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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Vals decided that being a Dungeons and Dragons villain hasn't worked for any bad guy so far, and has decided to be a JRPG villain instead. Seems to be working pretty well for him.

I liked the fact that it's openly acknowledged that everyones problem with Almayce up to this moment was that he looks *incredibly* sinister, and he should have made it a point to realize that people would automatically assume he was a bad guy for that alone, let alone his desire to summon a Dark Lord. First impressions count for a lot!

Valgaavs monster-arm seems to change a lot between shots; early in Nihil, it's a gangly, misshapen thing with visible tendons, and later, it's just a blue version of his regular arm, but that also seems to come and go with how powerful he is, so maybe it's a side-effect of his monster and dragon sides conflicting.

Darkstar finally shows up after being talked about all season, and, honestly, big fan of his design; just a constantly shifting pile of demon-faces and monster-skulls. Like if the T-1000 was shifting between Iron Maiden covers in its death scene.

Also acknowledged and liked the fact that the machinery in the summoning circle isn't just unlike anything else in the series, it doesn't even look like it's in the same animation style; really sells the fact that the people who made it aren't native to the Red World; it once again looks like the animation team was just given free reign to go nuts with an elaborate visuals and they ran with it.

Loved Lina taking the opportunity to hit Val with a Dragon Slave *directly inside his own chest*. Sure it didn't do anything, but sooner or later, a Dragon Slave is going to work on a major bad-guy.

Not really sure why Val has a problem with Lina, honestly. It was Phibrizzo who killed his Fake Evil Dad, and it was the Lord of Nightmares who killed Phibrizzo; Lina tried real hard to kill both, sure, but did not.

Linas reaction to learning Xellos was going to sell her out is priceless
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I think these were both great episodes, continuing the series tradition of high stakes midseason battles. The fights are dynamic and fun, including neat touches like Zel and Amelia combining the same spell for more effect and using their attacks to give Lina openings to get away or prepare an attack.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Get ready for some filler, folks!

This Place is a Wonder Island
Terror of the Cursed Jar


Let’s go with Otherworldly and Peril
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Boy we're into some filler here. This span of episodes might be my least favorite in the entire series. Makes me pine for the Lake Dragon episode.

OTHERWORLDLY: Kind of amazed no one in the cast comments on the modern-looking metropolis on the amusement park island, I don't think a setting like this is even ever used again. Just, modern-day Disney World in some rando island in the Slayersverse, why not? Obviously it's being used as a gag but nothing is done with it and the episode is so weak so it sticks out as an odd choice. Corn-Gourry is a funny visual though.

PERIL: My FUNimation episode titles call this one 'Pandaemonium! Terror of the Cursed Jar' so it already had a P word for you!

Literally the only thing of consequence that happens in this entire episode is that Zelgadis plays a solo on guitar for awhile. That's all. It could have just been the entire episode. It should have just been the entire episode.

Trying to search for a Youtube clip of this is difficult right now because just about any search I make with Pandaemonium instead brings up FFXIV's recent raid series! But I found it eventually.

 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The DVD set has screwed me over for my naming scheme!

Otherworldly has precisely one interesting thing going for it (Lina being worried she broke the universe by shooting a Giga Slave into a dimensional gate) and it’s a fake-out.
 

John

(he/him)
OTHERWORLDLY: I'm sad it took me until Lina was falling down the rabbit-hole to get the Alice in Wonderland reference with her dress. I still enjoyed the silliness, even though it's something they've done before, probably more than once. After three seasons and who knows how many movies/OVAs, they're coming up a bit short for filler episode ideas.

Logistically, since this part of the world presumably doesn't have magic, the only way I can see them pulling off illusions of this type would be with heavy psychotropic drugs. I'm amused and appalled at both Zel and Lina being force-fed mushrooms while their clothes are removed by theme park attendants.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Especially with a theme park as elaborate as this, you’d think that *someone* would have realized that Lina and Zel have no idea where they are and are confused and disoriented about everything prior to her exploding the place with a Dragon Slave.

I guess between that and the fact that they replaced everyone’s clothing while they were unconscious, that would explain why nobody was very upset when she demolished a large chunk of the park
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Pandemonium was a drastic improvement of these two episodes; still not to the heights of other filler episodes (can’t all be Tennis Tournaments and Fishing Trips), but in comparison it was a fun lark and had lots of Lina explosively overreacting to virtually everything, and Zel sedately under reacting to everything.

And Try is the JRPG season, and what self respecting 90s JRPG didn’t have a Ghost Ship sequence?
 

John

(he/him)
PERIL/PANDEMONIUM: Even though there were three people in this episode, it really was just the ladies interacting with the ghosts. Zel was relegated to the Time Stretcher role by just having him noodle around on a guitar for a gag the entire episode. It was jarring that they left Pleasure Island off screen, there could've been much better gags there than Jar Man. Though, I did have some flashbacks to Return of the Obra Dinn, so that was something.

I thought when Filia had found the ship's log, she would've come bursting in to Lina with the True Story, but it was more important to her to play Antiques Store. That was about the only surprising thing in this episode, which I'm grateful for.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Otherworldly: this is what happens when only one player shows up and the GM says they’ve got a one-shot prepared for exactly this occasion

pandemonium: and this is what happens when only three players show up and the GM pulls out their second emergency one-shot. I loved Lina and Filia trying to get the Captain to just stop talking and pass on already at the end.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
More Filling, Great Taste!

Love is in the Tiny Differences
Amelia in the Village of Justice


Once again, this would be easy if the order was reversed, but nobody was thinking of my well-being when they settled on the order of letters in the Alphabet. Let’s go with… umm… Quissing and Restless.

I think we’re back to PLOT STUFF next week
 

John

(he/him)
The Funimation titles are Immediate Results? Love is in the Tiny Differences and The Right Person in the Right Place! Amelia in the Village of Justice!, if that helps with our naming convention.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Let’s change the R one to “Right!” Then.

Kind of unreasonably proud of myself for Quissing, so that can stay
 

John

(he/him)
Quissing: Now we get some potential origins for the weird fish guy from the first season! Though that one was a little less... conversational than this group, who are just humans in fish form.

I don't quite get how both of them changing their forms actually changed anything, unless they can do that on command now. That would be a good way to spice things up!

They're getting some good mileage out of Gourry's Munch Scream face. Too bad he didn't get to do anything other than be bait this time. I'm assuming his sword is back with the whole Dark Star Summoning island? He's a bit impotent without that, gotta find a replacement soon.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I kind of think that Gourry had to put on a mermaid costume solely because this is the Q episode.

Right (or Rangers, that would have fit too, in retrospect) is definitely my favorite filler episode of this season. Loved the gags with the stage crew trying very hard to make them look good. Amelia is living her best life here, and Gourry is forced to be the straight man for once in his life.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
QUISSING: Hey remember those freaky fish guys from the first season? Here's another episode with more of them!

Honestly kind of a milquetoast filler episode, nothing dull or outright bad, but not really great either. I dig the scale coloring on the fishpeoples bodies subbing for hairstyles, and the return of Gourry being inexplicably coerced into crossdressing, but that's about all this episode has going for it.

It's weird that Lila and her dad have human-like eyes (as does Kerel after his fishification) but the other fishfolk we see in the episode have the same disturbing dead fish eyes that Noonsa and Rahanimu did, right? That's a bit distracting?

RIGHT: Ok, this is more like it. Probably the best filler episode of the season, yes. Not quite Lake Dragon level, but top tier filler episode. I adore the clan of senior citizen Sentai Ranger LARPers, and the Forest Dwarves who are totally in on the gag and faint on cue, and the weird kitten-dragon, and Gourry never hitting his mark during the big dramatic posing, and Zel straight up stating at the end 'welp that's all the filler!'. Good stuff.

Now that the filler is behind us, the preview for next week tells us we're finally getting back to the character that truly matters, Jillas!
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Really, it's remarkable how little filler Try's had until now. Given that you might expect the filler episodes to be half-assed, but no, these are both full ass filler episodes. I love the gag at the start of Quissing, where Fillia's divination powers seem to be leading no-where but no, in fact, Amelia and Gourry are on a fish island surrounded by fish people engaged in fishy pursuits. The rest of the episode is more or less the same "zany fish people" and "odd couple" gags we've been getting since early in Slayers, but combined.

Also staving Gourry gag.

Right is, I think, possibly one of the best filler episodes so far - I would agree that Lake Dragon's better, but it's close. It's got the zany filler characters who everyone else is reluctantly tolerating, the genre shift, the appeal to a principle character trait of one of the protagonists, the over-the-top action, a Prince Phil gag, and the total no-sell ending.
 

John

(he/him)
One thing I forgot about in QUISSING, I really liked Gourry's line when the sea monster started going after him, "I think that thing wants to eat me just for the halibut!"

RIGHT - Like you all said, this is a great piece of Justice! Gourry got a sword out of the deal, and Amelia got to LARP with the best of them. I enjoyed the one-off commercial break image of the Sentai Octogenarians, don't remember them doing that particular bit before. I liked that by the end, even Amelia wasn't quite sold on just how into Justice this troupe was, but still went along with it. Take it down a notch!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
We’re back to PLOT STUFF next week with

WHERE THE LIGHT LEADS
A HEROES ADVENT


Let’s say Swarm and Trial
 

John

(he/him)
SWARM - One thing I like about this show is they don't always take the safe approach of making the non-human characters just humans in a different form. Sometimes they do, with Gillas and Filia, who are pretty much Humans but with tails, but the ones like the Monsters, Almayce, and his buggy buddy are something different, with their own motivations. They still speak the same language, and may take similar actions, but their goals don't always align.

Poor Gillas, being a star-crossed hater keeps getting in the way of his happiness. In this case, he could've settled down and been the Cool Uncle to foxy pipsqueak, if only that pesky Lina would've stayed dead. He didn't actually show any real feelings for the pup's mom though, at least in the English dub, suggesting she was just a means to an end. Even the pull of teaching a kid how to shoot guns, bringing inappropriate birthday gifts, and all the other Cool Uncle perks wasn't enough to get him to give up his life of Revenge. He also thought that shooting a giant missile and blowing up most of the town was a good thing, showing that he wasn't a coward? Strange logic, he may have been knocked around by his bombs one too many times.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
If not for Gourry, he’d easily be the Slayers character most at risk of CT injuries. Maybe Amelia, but she has healing magic.

Really appreciate the stylistic consistency with the Overworlders; everything about them is just different enough from everything else in the series that it really sells the fact that they don’t belong in the Red World; and the bug monsters are another example of that. Every other non-human, no matter where they fall on the Cartoon Varmint/Monster Manual spectrum looks like they all came from the same artist; the bugs *don’t*.
 

John

(he/him)
TRIAL - It's the Bug Alien Zerowing Sidekick's time to shine. I liked alternate reality Aerith bending reality to match her prophecy, and that all three of the Overworld characters have their own personalities. One of them really looked down on Almayce for going soft and not wanting to destroy this world, so it'll be nice when he gets his comeuppance eventually.

I thought Aerith and Amelia were really reaching by applying the appearance of water to saving the town, but you gotta have something to live for, I guess. Filia had some nice foreboding crying to cliffhang the episode. Time to see what other big bad something has to be unsealed to be able to re-seal Dark Star off for good.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Anna/Aeris is really quick to trust the gigantic ominous man who is full of magical fireballs on the basis that he's pretty tall.

I guess Logos(?) has taken over Main Villain status, as Almayce turned out to be a good (albeit scary looking) guy, and Valgaav dunn got et up by a cthulhu made of skulls. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Also, we get the introduction of Slayers equivalent of the Fastball Special; The Gourry Bomb
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
SWARM: After how distractingly detailed and complicated Almayce looks, his two pals from Overworld are far more simple in their design. With how many obvious cut corners that were taking whenever Almayce had to do more than move a little bit I wonder if the animators rebelled at the thought of adding two more of his race to the cast and concessions had to be made to simplify them.

Anyway, Erulogos's main character trait is that he's a huge asshole.

Poor Jillas could have had his happy ending but it looks like the story has plans for him still?

TRIAL: Oh good I wasn't the only one who made the Aerith connection. Kind of on the nose, isn't she?

And here we meet the other Overworlder, Why So Sirius. I guess they both get an episode to themselves, even if Erulogos crashes this one anyway if only to remind us what a huge asshole he is.

Anyway, Sirius XM's main character trait is that he exists.

But he does manage to save a town by blowing it up so that's something I guess?
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I think the Overworld characters are really fun villains; they play with Slayers' actually super awesome cosmology, and they follow the tabletop RPG/CRPG tradition of extraplanar villains while avoiding all the common tropes for what those villains are. I wish they'd hung onto the early Slayers conceit that Lina's a dab hand with a sword in addition to her magic, but I'm pretty sure that's gone for good. It does give Gourry something to do, but Amelia's brawling seems more effective. Erulogos and Sirius are simpler than Almayce, but still clearly Aren't From Around Here.

One of the things I like about Trial is it falls into the Slayers tradition of looking like it's jaded and pessimistic, with heroes who are mainly motivated by money and food, but it's actually pretty optimistic and generally people who assume the best, trust others, and try to make the world better are rewarded and validated, even if they're occasionally mocked.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Oh I didn’t actually say what this weeks episodes are, did I?

History Sealed Away
Cry for the Fallen


Which well call… UNEARTHED and VENGEANCE
 
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