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John

(he/him)
ZEST - Finally done. I wish the ending was more than just using the same five weapons to shoot the same guy, but in a slightly different configuration. It looked like Dark Star was dropping the equivalent of Dragon Slaves all across the world wherever he went. Hope that was in unpopulated areas, but he probably still killed thousands, not to mention the animals that lived in that swath.

In the end, Valgaav got to be reborn, and Filia got a purpose after her worldview was shattered. Zelgadis can pine over love that couldn't be because he never actually asked Amilia if she "like-liked" him. Graavos got knocked out of orbit where he's been spinning in stasis for months, and gets to work in Filia's pot shop with Jillas. And Lina & Gourry just get to smile and eat a meal as their reward.

I haven't watched/read anything outside of these three seasons, but was it implied that Xellos was working for Lina's sister the whole time? Kinda got that impression from his coda scene with a woman's leg, and that he name dropped her at the final battle. Dunno though, it was in a small screen on my already small iPad, since the dub decided to just put the full screen into a quarter size instead of adding on the English credits after the Japanese roll.

I don't have a stake in what goes on next. The other two half seasons are on Funi, and the other looks to be both on Crunchyroll and Youtube



Here's the link to the Lost Universe dub and sub on Youtube, though you may have to click through to see them. The dub's an official release, but has some watermarks. The sub looks like a rip from an older ADV release, uploaded by some guy. Amusingly (to me), I checked out the dvd release on Amazon, and they have it under the genre "Fitness & Exercise".
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I haven't watched/read anything outside of these three seasons, but was it implied that Xellos was working for Lina's sister the whole time? Kinda got that impression from his coda scene with a woman's leg, and that he name dropped her at the final battle.

Nah, that was Beastmaster Xellias (Zellias? Something like that), and her leg is pretty much all the appearance she makes across the series. I think she might have also popped up in a commercial bumper too, but that's it. I think she *may* be the leader of Red Worlds monster race now, since Shabby, Phibrizzo and Gaav all died, but doesn't do much besides instruct Xellos to be mysterious.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
If no one has any objections I think we’ll go for Lost Universe next, since it came out IIRC, just after Try did anyway; so the timing works out better.

It’s also the one series I have no memory of, or any knowledge of whether I even watched it in any capacity. I’m 80% sure I at least saw a few episodes!
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
As long as those youtube vids don't disappear I'm game.

I saw Lost Universe only once. Way back when, my undergrad anime society's (remember those?) midterm break fest, where they would show the entirety of a 26-episode series over a long weekend. Lost Universe was one such fest. So I did see the entire thing, but I don't really remember anything about it besides spaceships and another really great OP.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
The ending really suffered from a lack of material. It was interesting that they tried to tie the villain’s motivations back to the crimes of the Fire Dragon God’s followers, but it didn’t really land. It’s not clear why Valgaav has any influence at all over a world-consuming God-Monster fusion, nor - as noted - how this ties back to his prior motivations, nor how “reset the world” differs meaningfully from the Monsters’ goal of “dissolve the world back into chaos”.

I did like how, rather than busting out the Giga Slave again, or pulling out a holy sword we’ve never heard about, the Ultimate Boss Beating Limit Break is an elaboration on established tricks. We’ve seen the Sword of Light used as a magic amplifier, we’ve seen Holy/Dark magic fusion a couple of times, so Lina does both at once.

Overall I was quite surprised at how the shows of the trilogy don’t really live up to their reputations at all. Slayers is very even and overall well-produced, with low key humor and no real highs and lows. Most of Next is very episodic gag stories, and it’s lacking in fundamentals compared to Slayers, but the finale is great. Try brings back those fundamentals, with strong, even pacing and attention to detail, but at the cost of an ending that’s sloppy and rushed

As for the Outworlders… I guess you could say that Almyace and Erulogos failed because they weren’t … Sirius enough.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Oh one thing I did like about the finale is that it actually gave Amelia a bit of character development. When Next and Try remember she exists at all she tends to wind up being either “Lina Jr” or “Zel Jr”. The moment she gets of “I don’t know if I can use this weapon but I guess I’ll try” is pretty ok for her!

And then there’s even more Zel/Amelia shipping.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Okay we’re kicking off our wonderful space trip into a Lost Universe with;

A Blade of Light Shines
A Goddess Takes Flight


Which we will designate Astronaut and Blasters

I’m flying completely blind here so I think I’ll just stick with spaceshippy words
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Also looking at an episode list shows that this show does have a theme to its episode titles, just not an alphabetical one
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Astronaut (or Shines) is… a kind of inauspicious start. I’m going to chalk this up at least partially to a bit of shock going from one series to a different one, but there’s also a bit of a dip in quality too; Slayers is one of the high water marks for the earlier days of Anime dubs and this is… not that.

Cain is fine, but Millie and Canal both speak with a really high pitched staccato that’s pretty off putting. But it’s early days and it took a little bit for Slayers to find it’s audio footing too, so that’s fine.

Apparently the studio lost a lot of the material for the visuals for the first few episodes in a fire so they had to be hastily rebuilt making the first few episodes look pretty rough, but the only evidence of that in the first episode is that the OP cuts to black for a moment or two and a sign apologizing because the intro is still under construction.

As for the episode itself; it’s mainly an introduction to the main three of the cast; all of whom are Lina, Gourry and Amelia mixed together in different proportions; Cain has red hair, wants everyone to think he’s a cool space hero and is actually a goobus, Millie has blond hair, a small frame and is convinced of her superiority, and Canal is a being of unimaginable destructive power who is off doing her own thing. Furthermore she’s a spaceship, and apparently runs off old Mac hardware.

The three of them meet while infiltrating a mafia auction on the Death Star; Milly wants to establish herself as The Best Detective Possible by arresting the entire mafia all by herself, Cain was hired to steal back some stolen goods and Canal is… his ride. Chicanery happens, Cain winds up fighting a Mecha with the Sword of Light Psi-Blade, Milly fails to arrest the entire mafia and blames Cain for it (she was also upset to be kidnapped and sold into slavery but only because she failed to get the highest auction house bid in history), and decides to stick around because… i’unno… a trio makes for better tv I guess. And Canal blows up most of the Death Star and is upset that the bounty she and Cain were working for is basically nothing.

Not as strong an intro for the main characters as the first episode of Slayers was, but I like Milly if nothing else; respect the hustle.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
First two episodes, subbed:

I think it's fun, and while it's definitely not as good as Slayers, it's also far from the worst late 90s anime I've seen. Given the apparent disasters that plagued the production of the first half-dozen episodes, it's frankly a miracle it's even watchable, much less as good as it is. The setting - what little we get to see of it - is definitely interesting; apparently humanity is dependent on "meta-psychology" for faster-than-light travel, derived from the "Lost Ships", of which the Swordbreaker is secretly one. Of course, I've read spoilers and I know that the Swordbreaker is this universe's incarnation of Volphied, the Dragon God who got eaten by Darkstar, who's also one of the Lost Ships, which is neat. Every habitat we've seen so far is a bustling space megastructure; these people build big and don't feel any particular need to get in and out of gravity wells. The setting overall has a similar feel to Dirty Pair - a sprawling, bustling interstellar civilization of vague technological underpinnings, frequently beset by problems best resolved by talented if erratic specialists.

Canal being a hologram is obviously going to get used for a lot of the same no-really-it's-actually-there gags we saw in Try, but she also seems to have a very limited ability to interact with physical objects apart from Swordbreaker's controls. In these first two episodes I'm pretty sure we only see her stand on things and zap a merchant when she gives him a hug. I'll be interested to see if they stick with those restrictions or give her Star Trek-style hologram powers.

Best gag of these two episodes: Cain has an entire closet full of capes but apparently only one actual outfit.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
ASTRONAUT: Decent establishing episode. This 90s anime version of the future is an aesthetic that rarely misses with me so I'm digging it. Though I gave the dub a try and noped right out. I'll stick with the sub here thanks.

I liked the gag that the entire reason Kain was there was to steal back a porcelain tea set. This black market on the death star is dealing with all kinds of super weapons and human trafficking, but Kain is all like 'where the kitty mug at???'.

I'm honestly looking forward to this since I don't remember very much about it, whereas I was super familiar with the first three seasons of Slayers.

BLASTERS: I vaguely remember Millie wanting to be the best 'somethingorother' in the universe being a running gag, though I don't remember if it ever goes much beyond what we've seen already. Anyway, Millie guilts her way onto the Swordbreaker just in time for a mission. We have the space version of a runaway train heading right for an orphanage, Kain solves the problem by swording it (oh yeah he has a knockoff Sword of Light, called a PsiBlade here) and Canal finishes the job by basically flexing the Swordbreaker's engines compared to the puny human-made super space craft.

We also see more of Not-Zelgadis, Raine, a spacecop that is buds with Kain, fortunately for him. Kain seems like the sort of character that needs a friend in law enforcement to cover for him.


There's definitely some animation issues which have already been touched on, but there's an almost uncanny valley effect watching this coming off Slayers since it shares so many sound effects and voice actors, and there's at least one string-heavy piece of music that feels identical to a Slayers track for the first few moments.

Another thing it has in common with Slayers? An absolute banger of an opening theme.


Once more sung by Megumi Hayashibara, who also voices Canal, and as always she brings her A game and Megumis harder than she ever has with these lyrics. Do the best for your sake, Megumi!

When?

Anytime!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The dub is definitely going to make this harder to get through; even if the show itself is solid.

Canal is one of the most powerful entities in the Lost Universe and she mainly uses that power to manifest visual gags. Excellent use of limited omnipotence.

Love that the Swordbreakers weapon system is literally just a Guncon

Easy to tell that Lost Universe is at least Slayers adjacent; the lithograph that shows up in the OP and outro is real similar to the one showing the Monsters’ org-chart from Next and Try (just different enough to show that there’s a similar but different cosmology at work) and there’s a lot of audio cues and background music being reused.

I’ll overlook the Psi-Blade/Sword of Light comparisons because it’s not like either had a monopoly on “Sword made of energy” and also the Psi-Blade is much more obviously a lightsaber. Just one that can change its shape.

Otherwise, Blasters/Flies sets up some important world building (Lost Ships! Some Creepy Guy saying ominous things about them) and is otherwise dedicated to showing us Cains work ethic; in that he doesn’t want to work but refuses to halfass it when he starts
 

Purple

(She/Her)

So first off, apologies for kinda dropping off. There was a series of snowballing events and I keep trying to find the time to catch back up. Doesn't help that I had to abandon my VHS Slayers wall in a bug out and turns out this DVD collection is actually region zero and this site I started watching Next on vanished on me, but Lost Universe is available all over the damn place, without having to pay or pirate or endure dubs (although wow this site has some ugly ugly subtitles going on). And I've only watched this show once instead of like 3 or 4 times so yay, glad we made the stop.

Speaking of, before we get too deep in here, I believe I was rattling off various Lesser Slayers Works as they were coming out relative to what we were watching. Post-Try we got up to a total of 6 OAVs and 4 movies in prequel, rest of the cast hasn't shown up, Lina's stuck hanging out with a terrible egomaniacal trashy mage land. These mostly remain pretty darn not-great, especially the movies, which I'd generally call kind of unwatchable. The one exception to that, appropriately enough, is the third movie, Slayers Great, where there's a lot of convoluted setup with two rival golem makers and some combination of flattery/kidnapping that eventually leads to a pair of city-destroying-sized golems based on Lina and Naga, which they're both trapped inside of to power/control, rationalizing what is basically a giant robot fight in a fantasy setting.
holdhead.jpg

(They also respectively have jiggle physics and little cutesy footstep sounds built in.)

That little bit of trivia kinda segues nicely into talking about Lost Universe where we just go ahead and actually have giant robots, and then... convolute excuses to slice'em up with swords wearing capes and such.

And wow it really really does feel like this whole time we've been watching the anime adaptation of someone's long-in-the-tooth fantasy RPG campaign, and after really getting that high level burnout where you're straight up throwing gods at the PCs and they're still barely breaking a sweat, the GM decided to take a break and run a fantasy game for the same group of players. Having the same voice cast matched with similar character designs certainly helps with the who's who of it, but it's real real easy to just see how ah, Lina/Canal's player is always going for these broken min-maxed builds and mercenary attitudes but at least makes up for it by reading all the setting lore, Gourry/Kane's just really has a grove for fighters mechanically, but will mix it up on personality, Amelia/Millie's likes being kind of a mess and trying concepts the rules aren't really built for, and Zelgadis/Rail's keeps trying to play serious characters despite being in this group.

Meanwhile... for 1998 it's actually really impressive how well the CGI holds up. And that there is any at all. Wonder how much of the budget went to that. Also this is a really good clean introduction to who all our characters are and what their deals generally are in this first couple episodes, with a good bit of worldbuilding slipped in.
 

John

(he/him)
ASTRONAUT - After an unfortunate spill on the roller rink, I finally got back up on the exercise train and watched the first episode. It was... eh? The dub voice acting and possibly the localization didn't help much, but I don't have the context to know if the original source was good. It's reminding me of Outlaw Star, another show that I watched once and have forgotten everything about, so all I have is vague impressions of a so-so show that I regret buying on DVD.

The actual setup was fine, just silly. Not-Lina guy goes back to save Detective Girl because... he does. Maybe it was just to go get that teacup set, but he set it up like he just had to save this woman that he just met, and was pretty rude to him. And I didn't get what the timer was for. Just an autopilot setting in the ship to come in and get him? Couldn't that have been done any time?

I'm probably overthinking this and need to give the show some time to get its legs. We'll see what the next episode brings tomorrow!
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
holdhead.jpg

(They also respectively have jiggle physics and little cutesy footstep sounds built in.)
Man I remember this one. The fourth Slayers movie/OAV/whatever was the first Slayers related thing I ever saw, so I think this one's the third one? The golems from that movie left more of a mark on me than whatever happened in the fourth, and I don't recall anything about the second one at all.
Meanwhile... for 1998 it's actually really impressive how well the CGI holds up. And that there is any at all. Wonder how much of the budget went to that. Also this is a really good clean introduction to who all our characters are and what their deals generally are in this first couple episodes, with a good bit of worldbuilding slipped in.
I forgot to mention, but yes. The CG shot of the ship in the opening shockingly holds up, though maybe it wouldn't as much in HD? These videos are still compressed a bit so they might be hiding the blemishes.
 

John

(he/him)
BLASTERS - This one landed a lot better for me than the pilot. With a minor bit of tweaking to Millie's introduction, it could've subbed in and been a nice lead to the series. I'm still annoyed with the Precocious Baby KOS-MOS, but that's mostly the vocal affectation that she's given. There was a good mix of technobabble and action, with a nice lore dump at the end.

I did notice they gave the merchant a pendant that was very similar to a Star of David. Maybe it's the sign of a merchant guild and not just someone who's involved in transferring money around.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Get ready for the next stage of our exciting Galaxy Trip!

The Kitchen Sings
The Palm Tree Crabs Kill


Man, with titles like these I’m not sure I even need to try to punch them up; but I’m committed now, so COSMIC and DEEP SPACE 9.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
COSMIC: Oooo boy, these two episodes are rough. The difficulties the production had are really underlined here.

So another trait Millie has besides wanting to be the best in the Universe at literally anything is that she's also kind of the worst. Everyone on the main crew is dysfunctional in some way or another, but not really in the charming funny way of the Slayers cast. We had time to get to know those clowns, but we don't really get time with these characters before they just go full dysfunctional.

Anyway, Rail (not Raine, Rail) drops by with a job, but Kaine knows a bad deal when he sees one. Millie, however, does not, and volunteers the others to help get a witness to court to testify to put some mafia baddies away. She spends the rest of the episode being honestly kind of bratty (not that the other two are much better) and things just kind of resolve themselves. Can the next episode put a better foot forward?

DEEP SPACE 9: Ehhhhhhhhhhhh, kinda? Better overall episode, though the animation feels even worse in this one. Millie is still the worst, and the others just put up with her for some reason (we're banking on them all eventually having chemistry I guess?) while we're introduced to what I think is an on-again-off-again antagonist, Kali. I don't really remember her, but she's in the opening so she must be important!

Oh and we see that Rail is in fact kind of a giant creepo. Great. That's just swell.

So overall kind of a step down from last week, and not getting off to the best start. Still interested in sticking with it to see where it goes, of course. But I'm starting to wonder if this series might be part of why we didn't see another Slayers-adjacent show for quite awhile after it.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Not quite done DS9 yet but I like that Millie is both hypercompetent and a total disaster. She’s an incredible sharpshooter, driver, cook, model… Even if she can’t take on 4-to-1 odds in a fistfight with a purported minor in tow like Kaine can. But she also can’t cook without destroying the kitchen, leaps without looking, and pisses people off all the time.

Also Kaine parries a rocket. That’s pretty cool.

The incredibly rough production values in these episodes - even with much of episode 4 having purportedly been redone - makes it hard to evaluate much else. I swear some of the background sfx in the ship is just a recording of a reel to reel playback motor running.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
For once, the dub pays off with this show, as the audio problems didn’t come through at all when I watched them. And the touched up DVD restores… still look rough, but just on a Below Average level, not a calamitous level. Millie and Canal are still giving vocal performances roughly on the same level of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Millie is definitely making a strong argument for being my favourite character, by merit of it being impossible to tell how much of her Best in the Universe thing is warranted in any given situation. Her cooking a good meal while simultaneously exploding the kitchen being the best example of this. Also her handing the wheel of a speeding car to a six year old while she stands up to shoot at encroaching bikers is another highlight.

Genuinely unsure what to make of the fact that there’s a beach resort planet named Tanzania. And that it has beauty contests that Are effectively obstacle course/scavenger hunts.

We also got some actual plot advancement and the first Appearance of what I presume will be a recurring villain with Kali, who just wants to have fun killing someone for once, by shooting them with bazookas. The way a cunning and subtle assassin would.

All in all, I enjoyed these two episodes a lot more than the first two, even if they’re much rougher looking
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Also worth noting: episode 3 either shows Canal physically interacting or Millie’s car was totally uncontrolled while she was taking those shots and the goons did pratfalls on their own when she revealed the deception.

Again the production values make it tough to tell.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I think Canal is a hologram that can make herself solid; given what we know about Lost Ships (which, granted, is very little), I'd say being able to make hard-light isn't out of the question for them
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I was pretty sure they were going to settle on Star Trek style holograms I just wasn’t sure how long it would take.
 

John

(he/him)
For once, the dub pays off with this show, as the audio problems didn’t come through at all when I watched them. And the touched up DVD restores… still look rough, but just on a Below Average level, not a calamitous level. Millie and Canal are still giving vocal performances roughly on the same level of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Yes, this is the exact reference I was looking for them. Enroll actual children with no vocal training, and you get this type of performance. If that was the intent... bravo, but somehow I don't feel there was a director in the studio. It also sometimes sounds like someone downgraded an MP3 to a 16khz sample rate to fit more songs on your 32Mb Diamond Rio MP3 player, but it's not as bad as it sounds like the Japanese cut had.

COSMIC: I really enjoyed the Blade Runner/Akira aesthetics of the future city, though they may have taken more from Robocop in the big battle scene. I like that Millie's full name is Millennium, and not Mildred or another more common name. It's on brand for a 1998 show.

Everything else, sure, it was an okay episode to establish the roles of Rail, Kain, and the "not a bounty hunter but totally a bounty hunter" role. Canal's role is both Angry Mom and Whiny Kid, Millie's both Good and Bad at everything (and an Angry Eater), and Kane wants to be Captain Harlock, which exists in this universe, at least in comic book form.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Our dangerous Star Trek continues with

The Flame Roars
The Fallen Angels Run


Which well call Energy Beings and FTL

Also, I did watch the first of these already and, honestly, huge improvement
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Flames Roar is what I was hoping for when “Sci-Fi Slayers” was pitched to me; three goofballs with complimentary skill sets get stuck in a trap filled death maze, separated so their skills can’t help one another, and then the save the day via overkill and then run away before they can be blamed for it.

The animation quality is sharply improved over the first few episodes; the show looks good now, and even the dub performances are much improved; Milly doesn’t feel the urge to angrily screech her every line of dialogue, Kain is more of a goobus, and Canal has gone from sounding like she was In a Charlie Brown Christmas to talking like a person would (and she’s got a more aloof, annoyed personality which is an improvement over her previous bratty-child/overburdened mom thing she had going with her).

And also, we finally got the shows equivalent of the Dragon Slave; with the Swordbreakers Psi-Barrier.

Millie resumes her role as being the Best and Worst at any given task, Canal just looiives having crazy futuristic guns attached to her and Kain still explicitly wants people to think he’s Captain Harlock
 

John

(he/him)
I'll catch up to this week's episodes soon, was just giving my knees a workout rest. I wish I had started exercising regularly 10 or 20 years ago when my body could handle it.

DEEP SPACE 9: Good episode, I'm glad they didn't overly skeeze about Millie. Helps that the only thing Kain's interested in is his capes. Wouldn't want this to go all Tenchi Muyo and have all the ladies lusting over the one male character.

Rail's a perv, but at least in the dub he wasn't overtly gross about it. He was more interested in getting good shots that his employer would prefer. Still not a good use of his time, but he wasn't going into changing rooms or anything.

I kinda enjoyed the final battle, yet again set in an industrial plant. You know these plants are staffed 24/7, right? They don't just shut off process control systems after the shift is over.

Kain must've watched old Quake Done Quick recordings, because Millie's lightsaber shenanigans totally inspired a rocket jump. Just like my own rocket jump shenanigans, it may have looked cool, but it was ineffective. I would've thought the bullet lodged in the whip would've done something since they focused on it for a few seconds, but they just dropped it in favor of a rocket jump sword strike. In their defense, that's much cooler.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Cosmic- There's something pretty gutsy about even trying to pay homage to Kaneda bouncing that pipe on the road with the production issues this show has, and I'm here for it. Also for aggressively rolling 1s on cooking when angry.

DS9- Not a lot to say here. I swear the one random background girl's a dead ringer for Xellos. I appreciate a lightsaber having a pilot light?

Energy- I really like the horrible rusted garage door sounds these big security shutters keep making. And yeah, nice to have a dungeon crawl episode with an evil dwarf and drooling over sweet killamajigs.

FTL- I appreciate that after a really stupid and obvious "welp, guess Kain's gonna have to crossdress to be a detective at the sexy all-girl school for sexy space nurses where there's a sexy mystery" the main gag is that his disguise doesn't actually involve anything but wearing his headband at a different angle and a different color of cape. Also impressive how immediately we drop the idea of there being any sort of mystery here, and that we're realistic enough to say no, power of friendship or otherwise, none of these people are actually qualified enough to pass the exam. Also that we don't actually go for any sort of sexual tension. All in all, kind of just a huge bait and switch from the premise. I feel like the busted horizontal hold on hologram projection gag just doesn't work though.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Yeah the part that worked best in FTL is the reveal that, no, this nurses school is just absurdly bad at teaching people how to act as a medical professional and how stunningly incompetent the headmistress is.
 
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