Monday, August 13, 2007

Entry Level Anime: Slayers

So, I was reading Megatokyo earlier today (damn it, I just admitted that I read Megatokyo. Shit. Anyways, moving on...), and there was an ad on the top of the page (craziness, I know). This was a special ad, though. It was special because it wasn't for some stupid and most likely very bad anime series. It was for an anime called Slayers. This got me to reminiscing...

Slayers was the anime I saw that really, truly convinced me that I should continue watching anime (or rather, that there was anime worth watching and discovering out there). Prior to Slayers, I had seen two animes: Dragon Ball Z and Evangelion. Some day, I'll write a post about my opinions on Evangelion, but lets just say, neither of these shows had me desperately searching for more anime to watch.

I remember my friends telling me things like, "Well, you liked Dragon Ball Z, so you must like anime we just haven't found the right one yet". My response was something typically along the lines of: "I don't know much, but I'm pretty confident that Dragon Ball Z doesn't actually count as anime anymore." Not surprisingly, they had no response.

Then my dear, albeit semi-psychotic, friend offered to lend me his DVD box set of a old anime called Slayers. He promised I would like it, because it's ridiculous. This was a powerful argument. The fact that I was bored at the time probably also had something to do with it.

So, I watched it. And, obviously, I loved it.

Slayers is easily one of the best portals to watching anime that a random guy who doesn't particularly know or care about Japanese culture can ask for. It's primary advantage is that it doesn't really look like the Japanese animes of today. A lot of the trademark appearances and visual cues from more current animes are simply not present. Instead, the animation looks remarkably like the majority of the Saturday morning cartoon shows from the eighties and early nineties that I was exposed to (I think it's from around 95 or so). This is a huge help, because it really feels like a show I would have totally watched with a bowl of Cheerios in front of me (except that it's not in English, of course).

Another advantage was that it had a simple, well presented story with a relatively small cast. Even today, I'll admit to struggling to understand what's going on in many anime series, simply because I can't keep track of the characters. This series kindly takes its time with the characters, which I appreciated.

Of course, its real selling point was the hook: stupid, super violent, vaguely cute female mage that likes to kill things with fire travels with a far more stupid male swordmaster. Hilarity and violence ensues.

No question about it, that's a concept just about anyone can get behind. And, so yeah, I enjoyed it. It did a lot to convince me that anime is worth watching.

Also, in case you don't read Megatokyo (I wouldn't blame you, either, sometimes I wonder why I read it, but then I remember) and therefore didn't get to see the ad, I guess I should let it be known that they are re-releasing the Slayers season 1 box set with digitally remastered video. I'm not sure if it's really necessary, since the poor video quality in the originals helped give it an old school feel that I enjoyed, but... I also remember thinking the video looked pretty janky (and I was watching it off the original DVD box set, remember, not illegally downloaded files, I swear). So, yeah, you should check it out. I know I am...

That is all.


PS - Completely unrelated, but can you tell I've discovered how to make links. This could be dangerous.

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