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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 129.99
  • Running time: 600
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Slayers

Slayers Next

By Chris Beveridge     November 07, 2000
Release Date: November 07, 2000


Slayers Next
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Join the not-so-heroic adventures of Lina Inverse — the super-cute sorceress who steals from the rich and keeps it for herself! Along with her sword-swinging (but dumber than dirt) sidekick, Gourry, her hyper-enthusiastic protégé, Amelia, and the tormented and overly-serious golem, Zelgadis, there's nothing Lina can't do!

The Review!
The second season of Slayers, appropriately titled Slayers Next, brings another 26 episodes in the same style as the first season. In fact, some people might notice one or two similarities between the two series. More alert folks will notice massive similarities.

Audio:
The stereo audio tracks here for both languages are pretty decent if unexceptional. Dialogue is clean and clear with no noticeable distortions. There's little in the way of serious directionality in the action sequences, but there's a bit here and there that seems to be well done.

Video:
Much like the first season, the animation here seems to keep things on the lean and minimal side. There's very little difference in the animation style and quality between seasons, though the final couple of episodes here are a bit more well animated than the majority of the rest of the series. Colors are pretty decent if a bit bland, darks look fairly good though there's a hint of grain throughout. The only noticeable problems that crop up is the softness (intentional?) and some edge jaggies, noticeably around characters hair and faces.

Packaging:
While the box itself is fairly nicely done and the individual disc covers are pretty much in the usual style we get from CPM, the bad part that downgraded the set is the keepcases being black while the covers have information on the reverse side. Supposedly there weren't enough clear keepcases at the time for the box set. After replacing the set with clear keepcases, it looks pretty nice and having the reverse side information available is handy.

Menus:
The menus definitely continue the traditional style that CPM has set for itself. There's usually a sizeable bright image of one of the characters throughout the set on the main page which is offset by the main selections. Access times to the selections are very fast and everything seems to work spot on. We had no trouble with the menus at all.

Extras:
As of this writing, we're leaving the extra rating blank as we haven't had the time to go through them. All of them are included on the DVD-ROM side of things on the fourth disc, so unless you have a DVD-ROM player, you won't see them anyway.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
All told, it took me about two months from receiving this box set to actually sitting down and watching it. I made it through the first disc in about a month and then did a marathon session of the other three discs in two days. And it wasn't out of love for the series mind you, but more to get this monkey off my back (and to stop some of those petitions to get me to finish it!).

After my lackluster feelings from the first season of Slayers, and knowing that the second season follows the same style, my enthusiasm was pretty minimal. Suggestions were to sit down and watch it all in one sitting to watch one episode a night and not overdose on it. I've tried it both ways, but neither seem to work well.

Slayers Next picks up an unspecified amount of time after the first season with Lina and Gourry traveling around. After a brief encounter which destroys a kingdom, brings Zelgadis back into the picture and introduces more comedic relief into the series in the form of Martina, the green haired sorceress whose rather incompetent, they head off to a larger city to continue their wandering.

Zelgadis has started talking about a bit of a tale called the Claire Bible, which contains an immense amount of magical information, including the spell that will turn him back to human. Lina and Gourry decide that they'll help him, especially after meeting the mysterious Xellos, yet another mysterious yet comedic character that flits in and out of the group, causing problems here and there.

The show then lurches into it's three main arcs. The first arc revolves around the tale of the Claire Bible and the setup of the gang to get involved with it as they end up taking sides in bodyguard duty. Half end up defending one magician whose trying to gain control of the school of sorcery while the other half defends the other, which leads to the two halves going up against each others magicians. There are a few amusing incidents throughout it, but they just lead up to the discoveries of the bigger powers that are working behind the scenes for some mysterious goal. And the Claire Bible becomes an important piece in understanding things, so they set off again to find it.

Insert filler episodes here.

The second arc has the gang returning to Amelia's home city, where they learn of her father, Prince Phil, being assassinated. Suspicions run high and accusations run rampant as we meet more of Amelia's family and learn more about how this city of white magic really works. There's more revelations made throughout that push the Claire Bible aspect of the story forward, especially when Xellos makes his mysterious appearances and nudges things in the right direction. Things don't go so well though when Martina continues to enter the picture, but she does start to grow on you throughout the first half of the series.

Insert filler episodes here.

The final arc brings just about everyone together as the big bad guys get their plans rolling and the mysteries of the Claire Bible are revealed. There are a few interesting revelations here, and some surprising emotional changes, but for the most part it's pretty similar to the ending of the first season.

This is where I find the show to be pretty mediocre in general. Much like at the end of the first season, practically nothing has changed after all of these adventures beyond a cast expansion. Everyone interacts the same way, there's little in terms of actual growth and the world, while saved yet again, doesn't seem any different. After nearly thirteen hours of storytelling, very little of it has retained in my mind.

If you enjoyed the first season of Slayers, you'll likely enjoy this as it follows the same conventions. If you weren't a fan of the first season, don't expect much improvement here. The only thing that helped this season with me was the Martina character and a bit more screentime for Amelia.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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