Slayers Next Anime Review
US Release By
26 25-minute episodes
1996-04-05 - 1996-09-27
What's In It
- Fireballs and other painful spells
- Evil Monsters
- D&D-style Setting
- Cute kids (well, you know...)
- Weird as...
- Violence: 2 (moderate)
- Nudity: 1 (mild)
- Sex: 1 (mild)
- Language: 1 (mild)
Everyone's favourite short-tempered sorceress and stone-headed swordsman are back, with more action, more comedy, more fireballs and more food! When she gets caught up in a dispute between Seyruun and the aggressive nation of Xoana, Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev meet up with a few old friends--namely young justice-worshipping princess Amelia and stone-skinned chimera Zelgadis. After "settling" the problem with Xoana, the foursome go off on another journey in search of the legendary Claire Bible, partly to help Zel regain his humanity, partly because Lina wants a gander at it! As they travel, spreading mayhem and destruction across the countryside, a third reason comes up--to find some protection from the Monsters whose schemes they find themselves caught up in. As soon as they are answered, new questions arise: Who is this mysterious roguish priest Xellos and what is he really after? Is there a safe place from the intrigues of the great Monster lords? Will this stupid Xoanan princess ever leave Lina in peace? Could Gourry really be that dense? What's for lunch? Things aren't going to work out peacefully so what can our heroes do? "Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows..." RUN!
Quick ReviewSwitch to Full Review
'The Slayers' is one of the most beloved fantasy action comedy franchises of all time and Slayers Next is the second TV series, containing episodes 27-52. Slayers has always been a rather simple formula: heavy doses of D&D-style fantasy mixed with equal amounts of deliciously silly comedy and garnished with a ludicrous number of fireballs. Fans will be delighted to know that Slayers Next has accomplished that most rare of achievements: being more of the same while still being new and improved. The way that the series manages to accomplish this is by taking all the things that made The Slayers great fun to watch--the running gags, the swordplay, the slapstick, the continuous stream of pyromania from Lina--and give them a different narrative. The main reason that Slayers Next is better than its sublime predecessor is that it is everything The Slayers was and a bag of chips.
I laughed, I cheered, I laughed, I sat in awe, I laughed some more all the way through this series. If you like Slayers then this is essential. If you like fantasy comedy, this is essential. If you like fantasy of any sort, this is essential. If you like anime at all then this is probably essential to you as well. Well, what are you waiting for?
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
'The Slayers' is one of the most beloved fantasy action comedy franchises of all time and Slayers Next is the second TV series, containing episodes 27-52. Slayers has always been a rather simple formula--heavy doses of D&D-style fantasy mixed with equal amounts of deliciously silly comedy and garnished with a ludicrous number of fireballs--and fans will be delighted to know that Slayers Next has accomplished that most rare of achievements: being more of the same while still being new and improved. The way that the series manages to accomplish this is by taking all the things that made The Slayers great fun to watch--the running gags, the swordplay, the slapstick, the continuous stream pyromania from Lina--and give them a different narrative. The main reason that Slayers Next is better than its sublime predecessor is that it is everything The Slayers was and a bag of chips.
Initially you think the improvements are most technical--the animation is sharper and more vibrant than the first series and the opening theme is even catchier than ever. And indeed, the technical quality of Slayers Next does improve somewhat on the increasingly dated first TV series. But the technical improvements are only a tiny part of the upgrade. For the first few episodes things seem familiar. Then as you get deeper into the series the main differences become apparent. Without sacrificing much of its humour, Slayers Next is much darker and more serious than Slayers and possesses a much higher level of drama and tension--in essence, a much cooler plot. Of course, there are times when it is impossible to maintain the humour, or rather, where the humour would totally wreck the scene, especially at the ending which is more awesome than any Slayers ever before. You may not think this would be too good, but unlike some silly anime, Slayers is actually capable of being serious and Slayers Next carries it off perfectly. You remember how in episode 25 of The Slayers, Zelgadis said "Guess they won't let us turn this show serious without a fight"? Well they have! Special mention goes to the final story arc (the series really has one very long story arc, but I'm referring to the final part of it) for providing the angst, drama and tension needed for a masterful plot without butchering the series, and an extra-super-special mention to the last two episodes which are two of the most spellbinding episodes of ANYTHING I've ever watched.
One substantial difference in the story is what the plot is based on. While the first series was about our heroes and the nasty men who opposed them, Slayers Next is about our heroes and the Monsters. That is, the extra-dimensional, near invulnerable, outright deadly, spelled with a capital M, seriously badass demons who feed on human fear and would like nothing better than to see the world plunged into chaos and destruction. Generally overlooked in the first series (apart from Shabranigdo and the demon beast Zanaffar) they're out in force here. They're big, they're dangerous, they're really ugly, and they're the most deadly opponents Lina has ever faced. Not all of the plots are about Monsters, especially the comedy ones, but they're often lurking somewhere around, manipulating things from behind the scenes. And these Monsters are cool, from the mask-wearing Saygram to the sadistic Kanzel. Then, of course, there are the BIG Monsters, the ones the entire plot revolves around. I won't spoil anything, but awesome they are. When the Monsters are on the scene, humour is usually either scarce or completely out of the question.
When the episodes step away from the main plot line, they take time out for comedy. And when Slayers Next has a dedicated comedy episode, you'll laugh so hard you'll choke (I know I did). You thought the drag-on and fish men from the original series were funny? Well this time there's an dearth of cross-dressing jokes when our heroes visit a city of women, how to go dragon fishing with no anchor or lure (have to improvise), Lina and Amelia doing the one thing you never expected from either of them (in sequined costumes, no less), Zelgadis' fine tenor voice, a game which can be no better described than "Anything-Goes Martial Arts Tennis", Gourry in a jellyfish costume, the hazards of operating a 1000-year old war machine, the Macho Dragon's Blood Bandits and psychotic Xoanan princess Martina seeking vengeance from a Monster-god she made up herself! And you thought nothing was funnier than The Slayers? 'Ave a look at this!
What else does the plot of Slayers Next have to offer? Well, lets see. There's a fair bit of tragedy, especially during the Seyruun and Sairaag story arcs. It's not a tear-jerker in any way but it does seem quite significant. More importantly, there's romance. Yes, genuine romance, and quite a bit of it too. There's the low key, semi-romance between Zelgadis and Amelia (come on, don't pretend you haven't noticed) which underlies a lot of the plot and never comes out (at least, not in this series), then there's the comic value to be had from Martina's tendency to fall for guys--Gourry, Xellos and even Zangulus (check out the ending)! Finally, there's what everyone's been expecting, what some said was impossible and others eagerly awaited. That's all I'll say about that, but it is the highlight of the series.
Slayers Next brings back most of the characters who survived the first series--even Vrumugun makes a very brief cameo at the end. Surprisingly there are only two new major characters, not counting bad guys. The first of these is Martina, the dangerously unbalanced princess of Xoana who is left short a kingdom by Lina's actions and spends most of the series following our heroes around for various reasons, usually revenge. A follower of the Monstrous Zoamelgustar, Martina is not in the least put off by the fact that he doesn't exist. The other new character is the roguish and mysterious priest Xellos, who appears in the second episode. Obnoxious, secretive, much more powerful than he looks and generally fun-loving, Xellos shows up at regular intervals throughout the series to lend assistance, offer advice, and play silly buggers with our heroes. With much more to him than initially meets the eye, Xellos is one of the best characters in Slayers and is something of a personal favourite of mine.
Although not essential, it is very helpful to have watched the first series before proceeding to Slayers Next. I hadn't, and although nothing actually went over my head, it did actually spoil a fair bit of the first series for when I finally did watch it. References to the fight against Shabranigdo, the destruction of Sairaag and Copy-Rezo took most of the surprises out of the first series. There was one surprise left in, but that was owing to a rather embarrassing blooper--during an alternative replay of the fight against Shabranigdo, Amelia was present (which, in case you haven't seen the first series yet, she shouldn't have been). This was for dramatic effect (you'll understand when you see it) but the inaccuracy was glaring.
The soundtrack of Slayers Next was good as always. The music generally stayed in the background as usual, but the opening theme is one of my favourites, much catchier than the opening of Slayers and since it comes with both the English and Japanese subtitles, allows you to sing along! The Japanese voice acting was perfect, as usual. The only new voices of any importance were Xellos and Martina and both were bang on the money, especially Xellos, who contained just the right balance of mysteriousness, mischievousness and good-humouredness (assuming of course that those are real words). Most of the other minor voices were good, if not memorable. An excellent voice cast--would we accept anything less?
The dub sucks. Always has, always will, as long as Lisa Ortiz is doing Lina. Let's move on, shall we?
The animation in Slayers Next is a marginal improvement over the first series. The lines are a lot neater, especially on the characters, the colours are more vibrant and things look a lot less dated. This is probably most noticeable in the opening and allows an expert to tell the two series apart. The special effects are improved a bit as well and the last two episodes especially are awesome (they ARE the two best episodes of Slayers that I've ever seen). The new character designs--not only Xellos and Martina but also the new villains and minor characters--are pretty good. The series' major villains don't really look villainous enough, considering who they are, but just because they aren't hideous misshapen abominations doesn't mean that they aren't among the most evil foes Lina has ever faced. Any way you look at it, Slayers Next scores full technical marks.
Slayers Next ranks in as my second favourite fantasy TV series ever, beating both the first Slayers TV series and Record of Lodoss War, and only outdone by Vision of Escaflowne (which is my all-time favourite TV series in any case). I laughed, I cheered, I laughed, I sat in awe, I laughed some more all the way through this series. If you like Slayers then this is essential. If you like fantasy comedy, this is essential. If you like fantasy of any sort, this is essential. If you like anime at all then this is probably essential to you as well. Well, what are you waiting for? "...let the fools who stand in our way be destroyed by the power you and I possess: DRAGON SLAVE!"
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Any other Slayers, Sorcerer Hunters, Maze, etc. are all worth while, but this is the pick of the fantasy comedy bunch.
Notes and Trivia
Part of the great Slayers continuity, consisting of three TV series--Next is the middle one--and the side stories of the OAVs and movies. The series features many, many classic Dungeons & Dragons in-jokes, as well as some anime parodies
US DVD Review
The DVD set features the entire series on four discs with English and Japanese stereo audio, and an English subtitle track. Extras include video interviews with some of the dub cast, character sketches and an assortment of info. The fourth disc also has a variety of exciting extras (scripts, etc) if you pop it in the DVD drives in your computer.
This is technically rated "3 and up," by Software sculptors but that's probably a little lenient--more like 10-up.
Violence: 2 - About as nasty as Slayers gets, which isn't very nasty.
Nudity: 1 - There's a single bath scene in one episode. That's all.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - Just some light romance.
Language: 1 - Nothing of any note.