Slayers: The Motion Picture

There is nothing better than a quick, by the numbers show to review. Slayers: The Motion Picture is just such a film. Devoid of any real depth, Slayers: TMP is still a charming, entertaining romp that will leave anime fans who crave substance disappointed but win the hearts of those who are just looking for a good time. It should especially appeal to those who like their D&D done up with a dash of humor.

Slayers: TMP introduces us in very quick fashion to Lina Inverse, a cocky sorceress who does her own thing and plays by her own rules, but winds up helping the good guys the majority of the time. Nahga, her voluptuous rival and sometimes sidekick, joins her on a trip to Mipross Island, where supposedly the greatest hot springs in all existence reside. But there's more to it, of course...Mipross Island is surrounded by fog and mystery, and there's a terrible ancient secret from the past that will invariably endanger the lives of the island travelers in the present. It's the perfect time for Lina to show her stuff, but can she handle a demon lord who appears to be nothing more than a frog?

For those who don't know, Slayers is a rather popular property, with at least two television series, this movie, and an OVA series under its belt. The movie is actually a prequel to the first television series, and as such seems a perfect place to jump on board. The film looks absolutely great, and the new DVD does it great justice by retaining its 1:85 aspect ratio. Although the DVD isn't enhanced for widescreen TVs, very few of us (including me) will know the difference. It's not just DVD quality that makes this show shine, though. The artwork is great in many sequences, and although there are a few static shots that could have used a bit more work, there are just as many places where the design and detail will impress. The soundtrack is good, nothing out of the ordinary, but the ending theme is catchy.

The story is where Slayers: TMP fails slightly, and it has less to do with the actual plot as it does with character development. The basic story itself is interesting and has a logical progression, and part of it is unique and unpredictable enough that I'm not going to divulge it here. The biggest problem, however, is that by itself, the movie presents no real reason for the main characters. Lina is cute and interesting, and Nahga is a supreme yet bouncy annoyance. We don't really get much more than that, and it's a little disappointing. However, though this movie may be the official starting point of the Slayers timeline, it is not the first animation created in the series, and so perhaps the character development is found elsewhere. Such as it is, if you don't mind that the main characters don't show a whole lot of growth during the hour or so running time, you'll probably be OK. Your opinion may also depend on how well you take jokes about female anatomy--there's a continual gag that Lina is not nearly as well-endowed as Nahga, and it eventually gets a bit tired--and there's some shots here and there that, although revealing nothing, are fan service. I'd say it'd still be suitable for the teenage crowd.

Slayers: TMP is not going to cause any brain cramps, but it is still fun and is a little above some of the fluff out there. Go into it with that expectation, and I think you'll find it an enjoyable introduction.

Slayers: The Motion Picture -- mild language, violence, mild fan service -- B