The inhabitants of the village of Biaz, forced to labor in the serivce of the world-domination-happy Zein organization, hires Lina Inverse and Naga The Serpent to drive off the invaders. Lina and Naga agree, lured by stories of Elfin treasure sleeping below Biaz, only to get considerably more trouble -from the Zein and from the treasure - than they ever expected.
Slayers Return, also known as Slayers The Movie 2, is the second movie in the Slayers franchise. Animated by J.C. Staff, it was released in August of 1996 and has a runtime of just about sixty minutes. Chronologically, it takes place sometime after the first movie, Slayers Perfect.
The gist of the plot is that an evil organization called Zein is looking to obtain an artifact from a small village, Biaz. To that end they have enslaved the citizens of the village, and it’s up to Naga and Lina to save them – though of course Lina is mainly interested in fulfilling her own goals.
is a lot more enjoyable to watch than Slayers Perfect; it’s funnier, for one thing, and the character interactions are amusing to watch. There’s not much for character development – Lina, Naga, and the rest are pretty stagnant – but let’s face it, we watch Slayers for comedic moments and parody, and character growth is optional (though not completely unwanted). Thus, the lack of metamorphosis is not a bad thing at all.
The scriptwriter is nothing to sneeze at; while Slayers Return takes place before the animated television series, and is pretty much a part of a series of episodes involving Naga and Lina’s adventures, it can absolutely be watched as a stand-alone work. It makes no references to either the previous movies or OVAs, or to the television show. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with being familiar with the characters beforehand, and honestly, it would probably bolster your enjoyment of the movie a lot.
Technically speaking, the palettes used in Slayers Return are pretty dark. However, the animation is fairly fluid most of the time bar jitteriness during running scenes. Fight scenes themselves are pretty well-animated. There’s also a good amount of detail in many frames. Characters look just like themselves and the movie-only cast have pretty good designs.
Soundwise, the movie is fairly average. The OST is all right, though not very memorable in my opinion. It does its job for the most part. I will say I did like Slayers Return's soundtrack more than Slayers Perfect's. The movie features a vocal track sung by Hayashibara Megumi and Kawamura Maria. It’s entitled Just Be Conscious and plays during the credits. It's a very enjoyable song to listen to and it's definitely the highlight of the soundtrack. It certainly bolsters up the sound rating.
Overall, Slayers Return is a nice little standalone title that I certainly liked watching, and I’d recommend it to any Slayers fan.
Last August I took a look at Slayers Perfect. My final conclusion was that it was a fun little watch, albeit a bit rushed. Its final rating was a 7/10. This week I'm going to look at the second Slayers film, Slayers Return. There are actually five films in the franchise at this point, the last one of which came out in 2001. Is the second film an improvement over the first? Let's take a look and find out.
The film furthers the misadventures of Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent. A young woman named Saleena finds them and requests their help to save her
village, which has been taken over and the villagers forced into labour unearthing some strange device. Lina agrees, much to Naga's surprise, when she hears the village's name and remembers tales of elven treasure. The humour in this is highly effective and enjoyable throughout. The story itself is much better paced than Perfect's. It does a good job of building up some suspense and the climax is both funny and interesting.
The characters don't have much depth. That being said, they are very effective from a comedic standpoint. They're ridiculous, absurd, and quirky. They all have a lot of comedic potential and their interactions are really funny.
The art is a lot better than it was in the first film. It's more like the actual series in that it looks like time and effort went into it as opposed to looking rushed. Its bright, vivid and the characters have interesting designs. The action scenes are really well executed and the backgrounds look nice.
The vocal cast remains excellent. Hayashibara Megumi and Kawamura Maria, both amazing actresses, are joined by Hiramatsu Akiko, Ootsuka Akio and Utsumi Kenji, all of whom are masterful at their craft. The music is really splendid as well.
The Ho-yay factor is a 2/10. There are a few moments where things between Lina and Naga look a bit homo-erotic, like Naga telling Lina to pay for her meals for the rest of their lives, but nothing substantial.
That's Slayers Return. It is an improvement over the first film, with a lot of that film's problems being absent. It has a lot of really funny moments, the art is great, the voice acting and music are excellent. If you want a good comedy, check it out. My final rating is a 9/10. Next week I'll finish up March with a look at Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, unless something unexpected happens.
The second film in the Slayers franchise finds Lina and Naga being approached by a young girl with a job proposition. Her village has been enslaved by a bad guy hoping to unleash an elvish creature that will lead him to world domination. Naga and Lina, hoping to make some money, wind up doing battle against this creature in a pretty underwhelming and otherwise unnecessary sixty minute film.
There’s really no point reiterating my thoughts on Naga and Lina, or the animation and music. There’s nothing that makes these films distinct in any way; neither from their predecessors nor from anime movies in general. This one
has a weak plot, boring side characters, uninteresting action, and can be summed up as: eh. It has an occasionally decent chuckle here or there but I don’t understand the appeal of these. First of all, they have nothing to do with the vastly superior television series. The TV series is well-balanced, with a cast of characters that work off of each other and a plot that allows for enough action and comedy to keep the viewer engaged. The movies and OVA’s, so far, have showcased a very different Slayers, one that isn’t so much a parody of fantasy as much as a stagnant fantasy/comedy of its own.
A friend of mine put it best: the Slayers movies are filler. The problem is, filler is annoying in the context of an ongoing series (such as the Excalibur filler of Soul Eater) but even more annoying when it comprises an entire product (such as this, or the whole seasons of filler in Bleach).
Return isn’t a bad movie; it’s just another average, unmemorable money grab.