Been on a bit of a SLAYERS binge lately, having recently concluded Slayers: Evolution-R and also ordering and watching the 5 prequel Slayers movies originally dubbed and distributed by ADV Films. Last night I finished the 3-OVA disc
Slayers: The Book of Spells. I have only one more disc, Slayers: Excellent to conclude tonight. One of the last of the prequel movies, Slayers: Premium reunites Lina with her regular television series travel companions, Gourry (voiced by Chris Patton), Naga’s idealistic little sister Amelia (voiced by Luci Christian), and Zelgadis (voiced by a returning Crispin Freeman), with Xellos making a brief appearance as well. Only 30-some-odd minutes long, this movie has the best animation of the lot, incorporating CG elements for the first time, including a very arresting “bullet time” sequence with Gourry jumping and swinging his legendary Sword of Light in a wide arc to devastating effect. Young Lina is still voiced by Cynthia Martinez, but her costume has evolved over time to look like she does in the regular TV episodes. Slightly older Lina is voiced by Lisa Ortiz, and slightly older Amelia is voiced by Veronica Taylor in the television series. Lina’s original travel companion and sometime rival, the bombastic Naga the Serpent, makes a brief cameo in Slayers: Premium then does not resurface again until possibly Slayers: Evolution-R, where it is speculated that the intelligent suit of armor with the soul trapped inside, going by the name of Nama, is in fact, Naga.
Slayers is a classic anime and I really like the “updated” look of Slayers: Revolution and Slayers: Evolution-R. It’s great to hear the original cast back together, still faithfully bringing their characters to life one last time. It is the most recent iteration of the Slayers grand narrative of which I’m aware, and has an emotionally satisfying finish. It’s an acquired taste and many fans do not like the English dub. For me, I appreciate the utterly cheesy nature of the dubbed version. Lina can be grating
on the ears and rather annoying but she also makes me laugh out loud because she’s basically the embodiment of every obnoxious RPG “power gamer” ever. Flawed as she is, Lina is a paragon of virtue next to Naga the Serpent, who is buxom, beautiful, with long brunette hair and has a piercing, haughty laugh that echoes for miles. She’s every bit Lina’s rival as a spellcaster. Luckily for Lina, Naga is also vain, greedy, and kind of stupid. These vices are often her undoing over the course of several of the prequel movies. I appreciate equally the performances of Cynthia Martinez (young Lina) and Lisa Ortiz (older Lina). I happen to think the spell incantation of Dragon Slave in the television series is a good deal more poetic and beautiful than the version uttered in the prequel movies.
After I wrap up Slayers: Excellent, I plan to dive back into Record of Lodoss War (OVAs), picking up where I left off, at the start of disc B. As with the Slayers franchise, you can definitely suss out the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons roots of this show. Ms. Lisa Ortiz reappears, performing in a more restrained and understated way as Deedlit, the Elvish fighter-magic user. While Slayers is an action-comedy, Record of Lodoss War is a more sober drama. Once I conclude the original OVAs, it’s on to the 27 episode television series of the same name, which takes place later in time than the events of the original
OVAs. Record of Lodoss War is an old CPM/US Manga Corps title and you can tell from the DVD main menu that standardization had not yet set in, as the layout differs markedly from a standard DVD one would access today from FUNimation or Sentai Filmworks. I do hope that Sentai Filmworks will license-rescue and re-release the original
Slayers prequel movies and related OVAs, since all are out of print. FUNimation has licensed and re-released the original television series of course, but the fate of the prequel movies remain in limbo as of this writing.