As some of you who have following OG Spot since the very beginning may know, I’m a pretty big Slayers fanboy. At least of mid 90s post revival Slayers anyway. All of the OVAs, the first three seasons of the TV series (The Slayers and Slayers Try, Slayers Next not so much…), and movie collection is some of my favorite pieces of anime fantasy of all time. Then in 2008, creator of Slayers (Hajime Kanzaka) announced that there would be a new Slayers series coming out that fall. Essentially, breathing new life into the franchise presenting the Slayers world to a new slew of fans. Naturally with me being the retro snob that I am, I was instantly skeptical about the concept of a Slayers revival. I think some series are better off left in the era where they were at their prime and don’t necessarily need to make a comeback (That means you, all Tenchi series that came out after Tenchi Universe).
Initially the new Slayers series was planned to be a twenty six episode series. However, after noticing that in current day anime, the length of a single season of a series is thirteen episodes as opposed to the norm of the 90s, Kanzaka decides to stretch his latest Slayers story arc into two seasons titled Slayers Revolution (season 4) and Slayers Evolution-R (season 5). The latest arc of Slayers introduces three “new” characters to the roster of Slayers mainstays (I put the new in quotations because one of them isn’t exactly new as much as being in a different form). Slayers Revolution introduces the comical Wizer Freion. An inspector of the Ruvinagald kingdom who throughout the first half of the season just serves as the annoying one-shot comic relief character but actually proves to relevant to the overall plot later on. In Slayers Evolution-R, a living suit of armor known simply as “Nama” is introduced. Nama has the soul of a bubbly, flirtatious, air headed sorceress within her armored shell (it’s essentially Naga the Serpent/Lina’s right hand girl from the Slayers OVAs). It’s never really said directly that it’s Naga but the similarities are way too blatant for it not be her. Spoiler alert: when Nama’s soul is returned to her original body, you never actually see the body on screen to confirm whether it’s Nama or not. What a gyp, right? Naga is one of my favorite characters so naturally she gets no screentime. Finally, the newest addition to the cast is a character that actually joins Lina and company on their new quest in both seasons 4 and 5. The young Pokota who is a sorcerer and prince of the kingdom of Taforashia wishes to save his kingdom which has fallen under a plague-like disease. In order for Pokota’s body to be spared from the disease, Rezo the Red Priest (main antagonist from season 1) uses his magic to place his human form in suspended animation while his soul is transferred to the body of a small stuffed animal (which is his current appearance).
Putting my retro favoritism aside, the two new Slayers series are pretty decent. I was definitely delighted to see the animation get a new coat of paint. I was also happy that all the original voice actors from the Central Park Media dub return to reprise their roles in the Funimation dub production of Revolution and Evolution-R. The two new series have a nice balance of action, drama/suspense and slapstick comedy that one would expect from Slayers (especially Evolution-R. Things take quite the dark turn in that part of the story. Sorry! No more spoilers). If I had to choose between 90s Slayers and 2008/2009 Slayers, I would still choose the originals. As much as I love the franchise, I still think that that particular fantasy comedy series worked best in the era it was created in. However, the new seasons of Slayers are definitely good enough to gather a new hoard of Slayers fans.
Slayers Revolution and Evolution-R are available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Funimation as well both seasons can be streamed via Netflix.
Next week, the smack down gets layed on some intergalactic fools when I tackle Kinnikuman Nisei otherwise known as Ultimate Muscle here in the states.
Then I disappear, within a flash! See next week my otaku guys and gals.