To find a way in rescuing Pokota's country Taforashia which was sealed by Rezo, Lina and her group are in search for the Hellmaster's jar in what the Red Priest placed his soul after death. Zelgadis is willing to do anything to get the jar for changing back into a human while Zuuma is plotting on revenge and accomplishing assignment in killing Lina Inverse. Still a big mystery for her and the others is what Xellos is aiming for in this battle.
There's something a little bit confusing about Slayers Evolution-R, and it's something that may not be immediately obvious to most people, especially as the sequel to Slayers Revolution is pretty much what viewers would expect.
And no, it's not the cunningly maneuvered "R". You have two guesses left.
The series picks up the narrative not too long after the end of Revolution. Lina and the gang are continuing their efforts to help Pokota on his quest, and this time they're looking for something called the Hellmaster's Jar, an object which supposedly contains the soul of the red priest Rezo. Like always though, other things keep getting in
Given that this is a direct sequel to the previous series it's understandable that director Watanabe Takashi simply proceeds with the story on the assumption that the viewer knows all of the facts, and in all honesty I found it quite refreshing that I wasn't subjected to a barrage of flashbacks for a change (although there are some admittedly). The plot is very similar to Revolution in its approach as it attempts to stay close to the tried and tested Slayers format. The story is often engaging and humourous, and there's a general air of adventure about proceedings.
The problem though, is that Evolution-R keeps tripping itself up when it begins to get going. The previous series made good use of what it had, even though it suffered from utilising an aging formula, but that's not the case here as it seems like there was too much effort placed on trying to be funny, and not enough on actually telling a story. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and if one compares the two series directly it becomes noticeable that Evolution-R is a far more hurried and haphazard affair than Revolution.
Now there may be many reasons for the difference, but the most obvious ones that spring to mind are time and budget restrictions. This series began airing just over three months after Revolution finished its run, and while that may sound like plenty of time to get a TV broadcast right, in reality it's not that long. One could argue that it would have been easier to plan the majority of the plot before the production of Revolution (which may actually be the case as it's a fairly common practice), but like any media the story evolves while the show is being made (e.g. writers have new ideas, plot elements are changed, adapted, added or removed, new characters are thrown into the mix, etc). As for the budget, the simple fact is that Evolution-R is actually a little worse in the animation department than its predecessor (but not by much to be honest).
Throughout the series the animation is generally around the same level as that in Revolution, with nice action set pieces, and decent character motion. The problems arise at the oddest moments though, and while there are the ubiquitous drops in quality during scenes of frenetic activity that are prevalent in many anime, there are also issues that arise when nothing much is happening as well (for example, lines that haven't been cleaned properly, odd poses, small errors in colourisation, etc). Fortunately viewers may not pick up on these minor flaws, and the only thing that may happen in most cases is that there will be a vague sense that something was a little off in certain scenes.
When it comes to the characters it's pretty much business as usual, and even though there are a few new faces here and there, the design principle remains relatively unchanged from the previous series. This continuity also extends to the acting, with many of the seiyuu from Revolution reprising their roles once more. As an added bonus Kawamura Shigeyo (a.k.a Maria), plays the role of Nama, the amnesiac suit of armour, but fans of the franchise will know her better as Naga The White Serpent from the Slayers movies.
As for the music, the OP, "Front Breaking", and ED, "Sunadokei", are once again sung by Hayashibara Megumi. The former is a fairly typical J-Pop track while the latter has more of a cross between rock and pop, and maybe it's just me, but they seem more suited to the Slayers franchise than the OP and ED for Revolution. The rest of the music is very similar, if not the same, as that used in the previous season, and while this does add to the sense of continuity, one can't help but wonder if there was some belt tightening going on as well.
One of the things that confuses me about Evolution-R is the manner in which the characters are handled. Over the course of Revolution and the numerous outings that came before there was always a degree of strength to the characterisations of Lina and the gang, but with the first three seasons this was tempered by a certain amount of development. One of the things that was missing from Revolution was the growth of the characters, and once again the issue is present here. Part of the problem is that the characters begin the show in much the same way they did in the previous season, which basically contradicts the method used in the story proper. If the assumption is that the viewer already knows what's going on, then it stands to reason that the characters should have little need for pointless introductions about who they are and what they're doing, and the whole deal with Nama could have been taken in a more fruitful direction.
The question is, why not simply make this a 26 episode series in the first place, as that would have precluded any need to begin the tale with inane explanations. The approach taken for the narrative, together with the almost unchanged music and character design, promotes a great sense of continuity, so it shouldn't have been too difficult to give the characters more focus. Fortunately this aspect is not immediately obvious to the casual viewer, especially as the characters interact with each other in pretty much the same way they did over the course of the previous series. In addition to this some development does occur, but like Revolution it's stunted due to the length of the anime.
Sadly, the characters are nowhere near as well developed as they could have been, and to me this seems like a waste.
That said, I found Evolution-R to be an enjoyable romp in the realms of comic fantasy, although I could have done without the fishwife episode as it adds nothing to the story. The series is almost on a par with Revolution in many aspects, but like the previous season it has some very big shoes to fill, which is something it doesn't really manage to do.
Even with the flaws Evolution-R is an anime that any fan of Slayers should watch, and while it is nowhere near the level of the first three seasons, it's also not as bad as some diehards may make out. Granted there are problems with the aging formula amongst other things, but these are easy to forgive as the series is entertaining in its own right. In all honesty though, the best time to watch Evolution-R is directly after finishing Revolution, and it may even be better to simply consider them one series instead of two.
However you decide to look at this show one can't get away from the fact that the queen of comic fantasy has firmly set out her stall in the 21st century, and given the generally poor showings in fantasy anime over the last few years one can only hope that Slayers will once again provide some much needed competition in the future.
"Destroying the undestroyable... You truly deserve to be called "Slayers"."-Xellos
Story: Now, I felt this was levels above Revolution. 7 might be a bit too generous but I really enjoyed all of it except for the fish people episode. For the most part I have the same complaints as usual with a Slayers series but episodes 10-13 showed that they could do a semi-good job with Slayers if they felt like it in terms of giving a viewer some satisfaction because overall Slayers isn't exactly the best show around. What they did with Zelgadis in episode 10 was a great watch for me. It was written
very well and I could really feel for him. It was a great episode and really made me excited from that point on. Anyway...
We have the basic "dead end" episodes where they're looking for something but end up doing something stupid. The plot picks up episode 5-6 so it's not that bad in terms of the number of "filler" episodes. Now for the criticism, kind of spoilers ahead I guess. It seems that Revolution and Evolution-R are basically a rehashed version of the original Slayers but they tossed in the jars. A lot of things didn't make sense and they tried to tie it all together at the end which turned out sloppy and rushed. It would've been better to cut the filler but then that wouldn't be Slayers. The pacing would've been better if this series took up some of Revolution's episodes because like I said, it's mainly the end of these 13 episodes where you really care about what's happening so if they stretched out some of the plot points or important character events, you wouldn't get that rushed feeling in the final episodes.
Art: For whatever reason, 10. It's not top quality animation but better than the older series of Slayers of course. It was consistent and bright. I also have to give some credit for the eyecatches of episode 13. The first one showed all of the protagonists from every season of Slayers. The second had all of the antagonists from every season. I thought that was a cool little thing to throw in for fans who have watched all the Slayers episodes.
Sound: I'm a bit conflicted as to whether or not I liked the opening and ending of Evolution-R. They're pretty okay songs though. I didn't give them a very good listening but I didn't hate them.
Probably one of the best things about this season was during the final episode. They played the opening of Slayers Next during a fight scene. No Slayers/Megumi Hayashibara fan or most people for that matter can say they did not like Give a Reason. Nostalgia ran through my head.
There was also a new song played at the end kind of like what they did with Try except it's not in English and Megumi Hayashibara sings it. A nice song to close the series with. Too bad it wasn't in the opening/ending single... Where can I get this?
Voice acting, obviously no problems here. Ost, nothing special.
Ozel - I didn't really mind this character. During Revolution, I didn't really care about her. I was too focused on hating other minor characters. Some of her bits are amusing in Evolution-R and it's a shame about what happens to her in the end. Wouldn't have minded her sticking around since unlike a lot of Slayers characters, her development was pretty well done. To see that play out more would've been nice.
Nama - Name sound familiar to those who watched Slayers movies? At first glance, she's a pretty unique character, different from what I'm used to seeing in Slayers anyway. She goes away pretty early meaning -1 minor character to annoy me. While I said she was unique I'm sure if she stayed she'd get to me. I'll never know though... Perhaps she would've made the series better.
Zuuma - Well, here's a bit of a problem. They don't really explain properly why he's after Lina. I'm sure many hardcore Slayers fans figured it out but I wish they would've straight out explained it. If you didn't watch the original Slayers you may guess right away why he's got a problem but you may not. Then you'd just consider him a maniac but he had a somewhat good reason I guess as far as a villain's reasoning goes anyway. My thoughts on him, there were way better mid-series villains in Slayers. Hated how this fool kept running away. Although I guess that happens a lot with Slayers villains, what Zuuma added to the series seemed unnecessary.
Enjoyment: The end battle seemed rushed and predictable but everyone took part in it and it was quite an explosive ending. Glad I watched it. So highlight episodes this time around are 10-13 as mentioned before. Got to take a look at Zelgadis's past which I definitely liked. Playing Give a Reason was awesome. Not bringing Duclis back (Even in the ending song/cameo part of the series) was a big plus. 8 should be a fair score. Wasn't perfect but it had its moments.
Overall: Now this and Revolution together didn't have as much of an impact on me like the other seasons. I felt that people new to Slayers starting with Revolution or this half-season would not catch all the charm and quirks of the characters we saw from 10 years ago. I mean, c'mon, Xellos didn't say "It's a secret." nearly enough in Revolution and Evolution-R... I'm not saying it's a horrible show. Evolution-R was pretty fun to watch despite the flaws. As a followup to Revolution which I thought was a wreck, how could I be disappointed? I'm definitely hoping they do more seasons that surpass this one. Let's just hope it doesn't take another 10 years, they have material to pull from so that's not an issue.
Thank you for reading my review. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Hope this helped.
Evolution-R started off with much potential. The battle with Zuma, Zelgadis finally confronting the truth of his body, and the part with the talking armour, and the identity of the soul trapped in it.
But all the strengths it builds vanishes at the end. Especially Xellos. They always want him to be on the "good' side. in Try, it made sense, and in Next. But for him to fight with Lina and the others in the final battle of this series was pathetic at best. First of all, Xellos would not sacrifice himself unless ordered to, and I don't care
what excuse you use, he wouldn't fight against his lord, even if it was a ghost or whatever. And the line where he compliments them is pathetic as well. Yes, he respects their power, but that was a bit much.
As much as I love Xellos, the series would have been better if he wasn't in the final battle, or around much at all. And at the very end, when Lina uses that power, it is as if everything she learnt in the last two seasons was meaningless.
Overall, if you love slayers, DO NOT subject yourself to these newest seasons, you'll only be greeted with disappointment and sadness..