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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Slayers Next
Volume 4


Starring (voice): Hikaru Midorikawa, Masami Suzuki, Megumi Hayashibara and Yasunori Matsumoto
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 August 2009

Lina Inverse is your average sorceress and bane of bandits, putting them down wherever she finds them. Okay, so she keeps a little of the loot rather than returning it - a girl’s got to make a living. Through her adventures, Lina has collected together a motley crew of friends to fight against the rising evil in the world, but as they head for their final confrontation with the Demon Dragon King, not even the Claire Bible can protect the party from death and pain...

The Slayers Next: Vol 4 is the ultimate disc for season two of the show. As the show continued the numbering system from season one, the last six episodes are numbered forty-seven to fifty-two. After the abortive and repetitive attempts to get their hands on the Claire Bible, the story finally kicks itself up a notch in the last quarter, but is it too little too late?

Without a doubt, the second season has been an improvement over the first, with its concentration on light comedy to the detriment of the story. Season two started well but got bogged down in the quest for the Claire Bible, which continued for so long that I lost the will to live. On the plus side the show did spend more time in creating character growth and interaction, without sacrificing the humour that fans of the show had come to either love or hate.

The first two episodes, on the disc (forty seven, The Traitorous Demon Dragon King!; Forty eight, The End of the Demon Dragon King!) finish up the Dragon King Arc, with the team taking him on, it is not an easy fight and many are injured, in fact it is not a fight which they win alone. The real Claire Bible is found and Lina discovers information about the Lord of Nightmare, but will this information be enough to save them?

Episode forty-nine, Menacing Swordsman! A Journey of Reunion! and the crew feel bereaved and apprehensive, having lost Gowry, in the last fight. On the road to Sairaag, to confront the evil Lord, Phibrizzo they are attacked by a knight wielding a glowing sword. Though the fight is protracted, Lina finally defeats this new enemy cleaving his helm, only to reveal a spell bound Gowry.

The last three episodes (fifty, Sinister Trap! The Mysterious City of Ghosts!; Fifty one, The Souls of the Dead! Lina's Final Decision!; and fifty two, Go to Next! And Then Again...) has Lina’s final confrontation with the Evil Lord and The Lord of Nightmares. Lina contemplates the ultimate sacrifice to rescue Gowry, but will the information she gleaned from the Claire Bible be enough to turn the tide of battle?

Having come to the end of season two I can’t help but reflect that, given the strength of the last few episodes, the series could have been better. Whilst there is the same zany comedy evident, it has been toned down to shift the focus onto the story. Here, in the last, we have a show with real peril, where you start to care for the fate of the characters. Contrast this with the endless quest for the Claire Bible and you get the feeling that the show would have been a lot better if it had taken this turn much sooner.

In line with the superior story, the disc’s extras have been improved. You get a cover art gallery with seven framed pictures as well as a couple of trailers and the DVD credit. You also get interviews with the English voice actors (14 min, 32 sec) talking about the show with Lisa Ortiz (Lina), Veronica Taylor (Amelia), Crispin Freemon (Zelgadis), who discuss their characters and interrelationships. It's a light fluffy bit, but nice to see some of the faces behind the dub.

The show is presented in its original TV aspect ratio, with audio options for either English 2.0 or Japanese 2.0 with optional subtitles. The picture remains soft, but season two showed a marginal improvement in the artwork.

So season two has some improvements in both story and art. Hopefully season three will continue the focus on the story, as the jokes are getting a little thin.


Charles Packer

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