A few thoughts regarding Slayers Evolution-R

I’m rewatching the classic 90s fantasy-comedy anime The Slayers for a panel at Anime Boston next month. I’ve just finished the fifth and final season, called Slayers Evolution-R. Here’s a handful of incoherent thoughts likely to show up in some form in the panel:

  • The first four episodes of Evolution-R pretty much fill the role of the four episodes o’ loosely connected nonsense that start off the second half of each of the first three seasons. Taken as such, they are far and away the best such run. Particularly great are the second episode, involving a Dullahan conference that’s played like a typical Japanese professional get-together and quite possibly the greatest concept the show has introduced since dragon chefs, and the fourth, which instead of the traditional and not particularly funny Gourry And Possibly Other People Crossdress schtick, is instead a massive and massively funny parody of soap operas.
  • There’s also Nama, who is of course Naga, and they play a lot with blatant hints both that she is Naga and that Naga is Amelia’s long-missing older sister. Other than one scene where Amelia describes her wonderful father and Naga describes her terrible father, both of which are recognizably Prince Phil, it’s all very boring and fanservice-y. Which, at least, is better than the usual sense in which Naga is fanservice-y?
  • After that we get into the meat of the story with a mini-arc involving Zuuma and Ozzel. There’s lots more grotesquerie here, of course, such as Zuuma’s Mazoku arms, the delightfully hideous Gduza and Dugld, and Ozzel’s aforementioned status as a doll.
  • Also here in the Zuuma mini-arc is where a theme that’s been building up since the beginning of Revolution comes into view, that of unintended consequences:
    • In the first episode of Revolution, Lina is hunting pirates because she’s killed so many bandits they’re getting hard to find.
    • Pokota’s crusade against the magic tanks gets exploited by Wizer to draw in Lina to use against Gioconda, leading to her learning about the Hellmaster’s Jar and thus being available for Rezo’s self-destructive scheme.
    • Gioconda’s quest for wealth unleashed Zanaffar on Ruginavald and Seyruun.
    • Lina’s bandit-killing and conflict with Copy Rezo led to the death of the bandits that killed Radock’s wife, robbing him of his revenge and leading to him becoming Zuuma with the goal of destroying her.
    • The gang’s attempts to follow the recipes provided by the “senile” spirit of Rezo led to the healing of a great number of people in the village.
    • Rezo’s quest to restore his sight led to a great many people healed as a side effect, but also led him to transform Zelgadis, deliberately subject Taforashia to an epidemic, and seal Taforashia.
    • Rezo’s creation of Ozzel as a servant and his own ambivalence about resurrection led to her developing a personality and will of her own.
    • Lina’s defeat of Shabranigdo led to his and Rezo’s spirits being bound together in the Hellmaster’s Jar.
    • Potoka’s quest to restore his kingdom led to the permanent loss of his human form and resurrection of the “ghost” Shabranigdo.
  • As I mentioned last time, in many ways the character Pokota most resembles is Zelgadis, and here we see both their stories end in the same place: neither can ever become human again, but both find people who accept them as they are and families of a sort.
  • Given that channeling the Giga Slave through a magic sword is basically just the Ragna Blade, you can make a case that this is the first time Lina successfully cast the Giga Slave. Fitting as a place to end the series, as it is the magical achievement of a lifetime, even beating out the fusion magic from Try.
  • This season pandered to fans of the old series a lot with stuff like Nama, constant references to the first season, the heavy Lina/Gourry shipping in the fourth episode, and the use of “Give a Reason” in the final battle. On the other hand, it was very funny and had great action, and what more do you want from The Slayers?

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