Slayers Return - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Slayers

Slayers Return

By Chris Beveridge     November 15, 2003
Release Date: November 25, 2003


Slayers Return
© ADV Films


What They Say
The indomitable Lina Inverse and the inexplicable Naga the Serpent are in trouble up to their eyebrows again! If you thought Slayers: the Motion Picture was wild, just wait until you see Lina and Naga take on a horde of vicious demons and a band of road warriors intent on collecting an unpaid debt.

What starts out as a simple task ridding a village of some villains turns into a fiasco when Lina and Naga realize their spells won't work. An ancient elf-made weapon, a would-be world conqueror and a plot with more twists than a pretzel factory-this Slayers adventure is sure to have you in knots with laughter!



The Review!
The Slayers franchise dips again into the pre-TV series pool and pulls out an hour-long tale of fantasy comedy and big tracts of land.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, having been listening to the Japanese cast for so many years now, we went with that track. Both the English and Japanese tracks are done up in a stereo mix and it comes off pretty nicely here, though there’s only a few moments where the stereo mix is really noticeable as most of the dialogue and screaming is center channel based. Dialogue sounded clean and without issue during regular playback with no noticeable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally released in 1996, Slayers Return is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is letterboxed as no anamorphic print exists. The transfer here for the most part looks fantastic. The early part of the film looks somewhat murky and indistinct with the blacks and other dark colors, but once it shifts out of that sequence, the remainder of the print looks much like a mid 90’s film should look like. Colors are rich and vibrant while the earth tones come out nice and solid. Aliasing is minimal outside of a few panning areas and cross coloration only shows up in a handful of places for a few seconds. The further into the show you go, the bigger the budget apparently as the animation fluidity level and richness of colors increases greatly during the final chase and battle sequence.

Packaging:
Going right for the core demographic, the cover art here provides a trio of lovely ladies all busting out of their clothes in the best way they can. Naturally, that means Naga takes center stage with her whisper thin outfit and Lina has her usual set of armored pieces to her. Add in a new character for this movie with her breasts being accentuated in an amusing way and you’ve hooked a good number of regular fans and Slayers die-hards. The back cover provides a few shots from the show and a good summary of the premise. The production and basic technical information are all nicely listed and very easy to figure out. The insert provides another look at the front cover but without the logos while the reverse side lists the discs chapters, features and preview trailers to expect.

Menu:
The main menu for this release is pretty simple with the headshot image of Lina from the front cover set to the side while the selections arc along her to the left as set to some of the instrumental music from the movie. With no animation or transitional effects, as well as most everything available from the top menu here, things move smoothly and quickly for what little you need to get around.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Looking back, I realized it had been nearly three years since I had last seen anything Slayers related. At first, I felt sad that I was once again being drug through the trenches of the Slayers universe and dreaded revisiting it again. But then I remembered that this is one of the movies, which are much different than the TV series, and some of the fond memories actually surfaced.

For Slayers Return, the show hits all the right marks like other the other movie and OVA efforts. The story this time around centers around a magician/villain type who has discovered an ancient elfin magical device that became unearthed during some recent massive flooding. Gelf has sent his main lackey, Zahhard, to go to the nearby village and round up all the villagers to begin the excavation or face punishment. One young woman manages to escape though and heads to a nearby town for help.

Naturally, that town is where Lina and Naga are enjoying something of a break from their travels and are having a spot to eat for lunch. It’s here that the blue-haired Saleena arrives from the now captured village of Biaz and tries to tell her tale of woe to Lina. She knows of Lina and figures that she’s her best bet to fight off Zahhard and whoever else may be with him. Lina’s pretty disinterested in all of this until she hears the name of Biaz mentioned and remembers a story about an ancient elfin artifact that was buried up there. While figuring that it can’t be that, she decides to check it out anyway and accepts Saleena’s offer and the trip heads back to the village.

Things only go wrong for just about everyone at this point. Zahhard and Galef are stunned that Lina found their hideout so easily, Galef’s call for his old head busting team gets answered but they’ve come to take a piece out of Galef first while Zahhard looks on. Lina and Naga learn some information about the powerful artifact hidden there being excavated but wonder at its true power. It’s only when Galef actually manages to activate the massive artifact that they realize they’ve all made a mistake and it becomes a mass hysteria moment as everyone tries to stay alive.

The story is pretty simple and straightforward, but it’s the mix of comedy and fantasy as well as the impossibly bad always happening whenever Lina and Naga get close together. The movie also works well due to the fact that it’s got a rather good mid 90’s budget that let a lot of the colors really shine through nicely here. During some of the chase sequences in the last 10 minutes of the movie there’s just some really gorgeous moments of fluidity in the way it’s all done.

In Summary:
With this story being self contained, it’s an easy title to drop in and just start laughing as the usual antics are started up and there’s some fresh humor as well. I love the relationship between Naga and Lina in how they’re not exactly being competitive with each other, but they’re still two women in very close relations to each other as they journey across the world.

This film tells a fun little tale with a fair number of quirky twists and physical comedy that it has something that would make just about anyone laugh. I had a silly grin on my face for the bulk of this even though it’s projecting itself a mile away. Definitely a keeper.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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