If you've been following my reviews here at DVDTalk at all, then you already know I'm a huge Slayers fan. The show was one of the ones that first hooked me on anime and to this day I still look upon the first few seasons fondly. No matter how episodic, repetitive, or redundant they were, the first three seasons of Slayers are just classic fun every time I watch them. Fortunately I am not the only one fond of the show, since two additional seasons were released nearly ten years after the original trio.
Slayers: Revolution and Evolution-R are a modern continuation of the adventures of Lina Inverse and company. Even after all this time some things may have changed, but for the most part they've remained the same. Character quirks, interactions, and personalities are all spot on and really what you get with the new seasons is simply a better looking continuation of the original story.
FUNimation holds the license for release here in the States and earlier this year they brought the two new series to our shores. Our review database already has coverage of these titles on DVD, but the numero uno anime publisher in America has opted to up-convert the series for a Blu-ray release. How does this release stack up to the previous one?
Like I said, Revolution really carries the torch that was lit by Slayers years ago. As one would expect from the other iterations in the franchise, Revolution is a comedy-action-fantasy. It takes place in a world where magic, dragons, and monsters take the center stage and caught in the middle are those with magical abilities and those without. It's a world where heroes and villains rise and fall, and Slayers focuses on the exploits of one band of heroes in particular.
Everything revolves around a flat-chested mage named Lina Inverse, who is capable of great compassion and destruction. She keeps her eye on riches and is more than eager to do something to turn a profit or fill her tummy. Early on in the show she's paired up with a dimwitted knight named Gourry and eventually becomes friends with Zelgadis, the cursed Chimera, and Princess Amelia. There are several other characters along the way, but for the first few seasons they are the mainstays as far as the protagonists are concerned.
In Revolution the show picks up with Lina getting arrested for being so gosh-darned destructive. Amelia and Zelgadis are roped into the arrest and eventually things point towards someone else capable of using the devastating Dragon Slave spell. This "someone else" is a living stuffed animal named Pokota, who is actually a person that was turned into the little critter. Much of this season focuses on his introduction and how he fits into the world. Luckily he's a great addition to the cast and the writers really did a nice job with his character.
What I really enjoyed about this season was the way it fluidly connected to the first three. Familiar names and faces are dropped constantly and if you haven't brushed up on your Slayers knowledge in a while Gourry's cluelessness serves as a vehicle for the show to re-introduce things. Xellos is back in action and Rezo's name is even dropped frequently here.
As the season moves forward episodic adventures take the center stage and once again Lina finds herself as the butt of several small boob jokes. A larger more involved story about a demon named Zannafar comes through and the whole thing heads back to Seyruun. It's a fun rush to the conclusion and leaves the door open for Evolution-R, which is a worthy follow-up.
If you found yourself succumbing to the charms of the original seasons, you'll fall all over again for this one. Revolution is fun and it's a lighthearted kind of anime. The show's good nature, goofy humor, and fantasy trappings come together to form a captivating mix. Sure it's not high entertainment and it's not "epic", but it's a straight-shot kind of anime. Know what you're getting yourself in for and you'll certainly be pleased.
Slayers: Revolution is presented on Blu-ray with the SD Remaster with a resolution being upconverted to 1080p. The results are mixed, to say the least. Like other FUNimation endeavors of this sort, the picture quality suffers from some edge enhancement and jagged lines. The quality is better than the DVD in some respects, but a remaster of this sort can only be taken so far. Still, the show is attractive with solid colors, a vibrant palette, and the production of the series is pleasing enough. It won't be the most gorgeous piece of animation in your Blu-ray lineup, but Revolution is still good looking.
FUNimation also took the extra step to up the quality of the audio. Dolby TrueHD tracks are included for the original Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1 soundtracks. The quality of both selections is very good with some improved fidelity over the DVD. The 5.1 track definitely offers more of a punch than the 2.0, however, the difference is marginal and only noticeable at certain points. A solid outing for sure, but again it's not something that will give your home theater a workout.
Not much to talk about regarding bonus features for this Blu-ray release. The standard inclusions (trailers and clean animations) are all you're going to find here.
Slayers: Revolution was everything I expected and hoped it would be. The show pays homage to the original seasons and really just continues to walk in their shoes. The characters, jokes, and formula are essentially the same, which is a good thing. The introduction of Pokota works well within the confines of the show and the second half of the season is pretty awesome. I would say that anyone who was a fan of the first three seasons of Slayers should definitely give this one a go. Consider it recommended!