The first volume of Slayers on DVD turned out to be a bit of a curio in my book - While I quite enjoyed the wise-cracking nature of this series that clearly wasn't taking itself too seriously, it was at the same time an offering that showed its age terribly in many ways, which made it a more suitable viewing experience for anyone looking to enjoy some retro anime rather than a series that could be easily recommended in its own right.
Anyhow, the second volume of Slayers has landed on my doorstep, and of course it looks as old-fashioned in its animation style and quality as ever. That aside, the batch of seven (yes, that's right, seven episodes on a single disc - You can't say that this DVD isn't value for money) episodes on show here carry on where we left off last time, with the ever sassy Lina Inverse and Gourry joining forces with Zelgadis in an effort to keep the Philosopher's Stone out of the hands of Rezo the Red Priest. Cue plenty of generic action sequences, followed by similarly clichéd plot expositions, particularly those surrounding the nature of Rezo and the Dark Lord Shabranigdo (isn't that a great name?) which he tries to summon forth.
With this story arc complete, we then find our battle-hardened combination of swordsman and sorceress teaming up with a prince in hiding, and later on his daughter, a sorceress in training Amelia. This sets up the story for some new adventures, with Lina acting as a bodyguard until she finds that somebody has placed a bounty on her (and Gourry's) head. Who has done this, and why? That's a question for volume three...
It probably goes without saying that this second volume of Slayers is simply more of the same we saw from volume one, and that fact applies to both the positive and negative points of this series. Despite its age, I can't really deny that there's a certain amount of fun to be had from watching these episodes - While the vein of comedy which runs through it feels rather old hat, there are still some moments that'll make you smile, be they simple examples of slapstick comedy or Prince Phil's amusingly named attacks. The series also remains very fast-paced indeed, keeping the action coming at a rate of knots with little time or opportunity for a breather, and to some extent this strategy helps paper over the show's cracks.
You can put it down to its age (and I'm almost certain that I would have been more forgiving of it ten years ago), but those cracks consist of the "seen it all before" nature of the series - It feels very much like the kind of Saturday morning cartoons you used to watch as a kid, and while this can make watching Slayers great fun for a while, after thirteen episodes of it that initial interest begins to waver, and you start to feel that the whole thing is becoming a bit repetitive as the same old tricks, attacks and jokes get recycled over and over. The characterisation is wafer-thin, the plots likewise, and you're soon left without much to get your teeth into beyond that slightly retro thrill of watching the series. If that's enough to get you by then Slayers will continue to entertain - Just don't expect anything too original.