Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: A
- 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
By Seton Williams
February 18, 2002
Release Date: November 07, 2000
CPM's Slayers box sets have been my first introduction to this series, and I must say that I am impressed! Before I start off here I would like to state that I love the fantasy genre, and I can easily see people not being attracted to a fantasy series that doesn't always take itself seriously. That being said lets look at some of the technical aspects.
Audio: I have surround sound speakers, but they only play in stereo. That being said everything sounds fine, and I see no reason to lower the grade from and A on the audio transfer. A
Video: The video transfer is a bit of a mixed bag. I thought it looked fairly good, but I can't help but feel that CPM should have taken the time to do a better transfer. The colors seemed a little dull to me, and in a series like this I would expect them to be brighter. This set will certainly not test any limits on your video setup, but for such a great value and series I am certainly not going to complain TOO much. B+
Packaging: I really liked the art on the covers of the cases more than the first box set, but the logo on the sides of the packaging don't line up right and the inserts were obviously meant for clear keep cases. It wouldn't have taken much more effort to turn this into an A worthy packaging job for me. B+
Menus: Nothing really flashy here, but they are quick (except when my disc loads it always seems to stall a little at the very beginning, but then it's fine). My biggest gripe here is the lack of chapter stops. If your disk gets stopped for whatever reason you can only start episodes at the intro credits. I don't think it would have taken much effort to add at least a chapter stop after the eye catch. B
Extras: I don't like to grade Extras, but I feel I should make some mention of them. I only bothered to watch the trailers on the disks, and I felt the video quality of them was very poor. Besides that my box set came with a coupon to get a picture of Lina, Gourry, and Zelgadis in cool action pose that is now hanging on my wall!! I definitely like that sort of thing!
Content: I enjoyed the original Slayers an awful lot, but I think Slayers Next outdoes it in almost every way. I found the way Lina and the gang interacted to be VERY funny. There are the usual breast jokes used against Lina in almost every episode, but aside from that every thing was wonderful. I am especially fond of Zelgadis, especially how quickly he is occasionally willing to give up his dignity to achieve his goals J. Xellos is introduced in this series starting with the second episode, and I was never disappointed when he showed up. Possibly the most amusing character in the series to date, I was surprised by his antics many times over the course of the series.
As for the way the story progresses let me just say this (before the spoilers section). The show starts out small and just builds and builds upon itself till it reaches critical mass at the end. I won't say more here because I thought every battle was a treasure and would hate
to ruin any part of it for anyone.
I would readily recommend this series to anyone, even those who have not seen the first. It is an excellent piece of animated storytelling that everyone should see at some point.
Now for the spoilers part of my review!!!!!!!
SPOILER WARNING!!! GO YE NO FURTHER, THOSE WHO WISH TO BE SURPRISED!!!!
I'd like to start of this section of my review by saying that I am CONVINCED that Sylphiel is only used at the end of this series simply because they need an extra healer around to resurrect everyone being blasted by the ultimate bad guy.
The first few episodes aren't really that interesting plot wise, but I loved the fortress of Professional wrestlers wearing dragon's heads! Once the group reaches Sairoon however, things really pick up. I really think the battle against the two monsters on the floating island is one of my favorite all time battles now. Most of the series involves the groups search for the Legendary Claire Bible, the source of ultimate knowledge, and a lot of the filler episodes had to do with Xellos's ideas about where to find the Claire Bible. But they were all funny, even the episode where they went dragon hunting. I also was quite taken with the monsters schemes made purely to try and get Lina to cast the Giga slave again in order to bring about the destruction of everything. All the battles made sense with this in mind, and it wasn't really hard to figure out. The Battles with the Dragon Master and Hell master were both very well done, and the ending with Phibrizzo handily taking all of Linas friends hostage just to force her to cast the Giga slave was REALLY cool. This series has a VERY climactic ending, and I don't think anyone should be disappointed with it (though I'm sure there are those of you out there that will be no matter what I say).
I'm really looking forward to the Slayers Try box set after this one.
Creative DVD 6X encore with dx3 decoder card, Cambridge Soundworks 5 speaker surround sound, My Computer Monitor