy that the TV series provided. It does serve as a good introduction to the series for newcomers, but it might fall a bit short for those who have watched a good portion of the TV series. It is not a poor film and does provide some entertainment; if it were a bit longer, it might have had time to develop into a much stronger film.

In Summary:
Slayers is certainly a franchise worthy of the "Essential" moniker. The first motion picture provides a good introduction to the main character of the series and to the humor and action you will find in it. However, the running time for the film limits it and causes it to fall short of the formula that makes the TV series so engaging. The jokes and action are present but just do not have a solid plot behind it to make it flow smoothly. It is worth watching once but is not something I would find myself pulling off the shelf often.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles,Commentary with Cynthia Martinez (Lina) and Kelly Manison (Naga) and English Dub Producer Matt Greenfield,Characters bios

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable


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