Slayers: Seasons 1-3 Box Set
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In a time of fantasy and magic, a band of misfits stumbles from adventure to adventure - and occasionally saves the world!
Lina Inverse, a spunky sorceress with a penchant for destruction, is joined by dashingly dim swordsman Gourry, driven young Amelia, and stoic Zelgadis on a journey spanning the realms. In lands where darkness reigns, they will be light. In lands where doom threatens peace, they shall be saviors. Yes, when evil arises, Lina and her ragtag crew action for the forces of good - and if fame, fortune, and food should fall their way, even better!
They're Heroes. They're Rogues. They're just looking to make a buck. They're The Slayers!
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Coming in at a whopping total runtime of 1725 minutes, this box set spans 12 discs packaged in a "book" of clear thin packs housed in an attractive cardboard outer slipcase.
The show wears an appropriate, if not slightly conservative TV PG (13+) rating due to animated and often silly violence over the real rough stuff such as nudity or adult language. Language options include both the original Japanese dialog track or an English dub (each in stereo) and the option of running English subtitles with either.
Special features are non-existent but considering how much actual material is presented within this set, it's quite forgivable. Speaking of the material contained, this collection lives up to its name by including the first three seasons of the show in their entirety. Each season consists of 26 episodes (4 discs apiece) and are labeled as followed: Season One: The Slayers, Season Two: Slayers Next, and Season Three: Slayers Try.
The story, in an intense effort to summarize, goes something like this: The infamous and ultra-powerful sorceress, Lina Inverse encounters the brave (but incompetent) Gourry Gabriev who, due to her lack of pubescent development, mistakes her for a foolish little girl in distress. The unlikely duo end up teaming up in a world riddled with crime and corruption in effort to find a way to make a little loot in the process of cleaning up society.
The show, for anyone yet to experience it, can best be described as a fantasy romp (think magic, dragons, treasure, and bandits) with a strong sense of humor, and a splash of Dragon Ball Z thrown in for good measure. Don't let that last one throw you; it's meant in the best sense of the comparison. Fighting (spell casting) occupies much of the story development and like many shows of the era, works pretty well as a catalyst to move our heroes from town to town. Villains are frequent and come in many forms only unlike most shonen do-gooder themed anime titles out there, part of the fun in The Slayers is to root for the bad guys since technically they're the good guys. Old Lina and Gourry aren't above robbing from a group of bandits in effort to support their insatiable appetite for food (triple servings please), or ridding a village of a pesky black dragon but only if the price for their service is right.
The dynamic between the lead characters is strong enough to warrant the voyage thanks to witty dialog that succeeds in both language options. The ragtag group of rogues (which later expands to include members Zelgadis and Amelia) find their path laced with opportunities to administer their unique brand of justice around every corner.
Pacing is swift and efficient with episodes that neither drag by nor end suddenly or incompletely. The show doesn't follow typical serial format, which means that each episode was written to stand on its own (with references to past events strewn about). Basically it's pretty easy to pick up on the show at any point and follow along without much explaining.
The visuals look a bit faded and choppily animated when compared to the computer-generated imaging of today's anime titles but, and again I have to compare it to DBZ, the show has aged quite well for its vintage (the first season aired back in 1995). There is little in terms of the visuals to differentiate the three seasons from one another save for the opening sequence, which was unique to each. On the whole it appears that the show gradually began to take itself a bit more seriously as time went on. While the first season especially seemed to revel in near-constant stabs at humor (including Lina's penchant for sarcastically talking to herself), the chemistry of the characters as they played off one another definitely became less forced in the later seasons.
Sound work is adequate in all regards with little to get overly excited about. The English dub is only slightly less enthusiastic as the original Japanese vocal work; again a testament to quality that was quite ahead of its time.
While I could spend limitless server space talking about the show itself, the real show stopper comes in the form of the packaging/ presentation value Funimation packed into this collection. This 12-disc set is absolutely gorgeous with its double-disc thin packs linked together and bound in what looks like a spell book taken directly from the show. Within this "book" are the complete episode listings for all three seasons (half of the second and all of the third are only visible by removing the two-dvds and looking through the clear plastic on the last page), written in fancy scroll on intentionally yellowed parchment. This entire book then slides into the outer cardboard sleeve that is pictured and the whole affair takes up a little less room on the shelf than three standard dvd cases.
In conclusion, The Slayers is a fine example of a special time in the history of Japanese animation where everything hadn't been done a hundred times over and writers were free to enjoy the process of story telling by not falling into the trap of taking themselves too seriously. If the show's unique character isn't enough to justify giving it a go during your next anime binge, perhaps the packaging (which is truly top notch) and the sheer entertainment value contained within (we are talking about 29 hours worth of anime here) will be.
This show can bring laughs no matter what you're doing. I have a nasty habit of doing several things at once, and even then this sucked me in. It's one of those shows that you can tell what's going on even when not paying 100% attention. But it'll be hard not to pay attention because it's so good. The characters are well rounded and likable, the stories are good, and the humor is top-notch. The show focuses on a small group of magicians and warrior(s) as they travel around their monster infested world seeking treasure and glory (and food.... mostly food.) Each of the three seasons serve as their own arc with it's own story. All of them build off of the previous seasons, but are somewhat self contained as well.
Mostly good animation (improves each season)
Occasional animation snafus (adds character, if you ask me!)
English dub can be questionable (though the core characters are acted pretty well)
Each season has its low points (personally I found season 3 hard to get too invested in. Can't figure out why exactly)
If you're looking for a good, old fashioned anime to relive days gone by, this is a great set! It'll also satisfy your craving for a fantasy genre piece, and since it's three full seasons, you've got days and days worth of watching. Definitely a must-have for anime fans!
The series was very entertaining. Full of action, comedy, like-able characters, and a very well thought out plot, the show is everything a good anime should be. I could draw some similarities to Trigun, Dragonball Z, and Cowboy Bebop. The show never takes itself too seriously for long, as you can find something humorous in every episode. If you're a fan of Anime you should definitely check out Slayers, and this product is a great way to do just that.
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