Slayers Revolution: Season 4
DVD | Box Set
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The original cast of Slayers is reunited for the first time in over a decade in Slayers Revolution – a totally new season full of the magical mayhem that can only happen when Lina Inverse and her crew pull into town.
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.
After an absence of several years, klutzy sorceress Lina Inverse and her nutty friends are back on TV: Slayers Revolution (2008) more or less picks up where the third season of Slayers left off in 1997. Inspector Wizer of the Kingdom of Ruvinagald wants to arrest Lina--for the heinous crime of being Lina Inverse! He's convinced she's responsible for destroying the magic biomorphic tanks that evil Marquess Giocanda hopes to sell to neighboring realms. He's so sure Lina is guilty, he keeps arresting her--even after he sees someone else wreck the tanks. The agent of destruction is Pokota, a diminutive magical creature who looks like an off-model Pokémon. Fighting Wizer and Pokota keeps Lina busy, but she's assisted and impeded by her usual sidekicks: terminally dim swordsman Gourry, chimera Zelgadis, and single-minded advocate of justice Amelia. As Lina and the gang stumble from place to place, director Takashi Watanabe abruptly shifts the tone from slapstick comedy to mawkish sentiment to apocalyptic threat and back. The rambling story provides plenty of pratfalls, magical spells, enormous meals, jokes about Lina's flat chest, and absurd dialogue delivered at top volume: everything fans want and expect from a Slayers adventure. Revolution reunites voice actors Lisa Ortiz (Lina), Eric Stuart (Gourry), Crispin Freeman (Zelgadis), and Veronica Taylor (Amelia), all of whom return effortlessly to their characters. The animation and dialogue over the credits for episode 13 stress that several major plot points in Slayers Revolution remain unresolved, so Lina's many fans can probably expect a fifth season before too long. (Not rated: suitable for ages 13 and older for cartoon violence, occasional profanity and risqué humor) --Charles Solomon
(1. Amazing! 2. Because You're Lina Inverse, That's Why! 3. Chase! 4. Drifter! 5. Eternal! 6. Fall On! 7. Gorgeous! 8. Hurry Up! 9. Insider! 10. Judgement! 11. Keep Out! 12. Legacy! 13. Misty!)
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It was fun to see the gang back together. Gourry is still borderline retarded. Amelia still seeks justice. Zelgadis is still ruthless and calculating. And Lina is still an angry hair-trigger sorceress who will blow you up just as soon as look at you. The characters haven't changed at all, which actually seems a little unbelievable. I think Lina should have matured a little bit. Sometimes the characters feel more like caricatures of their former selves rather than the quirky adventurers we know and love, but more on that later. The new character Pokota is annoying as crap. Some say he grows on you, but I disagree. The story tries to develop his personality, but in my opinion, they fail to make me care about him, and so any character development spent on him just feels like a boring waste of time. Had they given a more satisfactory reason for why the Slayers (and I) should care about what happens to him, then I might've liked his personality better. As it is, he turned out the be just what he looks like, a superfluous, annoying puppet.
The other new character, Wizer, actually does grow on you in my opinion. At first, like Pokota, he seems very annoying. But the show does a good job of slowly developing his character, and showing that he isn't just a complete moron, but is actually worthy of his self-appointed title of "Special Investigator" (or whatever it was). Wizer is crafty and can even match wits with Xellos. I think the reason why he was so likeable to me was that, unlike Pokota, the story was not forcing you to like him. Pokota's backstory and the way the Slayers are suddenly helping him out seemed very forced and unbeleivable. But nothing seems forced with Wizer. He's just there. The story simply develops his personality, and gives you the choice of whether you want to like him or not.
The bad guys for this season were a bit of a disappointment. (sorry I feel like I'm being really negative, I really did love this season, but I have a few complaints). To me it was a little incredible that Lina and the Gang would be having trouble with a 50-yr-old hag of marquess, a silly doll, a beast-man with a boring back-story, and a "dangerous" assassin. Compared to badguys of previous seasons (Saygram, Rezo, Gaav, Hellmaster, Valgaav) these guys should have been push-overs. The difficulty level felt very forced. In Slayers Try, when they had trouble with a little dude like Jillas, that was credible, because Jillas was crafty and knew how to turn the slayers against each other. But there was really no satisfactory reason for why Zel and Amelia couldn't just wipe the floor with the doll and help Lina with Zuuma. Zuuma was the worst of all. He felt like a character that was added for the sole purpose of being cool. And his coolness was just a little too forced onto the audience. But he did have some cool fight scenes, so he's forgiven.
For the most part, this series just picks up where Slayers Next left off. I say Slayers Next, because I believe this season largely tries to clone the charm of Slayers Next (the season that most people agree was the best). Unlike Slayers Try, which tried to be something a little different from the previous season, and even tried to have some character development for the main characters, Slayers Revolution does not make any effort to be unique or develop the characters at all. Instead, Revolution falls back hard on the slayers' original personality, and tries to dutifully copy it, rather than developing it. There's nothing wrong with this, but it seems like this season lacks a lot of the uniqueness that the other 3 seasons had. Most Hardcore slayers fans will not care... and they shouldn't care cuz, come on, it's the slayers and they're back!
The season does have some flaws, but I give it a perfect score simply because it is the perfect addition to any Slayers Fan's collection. No Slayers Fan should be without the comeback season. So you should buy this, and not just watch it off youtube. I think it is worth every penny.
For people who haven't seen slayers, what are you thinking? Shame on you! Go watch it now! But I suggest you start with Slayers Next or maybe the original season. Work your way up to Revolution.
The best way that I can put this is that Revolution is the equivalent of Enterprise to Next's TNG. If you like magical fantasy anime that involves a lot of fighting monsters, you might like this. If you liked the first three series for the sake of watching Slayers and you fast-forwarded through the exposition, light filler episodes and character development to get to the battle scenes, you'll enjoy Revolution. If you want HD freeze-frames for cosplay, you'll enjoy the Blu-Ray version. If you're a fan of what anime has become in the last ten or twelve years, you'll enjoy this. If you're more of a fan of the kind of anime that was around in the 1990s, you may come away with mixed feelings like I did.
If you like Xelloss or Zelgadis, you won't be seeing much of them, especially on the second disc. The focus of the season are the two original characters, Pokota and Duclis. Every episode revolves around some facet of them, sometimes to the literal exclusion of the leads. Pokota just happens to have another Sword of Light and seed from the dead Flagoon handy when required. Other reviewers have commented that the leads become somewhat hollow versions of themselves when compared to Slayers, Next and Try - that's probably the result of the screen time and speaking line differential.
Zelgadis, in particular, seems to have no motivation to even accompany the group on this quest, considering his original motivation for the first three series. Even the facefault moments (think "Jellyfish brains!" and "Xelloss, you're a really old man!") seem to have disappeared. The first disc of Revolution does a lot of character development on who Pokota and Duclis are, as well as the background information on what's happened, but I found that I could have safely watched any scene with Wizer on fast-forward without missing anything. Considering that we're back entirely inside the Known World for this series and that some of the back story is stated to have taken place within the lifetime of the characters, it seems a little far fetched that the story is all brand-new to everyone.
I give them amazing credit for re-assembling the voice actors after all that time. The Japanese voice actors are pretty faithful to the originals, considering how much time has passed. I also give this points for remembering the existence of Sylpheel, who disappeared entirely in Try. The animation appears to be computer-generated along the lines of Fullmetal Alchemist. I miss the personal touches of hand-painted cel animation, but I understand that it would be difficult to get 1080p that way.
If you're a fan of subtitled anime, you may find yourself needing to switch audio tracks at points when the white subtitles are superimposed over light backgrounds - there's no border to the characters as there was on the old DVDs and they completely blend into anything light-colored. You may find yourself praying that the shot will change and the subtitle won't catch up so that you can see it on a different background.
In terms of score and soundtrack, they seem to have dusted off the soundtrack from Slayers Try. I hope that you're a fan of track 26 of the second Try CD (those with the anime can find this in episode 26 of Try, used for Darkstar/Valgaav's attack on the world around 5:00 after Filia teleports the group, with the impaled Ancient dragons and the crying younger Valgaav). On disc 2, it seems that this music is used to back up nearly every dramatic scene. If you hear it, you know the next 5-10 minutes will involve Duclis.
The end of Revolution is more like a mid-season break as happened in Try with Valgaav's "defeat" at the hands of Darkstar. Considering that it's only 13 episodes and finishes with an obvious segue, it's hard to justify paying the same price as an entire season like Next or for the entire seasons 1-3 box set. You pretty much have to buy Evolution-R, the second half of the season, to go with it and that makes it hard to even consider paying the regular $60 individual price for Revolution and Evolution-R.
Personally, I didn't come away with the same feelings as when I first watched the ends of Slayers, Next and Try. I'd rate this about 2-2.5 stars, but I rounded up because I haven't seen anything new from the franchise since Premium in 2000 and I was happy to have this much.
The series is still excellent, many of the English Dub actors returned, except for Xellos, which is the only one that really shocked me. A faithful continuation.
There really isn't any character development, this season and the next is closer to TRY or the first Season. There never will be a season quite like NEXT.
The artistry is different, more modern, but their attire and the settings are generally the same. She's still the bandit killer. Amazing series.