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The Motion Picture

Copyright: © 1995 Kanzaka Hajime / Araizumi Rui / Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd. © 1998 A.D.V. Films (North America)
Length: 75 minutes
Rating: NR, contains violence, brief nudity and mature situations, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Subtitled (VHS)

Screenplay: Koyama Takashi Director: Watanabe Hiroshi Producer: Suzuki Tohru Character Design: Yoshimatsu Takahiro English Version Executive Producer: John Ledford English Version Producer: Matt Greenfield Translation by: Dan Kanemitsu

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Lina Inverse finds herself in a most familiar situation: fending off the unwanted attention of a band of less-than-informed bandits. But this time, the bandits have brought along a secret weapon... a secret weapon who turns out to be none other than rival sorceress, the voluptuous (and scantily-clad) Nahga the Serpent...

After our two heroes dispose of the miscreants, they discover a pair of tickets (discount, of course) to the luxury resort island of Mipross. But as with all things in life, things are never the way they appear -- and the sure enough, Lina and Nahga find themselves faced-off against every strong-arm bully and magician the tiny island has to offer. But it seems that the most powerful magician of all might not be a magician after all. And, just when things seems just a little out of hand, Lina begins to get visitations (in her dreams, of all places!) from a grizzled old wizard... a wizard who seems strangely familiar.

[ capsule review ]

No, no -- it's not a misprint. A.D. Films has picked up the rights to the Slayers Movie, not Software Sculptors. Does A.D.V. Films do a better job? Well, more on that later...

The Slayers TV series was a very pleasant surprise for me -- a refreshing, straight-forward fantasy/comedy with a talented cast, fast-paced scripting and simple, yet effective production values. The movie gives us a bigger budget, slightly different cast, and different production team. As with most movie versions of a series, the overall animation is far better than the TV series -- which, incidentally, isn't very hard to do. (Also, note that the movie is based on the OAV series, so a lot of the characters that you might be used to seeing aren't here...) It's not state-of-the-art stuff as in Macross Plus, but the backgrounds are lush, characters more detailed, frame rates better, and the overall look is simply more pleasing to the eye than the series. This might raise concerns for several viewers, since Miyata Naomi's simple, comical renderings of the Slayers TV series is one of its most endearing traits. Fear not, since Yoshimatsu Takahiro has managed to keep the charm of the haughty Lina and Co., and give them a more rounded appearance overall. Nagha, on the other hand... well, let's just say that she could very well be the poster-child for the Law of Anime #34...

Acting is a bit of a mixed bag -- Hayashibara Megumi's lively skills once again demonstrates why she's perhaps the most popular voice actress on both sides of the Pacific. I'm not sure that Kawamura Maria should be playing parts like Nahga, however. Her artificial laugh might be in keeping with Nahga's superficial personality, but to me it's just darned annoying. The rest of the cast? Well, perhaps 'unremarkable' is the best way to describe their performances. Nothing spectacular, but luckily, not particularily offensive, either.

The story is actually not too bad -- sort of a fantasy take on Bruce Lee's Game of Death, albeit with a slightly less serious note (imagine a Jackie Chan version, if you will). While the same comic references from the TV series are present, the spontaneous magic and furious timing aren't. That's not to say that the movie's not funny -- it does have its share of moments, but it's just not as effective as what we've come to expect. And what of the overall translation? Well, as technically proficient that Matt Greenfield's translation and scripting team may be, they're not quite able to capture the Slayers magic in the same way that Neil Nadelman has accomplished. On a bit of a downside, I feel that ADV took a few too many liberties with the translation, without gaining enough to justify the edit. Overall, the English Subtitled version of Slayers: The Motion Picture is an unremarkable film -- suitable for killing an evening of your time.
- AN, 98.12.15

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 3 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Music: N/A 3 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/R
Overall Rating: N/A 3 stars N/A

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