The gang is on a quest to find a particular jar before Rezo can be resurrected, which could possibly bring Shabringdo back as well.
What They Say The magical mayhem of The Slayers Revolution continues in The Slayers Evolution-R! With the original cast of The Slayers back together for the first time in over a decade, Lina Inverse and her crew are reunited and doing what they do best - saving the world by almost destroying it!
Lina's gang and their new ally Pokota are hot on the trail of the Hellmaster's Jar! It's no ordinary piece of pottery: it holds the soul of Rezo the Red Priest. Opening the vessel and resurrecting Rezo is the only hope Pokota has of saving his kingdom's people. With masked assassins, headless knights, and shifty Xellos in the mix, one thing is certain: destruction is guaranteed!
Contains all 13 episodes.
FUNimation has a pretty standard setup here for its audio design with a good bilingual presentation. The original Japanese track is in stereo encoded at 192kbps and it hits up the forward soundstage in a very good way with a solid and engaging mix. Some stereo shows don't have much to offer but this one feels like it has a bit more impact and oomph to it. The English mix gets the bump up to 5.1 and that has a more full feeling to it while adding a good amount of oomph and impact to it as well above and beyond the stereo mix. The dialogue has a cleaner and stronger feel with more distinct placement in the few scenes overall where it's really noticeable. Both mixes are pretty good overall and left a positive impression as they play out.
Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show is split across two discs in a standard seven/six format that works well and is pretty standard for FUNimation releases at this point. This is the first Slayers TV series in widescreen and the first for the property in several years and the result is that we get a very appealing show with lots of vibrant colors and smooth looking animation. Even when the first series came out it felt like it was older but here the show looks very new and modern while still adhering to the original designs. The transfer captures this very well with what's a very clean looking piece where the character animation is solid and there's little significant noise and no cross coloration and very little line noise during panning sequences.
Slayers Evolution-R is like the Revolution set in that it mirrors some of what we saw in the previous three season box set that came out last year with its framing and general look. The set is in a standard thin slipcover with two slim cases inside to hold the discs. The slipcover and the discs have the same kind of gold ornate framing around them that we saw on the box set release which gives it good continuity. The front of the slipcover gives us the pairing of just Lina and Rezo where Lina looks very up front because of the color of her outfit. Rezo looks subdued and dark in the background because of his colors, though each of them wields some magic which gives it a little more impact as well. The back of the slipcover is done up as a wanted poster using some good artwork of Ozzel that has her looking quite proper. The taglines a bit longer than usual overall but it sells the show just right as does the main summary paragraph itself. A few shots from the show are included here as well though they're not terribly distinct overall.
Inside the slipcover we get the two slim cases which uses the same kind of framing as the front of the slipcover. The first volume has a really nice serious shot of Lina using her magic with Zuuma mixed into the shadows of the background which is all black. The second volume puts Lina and Xellos together where she's in a bit of an action pose while Xellos has that eternally creepy smile to his face. The back of the covers are the same and they use more of the framing while having a large sheet of parchment which has text just along the top half with the episode numbers for that respective volume. The covers are fully reversible with different pieces of artwork that came from the Japanese releases that have large group shots from the cast of characters. No show related inserts are included in this release.
The menus for this release are cute and work well as each disc has a different piece of full screen artwork with a parchment laid over part of it where we get the illustration of Lina with the navigation next to it. The caricature piece still amuses me a lot since it's so spot on for her look. The navigation itself is very simple since there's not much here outside of the show but it all works well and flows nicely. The combination of the instrumental music and the full color animation pieces come together nicely and it sets the mood for the show pretty well. Unsurprisingly, the discs don't read our players' language presets and default to English with sign/song subtitles.
The only extras we get are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences on the second disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I'm still in shock that I liked the Slayers Revolution season. I'm in even more shock that I really liked it and it turned out to be my favorite of all the seasons. And unfortunately, that also includes this one. Evolution-R isn't bad though and I still found it to be better than the first three seasons, but it feels a bit less defined overall as it's not quite as tight or as much fun overall compared to Revolution. Still, the cast has a good deal of fun overall here and it does a nice job of cleaning up the remaining storyline from the previous season and working through some of the bigger ties that go all the way back to the beginning of the first season.
This season plays around some basic ideas as we learned a lot about what was going on in the previous season about Rezo and what he did to Taforashia where Pokota came from. With the promise, or threat, of Rezo being revived, the show takes on the focus of having Lina and the group trying to hunt down a Hellmaster's Jar. As in Hellmaster Phibrizzio from much earlier in the series overall. The Jar was what was used to transfer Rezo's spirit between bodies and Pokota needs it back so he can make his own transference. But it's not that simple as Pokota's body as Posel is what Rezo was intending to revive himself in so he could go forward and do the good that he often does do. Pokota would like nothing better than to deny him that, but Rezo's revival in that body is what will break the seal on his kingdom and free everyone within. Albeit with a disease, but one that can now be treated.
Slayers Evolution-R spends about the first half of the show working through the chase for the right Jar. It's fairly straightforward and mostly episodic as we see them going to different towns and investigating different rumors and tales. Early on in their quest they pick up someone to help them in the form of Nama, a young woman who is essentially a spirit bonded to a suit of armor that's just a little bit ditzy. Lina is eternally frustrated by her and the way her memory works as she forgets key things until the last moment, so Lina often slaps her around a lot. Or rather, she slaps around the helmet a lot and tries blowing her up, though that has little effect on her due to the way a Jar was used on her to get her into this form. Nama is a fairly comedy driven character and her interaction with Lina is fun, but you really don't miss her once she disappears about halfway through the season.
The season has to real main focuses in addition to the hunt for the Jar. The first is the plan for revenge that Zuuma has as he's doing his best to take down Lina. Xellos is quite interested in him since he apparently has a Jar that may be Rezo's, which is in turn under the protection of Ozzel as time goes on. Ozzel takes on a more significant role this time around as she's traded between owners here and there as Zuuma manipulates her for his own goals, but with Ozzel being a puppet of Rezo, everything she does is for his goals as well. Zuuma's story and some of the trickery her runs was pretty subpar until we get to the crux of it and the time spent with Abel and his father really made a lot of things about the subplot fun.
The big part of the series revolves around the revival of Rezo himself since you know that it will all come back to him. I really did not care for the Rezo character in the first season in general, from his demeanor to his overall motivations for everything he did. That he was a container for something so very powerful made him dangerous, but as it turns out, the real danger all along was Lina. Rezo's return comes in a couple of different forms before it takes over as the big epic boss battle during the end run of the season, but what we learn from him is that when he was alive before, witnessing what Lina is capable of is what really made him nervous and worried in his own way as he saw her as a true power to be reckoned with. Considering how many big evil's she's dealt with over the seasons, well, not many people will deny that aspect of her.
At the end of this season, there's one thing that really sticks in my mind that does separate this show from a lot of others. And that's that the show really hasn't grown that much in one way that most series do. When it comes to magic, Lina and the main group haven't found themselves continually getting stronger and more powerful spells. Of course, part of that is because Lina has started off with the Dragon Slave and then the Giga Slave, which featured some really big complex issues, but there hasn't been a push for her and others to become even more amazingly powerful. There's an upper limit to the power they can have and it seems like they've already hit it for the most part and they have to be creative instead when it comes to solving problems. Or dragging out the Giga Slave when nothing else comes to mind. I love this aspect of it because they don't continually pull new major epic spells out of their asses.
Slayers Evolution-R doesn't feel like the plot is as solid throughout as the previous season and some of the comedy falls a little flat at times. The core cast of characters is what makes it fun though and they're in good form here as Lina fears something bigger may be at stake with Rezo's revival. There's just something about the story here that doesn't come across as compelling for awhile and when we do hit Rezo's arc, it loses some initial steam because of the way Rezo seems so senile. It's certainly not a bad season and I like it more than the first three, but I keep finding Slayers Revolution to be my favorite among the five seasons overall. What says the most, especially considering my history with Slayers, is that this season and the previous does leave me wanting to see more made and hoping it happens.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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