The last volume ended on a cliffhanger with the big mid-series
battle well underway, and now we get to see the end of it.
Anyone who has watched Slayers this far will know the formula, the comedy episodes lead to a big mid-series battle and then you get the light relief of a few more comedy episodes before the final conflict. This volume stick to it strongly, and after the big battle in the disc's first episode we get four comedy episodes of various quality and originality before the main plot kicks back in for the volume's final two episodes. The comedy in Slayers has generally hit the mark throughout, but whilst there are plenty of laughs to be had in this volume there are a few surprising duff notes. The surreal episode which puts Lina in Alice in Wonderland is fun enough, and the episode in
which Amelia and Gourry encounter a city of justice mercilessly parodies Japanese superhero shows like Power Rangers to hilarious effect. However, the episode in which Amelia tries to help inter-species love blossom between a fishman and a human is predictable and hackneyed, and the episode in which Lina, Filia and Zelgadis end up aboard a haunted ship commanded by a sentient vase is a retread of the numerous comedy obsession stories from the previous Slayers series. They're all fun enough in their own way, but there's worrying signs of lazyness creeping in.
The series has so far impressed me by balancing the usual
anarchic comedy and slapstick far more effectively with the drama and horror
than the previous series. However, for this volume it seems to have dumped
that completely in favour of a clear distinction. This is a bit of a
shame, as I have found Slayers Try to be highly entertaining whilst still
managing to convey an effectively dramatic story in the previous volumes.
Without that balance the two aspects of the show have to stand on their own
merits, and to be honest the comedy seems crowbarred in and doesn't stand up as
well. The drama on the other hand is a different matter. The story
of the fate of Valgaav's people was handled excellently at the end of the last
volume, and the battle between him and our heroes in this volume is also
impressive. The final two episodes on the disc focus on Lina & co in a
race to find the Darkstar weapons before the Overworlders, and bring them back
into contact with the 'comic relief' villain Jillas and takes them to a dying
town waiting for a saviour. These episode bring back the balance of comedy
and drama, and make you wonder why they didn't do it for the whole volume.
It must be said though that the Slayers franchise has always lived through its characters, and despite the slumps story-wise this volume the cast still makes it damn entertaining. The introduction of two new overworlders - the callous Erulogos and the calculating Sirius - certainly spice up proceedings, especially considering Almayce's general dullness, and act as decent stand-in enemies until the big final showdown brings out the final boss next volume. Xellos probably steals the show by displaying the ambiguity that really sets him apart from the rest of the central cast, it's easy to forget that he is working for the powers of darkness and his
uncertain morality and aims make the story a lot more interesting. It's never quite clear if he is going to be an ally or enemy, but so far this time he seems to be fighting against our heroes rather than with them.
Slayers Try vol 3 is by and large what you expect from Slayers, fun and entertaining with a bit of drama and horror thrown in for good measure. However, some of the comedy episodes are a bit limp compared to those that have gone before and it fails to blend the comedy and action as effectively. The story is thundering towards its (probably foregone) conclusion, and it is interesting that Filia's story is emerging as the most interesting aspect so far. It will be interesting to see how effective a villain Darkstar will be and what action Xellos will take towards the story's end, but all in all this volume seems like the calm before the storm. Half of it is by-the-numbers Slayers, which is still pretty good by all accounts, but considering how good the franchise has been it is a little bit disappointing when it doesn't push itself further. Hopefully the next volume will be better.