Despite a creepy little octopus with a shock of orange hair and a human face, Judge Sandra Dozier didn't have any nightmares over this Slayers original animation video.
Our reviews of Anime Essentials: Slayers The Motion Picture (published October 14th, 2004), Slayers Excellent (published April 29th, 2004), Slayers Gorgeous (published May 7th, 2004), Slayers Movie Box (published October 20th, 2005), and The Slayers: The First Three Seasons (published August 28th, 2009) are also available.
Reverse the Curse!
Slayers says a fond farewell to fans (at least, until the next original animation video) with this short but sweet release. Lina, Gourry, Amelia, and Zelgadis are all together, and Xellos and Naga make brief appearances, although Naga doesn't interact with any of the gang, unfortunately.
Facts of the Case
Lina and Gourry decide to vacation in a small coastal town known for its tasty octopus, but just they are sitting down to a huge sushi boat, the chef comes in to see if they've eaten the octopus (which, incidentally, is the only piece Gourry managed to yank out of Lina's grasp). Then a young girl comes in to ask the same question and is stricken when she finds out Gourry has eaten the octopus. It seems the local delicacy is tainted, and anyone who eats it comes down with a strange curse that makes them speak the quirky language of the octopi, which sounds like gibberish to everyone else.
They find out the girl is Ruuna, and she practices white magic as an apprentice. She is waiting for the return of her master, who left in search of a cure for the affliction. When she realizes who Lina is, she tells her a story of a demon who is being resurrected by the angry population of octopi, who want revenge on the human race, and begs Lina to help her kill the demon before they can release it from the vase it was magically sealed in.
I was surprised at how short this original animation video (OAV) was, only 30 minutes long. However, the video quality is excellent, and presented in anamorphic widescreen with a crystal-clear transfer and attractive animation. I liked the computer graphics used for most of the underwater scenes, even if they did look a little artificial—it did create a rather otherworldly look that was perfect for the setting.
One interesting aspect of this feature, which was also pointed out in the interview footage, is that the character designs are simplified, more ornamental, and cuter. The characters look younger, perkier, and more cutesy than ever before. This is in keeping with the light, fun, storyline for this OAV but will probably disappoint fans of the TV series. Although there is a little swordplay and spellwork to liven things up, there isn't enough of it, and this will probably also be a sticking point for fans. There is, however, a slight nod to possible future romantic entanglements that the characters experience. It's all in good fun.
Fortunately, to make up for the short run time, the DVD is loaded with extras, including a commentary with Crispin Freeman (Zelgadis) and Cynthia Martinez (Lina). The commentary is not so much informative as it is fun—it's like watching the anime with a couple of buddies who are feeling relaxed and silly. Martinez is pretty energetic, and her signature voice is great to listen to, even when she's blatting out her favorite line of gibberish over and over. There is also an extensive interview with Crispin Freeman that goes in depth into the behind-the-scenes process; he talks about returning to do the voice for Zelgadis, hanging with the crew, and working as a voice actor, and he offers some specifics about Slayers and Slayers Premium, including the computer graphics work. These are both very strong extras that make a good complement to the OAV. Also, this release is reasonably priced for what it offers, so those wishing to complete their collection won't be out too much bread.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Fans of the original television series might be disappointed by this OAV. Although there is plenty of humor, the elevated cutesiness and silliness levels and the decreased fighting and spell casting will probably make this seem too fluffy and saccharine. Of course, that's kind of the point, but it's worth noting that this is not the typical Slayers package.
Although I enjoyed the animation (especially the bright, inviting colors), I felt this episode was perhaps a little too jam-packed with events, characters, and whatever else, and it had an extremely creepy ending that left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't want to give anything away, but you will know what I mean when you see it. The frantic pacing is probably understandable, seeing as this was intended to be the last OAV for a little while, at least, and they probably wanted to get in whatever they could.
Fun and light, Slayers Premium doesn't offer the seminal chapter in the lives of any of its characters, but it does provide adventure and cool underwater hijinks, and when is that ever a bad thing?
Slayers Premium is spared the ultimate fireball and will get its +10 magic sword returned forthwith.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Commentary by Actors Cynthia Martinez and Crispin Freeman
Review content copyright © 2004 Sandra Dozier; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.