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The Slayers Group Watch Thread

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
This week, I feel it’s important to talk about;

INSIDER The One Who Knows the Truth
JUDGEMENT The Silver Beast Looms


Looks like things are already getting Final Boss-y, and we’re only kind of half done what may be the final-ish season!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The problem with the end of Slayers being two 13 episode seasons instead of one 26 episode season is that it kind of messes up the pacing a bit, and a lot of stuff that needed some time to breath does not get it. On the other hand, BOY is it a zippy series and here we have another Exposition episode and a big ol’ punch em up.

in Insider we see that Linas plan to get captured then have Potato rescue the party was a mixed success; since Potato has never been in the castle before and has no idea where the dungeons are, and he just gets lost trying. Fortunately, he stumbles on a secret sinister lab where it appears that Duclis, the tiger man, has been conducting some pretty horrific life trials trying to create a new suit of Zannifar Armor.

Also, Wizer fully transitions from being Zenigata to being Colombo and implies that his dogged pursuit of Lina was just in service of finding evidence that Giaconda is up to some sneaky schemes so she can be tried in an open court.

Meanwhile, Lina and all get sprung by Giacondas maid, Ozul, who reveals she isn’t human and that she’s under orders to Get the party out of jail and leads them to a big arena underground, where Giaconda and Zumba are waiting for them for a big ol’ secret colosseum execution Smackdown.

And Judgement is that smackdown, just a big ol’ 22 minute anime fight; Potato fights Duclis; revealing their relationship back when they were human and before Rezo cursed their kingdom, until Wizer shows up and let’s it slip that besides being an arms dealer cultivating an arms race, Giaconda is also the reason Topparacia received no financial or medical aid when it needed it; so they put their fight on hold and redirect it to her instead.

Giaconda and Gourry fight because they’re respectively the non magic ones, and he’s surprised at how preposterously tough this middle aged aristocrat is.

Zuma and Lina fight, and he mentions that his obsession with studying Lina is what lead him down the path of murdering people with magical shadows. Then he gets his arms hacked off And runs away.

And Ozul holds her own against Zemo and Amelia until she winds up getting a Ragna Blade in the gut by accident and dies. It’s kind of implied that she’s a Monster Xellos hired, but i don’t think they ever confirm that one way or the other.

Eventually the good guys win, thanks largely to Potato arriving and giving his replica Sword of Light to Gourry, as he’s clearly the one who can make the best use of it, and Giaconda is defeated and going to be hauled off to the hang for her numerous crimes against humanity… but that’s not good enough for Duclis, who has his dander up (literally) and hacks a big chunk out of her torso; revealing she herself had a full set of Zannifar Armor; explaining why she was able to beat Gourry in a straight fight.

And that she never bothered to ask why it had that name; the Zannifar Armor contains the spirit of season 1s final boss, Zannifar; and by cracking it open, Zannifar soul is released, devours Giacondas body and resurrects the Demon Beast in full.

UH OH!
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
This season has done a fantastic job of handling Gourry. The running gag about him trying to find a new sword after burning the Sword of Light to beat Darkstar yielded a lot of good visual gags and hitting it about once per episode was exactly the right amount of repetition. The big finale episode finally gives Gourry back a usable weapon, gives him a worthy opponent to fight, then upgrades him again and lets him take out one of the big bads. It’s a very effective “why does Lina keep this goof around? This is why!” moment.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I'd like to request we watch 3 episodes this week. Because of reasons.

We'd also have to have another week of 3 episodes sometime in the future as well, again because reasons, how do folks feel about that?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
In terms of pacing that works, since otherwise we have a week of one season ending and one season starting
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Whoever wrote these episodes clearly had not watched the finale of Slayers in some time, as characters react with shock to or need to have explained to them things they were clearly aware of during that arc. It's nice to see Zanaffar ... fleshed out a bit and an explainer of why exactly he was this weird thing that doesn't quite square with the rest of the cosmology, and required some weird shenanigans around Sairaag to deal with.

The action sequence choreography also kind of goes to pot, with entire sections of the fight just getting completely forgotten about so one group of characters or the other can monologue. The fights themselves are pretty good, but they don't weave together well at all. And poor Duclis; even after his climactic final scene, there's no time for him to do anything other than return in a new comedy body.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Everyone forgot that they already fought Zanifar and also nailed him to a tree, like, five years ago.

Sylphiel was there that’s how they met!
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
KEEP OUT: Weirdly named episode, but that was the least confusing thing about it. As has been mentioned, I'm not sure how much this season actually remembers form the first one. Lina does acknowledge killing Rezo, but never mentions Zanaffar or Sairaag at all, they all keep talking about Zanaffar as this legendary thing and not the final boss from three seasons ago.

For the most part I dig the extra fleshing out this otherwise MacGuffiny demon beast gets, its new backstory doesn't contradict anything from the first season and in fact helps explain why Rezo thought using something called a Demon Beast for his Shabranigdo Plan B if the Zanaffar (plural) was created precisely for that.

But the season doesn't do a good job explaining how Zanaffar actually came into play here, how Gioconda started making Zanaffar Armor to begin with, much less what 'Zanaffar Armor' even is or why that's the method Zanaffar uses to create more of itself. Bad enough the show seems to disregard much of what went down during the first season's finale, but it's not even explaining how its own new continuity works.

LEGACY: Hey it's Seyruun! Hey it's Sylphiel!! Hey it's Prince Phil!!! Suddenly the bad taste left in my mouth from the previous episode is cleared out, all is forgiven. Even though Sylphiel feels like kind of an afterthought, and as another consequence of mostly forgetting about the end of Season 1, she's just plopped into the Seyruun forces for some reason. I could buy that after Sairaag done got exploded (twice!) she packed up and went elsewhere, and if she wants to cross paths with Gourry then there are worse places to camp out in wait than the city where one of his known friends is a Princess. But it just could've used a mention, y'know?

Sylphiel's new dub actress is fine. She wasn't particularly strong in her original appearances so it's not surprising, but considering how the rest of the old dub cast has improved it might've been nice to give her another shot. I definitely approve of her calling Gourry 'Sir Gourry' now, sounds waaaaay less awkward than 'Gourry dear'.

Oh and speaking of, Lina FINALLY remembers to mention to Pokota that Gourry was the previous wielder of the Sword of Light and it's literally the only thing he's good at and Pokota happily hands over his replica. You mean that was an option this whole time? They could have just asked?!

MISTY: (is it official? Are we doing three? I'll spoiler just in case) PRobably my overall biggest gripe about this episode is the one appearance of Wizer and Xellos. Obviously we'll see Xellos later, but I took a look at cast lists for the remaining 13 episodes and Wizer is nowhere to be found. So that means the very last scene with our dear Inspector is just of him standing on a rooftop smartly deciding not to jump in on the final battle because he'd get in the way, and upon asking Xellos if he shouldn't jump in instead just getting 'lol no' as a response. That's it. I don't think we see Wizer again. And yet Pokota will be sticking around. Way to bank on the wrong character, anime team.

I don't much like Pokota, even after all this if I'm being honest. Part of this is the dub, while the rest of the main cast is much better than previously, Pokota just grates on me. I get he's supposed to sound like a young boy, but his performance just comes off as very stiff to me. Duclis isn't all that great either but at least you can handwave his voice being grating due to him literally being a monsterman. With how much better the main cast sounds, though, Pokota really comes off sounding like more of a 90s anime dub.

But as for the episode itself, Revolution corrects one of the biggest sins of Slayers Try, showing us Prince Phil and this time letting him actually BE Prince Phil. The moment is brief but I do appreciate seeing PACIFIST CRUSH one more time. Zanaffar is defeated, Pokota just casually tosses out a holy seed from Flagoon at the corpse (which Sylphiel reacts to, implying she DOES remember what went down in Sairaag but the show still isn't acknowledging it and this will never not irritate me) to take care of the miasma (which was an issue with the OG Zanaffar) and the series ends with the gang setting out to go Jar Hunting, but with no idea where to look. Thankfully the stinger gives us viewers a clue (Zuuma has it, remember him? I almost didn't)


Overall, good half season so far, though the past couple episodes dropped the ball a touch. Will Evolution-R regain its footing?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Yeah Revolution was just some top-shelf Slayers-ing throuhoutnbut it stumbled as soon as Zannifar shows up. Partly because he wasn’t a very compelling villain when he first showed up (…as an upgrade to an existing villain) and fleshing him out a *little* here didn’t do a lot to change that. And that’s setting aside the fact that it felt like the writers just… forgot they already had Zannifar as a villain and the Slayers have been to Sairag. Twice. Which is wild considers the nitty-gritty details of continuity they take the time to acknowledge.

That being said, I liked that Zannifar was beaten by Lina getting clever with magic instead of just hucking progressively bigger spells at him until one worked, as usual.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Yeah Revolution was just some top-shelf Slayers-ing throuhoutnbut it stumbled as soon as Zannifar shows up. Partly because he wasn’t a very compelling villain when he first showed up (…as an upgrade to an existing villain) and fleshing him out a *little* here didn’t do a lot to change that.

Not only was he not a very compelling villain, but he completely displaced three other antagonists who did have compelling concepts beyond "big monster wants to eat things, grow stronger". Which we've had four times now? Shabranigdo, Dark Star, alt!Dark Star, and now Zannifar. Slayers IMO works best when the villains provide some kind of foil for Lina's selfish facade. Most other Slayers villains hit this to some degree or another, with Hellmaster and Rezo being really outstanding.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
We’re into the home stretch now!

Newcomer! New Journey!
Oh My Head! Where’s My Head?


We’ve got a long-awaited character finally joining the party! Sorta!
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
These are some A+ top tier gag episodes. “Nama” is hilarious, and the Dullahans are exactly the right kind of foils. Everyone gets a bit of a chance to show off and we get a top tier Dragon Slave.

It’s weird how much the entire Zanaffar arc seems to have been a shaggy dog story. After chasing it around for … 4? Episodes we’re right back at Gio’s castle, picking up the actual plot we’d been following through most of Revo, and almost nothing from the Zanaffar arc is relevant to it in any way.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
NEWCOMER: Oh hey look it's Naga! I mean, oh hey look it's a completely unrelated character with the exact same voice and laugh as Naga but it's not Naga!

I wonder if there's some rule about using Naga and the TV cast at the same time? Aside from noncanon appearances in various videogames the only other time Naga shows up in the same media as the TV cast is Slayers Premium, and even then no one notices her.

Anyway, 'Nama' is a living suit of armor who apparently is some totally unknown adventurer who got her soul trapped inside of it and will be hanging around for a bit since she lost her memory. This episode serves as an introduction for her and her and Lina have a pretty cool fight (where Nama showcases a proclivity to using Freeze Arrow which totally isn't another hint to her identity nope) and I do like the visual gags of Nama's armor acting like a a giant robot anime when she casts her spells. Lina doesn't get to melt her down in the end, but allows her to tag along. New party member get!

Is it too late to swap Pokota out for Wiser?

OH MY HEAD!: Love that episode title. This feels very fillery, but it's entertaining filler. I was almost expecting the big gag at the end to relate to that one episode from Try where Lina, Zel, and Filia help the ghost in the jar pass on by having the Dullahan be a relative of said jar ghost, but I guess not. Missed opportunity if you ask me.

I just noticed we didn't see Xellos in these two episodes, nor is he in the new opening! That's a shame. Oh speaking of:


The new opening, Front Breaking. Still a banger, but I think it's a step down from Plenty of Grit, both the song and the visuals. A good chunk of the first bit of this opening just shows previous villains (including Valgaav? So they're saying Try IS canon?) just sort of... drifting menacingly towards Lina before backing off. I mean, it's a fine enough opening, but it might actually be my least favorite of the 5 Slayers opening themes. It ain't bad, just the least impressive of a group of really great anime openings.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I don't think it was intended as a gag, but I loved Lina wearing a pair of pince-nez glasses in Newcomer; just *completely* incongruous with Slayers' art style and Linas design in particular.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Total 100% filler. Quality Time doesn't even merit much discussion; it's just wall to wall gags.

Partner at least gives us some quality hints at a relationship between Naga and Amelia while scrupulously avoiding providing anything that could be construed as canonical confirmation. Some really good gags too.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Forgot to mention last week, but Oh My Head is one of the better gag episodes in the series, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that none of the Dullahans had heads, so the actors didn’t have to worry with matching their dialogue to the animation or anything; it sounded like they were all riffing with one another and it correspondingly felt like the most natural conversation Ive ever heard in any spoken dub.

Partner I have less to say anything about, but the visual gags and fact that Amelia and Nagma have such wildly different personalities and were stuck sharing a body is just a recipe for a good time
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
looks like the goofy filler arc might be coming to an end as this week we have

RAIDER! A Voice from the Darkness
SEEK! Who is Being Targeted?


And neither of those seem invoke zaniness
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Partner/Quality Time: One last shot of filler, the latter of the two being particularly bonkers.

One fun bit of trivia, when fish-boy fell in with the wrong crowd and showed up as a punk the music that was playing was actually Gourry's image song from the Slayers Next album, 'Set Me Free'. Strangely, can't seem to find it on the youtubes, but I recognized it immediately.

They also really teased the Amelia and Nam/ga connection but still wasn't willing to go all the way with it.

RAIDER: Oh good. Zuuma's back. Everyone's favorite. But also, good! Xellos's back! Everyone's actual favorite!

Also we say goodbye to Nama as Xellos rather unceremoniously shatters the jar that swapped her soul into the armor. We do get a rather interesting character beat for her, if you know what to look out for, when her demeanor briefly changes entirely when she learns Zuuma is an assassin. She shifts back into wacky shenanigans fairly quickly, but if you know your extended Slayers history you know Amelia and Naga's mother was killed by an assassin, and Naga ran away from home shortly after. So it makes sense she's not a big fan of the profession.

SEEK: Ok so it's obvious either the merchant or his kid is secretly Zuuma, right? Or at least working with him? Mainly I'm thinking that because it's so late to start adding new important characters, plus they're both needlessly antagonistic to damn near everyone.

I got a laugh at Lina immediately getting in Xellos's face but then taking him at his word when he says he has no idea who those monsters were. Is it true he's never directly lied to them? Hm. Only thing I can think of was that story he told them when they first met about looking for the Claire Bible because he was a priest where it was held, but he did immediately cop to it being a lie when he was surprised that it worked.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Good bye Nagma, you were the highlight of this filler arc, and once again, way more likeable a character than Potato.

It’s never quite clear if Lina knows who Nama is and is just keeping quiet about knowing her for Amelia’s sake (or at least because she knows Amelia wouldn’t shut up about it and wants to avoid the discussion, both are equally likely) or if she’s completely forgotten meeting her (she leads an interesting life), but either way good to see her, sort of, and her finally showing up is one of the indicators that they knew this was going to be the grand finale for the series.

That being said it would be nice if the penultimate villain was more interesting than Zuma. Who… y’know… is present.

At least we got some Monsters showing up; been a while since we had them!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Well let’s see what that ol’ Zuma jerk has been up to, shall we?

TOWNSCAPE! Because it’s Man Made
UNCOVER! The Exposed Darkness
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Well… no idea what “Townscape Because it’s Manmade” means, other than an accurate but unhelpful definition of the word “townscape”, I guess. But these two episodes bring the long, pointless saga of Zuma to an end. In their defence, they also finally gave Zuma some stuff that made him interesting as a villain, and one of the nicer looking fight scenes in the series. But they also crammed everything that would have made me interested in Zuma into the last few minutes of the last episode before he dies.

Townscape is largely concerned with the party realizing that nothing about the whole Zuma arc makes a friggin’ lick of sense, so Lina and Gourry decide to follow around Ozul, the T1000 maid while she performs chores for Jackass Merchant Rennock. This doesnt move the plot forward any, but it does eat up some time, so sure, whatever. Also she goes ham on smashing some pots like she was in a Legend of Zelda game. Meanwhile, Amelia and Zel get attacked by those monsters again, and Zuma attacks everyone else. And then the fights all stop, and everyone is left going “Huh?”

But Ozul managed to stab Zuma in the fight, and later notices that Rennock is bleeding from that same spot, which I guess she doesn’t consider to be information worth sharing with anyone.

Uncover finally gives some context for all the Zuma/Rennock/Abel stuff, but for all the meandering this arc has had, they kind of gloss over some of the important things and leave them as inferences; seems the reason Rennock and his son don’t get along is because the son blames his dad for his mothers death, when they were waylaid by bandits; and Rennock didn’t become obsessed with revenge in hunting them down. And then Rennock says that vengeance doesn’t solve anything, and besides those bandits were all murdered before he could have gotten a chance to, and it’s implied that Lina is the one who killed those bandits in one of the filler arcs waaaay back in season 1, but they never come out and say it one way or the other. Then monsters come to attack Rennock, and Zuma comes to attack Lina and everyone gets separated; Zel and Amelia get attacked by the Monsters again but they retreat immediately when they had the upper hand because it turns out Zuma was controlling them all along and he needed them on hand (we also get a lot of lingering shots of Amelia getting tied up by the hair monsters tentacles, which was also part of the commercial bumper so… umm… good to know your priorities, animation team). Zuma reveals that he was Rennock all along, and that by using the Hellmaster Jar he imbued himself with some of Rezos forbidden knowledge, such as the ability to graft Monsters to his body to increase his own abilities, like a Cronenbergy Mega Man, so he murders the Monsters he hired and gained their powers, as well as much grosser arms, and also casually butchers his son because slapping demons into your body doesn’t help your sense of personal ethics any.

And now that Zuma has an actual backstory and a much more impressive set of powers and we’re all geared up for an exciting final confrontation that would have justified this whole dumb arc… Xellos up and murders him.

Ah well, bye Zuma, I forgot your were in the show every time you weren’t on the screen.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
This arc seemed to be trying to set up a "chickens come home to roost" arc for Lina and the gang's actions during season 1 - there's multiple hints that Lina's bandit exterminations, the battle at Sairaag, and Rezo's whole thing are responsible for the trouble they find them in. But at least so far there's been no effort to actually ground those hints.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Also the opening showing all the previous villains giving Lina a staredown.

but to be fair, every one of those things were Rezos fault
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
TOWNSCAPE: The naming here is puzzling too. Is it referring to how Ozul is well liked among the townspeople, and much like the town she is also man-made? That's one hell of a stretch. Anyway Zuuma shows up again only to run away again and Ozul manages to knick him in the leg (whose side is she even on?) and later notices Raddock has the same injury by pure coincidence.

UNCOVER: We FINALLY get the truth behind Zuuma. Well, mostly. We find out he was Raddock all along, which was only surprising in as much as it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially with how much the story was hinting at a thing between his son and Ozul which went absolutely nowhere when Zuuma just decides to kill his own son because he suggested his single-minded obsession for killing Lina was maybe not the best idea in the world.

As for WHY Zuuma wants to kill Lina so much? Well it doesn't say it outright but it's hinted that because the bandits that killed Raddock's wife eventually died when Rezo 'sploded Sairaag, he blames Lina for stealing his chance to kill the bandits himself. When, again, REZO was the one that done blew up Sairaag and if anything he's been either working for or directly aiding Rezo the entire time.

And before the crew can decide if they're as confused by and sick of Zuuma's BS as the rest of us Xellos decides 'eff it' and just straight up kills him to be done with it. (fun bit of trivia, Xellos's 'true' monster form is that purple tornado energy cone, which we did see briefly back at the end of NEXT when he appears to fill the party in on what happened after Lina cast the Giga Slave) Xellos threatens to take the Hellmaster's Jar but he wasn't counting on Ozul saying no so he just shrugs and leaves.

What's coming for the remaining episodes? Who the hell knows?! It's obvious this whole Zuuma cul-de-sac in the plot just wasn't working, pity the writers couldn't realize that back at the end of Revolution when they had an easy opportunity to just kill him off then.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
VOICE: I kept trying to place Rezo's new english voice and in this episode it finally dawned on me, he's Illidan from Warcraft (among others). I could have just looked up his voice actor I suppose but it's fun to guess.

This episode, I dunno, didn't really work for me. It's reeeeeeaaally late in the game for one last bit of silliness, much less introducing nameless mooks, fun as it is to see Lina pick on some bandits again.

There was a throw-away line back in Season 1 while the party was exploring Rezo's lab in Sairaag where Zel commented that Rezo had a cheesy sense of humor, despite absolutely nothing up to that point suggesting it, and we do see some of that here. Does Rezo like corny jokes? Or does he just enjoy being a troll even as a disembodied voice? Who can say?

WISDOM: Ahhh, this is more like it. This episode is the inevitable result of a Rezo-centered arc, Zel REALLY wants to be human again. Remember that character point? When was the last time that was relevant? The first episode of NEXT? Maybe half an episode in TRY? Despite Zel increasingly embracing his lot in life as one of Lina's convenience items it's important to remember that this is STILL what largely motivates him so of course he'd grab the opportunity to turn himself back if he thinks he can pull it off.

The flashbacks here were great and line up with what we know from the first season shockingly well. And hey! It's Zolf! And Rodimus! And Noonsa! And effing DILGEAR! And they're all hanging out and being buds with Zel and doing good mercenary work, it's great! Why couldn't we have had a several episode flashback from this time instead of that dead-end plot with Zuuma?

But anyway, Zel demands to know how to turn back into a human and Rezo is all 'lol no' and then Pokota steals the jar and flies off (who had his own crisis of faith in this episode as well but what the hell ever it's just Pokota) and then I guess we're all heading off for the last big plot event in Taforashia as Xellos looms over the party and opens just one eye so I guess he's half-serious? We should take this half-seriously?

Rezo also seems to maybe not want to be resurrected, Lina suggests? Guess we'll find out what that's all about next week, which should be our last week of the Slayers rewatch. This has been a fun ride, bumps aside.
 
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