In this prequel movie to the Slayers televison series, Lina Inverse travels to Mipross Island with her rival/traveling companion Naga the Serpent. While they originally came for the hot springs, they soon find them selves mixed up in a conspiracy involving a mazoku named Joyrock. Years ago, he killed all of the elves that inhabited the island and absorbed their power. They are soon joined by an old mage named Rowdy Gabriev, who was in love with one of the elves slaughtered and also wants to defeat Joyrock.
Slayers: The Motion Picture, also called Slayers Perfect, is a short movie that serves as a prequel to the television series that aired in 1995. The movie itself was released in July of 1995, after approximately half the television series had run its course. Do you remember that I mentioned wanting to see Slayers since I saw a trailer for one of the movies? This is the movie I was talking about.
After a misunderstanding regarding some bandits, Lina Inverse runs into Naga the Serpent, a rival of hers, and they end up going to a famous hot spring together. The hot spring itself is
located on a mysterious island, shrouded in mist, that only seems to open for visitors once a year. Soon, Lina finds out that something terrible happened on this island many years before, and it's up to her to right the wrongs committed by the evil being that still lurks.
Hot springs? Sounds like an excuse for some fan service! Well, say what you want, but there's an amazingly small amount of “ecchi” in this film. The bulk of it is provided by Naga's outfit merely existing. It's basically a bikini, and more or less a reference to how female warriors are pretty much nude in a lot of fantasy comics and games. The outfit itself is handled quite tastefully, and there isn't much in the way of perverse camera angles obviously meant to monopolize her skin-tight threads.
As for the story itself, Slayers Perfect starts off comedic, dabbles in a bit of mystery, and ends off with a short battle and some celebrations. You can even find a bit of a moral in the last five minutes of the movie if you squint. Slayers: The Motion Picture may not have a bad idea for a plot (far from it), but it does suffer from being a bit rushed. Some scenes have awkward transitioning and the movie's pacing alternates from being too slow or too fast at varying points during its runtime of about sixty-five minutes. It really ought to have been more competently planned out, or been longer (by, say, at least thirty more minutes perhaps).
Speaking of competence, the movie is written well enough that at the very least, you don't need to be familiar with the television series to watch it. It could even serve as a window to help deciding whether you want to give the original anime a go. Aspects that are explained or referenced in the television series are also explained or referenced in the movie where pertinent, and the film doesn't treat you as if you are already familiar with Lina or Naga (the latter of whom doesn't appear in the first season of the anime anyway).
The primary protagonists of Slayers Perfect are, of course, Lina and Naga. Both are proficient sorceresses. Lina acts much the same as she did in the television series – for the uninitiated, a gluttonous and money-loving teenager. We don't get much out of Naga this time around, but at least she is amusing with her arrogance and manages to be quite intriguing. Rowdy Gabriev joins Lina and Naga as a hero, although he mostly passes on advice and cryptic messages and his role as a whole can't truly be explored in a review without digging up some spoilers. The side characters exist and serve their purpose, but unlike the first season of Slayers, none are particularly memorable or striking. Character development is nonexistent in this film. There isn't much to say about the subject other than that.
The animation of this film was handled by J.C. Staff as opposed to SoftX, so we can see some subtle character design differences and a general change in art style. The colours are a bit darker and muted, and the movie has an overall grungy, dirty look despite its material. The animation is nothing to sneeze about, though. It's pretty well-done and good quality for a film; however, it would have certainly benefited from using the same sort of palette as the television series.
Hayashibara Megumi shines again with her song Midnight Blue, which serves as the movie's ending theme and has got to be my favourite track I've heard from her yet. It is haunting albeit melodic and I love listening to it. The rest of Slayers Perfect's soundtrack could use some work. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just not something to really write home about. Hayashibara does a good job as Lina Inverse as per usual, and the rest of the Japanese VAs are adequate. Kawamura Maria deserves special mention for her role as Naga, and that amazing laugh that almost rivals Sumeragi Hokuto's (Tokyo Babylon).
Slayers Perfect wasn't necessarily a letdown, but it certainly wasn't anything to write home about, either. It's a nice little stand alone addition to the Slayers franchise, and it gives us some curiosity to deal with regarding Naga and her relationship with Lina, but that's pretty much it. Don't expect to be blown away by it; it's just a little taste of what the first season brought us.
I was planning on reviewing the Valkyria Chronicles anime this week, but things have been rather hectic and I wasn't able to finish it. I'll just have to take care of that one next week. In the meantime, let's talk about the Slayers. The Slayers is pretty well known to anime fans. It has over fifty light novels, five anime series, five films, two OVAs, video game adaptations and several manga. It's by far Kanzaka Hajime's best known and most influential work. When I initially saw the original anime, I hated it. See, my brother got several VHS's of the English dubbed version, since all
of us speak English and, supposedly, they were cheaper that way. The voice acting was terrible and hurt my head. I had to use ear plugs whenever he played the tapes since he's an inconsiderate clod who put the volume up far too high. It wasn't until later, when I tried the anime subtitled that I came to appreciate it and now I've got a Lina Inverse plush sitting on my shelf between Edward Elric and Sailor Neptune. Now, I obviously didn't have time to rewatch the whole franchise or even just the first anime series. I did, however, rewatch the first film. So let's take a look at Slayers: The Motion Picture.
The story is a prequel to the first anime series, and it's competently written so it can stand on its own. As such, I won't be going into any details about the backstory. The story follows the sorceress Lina Inverse and her friendly rival/sidekick, Naga the Serpent. They get discount tickets to a strange island famous for its hot spring. While there they embark on a quest to unravel the truth about the island and the unusual power affecting it. It's what you would expect from the Slayers. The story is full of absurdity played up for laughs, action, some intrigue and absurd action. The plot is pretty straight forward, but it works pretty well. The only real issue with the film is that it should have been longer. It's barely an hour and the story rushes through the important points as a result. It's still hilarious, but it could've used more time to flesh things out.
The characters in this are a bunch of strange, silly people. They aren't particularly deep, but they work exceedingly well for a comedic work. And their motivations and actions do make sense, which is better than some supposedly serious anime manage. Still, don't expect deep characters with fascinating psychological aspects.
The art in this looks rushed. It's in the general style of the rest of the series, but the colours look duller and the animation looks sloppier. It still looks okay, but not nearly as good as the regular series. I would criticise Naga's outfit, but it's clearly meant to be a parody of the "battle bikini" convention you frequently see in fantasy works rather than being designed for fan-service. Frankly, the satire works pretty well since it's actual done in a deliberate and aware fashion rather than fan-service which attempts to excuse itself as a parody.
the vocal cast in this is excellent. Takayama Minami, Kawamura Maria, Genda Tessyo and, especially, Hayashibara Megumi all do really well in their roles. There is some exaggeration which can get tiring, but it's used for comedic effect and, generally, works. The music is really amazing. the film is certainly an auditory treat.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. This doesn't have yuri.
So, how does the first Slayers movie hold up? The humour works really well. The characters, though not deep, are fun. The acting and music are excellent. That being said, the art is only okay and the story is pretty rushed. It's a quick, fun watch. My final rating is a 7/10. Check it out if you need a good laugh. If you want something with depth, look elsewhere. Maybe I'll look at more of the franchise at another time, but next week is going to have to be Valkyria Chronicles.
The Slayers Motion Picure felt like a quick after-thought from the outstanding orignal "The Slayers" TV series.
Though the plot was pretty straight forward and even somewhat thought out, I felt as if everything was rushed. I have never been one who overly cares if a series spends hours developing the characters within, but if I hadn't already seen the TV series I would have no idea who these people are and why they are doing what they are doing.
The art throughout also seems a little less vibrant, using darker shades of all previous colors. Even Lina herself was less imaculate then before.
She still looked the same, but different, if you catch my drift.
One of the great things about the original series was the interaction between Lina and her cohorts. This time she was travelling with someone completely new, and though certainly easy on the eyes, she was given no time to develop as a main character. She was passed off as Lina's closest rival, yet with what was seen in the movie, most half wit wizards could wipe their ass with her skimpy wardrobe without breaking a sweat. It just seemed forced.
The music was sub standard, but not dreadful. Basically the type of music you would hear from an 80's video arcade game. Lots of keyboard smashing and no layering. The voice acting on the other hand I liked. Lina was as perfect as usually, Nana (her companion)(I think that was her name) had even a higher pitched voice and a laugh that most would find annoying, but I was really into, and the supporting casts did their jobs well.
The main villian was given a complex that screamed evil and with a short flash-back and a breif moment of actual story development, you learn to hate the bastard. I'm into hating the "bad guys" so I guess that was another plus.
All in all, I can't say that I hated the motion picture, but don't go into this movie with the same expections as the TV series. You'll be let down too.
The first of the Slayers movies gives us a mildly amusing story with the introduction of a new main character and a lot more uniqueness to the world than the main television series was able to produce. That said, it falls flat in nearly every way and doesn’t entertain as thoroughly as the series did.
In this film Lina runs into Naga, a dark mage and Lina’s biggest rival, and the two decide to run off to a hot spring island that was once populated by elves. When they get there they face off against a myriad of mostly hilarious enemies, eventually getting to the rip-off
hot spring. Later on, Lina takes on a demon and goes back in time to save the lost elves and return the hot spring to its former glory.
This film is a prequel to the television series meaning we’re not spending time with the characters we’ve come to love; all we have is Lina (who is, again, a selfish, loud, and pretty annoying girl). Naga joins the fray here, a character who doesn’t add much of anything to the series as a whole and isn’t unique enough to be interesting. She’s a moronic bimbo mage who laughs at everything and has huge tits.
In any other context this character would be bad but especially in the context of having seen The Slayers before this movie it’s rather painful. If anything Naga is the fapbait character who would make sense if she were part of a larger group but doesn’t need to be spotlighted as heavily as she is in this film. It just brings the movie down.
Regardless, the humor is still here and just as entertaining as ever, especially the owner of the hot spring. The world itself is a lot livelier than the TV series as well, adding in unique and interesting creatures as well as having more to offer in visual splendor. This film looks fantastic, even by today’s standards.
The film is sixty minutes long though you can tell the filmmakers had a lot more planned due to the very abrupt ending. The movie spends a lot of time building up to the meeting between Lina and the demon (in fact, about half the movie has very little to do with the actual plot) and around the last ten minutes the film quickly cuts to the final battle without any real explanation or bridge between the previous scene and the action. Then the film is over, you’re left scratching your head, and you forget you ever saw it.
It’s not that Slayers: The Motion Picture is bad, it’s that it lost a lot of what made the TV series work. Without the likable cast of idiots and the empathetic bad guys, the movie really can’t use Lina and Naga’s tits as the two crutches to hold it up. Naga doesn’t even need to exist. Despit e being with Lina through the entire adventure when our heroine is transported back in time for the final battle, Naga is nowhere to be scene, leading me to wonder just what the hell the point of having Naga tag along was.
Alas, if you’re a hardcore fan of the series you’ll probably want to watch the movie for curiosities sake, but I can’t otherwise suggest it. It doesn’t offer much and there’s really no reward for getting through it. It’s just a pointless sixty minute exercise in mediocrity.