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The Slayers Group Watch Thread

John

(he/him)
Well hurry along!
Working on it! I'm taking 1-2 days off in between sessions, to lessen the injury risk. I'll catch up in 2-3 weeks.

Horsehead Nebula - The subbed version probably fared better than the dub on this one, because the fake language both the Cow and Chicken tribes use is... less than flattering. It was in between Jawa/Huttese and someone saying Ooga Booga.

I also had to look up when this series aired, because the whole Terrorists Hijacking a Plane would land much differently today. It was a few years prior to 2001, so closest analog would probably be Airplane II's Sonny Bono plot 15 years earlier. Finger on the pulse there!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Meteorite does indeed advance the plot, albeit not in any specific direction; we learn that Kanes grandmother is dead (did… we not already know this?) and also meet her boyfriend Jill (“Jill is a strange name for a man” says Millennium Nocturne). Then we get a bunch of flashbacks to Kanes Grandmas youth as a space adventure hero and how she died apparently fighting Nightmare (and not mid conversation with Kane as a previous episode implied), then our new villain Some Blond Guy (Spreader of Darkness, according to the bumper) shows up and freaks out Kane enough he can’t use the psi-blade and then Jill dies and that’s about it.

Oh and we see Canals true form, which is about the same as her regular form but it’s more “ethereal goddess” and less “pigtailed maid”
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
METEORITE: Ok this episode is more like it. I guess this show is just stronger when it focuses more on its main plot than filler episodes.

I don't think we were explicitly told Kane's grandmother was dead, but it was heavily implied. Enough that the reveal of the gravestone isn't that much of a shock to anyone not named Millie.

One thing that stood out as being probably important is Millie's reaction when Jill mentions a certain name. Does 'Stargazer' mean anything to her? Hmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Oh and besides Canal showing us her HILF form (Hologram I'd Like to Fffffffly me around space) we see some old guy wake up Gaav from Slayers (who died his hair blonde at some point) and then Blonde Gaav shows up to flex at Kane who has a bit of a crisis of faith in his own abilities and then things just kind of end.

NEUTRON: Hey remember that episode where Kane met a previously unmentioned old friend who then died the very same episode? Let's do that again, but let the friend live this time!

This episode is really only half filler since while the A-plot is just yet another Space Job, at the very least it has the benefit of restoring Kane's confidence. As well as that of his friend whose name I've already forgotten. So memorable, Kane's old friends!
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
The pacing in these episodes was totally janky. Meteorite, as noted, spends a ton of time rehashing stuff that we already know and the characters already know. The last few episodes of Try did this too. There's all kinds of ominous foreshadowing about Kane's grandma living in a war zone - was all this carnage because people were coming after her and she died protecting her home? But that's all immediately discarded; she died during some far-off space battle. Jill dies for extra pathos after answering Millie's questions, and apart from confirming that Kane's grandma was the coolest person ever in space which is actually super awesome, we learn very little new, either about the world or about the characters.

That said, I do really like Kane's sheer, unexplained, incapacitating terror at notGaav. It's a great way of selling the villain as a threat. We've seen Kane scrambling, or flustered, or stunned, but we've never seen him scared.

Neutron... While it's interesting to see Kane get his groove back by helping someone else get his groove back, the episode takes far too long on set-up, and the action is kinda thin. The threat - a malfunctioning automated facility loaded with valuable minerals and programmed with much too tight timings for its lack of maintenance - is interesting, but IMO not used very effectively.
 

John

(he/him)
INTERSTELLAR: This one's the silly bathroom quest one. As others pointed out, it was really lacking in both animation and substance, just using minutes of repeating shots to pad out the time. I kinda wish they would've gone the ghost story route, but I guess not wanting to pee in a corner is scary enough.

It's implied that Kane's love of capes came from his Grandmother, and that she was the one who made at least one of them, if not all of them, from shots of a spinning wheel of all things (which I just noticed is in the final opening). That's totally what a spacefaring society would use to make threads to eventually make clothes, not some industrialized process.

(Kane should've totally peed on that plant though)

JUMP DRIVE: It's too bad they didn't actually get to open up the control room under the basketball court, and find an Alien/Prometheus Space Jockey, but with big noise canceling headphones on to tune out the din from the Space Basketball battles. Also, that Antimatter stuff must've been doing some awesome work, because that ship was way too small to support an entire colony.

K, I'm just 4 episodes behind, so If I keep my goal of 3 episodes per week, I'll be caught up in... 4 weeks, just in time to sync up for the finale.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
And speaking of watching new episodes, this week we have;

Nightmare Awakens
Millie Decides


Or as I like to call them; Orbital and Pleiades
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
These two episodes are great!

Orbital finally lets the bad guys play around a bit and puts Kane and Millie in just the right amount of danger. Canal gets to show off and beats an opponent with a trump card against her defenses by thinking ahead. The enemy’s prototype weapon is a clever idea too.

Pleiades provides some surprisingly effective character building for Millie, even though it’s a pretty stereotypical “the gang splits” plot. We also get hints that maybe the friendly police contact isn’t so friendly, which is interesting. And the ending is super funny!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Orbital is another Plot one; and it’s a good one! The crew finds out that Space Amazon created a new way of making deliveries, which would be great except that it turns out that this actually makes it the most dangerous weapon in existence and it kills the user, so they try to steal it in order to just tone it down a bit. Then every villain teams up because they *really* want something that can beat Swordbreaker. Everyone has to split up, everyone deals with separate threats and it’s just up and down a fun time.

Meteorite isn’t as fun, but it’s got lots of Millie, and her not being aware that you lose your house if you stop paying rent for months at a time and not realizing that her friends will take it personally if you shoot at them with a giant space gun. Even if you accidentally miss! But then she makes it up to them by buying a dirty rag and a swiffer duster for them, so what’s a little near manslaughter between friends? Also; ACAB
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Now let’s be fair to Millie her friends were being assholes to her before she discovered the salesman had lied about storing the anti-ship turret safely unloaded.
 

John

(he/him)
I dialed back my elliptical tension, and am having a bit more luck! Not super catching up, but I'm not falling farther behind.

KUIPER BELT
: Continuity! What does this show think it is, Deep Space Nine? These shows are supposed to reset at the end of every 22 minutes, maybe with minor callbacks but not enough to hurt viewership.

This one was ok, go do a standard protection job, but it didn't totally make sense? Why was the Stormbreaker so far away from the ship they were escorting, and why did Jess's ship get close duty? What actually happened to the ship, did the pirates get it? The team knocked out one ship, sure, but another one took out the other crews? And what was the deal with the Universal Guard, was that just a joke to the viewers, that their ships and (the show's) budget was so small that you couldn't actually see their ships?

Actually, if that last one's correct, that's pretty funny.

LASER GUNS: More space battles! And the Guard finally shows up, just in time to be slaughtered. Not that Kane or even his Guard buddy really react much. Sunglasses girl gets her backstory fleshed out a bit, but nothing's really satisfying. Kane's want of Vengeance sure got them into some scrapes, including a Big Bad Nightmare Ship that Canal knows about, but also it does nothing at all? Does it know this is an episodic show that's not even at the halfway point, so has to hold all the actual conflict until the end? Who's to say.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Check out these two episodes;

Guardian Explodes
Scoundrel Is Swept Away


Those titles come from Wikipedia, which tends to take a kind of free-jazz approach to the titles of episodes, but I think I’ll call them Quantum and Rigel, which is certainly more descriptive.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
These episodes continue to be really good! The villains are actually ominous and villainous and Kane’s duels with Whip Lady are top notch fights. I like the choice to have the Lost Ship launch prevent a definitive conclusion and Millie coming to the rescue with her shuttle. Having the Shitty Space Cops blame the Swordbreaker for their fleet getting trashed is a better version of the “Lina falsely accused” story as there’s actually a plausible rationale for it - they are known associates of Rail.

Rigel does a really great job of selling the villains. Normally something you’d want to do before the 18th episode but production disaster etc etc so forth. Glen being offered up as a sacrifice would probably work better if we’d been given any real reason to consider him at all interesting, eh? I did like how unsettling and dangerous these Lost Ships were; a great change from “a vast, predatory bird that can shoot lasers really far”.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Well, if you're going to sacrifice someone in order to show how much more dangerous the real villain is, might as well make it the guy who almost has a gimmick, and a kind of memorable name. And if you're doing that, make sure he has a surprisingly horrific death scene.

We're clearly into the PLOTS part of the series now; it's been established previously why Nightmare is a threat, but now we're into the Show Don't Tell part that illustrates it; and even the escalation for what makes Lost Ships dangerous wound up being handled surprisingly well (the previous one was half junk and being driven by inexperienced pilots and it was a massive danger, Rag Mazegas is in a completely different weight class, and the cliff-hanger on Rigel did a lot to indicate that Goru Nova is even worse (both are more Slayers references, and one harder to overlook).

Also, if the Swordbreaker crew is trying to establish that they're innocent of exploding a whole whack of space cops, shooting at them with anti-air cannons probably isn't the best way to go about it.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I thought that was especially interesting as the space cops clearly don’t think Swordbreaker or Kane are actual threats. They’re fully aware that either or both could demolish the station in an eyeblink; they’re counting on them being reluctant to do so when they attempt to detain the crew.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
This week's episodes were definitely on the more interesting side. I had forgotten about both the Framed subplot and Rail's heelturn (though I'm like 90% sure the latter will have some explanation), and now the baddies are actually starting to DO things.

Gonna be weird seeing Glen in the OP for the remaining episodes. I guess this is like NEXT's opening showing off Seygram.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Well, we’re still smack dab in the act 2 All is Lost moment, as this week we have

Darkness Lures
Thoughts Fail


Or, as I like to think of them, Spaceships and Trip de La Lune
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
These two episodes were some of the most dire filler ever. The 3D is clearly not up to the spaceship battles the director envisions, so everything winds up looking weird and awkward, and there’s a huge disconnect between the action on screen and the narrative treatment. Spaceships mostly involves Kane being a fool, falling for an obvious trap, screaming a lot, then ditching Millie again. Trip attempts to justify this by tragically blowing up her cannon emplacement, but since it happens in a battle Kane’s not prepared for and shouldn’t be fighting it comes off as just more of Kane being a fool. Also we learn that Kane can’t cook. I’m kind of surprised he survived the years between his grandma’s death and meeting Millie without starving to death, poisoning himself, getting in over his head on a job, or being fired into space by Canal for not cleaning the shower.

The space cops get predictably dismantled by the space demons. While that’s happening Millie and Nina decide they’re done being sidelined by their incompetent boyfriends and steal Rail’s files to try to work out what’s going on.

The one part of the space battles that looks good is when Rail’s Lost Ship is making its attack runs. Between it’s shape, movement, and weapons it winds up being very evocative of the Space Monsters from Gunbuster, which is super appropriate and super creepy.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
These two worked for me, honestly. Both did a good job of showing off precisely how screwed everyone is because Nightmare has some Lost Ships, and Kane completely lost all his composure because of Blond Gaav, and that means Sword Breaker is basically useless.

I don’t think Nightmare actually has any kind of end-goal beyond Being Bad for Badness Sake, but they’re really good at it, and the running joke early on about the Space Cops being so underfunded and under-staffed that they needed to rely on Swordbreaker for everything paid off in that now they don’t have Swordbreaker and got completely wiped out almost immediately.

Also Nina still works there but had to keep being transferred, and because of her role as Goofball Comic Relief, she’s completely unqualified for everything and is down to working as a traffic cop, badly, and only technically has a drivers license.

Milly recovered nicely from the last time she was forced off the crew and isn’t nearly as much of a sad-sack and instead decides to force her way back on to the Swordbreaker by merit of her being the only one who is functional whether or not Kane is having a nervous breakdown
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
We’re almost done;

Field of Ice Burns
Destiny Spins


But maybe you’d prefer to call them Universe and Vader, Darth
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Another pair of good’un. One of which being an info-dump episode, but one which was sorely needed.

Universe is about Kane standing alone trying to hold off Nightmares forces while Swordbreaker repairs itself, and Milly and Nina resume trying to find the men in their lives who abandoned them. Nina comes across less as “unfailingly loyal” and more “delusional stalker”. In the end, the defense of Swordbreaker restores Kanes confidence enough that he’s able to super-charge the ship and is able to not just defeat Nazer, but destroy it with ease. The highlight was an ADR line early on where, after seeing a space cop fleet get destroyed, someone says “Man, I wish the Guardians didn’t suck so bad” with a tired voice.

And Vader, Dark is our exposition episode, finally explaining what Lost Ships are, and also why Rail turned evil; the ships are from a super advanced civilization that predated humanity, and use people as fuel, each was designed to kill just one specific target, and have destroyed countless planets and civilizations as collateral damage over the years. Canal is the only one who is reluctant to because of her association with the Blueriver family. Rail is the only one apparently who knows this and stole Goru Nova as a weapon to kill the other Lost Ships with (and apparently killed a bunch of space cops for no real reason). Blond Gaav (still don’t think he has a name…) reveals he has no intention of working with Not-Palpatine and just wants to end all life in the universe instead of conquering it, and Kane and Canal track down Dark Star; the Lost Ship she’s supposed to destroy.

Also Kane and Milly track down Rail as he’s adrift in space seconds before he dies, after betraying Goru Nova, so that’s implausibly lucky.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Man, Rail is REALLY bad at being double agent. You'd think if he were planning on betraying the Lost Ship all along he wouldn't have been so trigger happy against his old co-workers. A double agent who pisses off both sides doesn't live very long, Rail!

I'm pretty sure I remember what the big dramatic reveal is regarding Millie, but I had thought it would have come up by now? Memory of this series really is fuzzy.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
The setup with the lost ships is very cool and its a shame the series waits until the very end to bring it up. I love the reveal that Dark Star is actually a giant space facility - and does Rail’s override command explain that the other “monster” lost ships are shards of Dark Star? Or manufactured by it? Rail’s contingency plan is actually pretty cool, even if it doesn’t work. Probably should’ve used a higher concentration there.

While they’re ascribed to an “ancient civilization”, I don’t think even Rail has any direct evidence of that? He does mention that they’ve exterminated countless galactic civilizations in their wars. Between that and the “metapsychology” thing I like the implication that these are actually manifestations of the same cosmic forces and Shabbywabby, Dark Star, Ceipheid, etc.

Kane’s solo battle on Hoth is… Pretty good actually. The setup of Nightmare trying to use Probe Droids to find him so their artillery ship can blow him up from orbit is a great one, as is Kane’s trying to buy time for Canal to use sleep mode to accelerate her repairs.

Also awesome: Millie and Nina run into a random dude gossiping in a bar, and then force him to take them into the interdicted region of space to rescue Rail.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
It’s the penultimate week of Lost Universe as we got

Ashura Descends
Maidens Return


But maybe you’d prefer to call them Weyland Yutani and Xenomorph

I swear, I didn’t realize those two were going to be in the same week.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Kali's story ends with a total anti-climax; her motivations do a total 180, with her prior interest in proving herself better than Kane being supplanted by wanting to hang out with a cute boy. Assimilation changing the abilities and nature of the Lost Ships is a fun idea, but I wish they'd done more with it. Ragdo changing from death star to space squid could've made for a really compelling two-phase battle, but instead the fight mostly stalls out and nothing happens until Millie shows up, at which point Kane's able to bypass a poorly-explained novel defensive measure because he's really hype about having dessert. It's especially frustrating because up until that point, there's some really clever tactics used for an opponent whose abilities basically amount to "fully operational battle station".
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Yeah, Rag pausing the final battle by threatening other planets with its Death Star gun, and also *it having a Star Gun* was a real good part one of a two part story. Then it just kind of pewtered out towards the end.

Though I love the idea of a Death Star that suddenly transforms into a Melee Combat Space Ship midway through the fight.

Also, the gag of Nina being so clumsy that she shorts out a computer just by touching it was funny the first time, but this is, like the fourth or fifth time they've done it, so... y'know... feels a little less clever by this point.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Yeah, Rag pausing the final battle by threatening other planets with its Death Star gun, and also *it having a Star Gun* was a real good part one of a two part story. Then it just kind of pewtered out towards the end.

Though I love the idea of a Death Star that suddenly transforms into a Melee Combat Space Ship midway through the fight.

I loved the idea but hated the implementation; I might've been okay with it had they not also randomly disabled Rag's Super Clever Evasion Technique with no explanation. As it was it seemed like Rag basically wound up throwing away all his advantages so he could eat someone, and then got taken apart.

Also, the gag of Nina being so clumsy that she shorts out a computer just by touching it was funny the first time, but this is, like the fourth or fifth time they've done it, so... y'know... feels a little less clever by this point.

The BSOD would've been way funnier if we hadn't just had nearly two entire episodes of Millie solving every problem by having Nina grope a console. Even with a weekly airing schedule, I think doing it at the start of the prior episode would've been enough for the gag to land.
 
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