The Slayers Revolution (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 3, 2010 by Dennis Amith
More hijinks, more action and even more destruction! The long awaited fourth season of “The Slayers” saga continues with “The Slayers Revolution” now available on Blu-ray! Definitely an improvement over its DVD counterpart.
Image courtesy of © FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Slayers Revolution
DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (Duration: 300 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
RATED: TV 14
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Original Story: Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi
Directed by Takashi Watanabe
Series Composition by Jiro Takayama
Character Design: Naomi Miyata
Art Director: Shinji Kawaai
Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami
Director of Photography: Yutaka Kurosawa
Producer: Gou Shukuri, Shinichi Ikeda, Yuji Matsukura
Animation Production by J.C. Staff
Featuring the following voice talent:
Megumi Hayashibara/Lisa Ortiz as Lina Inverse
Yasunaro Matsumoto/Eric Stuart as Gourry Gabriev
Hikaru Midorikawa/Crispin Freeman as Zelgadis
Masami Suzuki/Veronica Taylor as Amelia
Colleen O’Shaughnessey/Yumiko Kobayashi as Pokota
Akira Ishida/Michael Sinterniklaas as Xelloss
Takehito Koyasu/Liam O’Brien as Rezo
Lina’s on the run from a government inspector who’s ready to put her away for good. Her crime? Just being herself! The guy’s hot on her tail, but a tiny creature that actually has a tail might be Lina’s biggest problem. Pokota’s a powerful little furball, and his path of destruction is getting pinned on Lina.
With so much explosive magic between them, you know things will go boom when they face off. But there’s more to Pokota than anyone knows, and if Lina’s gang can get to the bottom of his habit of blowing stuff up, they could end up with an awesome new ally.
I can easily remember watching “The Slayers” when it first appeared on television in Japan, catching the premiere of the series at an anime convention and watching the main Japanese voice actress Megumi Hayashibara promoting the series in America and singing a song from the series. And then the release of the series on VHS and owning multiple copies just to get a subtitled and English dubbed version because I enjoyed the series that much.
It’s hard to believe but nearly 14 years later since “The Slayers” debut as a light novel by Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi (which the duo has since released 50 light novels), the series has received a manga treatment, two OAV series, five movies, countless video games and for anime series, there have been a total of five.
With the series having had its release in the US from Software Sculptors and Central Park Media, “The Slayers” series received back in August 2009 with its first major collection from FUNimation Entertainment with “The Slayers: The First Three Seasons” which consists of Season One: The Slayers (April 1995-Sept. 1995, 26 episodes), Season Two: Slayers Next (April 1996-Sept. 1996, 26 episodes) and Season Three: Slayers Try (April 1997-Sept. 1997, 26 episodes) for a total of 78 episodes included in this collection.
Now the fourth season which began 11 years after the third season titled “Slayers Revolution” (which aired between July-September 2008) will be released by FUNimation Entertainment on Blu-ray. This fourth season features the first 13-episodes and is continued on “Slayers Evolution-R” (the fifth season) which comprises of the final 13-episodes and aired between January-April 2009 (note: The manga is still ongoing in Japan). Both titles will be simultaneously released on Blu-ray, a DVD version for both titles were released earlier this year.
“Slayers Revolution” is directed by Takashi Watanabe (“Casshan: Robot Hunter”, “Y’s II”, “New Fist of the North Star”, “Ikki Tousen”), screen composition by Jiro Takayama (“The Slayers” series, “Angel Links”, “Wings of Rean”, “El Hazard: The Wanderers”), character designs by Naomi Miyata (“Kino’s Journey”, “Revolutionary Girl Utena”, “Sakura Wars”) and music by Osamu Tezuka (“Shadow Skill”, “Popotan”, “Lost Universe, “Akazukin Cha Cha”).
The series revolves around the character of Lina Inverse, a powerful sorceress who has a love for money and eating a lot of food. Everytime she tries to help a village (for money), somehow, she ends up destroying it and thus, has a reputation of being a destructive and evil sorceress. She is accompanied by Gourry Gabriev and sometimes by Zelgadis Greyswords and Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun during her adventures for more money, food and fun.
But this time, they encounter a small creature that knows how to use the “Dragon Slave” and a government employee named Wizer is trying to arrest Lina. Why?
The main characters of “Slayers Revolution” are:
Lina Inverse – A powerful sorceress who loves money and food. She is very sensitive when she’s around other women that are more bustier than her and tends to have a short fuse. Whenever she’s in battle, her spells tend to do more damage than she thinks. But because of the sheer amount of destruction that she’s caused, the rumors have spread throughout the country and people tend to fear her and make her out as an evil person when she’s not.
Gourry Gabriev – The marvelous swordsman who wields the sword of light. He also has a bad memory and is a powerful magic wielder but doesn’t remember being one. So, he joins Lina on her adventures as her personal bodyguard.
Zelgadis Greywords – A powerful sorcerer who is a chimera made of a rock golemn courtesy of his ancestor Rizo. Known for his green face and purple, wiry hair and is half demon and human. He looks desperately for a stone that will change him to a human, even if it means losing his chimera powers. A stoic, no-nonsense character.
Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun – A young miko and also a princess. Her dream is becoming a hero of justice and thus, had joined Lina and Gourry in many adventures. Very naive at times and believes almost everything that people tend to tell her. She also knows that Lina and Goury tend to use her for her money.
Xellos – A high level Mazoku and a priest of the “Greater Beast Zelas-Metallium”. Also known as Beastmaster Xellos and is literally a frienemy of Lina and friends. When he seems like he’s helping, he seems to have some sort of ulterior motive.
Pokota – An animal-like creature who has the ability to use great power like Lina but has no control over it. But there is more to this creature…
Wizer – A special investigator who is on a hot trail pursuing Lina Inverse to arrest her for being Lina Inverse.
“The Slayers Revolution” comes with the complete season, episodes 1-13 on two Blu-ray discs. Here are the spoiler-less summaries of each episode:
- EPISODE 1 – Amazing! The Astonishing Dragon Slave?! – Lina confronts a special investigator who wants to arrest her and both Lina and Goury reunite with Zelgadis and Amelia.
- EPISODE 2 – Because! You’re Lina Inverse, That’s Why? – Lina vs. Pokota.
- EPISODE 3- Chase! The Endless Pursuit! – Lina takes on a man who has magical power over animals.
- EPISODE 4 – Drifter! Who’s Chasing Whom?! – Amelia wants to help Pokota.
- EPISODE 5 – Eternal! The Forever-Sleeping Forest! – Lina and friends learn the story behind Pokota and his village.
- EPISODE 6 – Fall On! Strange Festival! Bizarre Festival? Push That Ball Up! – Lina and friends including Pokota become involved with a villages ball pushing contest.
- EPISODE 7 – Gorgeous! The Target Luxury Liner – Lina and friends including Pokota ride on a luxury liner but they don’t know that there is a killer(s) in the midst.
- EPISODE 8 – Hurry Up! Run Through! No, Don’t? – Wizer and Xellos team up!
- EPISODE 9 – Insider! The One Who Knows the Truth! – Pokota finds out Duclis’s motivation of working with the enemy.
- EPISODE 10 – Judgment! The Silver One Rises Again! – Lina and friends prepare for their big battle.
- EPISODE 11 – Keep Out! The Demon Beast Looms! – The demon beast has awaken!
- EPISODE 12 – Legacy! Decisive Battle in Seyruun! – Lena and Pokota take on the demon beast!
- EPISODE 13 – Misty! The Blades Are Brought Down – Lena and friends take on the demon beast. The battle continues!
Considering “The Slayers Revolution” was released 11 years after “The Slayers Try” (1997), one would and should expect a major update to the animation. The anime series features a much more bolder stroke around the characters, a more vibrant color pallet and better shading and detail. Artistic backgrounds are fine but for a series such as “The Slayers”, typically there are a lot of closeup shots of the characters.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to review the DVD version and what was evident were the artifacts, banding and edge enhancement. For the Blu-ray version of “The Slayers Revolution”, the series is presented in 1:78:1 108p High Definition and is an upscaled anime on BD release. The edge enhancement is still visible, as is the banding but the artifacts are not as evident.
But the series on Blu-ray does feature a vibrant color pallet and for a anime TV series, the picture quality does stand out quite a bit compared to the DVD release.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the audio, the series is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series is primarily front and center channel driven but I did notice how certain scenes, ie. large halls in which the sound is nicely echoed through the halls. Also, other ambiance such as crowds and music can be heard through the surround channels. Especially, the use of magic can be heard through the surround channels.
For the most part, the series is dialogue driven and dialogue and music is crisp and clear via lossless and even the Japanese soundtrack sounds much more richer and well-balanced. So, there is a definite difference audio wise compared to the original DVD release.
Subtitles are in English.
“The Slayers Revolution” comes with the following special features:
- Textless Opening Song – Textless Songs for “Plenty of Grit”
- Textless Closing Song – Textless Songs for “Revolution”
- Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers
“Slayers” will always be an anime series that I will always enjoy. I was heavily into the series back in the 90’s and I know there had been this lull of when I didn’t catch anything related to the series but just a few related films. But watching this series again, definitely brought back memories of catching the series at an anime con meeting, an anime convention, buying multiple versions to get the subtitled and English dubbed versions. I really enjoyed this series.
But it takes some dedication. Where a long anime series such as “Dragon Ball Z” can have a conclusion, the fact that this series has literally been on television or released in some format for the last 15 years, you really have to be a dedicated fan to following a series this long.
In fact, each season is a story arc in itself but for the most part, they are stand-alone episodes and typically the final three or four episodes is where everything tends to lead to a major battle. And despite these episodes being over a decade old, the anime still holds up today. And the fact that you can own all three seasons in a single box set for a great price is also another incentive.
“The Slayers Revolution” definitely improves in animation and image clarity. But considering this anime series was released in 2008 and the third season “The Slayers Try” was last aired on television back in 1997, anime quality has changed a lot since then.
It would have been nice if there was a short synopsis for newer viewers not familiar with the past three seasons to know the relationship of all characters but if you haven’t seen any of the last three seasons of “The Slayers”, I think you can easily get by, as the main focus of this fourth season is Lina and the gang going after a creature named Pokota and then finding out his true identity and his background.
The Blu-ray is definitely a major improvement over the DVD version video and audio-wise. But once again, for those hardcore anime on Blu-ray fans who are expecting a lot, it’s important to remind everyone that this is a TV series and it’s not going to look spectacular when compared to an anime film or OVA. But still, if you have watched the previous three seasons of “The Slayers” and are now just jumping in, then the Blu-ray is recommended.
In fact, if you are not too picky and still want a humorous anime series, I still recommend checking out “The Slayers Revolution” because it is a humorous series and it’s just fun to watch.
Overall, “The Slayers Revolution” is a series that fans of the original series have wanted for a long time. Because the manga series of “The Slayers Evolution-R” is still being published in Japan, fans hoping for some sort of finality or conclusion will probably have to wait even longer. But for those who are in it for the adventure and crazy hi-jinks and of course, more destruction via Lina Inverse will definitely enjoy this latest series.
Fans of “The Slayers” anime series who have waited a long time for a new fourth season, “The Slayers Revolution” is recommended!
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