Andy hasn't written a profile yet. That's ruddy mysterious...
Slayers Vol. 3
Date 01 Mar 2009
Ever since the turn of the year the Slayers releases have been coming thick and fast from MVM, with every DVD release featuring a hefty dose of retro anime fun and frolics. This third volume is certainly no different in that respect, cramming together another bumper bundle of seven episodes as we burn through this series at a rate of knots.
The closing episodes of the last volume of the series brought us the beginning of a new story arc, with our heroes Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev finding themselves a wanted woman and man respectively, leaving them (alongside wannabe "heroine of justice" and princess Amelia) on the run as they are pursued both by Vrumugun (where do they get these names?!) and Zangulus as well as any other hero or bounty hunter wanting to rid the world of this particular "evil".
Their journey to try and rectify this state of affairs whilst on the run allows the series to cut loose from the tight confines of any major storylines for a while, giving it only the occasional nod to their plight while throwing various challenges at the feet of Lina and company. From a hastily arranged marriage of convenience to joining an acting troupe, and from vicious sea dragons to cross-dressing, these episodes allow for an almost entirely light-hearted approach, which to be honest is what this series has done best for me so far. While much of this comedy is quite predictable, it proves to be refreshing after the somewhat series episodes that came before, and the fact that this is a show that is happy to laugh at itself while not taking itself or its characters too seriously certainly did its part in winning me over to the series a little more.
Eventually of course we have to return to the "serious business" of the current story arc (although not without the odd sprinklings of humour so beloved of the series), bringing us the reappearance of a couple of old faces (both good and bad) and a particularly powerful foe for Lina and friends to do battle with. Will they prevail? That's a question for volume four...
As you'd expect from a series of this age, both video and audio quality aren't all that great, with the video in particular continuing to be a mish-mash of standard "soft" DVD subtitles assuming you aren't watching the dub, mixed in with some "hard" subtitles for episode names and credits employed by the original owners of the license for this series. That isn't to say that these episodes are in any way unpalatable, far from it, just don't expect fantastic crystal-clear quality from this ageing series.
Perhaps it's just because I've watched so many episodes of Slayers in such a short period of time, but after having my doubts about this series initially I have to admit that it is slowly but surely winning me over, as what seemed kitsch to start with now feels a little more like lovable quirkiness. There's no doubt that Slayers is clichéd in as many ways as the day is long in the way it presents and progresses its plot, reminding me of my youth and watching cartoons on a Saturday morning, but the fact that it doesn't take itself at all seriously much of the time goes some way to deflecting such criticism with a shrug, a smile and a knowing wink. It probably goes without saying that this isn't a classic series by any stretch, but with a certain laid-back enjoyment to be had from watching it and so many episodes on each volume, there are worse ways to spend the odd half-hour here and there.
English and Japanese 2.0 audio, English subtitles.
Slayers is finally starting to win me over - A fun to watch volume in its own particular way.