Slayers: The Book of Spells DVD
Slayers Production Committee
How can you compare Lina's breast to Nahga's?
Slayers: The Book of Spells DVD
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"Have you seen this small breasted girl." - Nahga, the Serpent
For the Slayers fan that has it all, Slayers: The Book of Spells is simply the DVD compilation of ADV's previous VHS volumes Slayers: Dragon Slave and Slayers: Explosion Array! But, the DVD makes the perfect companion to ADV's other Slayers release, Slayers: The Motion Picture by continuing the tradition of a striking cover featuring Lina and Nahga performing the things that they do best: casting spells and looking beautiful.
Let's start with the first OVA episode, ‘The Scary Chimera Plan.' In this episode we get to meet Lina Inverse, our favorite heroin with a penchant for casting explosive spells, as she is trying to be talking into donating her head to be a part of Professor Diol's Chimera monster. She refuses and blows up the place, along with her companion, Nahga. Enter the mandatory idiotic thieves who get in the way which Lina blasts. Things get plain weird from there as Diol unleashes a series of clones. But, these aren't just any clones, these are ten busty clones of Nahga!
Seems, Lina and Nahga survived that last episode and now are hired to help the anorexic and feeble prince Jeffery to become a knight. But, as the ladies quickly learn, you better not talk bad about Jeffery or a mysterious fat lady will appear in a red hood with a big mallet and cream you. Maybe this fat lady could share some of her food with Jeffery and his squad of equally pathetic Flaming Knights. If she did, then they might actually be able to fight then or maybe not.
It's hard to decide which of the three is the funniest, but the third episode is probably the strangest because it features mirror copies of Nahga and Lina. To say more would be to ruin the surprise, but the episode can best be seen as a series of music videos of Lina and Nahga traveling with plot advancing bits to give the parts some substance.
What I enjoyed seeing was the option to view the episodes in English without subtitles, in English with song subtitles, or in Japanese with subtitles. There is a fourth option which can be accessed by turning on the subtitles manually by a controller where you can watch the show in English with subtitles like in the Japanese with subtitles option. The subtitles do have problems when the scene is brightly light because they are a thin font with yellow and a black outline. It's also worth mentioning that in the third episode during songs the dialogue subtitles appear in yellow, the English song translation appears in white, and the Japanese appears in yellow. It takes up half the screen, but it's a nice touch.
The release isn't without flaw though. First is the numerous and excessive use of menus for every possible option. No matter what the option chosen, a new menu appears with a very distracting pixilated picture of character along with equally pixilated text when viewed on a computer.
The second fault I find in the disc is the fact that the extras fall a little flat. The Slayers Trailers are the same exact ones that appear on the Slayers: The Motion Picture DVD and the website link is nothing more than a picture with the ADV URL at the top. But, there are six ADV previews that are nice to check out if you want a quick song break, but the visuals do have some bad artifacting. The redeeming aspect of the disc's extras is the Portfolio which uses a different method of picture viewing. Instead entering the gallery and pressing next until the end, you have to open up one of the six galleries and press play you've gone through all the images until the end. My only gripe with this new way of doing stills is it isn't the previous standard and the instructions appear only in a word balloon in the paper insert with the disc. I did find when I used PowerDVD on my computer to view the gallery that it would not allow for the images to proceed, but my standard DVD player worked perfectly.
The English dub, in my opinion, is one of ADV's finest. The characters actually sound reminiscent to their Japanese counterparts. This is especially seen with Lina and Nahga's voices. Cynthia Martinez uses an accent that seems to fit Lina's persona and makes her seem more like a normal person that you would meet in the country side. But, it also has a subtle quality that makes you like the character right from the start. This is the same quality that can be seen in Megumi Hayashibara's portrayal of the character. So, something must be hitting the mark. And then there is Kelly Manison who's portrayal of Nahga outdoes her Japanese counterpart, Maria Kawamura, in the laughing department. You can feel the pain of the characters when you heard Nahga laugh her self indulgent laugh in the first episode. It's quite humorous actually.
It is worth mentioning that the English dub is considerably different in tone to the Japanese sub. Nearly every line has been trimmed or changed in some way and a lot of the in-jokes have been changed. There were also a number of places that had new jokes inserted. A clear example of this is in the third episode. The Japanese version reverse to the group Lina and Nahga are trying to get the reward from as the Magic Users' Association, while in the English dub it's been renamed the Professional Magic-Users Society. This change lets the dub get away with calling it P.M.S. throughout the entire episode instead of the association. If you want to be anal, turn on the subtitles while watching the dub and try to follow the story. You'll notice some pretty strange differences.
Aside from the DVD gripes, the release is solid. I was just disappointed there weren't more breast jokes.