"Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows. Buried in the flow of time, in thy great name, I pledge myself to darkness. Let the fools who stand before us be destroyed by the power you and I possess... Dragon slave!"
What They Say:
In the annals of fantasy there is no mage so feared, no sorcerer so powerful, as the fiery redhead Lina Inverse. And when the exceptionally well-endowed Naga the Serpent accompanies her, the forces of evil will find there's nowhere to hide!
Contains all five movies plus the six OVAs from Slayers: Book of Spells and Slayers: Excellent
Slayers: The Motion Picture
The Scary Chimera Plan
A Frightening Future
Lina-Chan's Lovely Makeover Operation
For the purposes of this review, the English audio track was used. Overall, the vocal tracks were easy to hear over the music and sound effects used. The soundtracks were only in stereo sound, but they did make fairly frequent usage of the right and left speakers to provide adequate directionality. The sound effects were muted at times during the first Slayers movie. The voice actress for Naga was able to portray her trademark boisterous laughter very convincingly well. There was an odd switch out in the English audio track during the 2nd movie's ending theme song. Lina's actress also did a good job as well.
The theatrical features in this set are mostly featured in their original "Letter Box" format, with "Premium" sporting an anamorphic release. The sole exception to this is the "Slayers: Great" movie which is presented in 4:3. The OAVS are presented in their original 4:3 format as well. The titles in this set span a time frame of roughly 6 years taking place between 1995 and 2001. While this may seem like a short time frame, this time period also saw the end of traditional cel animation techniques. Virtually all the titles in this set with the exception of the "Premium" feature were completed with traditional cel animation. "Premium" also employed the usage of CGI effects. As a result, this feature had a very bright and vivid color pallet. Many of the other movies and OAVs in this set transferred fairly well. The only exception to this was the first movie. It had a slightly darker and at times dated look to it. The "Book of Spells" OAV had a small case of blurry panning scenes during the town sequence. The animation quality during the "Gorgeous" movie was fairly nice also.
This collection comes housed in a sleek and sturdy chipboard box. The front of the box shows a very enthusiastic Lina with Naga posed above her. On the back of the box, the magical duo is again featured. In that picture, Naga's risqué outfit is shown off as both stare up into the distance. Inside the box are three thin-pack cases. On the first one, Naga looks like she is getting ready to cast a spell while Lina is shooting a light off of her index finger. On the second case the cast of the "Great" movie is featured. The final volume holds all of the OAVs. A smiling Naga and Lina once more grace the cover. Behind them is a mysterious lavender character. On the back of all the volumes are listings of the movies or OAVs contained upon that disk. Along side the listing is a short listing of the staff that worked on the feature. This is accompanied with a set of three screenshots from the pertaining feature. The colors are all extremely vibrant.
The menus on these volumes are all very simple. Each volume had a different static image where the movies and OAV features were directly accessible. There were submenus for the DVD credits and the language choices. Each menu had it's own bgm music. The artwork selected for the backgrounds was very brightly colored.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Magic, mayhem, adventure, comedy and violence. It's all here as Lina Inverse's exploits on the big and small screens come packaged in a neat and handy box set jam-packed with movies and OAVs galore.
Lina Inverse is a fiery sorceress who has a voracious appetite for food and is strongly motivated by money. Despite her small stature, she is a tough opponent who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. At the beginning of these features, she already has an established reputation for her skills in black magic. Unfortunately for Lina, that is not all she is known for. With the titles of "Bandit-killer" and "Dragon Spooker" added to her name, it is not easy for most to approach her unless they have need of her unique skills. During these movies, her lone traveling companion of sorts is a tall brunette by the name of Naga. She is rather well endowed and has a unique style of dress that makes it very noticeable. Once you figure in her memorable and haughty laughter, it is easy to see why she can be the stuff of nightmares for Lina. Also known as "The White Serpent," she possesses her own set of unique and impressive magical powers. Upon first meeting Lina, she immediately styled herself as Lina's one true rival. As time goes on the two female sorceresses strike an unspoken truce of sorts.
The Slayers movies and TV series have always been two different beasts. While they are both fully grounded in the Fantasy/Adventure genre, the TV series focused more on the defeat of Ultra-overlord monsters. While the movies also deal with defeating various demons and all around bad-guys, they vary in the reasoning behind it. In these features Lina is typically interested in acquiring some sort of magical item, and so it is not always to 'save the world' so to speak. These features also had the tendency to strongly focus upon Lina's and Naga's interactions and relationship with each other. The first motion picture had Naga's and Lina's relationships with each other already firmly established. The two were visiting the island of Mithros which was famous for its hot springs. It was also rumored to have a hot spring with the ability to cross time and space. Fairly soon after they arrived, Naga discerned that there was something fishy concerning their hot springs. After Lina has her dreams invaded by a sage who shows her his past, it becomes evident that something worse than the disappearance of their hot springs had occurred. Soon thereafter, the King and Queen beseech Lina's help in ridding their kingdom of a vile lesser demon. With dreams of gold and the revealing of the location of a hot spring that 'makes things grow,' Lina's actions on this island will have farther reaching consequences than even she can foresee.
With the second motion picture, it was easy to see the truth behind the statement that 'familiarity breeds contempt.' Lina had adapted a more boisterous laugh, while Naga seemed to lean more towards Lina's impeccable eating habits. It also became apparent that Naga really cared for Lina. In one instance where she was about to be cut down, Naga threw another man to knock over the one that was poised above Lina. Lina however still has a rather unique approach to things. In one case, she ended up fire-balling Naga to her destination in order to give her the speed she needed. The basic premise behind this movie was that recent rainstorms had eroded a mountain to a great extent. As a result an ancient magical artifact had become uncovered. Unfortunately for the villagers, this caused a young upstart group seeking power to invade and enslave their village. In true Slayers fashion, this movie contained several funny moments. One of funnier moments which took place near the beginning was seeing the headquarters of the village's invaders and hearing the head honcho's story.
The third movie saw more rivalry between Naga and Lina. The pair had gone to a town that was famous for Golems. A man renowned for his Golem building prowess had a son who also sought to make a name of his own. Unfortunately the two did not see eye to eye in their golem creation techniques. The father was mostly disappointed in his son for letting his hormones take control of his sculpting. After meeting Lina, the older man finds her to be the perfect model for his latest creation. Lina readily jumped at the chance to be immortalized by a famous golem creator. It was a large boost to her self image as she had always been a tad bit sensitive to the size of certain feminine attributes. Being picked over Naga as a model made it all the sweeter for her. Naga of course became increasingly sullen over the fact that Lina was picked and not her. Naga has a deep amount of confidence that shows through her laughter. To be deemed as "unworthy" was a blow to her ego. Further fanning the flames of jealousy, the town's two rival lords sought to create their own golem armies. Lord Ganyan ultimately used the son's pride in order to woe him over to his side. The end result was a case of father versus son and friend versus friend. As time went on, the lords desire to do battle with their magical beings caused the two golem creators to take odd and innovative shortcuts. The most interesting part of this movie came during the whole fight scene between the two. Each golem over characterized the features that made their models look uniquely themselves. As the famous golem maker had stated Lina was perfect for the job since she was "A girl with no hips or breasts with a face just screaming to be characterized."
One of the things that Naga and Lina share is their love of anything shiny and gold. Money is a grand motivator for the both of them. The previous movie had showed that Naga would follow a path of gold coins like Hansel and Gretel would a trail of bread crumbs. Lina being very familiar with this facet of Naga's personality chose to exploit it in the midst of battle. Money is a great motivator and it does make the world go around. In this next movie, a disgruntled princess sought to petition her father for a raise in her allowance through use of the kingdoms' "Dragon Army." The townspeople and king do not seem too terribly distraught by these actions and merely see it as "a phase." Unfortunately for the knight facing her, they asked Lina's name before ordering the dragons to attack. The following scene proved that Lina's unique reputation does precede her. Known as the "Dragon Spooker" or more politely "Dragon Master," once the dragons had heard her name they refused to fight. One of the unique tales that filled their heads was that of Lina eating dragon's spawn for breakfast. Soon after the battle the real enemy of the kingdom is revealed. Unfortunately, he was an extremely powerful opponent and called for a large amount of force to be expended in the fight against him.
One of the funnier movies in this box set was the Premium movie. This last movie was a departure from the previous movies and OAVs. It was the only movie to contain the main cast from the television series. This originally aired 4 years after the end of Slayers Try season, and included appearances by Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis and a short cameo from Naga. For many fans who had expected this to somehow continue off from the TV series, their hopes were dashed. While Lina was fishing she accidentally freed a race of sentient octopus creatures. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, this proved to have disastrous consequences on the nearby town. It seemed that anyone who ingested these octopuses would be cursed by only being able to speak in the creature's language. While somewhat similar to their own tongue, certain words and phrases meant different things. For example, the ever clueless Gourry merely states that he doesn't understand what is going on. Unfortunately, this translates to "Flat Chested." Seeing as how Lina is rather sensitive to the size of her feminine attributes and the frequency of Gourry not understanding things, this does not go over very well at all. It soon becomes apparent that the Octopus Race is trying to summon a deity to free them from the humans who would continue to dine upon their flesh. As tends to be the case, the deity's help is available but it demands a steep price. The only real disappointment here was that the movie was shorter that the others.
The OAVs were filled with old school Slayers goodness. One of the funniest of the bunch was that of the errant knight Jeffery and his mother. Embodying the complete definition of Mama's boy, Jeffery was a young man who wanted to join the royal knights so that he could become a man. This was all being done at his mother's insistence of course. The girls were quite surprised that someone with his 'credentials' would consider that line of work. However money talks and they were soon on their way towards helping him on the road to manhood by way of actor bandits. Mother-dearest, in all her infinite wisdom thought that the perfect thing to bolster Jeffery's confidence was to have him face off with a band of brigands and win. It soon became apparent thought that things wouldn't be as easy as planned. For one thing, a mysteriously masked traveler had a tendency to appear out of thin air whenever anyone started to state something negative to or about Jeffery. The reason I liked this one the most was because of all the humor it had. Another of the OAVs also revealed Naga's humble origins and how she came to be Lina's rival. The OAVS tended to be shorter in time than the movies but included a great deal of humor. Everything from rival fashion houses fighting out their differences with magic to what mirror opposites of the two magic wielders would be like was covered in these adventures.
This collection covers a time span of roughly a decade. As such, it should be a given that the earliest of the movies and the most recent offering would differ a bit in visual quality due to the sources and technologies used. The movies and OAVs have always been separate from the TV series continuity. To date only once have they included the tv series cast. Overall the animation was pretty good and the included features had a lot of comedy and action. If you are looking for a healthy dose of comedy mixed with fantasy or action, this is definitely something you should check out.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
106" 16x9 DaLite HC Screen, Panasonic PT-AX100U LCD Projector 720p native, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player (connection type), Sony STR-DE835 500W Receiver DD/DTS, Klipsch Reference System (RB-61, CS-52 and RS-42) speakers, Sony SA-WMS5 100 Watt powered subwoofer.