Archive for the ‘Lost Boy TV’ Category

Lost Boy TV: Phineas and Ferb

The Disney Afternoon has not existed since 1999, but fans of the shows that ran in that prestigious time slot are still ones that are remembered to this day by the people who grew up watching them. Many fans have been almost demanding Disney to make new animated shows that were of the quality of the ones found in the Disney Afternoon, but there have not been many results worth mentioning (except for Kim Possible, which was absolutely fantastic), but now we have Phineas and Ferb. If there was ever a show that should have been part of that programming block, it’s this one.

When I first sat down to watch Phineas and Ferb, I was hesitant. I had been burned by shows on the Disney Channel before, but my hesitation had become completely removed the first time I heard the ska theme song and saw penguins rocking out on guitars. I was hooked immediately.

Phineas and Ferb almost always follows the same exact formula for each episode: Phineas and Ferb create a crazy invention and their sister Candace tries to bust them to their mother. While that main storyline is going on, the B story is always their pet platypus, Perry, also known as Agent P, fighting against his nemesis, the villainous Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Whatever Doofenshmirtz builds to get rid of something he hates or would allow him to take over the Tri-State Area ends up destroying or otherwise getting rid of whatever Phineas and Ferb make right before Candace can bust the boys to their mother. Perry always returns to the response of “Oh, there you are Perry” and everyone has a snack. Rinse, wash, and repeat for around 150 episodes.

While the show has a very obvious formula, each episode feels incredibly fresh. Every one of the boy’s inventions are individual ideas that are never repeated (except for one, but that’s because the second time is a musical version of the episode, but that’s something I will touch upon later). In one episode they can be playing with giant Spinning Tops of Death and in another the boys can be fighting giant treehouse robots with their sister and her friend Stacy. Even Doofenshmirtz and Perry’s story lines never stagnate. There’s always a different “-inator” that Doofenshmirtz makes to “fix” his problems with the world along with a new way to capture the intrepid platypus secret agent (my personal favourite is encasing Perry in quick drying chocolate to stop him from stopping the good doctor from melting all of the chocolate in the Tri-State Area in order to sell his own chocolate at exorbitant prices).

Most of what keeps Phineas and Ferb from stagnating is the consistently high quality of the writing. The jokes fly fast and stick leaving the viewer with numerous quotable lines for each 11-minute episode. The writing also follows the Disney standard of animation in that it writes both for kids and the adults who watch television with (or in my case, like) children. Part of this stems from the fact that it was created by Dan Povenmire (a writer for Rocko’s Modern Life and a director of a number of Family Guy episodes in earlier seasons. He also voices Dr. Doofenshmirtz) and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (who also wrote for Rocko’s Modern Life and voices Major Monogram on Phineas and Ferb). There is definitely a lot of similarities that can be drawn between the styles of humour in Rocko’s Modern Life and Phineas and Ferb, the largest of which would just be how unbelievably bizarre both of the shows can get at times (Giant Floating Baby Head and the Jewish Mexican Cultural Fair are two that immediately spring to mind).

The other major component to the show’s success is the quality of the characters. Phineas and Ferb are two absolutely brilliant children with imaginations that are just demanding to be expressed into new and interesting ideas. What is most interesting about them, but is something that really isn’t focused upon in the show too often (which is a subtlety that I’m glad exists) is that the brothers are actually stepbrothers. Phineas and Candace’s mother and Ferb’s father married when the boys were young, but the relationship between the entire family unit is just like a family where all of the members are blood related. There is never any amount of dysfunction besides the standard sibling rivalry, which leads us to Candace. Her major role is to try to reveal her brother’s adventures to their mother, but this usually gets in the way of her having an actual life of her own, much to her friend Stacy’s chagrin. Their mother, Linda, is eternally patient with her daughter (though she believes that Candace is completely crazy) and wonderfully doting towards Phineas and Ferb. All of this hides (rather poorly) the fact that she used to be an 80’s one-hit-wonder. Their father is not seen all that often earlier in the show, but when he does finally show up, he just looks upon the inventions of the boys with a blissful joy and relative unawareness.

Even Dr. Doofenshmirtz gets some character development, partially from his constant insistence of telling Perry the Platypus the back story that led to the invention of his latest “-inator”, partially from his hatred of his perfect brother Roger, but mostly from the existence of his daughter, Vanessa. Dr. Doofenshmirtz wants nothing more than to get his teenage daughter to love him, but she usually is just hopelessly embarrassed by him. He also is not really that evil (seriously, he runs a company called Doofenshmirtz Evil, Inc. that has it’s own jingle), he just goes about solving his problems in a very odd manner.

A musical version of an episode was mentioned earlier, but musical numbers are not just limited to that one episode. Most episodes, in fact, have a song in them written for just that episode; on top of that, they’re exceptionally well done.

The theme song (“Today’s Going to be a Great Day”) for the show is performed by Bowling for Soup and really sets the tone and premise for the show up perfectly (and shows a number of inventions that Phineas and Ferb might do over the course of their summer adventures, and by the end of season 3, all but one of them have been accomplished (it’s actually a running joke within the show)). Most of the songs were written by Dan Povenmire and/or Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, and as such, fit perfectly within the tone of the show. Some of the best songs in the show can be found in the season 1 episode “Dude, We’re Getting the Band Back Together”, which also happens to be one of the best episodes. What is so amazing about the music is that the songs do not necessarily follow a specific musical style, they range from disco, to country, to 80’s rock, to even jazz and ska. There are 3 separate soundtracks for the show and they are well worth a listen even if you aren’t a fan of the show.

Phineas and Ferb is easily one of the most brilliant shows I have seen in ages. It has wonderful writing, well developed characters, fun stories, and amazing music and animation. Drop whatever you are doing and watch this show. 3 seasons of it are available on NetFlix Streaming and you will not be disappointed.

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Lost Boy TV: Thundercats

The 80’s seem to be coming back in a major way with Transformers and GI Joe in the movie theatres and new Thundercats, Voltron, Transformers (which to be quite honest, they never really went anywhere), and My Little Pony shows gracing our television screens with their heavily nostalgic presence. I did a preview of Thundercats before and now that the first 13 episode season has been completed, I wanted to follow up on how I feel about the rest of the season besides the first 3 episodes.

The quality of the first 3 episodes definitely held up throughout the season in every way. The story got much more intriguing, especially when the characters received a massive amount of character development, and by around halfway through the first season I was attached more to the characters than I ever was in the original series. Now the characters actually feel like characters rather than action figures. Also, as soon as Panthro actually showed up, the show got immensely better as Panthro is a complete and total badass.

Thundercats is still a very episodic show, but they don’t feel disjointed at all as the episodic episodes are just them traveling to their next goal, meeting new people along the way. These encounters also have some sort of reason for being there, whether it is getting the Thundertank fixed or just getting supplies as so that they can keep surviving.

This is a really short post, but that’s mostly because I’m trying to not repeat myself too much. The new Thundercats is really, really good. The animation is fantastic, the characters are memorable, the story isn’t remarkably deep but still very entertaining to watch. Go watch this show.

Lost Boy TV: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

There are two topics that I am immensely surprised that I have not talked about on this blog yet (two of which should be very apparent if you follow the official Adventures of a Lost Boy Tumblr, and while I’m in a schilling mood, like us on Facebook). Those topics are Pokemon and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

If this were any time before October of 2010, I would have been disgusted by the idea of even liking My Little Pony. The original show was terrible, as were a large number of the animated shows from the 1980’s that were made to sell toys. Only a few actually tried to tell some sort of meaningful story or provide content outside of constantly introducing new characters in order to keep selling toys. Luckily for fans of animation, the 1990’s ended up being what is referred to the “creator-driven era” of animation where the creators of the shows had almost complete control over the design, writing, and creation of their shows. It was a period of unbridled creativity in the animation industry when creations such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Animaniacs, and Tiny Toons were created to much critical acclaim and success. The two worlds have now collided with the creation of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by combining a number of the tennants of the creator-driven era of animation (including one of the big names of the era, Lauren Faust) with the sheer merchandising power of the 1980’s shows.

Friendship is Magic follows the adventures of Twilight Sparkle, a unicorn and magical prodigy, who moves to the town of Ponyville from Canterlot because her teacher, Princess Celestia, wants her to learn about the magic of friendship. There she meets the fun-loving Pinky Pie, the speed demon Rainbow Dash, the loyal and hardworking Applejack, the creative Rarity, and the kind but incredibly shy Fluttershy and they all embark on adventures that always seem to end with a message.

Yeah. That’s it. That’s the show.

This is the point where you ask: Ryan, why are you watching My Little Pony?

And this is the point where I tell you.

To put it succinctly, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is one of the most brilliant animated shows to come out in years. The story for the show as a whole is kind of silly and incredibly simple, but the actual stories for the episodes are pretty awesome. To give some examples, here are some plot synopsis for a few of my personal favourite episodes from season 1:

  • Applebuck Season (episode 4): “With her big brother hurt, Applejack volunteers to harvest the apple crop in her family’s orchard all by herself. However, she is too prideful and stubborn to accept any help from the other ponies. She gradually works herself to the point of exhaustion, causing problems when she promises to help the others around town.”
  • Dragonshy (episode 7): A sleeping dragon’s smoke is disrupting the skies of Equestria and Twilight Sparkle is tasked with getting it to leave. All of her friends are set to head to the dragon’s lair, with the exception of the fearful Fluttershy, who is not used to the rocky terrain, much less a giant dragon. The timid Pegasus must find the resolve necessary when her friends are in danger.
  • Winter Wrap-Up (episode 11): Winter comes to an end, and Ponyville prepares for an annual cleanup to make way for spring. Twilight wants to take part as well, and is willing to do so without the use of her magic in the name of tradition. Everything she tries ends in disaster, but an argument among the disorganized teams inspires her to find her own way to help.
  • Sonic Rainboom (episode 16): Rainbow Dash is preparing herself for an upcoming contest, with a day with the famous Wonderbolts as the grand prize, and is sure that an old move she claimed to have pulled off long ago will guarantee her a win. However, she becomes increasingly nervous that she won’t succeed. Rarity, who has gained beautiful wings by Twilight’s magic to join in cheering her on, is recommended to enter the same event. Can Dash gather the confidence to win, or will she be overshadowed by her friend’s elegance?
  • Stare Master (episode 17): Fluttershy has great experience with all kinds of animals, but it is an entirely different story when she offers to take care of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle for the night. Will she be able to keep them out of trouble, and what exactly is “The Stare”?

The stories for the episodes are usually very entertaining, but what makes the show so genuinely good are the characters. The characters are all incredibly well defined as so that you can usually sum them up in one word, but each of the mane six (yes, that is actually what they are referred to on the internet) goes through some major amount of character development over the season as they learn lessons that allow them to grow as ponies. While the descriptions of the mane six can be summed up in a few words, their characters are much deeper than many people would expect. Rarity is obsessed with fashion, but she is not someone who acts like a bimbo and just goes to the mall and talks about shoes. She is incredibly creative and is obsessed with fashion as so that she can use ideas that she sees in the clothes in order to inspire her to push forward her own designs as to make her boutique more prevalent. She’s a business woman, as is her friend Applejack. Applejack, at first glance, is (for lack of a better term) a hick. In reality, she is a hard-working and determined pony who wants to keep her family’s apple farm open and will always stand by her friends. Each of the characters have layers upon layers to them that allows for deeper story lines to be written about them. The show also involves each of the mane 6 having a complete mental breakdown at some point in the show, which leads to both hilarity (or in Pinky Pie’s case, horror) and some major grounding for the character.

The show is very much akin to the Cartoon Cartoon shows that ran on the Cartoon Network in the 90’s and early 2000’s, and a lot of that is because of the involvement of Lauren Faust. The show is very funny and exceptionally well designed as so that they can constantly add characters and locations and not have it feel bloated or unnecessary. Most of this comes from it’s writing and the fact that it draws surprisingly heavily from various mythologies and general fantasy lore. A large amount of the comedy comes from Pinky Pie, who genuinely seems to not only understand that she lives in a cartoon world, but genuinely relishes the idea of it. It also helps that she is completely crazy. This all really comes from the involvement of Lauren Faust.

For those of you not in the know, Lauren Faust worked on shows like the Powerpuff Girls, Codename: Kids Next Door, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and movies like the Iron Giant and Cats Don’t Dance. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends was partially her creation and if you loved that show, then you will definitely love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, as they are incredibly similar in tone and style.

Friendship is Magic is easily one of the best looking shows I have ever seen to be made using Adobe Flash. Everything is crisp and fluid and the style of the show works really well with both the strengths and limitations of Flash. The character designs don’t look like the old creepy vaguely pony  looking designs of the old My Little Pony, and now have taken on a much more angular and stylistic design (much to the show’s benefit). Every character is super distinctive from each other, with no pony design looking the same, or usually even close, to another. The great animation is complemented with some great music (well, except for the theme song. The theme song can die in a fire). The show even has musical numbers in a number of episodes, but they always work within the confines of the show and never feel obtrusive. It doesn’t help that they are super catchy, though (“Winter Wrap-Up” is almost constantly stuck in my head).

This show is huge on the internet. Practically every single episode has numerous memes that have sprung from them and there are almost constant flamewars between fans of the show and people who hate it. 4Chan, that den of internet villainy, actually banned people from talking about Ponies because the Bronies (male fans of the show) were starting to take over the image board. People are constantly creating fanart of characters, or making pony-fied versions of themselves, or making super awesome cosplay of the characters. The internet created names for background characters that have been adopted by the entire community. Characters like Doctor Whooves (who actually is a Doctor Who reference), DJ P0N-3, Lyra, Octavia, and the internet favourite Derpy Hooves. What is surprising about all of this, though, is that Lauren Faust follows all of this and not only acknowledges that it’s there, but actually plays to the fans. As of season 2, Derpy Hooves is actually canon. She appeared in an episode with a talking role and was actually named Derpy Hooves! Friendship is Magic has become this oddity in that while it was made to appeal to young girls, the largest demographic who watches it is actually males in their 20’s (and not in a creepy way). The creators of the show even put in a number of references for adults, such as putting pony-fied versions of the Dude, Walter, and Donny from the Big Lebowski in an episode that partially takes place in a bowling alley.

I can honestly say that most people will enjoy My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic if they can get past the idea that it is My Little Pony. The show is immaculately designed and genuinely hilarious with a strong continuity and some genuinely useful (and sometimes surprisingly adult) lessons that can benefit everyone, not just little girls. If you take my advice to watch the show, I would suggest starting with one of the episodes I listed above in order to see if you like the show. Use one of those episodes as a litmus test: if you like it, go back and watch the show from the beginning. If you don’t, then just don’t watch the rest of the show. Chances are pretty high that you’ll enjoy it, though.

Before anyone asks who my favourite pony is: Big Macintosh is best pony.

Lost Boy TV: Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

I love superheroes. That is a statement that is actually something that is kind of hard to say for some geeks. Superhero comics are usually pretty bad with some of the stupidest deus-ex machina that allow heroes to die, come back to life, die again, realize that they aren’t dead but are in the past or in an alternate dimension, come back, and unmake the universe (but only their particular section of the whole universe). Also, you have to wade through 40-80 years in some cases of past comics if you really want to know the history of everything. There are some serious problems inherent to the idea of having a series run for decades, which is why when I read comics I tend to stick more towards the self contained stories and mini-series like the absolutely fantastic Planet Hulk (and it’s sequel World War Hulk, which is awesome but for very different reasons), Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and of course Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen.

That being said, I love superhero movies, especially the most recent Marvel films, and I absolutely adore superhero TV shows. Batman the Animated Series is the best animated show ever. Spectacular Spider-Man could have been as good as Batman if it had more time. Wolverine and the X-Men is basically just “OH SNAP, IT’S WOLVERINE” and Wolverine does awesome things with the X-Men. Superheroes really tend to work best in the TV medium, as the producers can do a lot more with the expanded time spread and they can pick and choose various stories from the different eras of the comic and make them flow together to make a coherent narrative over the course of a season. That is exactly what Wolverine and the X-Men did and what Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes did.

The show follows the Avengers (made up of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor, Ant/Giant Man, Wasp, and Black Panther) as they fight against HYDRA, AIM, and various super villains from across the entire Marvel universe in order to keep the world safe. It’s a very simple premise (as most superhero properties are) but a strong narrative runs through the season that ties each individual threat together. The season features threats like the gamma-radiated super villains of the Cube being set free due to a plot by the Leader, Ultron contemplates how to save humanity and decides that humanity can only be saved through eradication, Loki attacks Asgard. Everything is based off of stories from the comics, and the last one is actually from only a few years ago! SHIELD is also highly present through the first season and there is a major event near the end of the season that really spells some ominous things to come dealing with the organization.

The show feels like it is much more of a character study than it is a superhero action show. The first five episodes of the show introduce the various main characters and focus only on them for that entire episode, showing the audience their personality and superpowers. The show doesn’t even focus just on the characters that have appeared in movies, which makes me very happy. The best characters in the show are easily Wasp, Hulk, and Thor. Wasp is just sarcastic and hilarious, Hulk revels in the destruction that he causes and only wants to prove that he is the strongest, and Thor does the same fish out of water stuff that he does in the live-action movie.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes even manages to develop the characters outside of their superhero side. Thor starts to has a burgeoning romance with the human paramedic Jane Foster, Hank Pym (Giant Man) and Janet van Dyne (Wasp) have relationship issues and she doesn’t like the fact that he is so tied up in his work. Pym is an incredibly interesting character not only because of his constant identity crisis with the changing of his superhero identiy, but also his insistence on having non-violent resolutions of conflict. Clint Barton (Hawkeye) has a very conflicted relationship with his ex-SHIELD partner, Black Widow, but I will leave that statement exceptionally vague as I don’t want to ruin that sub plot. Hulk is great because Bruce Banner is barely present in the show. This is an all Hulk show and it really shows how well the Hulk can be written when writers focus only on him and not try to flesh both him and Banner out. Some characters that eventually become superheroes in the Avengers even show up before they get their powers. This is the kind of thing that only geeks would get, but it’s nice that it’s included and if you know who they are and who they become, it’s a nice bit of foreshadowing of what will be coming in future seasons.

One of the best thing about this show is that it not only takes a number of rather silly villains from various comics like Kang the Conquerer, Baron Zemo, M.O.D.O.K., and Arnim Zola and makes them not only viable threats, but actually rather menacing and can do all of this while having them wear costumes similar to how they first appeared in the 60’s. They look completely ridiculous, but are completely competent and manage to do some serious damage before getting stomped by the Avengers.

The animation is fantastic, which is to be completely expected from any animated show that has a major company funding it’s production. The voice acting is great, especially Eric Loomis (Iron Man) who does a fantastic job of channeling Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man. Colleen O’Shaughnessey manages to make Wasp hilarious and sarcastic, but not annoying by any stretch of the imagination, and has a great rapport with Chris Cox’s Hawkeye. Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor, Kurgan from Highlander, Grune from Thundercats) is Odin and is actually not playing a villain for seemingly the first time in his career. The music is passable if not completely forgettable except for the theme song. The theme is easily one of the worst theme songs I have ever been forced to sit through and actually has made people not want to watch the show. Seriously Marvel, you need to change the theme song for season 2 (which is supposedly starting in October on Disney XD).

The entire first season of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is available to watch on Netflix Streaming, so I would suggest watching it on there.

Lost Boy TV: Thundercats (a Preview)

When it was announced that a new Thundercats series was in production, I along with many others who grew up with the series were immensely skeptical about the quality of the new version of a classic show. When some production art was released, a schism was formed. Many people did not like the updated character designs, but I was one of the equally large group of people who through that they were improvements over the decidingly silly spandex laden designs of the original 80’s show. They still retain some of the individual flavour of each character, and each character that has been revealed in the new show still have the recognizable powers of their 1980’s counterparts. The 2011 Thundercats seems like it’s going to work as it doesn’t completely throw out all of the things that people knew and loved about the originals, it’s more of an update of the franchise.

The story of the 2011 show starts before the original series with Lion-O not even being the king of Thundera yet, he is still a prince who is just trying to find his way. Tygra is his adopted brother, and is the much more capable of the two, which makes everyone think that he would be the much better choice for the heir to the throne of Thundera than his brother. Snarf is no longer the most annoying thing in the show as he doesn’t ever speak and is now just completely adorable. Cheetara is a member of the warrior clerics who has an interest in Lion-O. WilyKat and WilyKit are orphans who have to pick pockets in order to survive.

As of the writing of this post, there are only three episodes of the show that have aired. Lion-O and his adopted brother Tygra live in relative happiness with their father, Claudius (voiced by Larry Kenney, the voice of Lion-O in the 80’s series). This all changes when the Lizardmen attack Thundera with legendary technology and take it over. The Lizardmen take the survivors hostage, but Lion-O, Tygra, Cheetara, WilyKat, WilyKit, and Snarf escape and must seek out the Book of Omens before Mumm-Ra has a chance to get his hands on it and the magic is possesses. The show has taken on a much darker tone and has a larger focus on an overarching story than the very episodic original series.

The animation in the show is rather amazing. The show is a combined effort between Studio 4°C and Warner Brothers Animation and the results are stunning. The animation is fluid and detailed, which should be expected of a property with this prestige and budget.

The most important thing to note is that they do still do the “THUNDER! THUNDER! THUNDERCATS! HO!” and the theme song for the new show is an instrumental version of the original Thundercats theme song.

What I have seen of the show is leaving me very hopeful for the rest of the season, so I will more than likely review the whole first season as soon as it’s finished. Thundercats airs at 8:30 every Friday night on Cartoon Network

Lost Boy TV: Black Dynamite the Animated Series

He’s super bad. He’s outta sight. He’s Black Dynamite!

Black Dynamite has to be one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s perfect in that it takes the absurd nature of the story elements and plays it completely straight. There is no winking at the camera, there is no one in the cast laughing at the silliness of the plot or events. They are completely serious about what it going on. So when Adult Swim announced that they were going to be making a Black Dynamite animated series, I was super stoked. The pilot was released on AdultSwim.com today, and I sure as hell watched it.

It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

The animation is spectacular, the voice actors from the movie came back to voice their animated counter-parts, and the writing is on par with the movie. It even has flash backs that have an 8-year-old Black Dynamite having a full mustache and afro and is referred to as 8-year-old Black Dynamite (just like in the movie). The action scenes are fluid and well, action packed (go figure). Also, it has pimpin’ puppets. I’m not kidding. Puppet Street is a real street and can be found on the corner of MLK Boulevard. “Bullhorn, I’m starting to get the feeling that show we see on TV is just a show.” What made me the happiest is that there was even the “DYNAMITE. DYNAMITE” whenever Black Dynamite did something awesome, just like in the movie. This show is literally just the movie, just animated and with a new story.

The pilot follows Black Dynamite being called upon once again by the man in order to stop a sinister plot, this time perpetrated by the puppets of a public access TV show called Puppet Street led by their pimpin’ master Frog Kurtis (a thinly veiled take-off of Kermit the Frog). Frog Kurtis is using his power over children to get them to steal money and weapons from their parents in order to get him all the money the man never paid him from being on public access TV for all those years, so it’s up to Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson), Honey Bee (Kym Whitley), Bullhorn (Byron Minns), and of course, Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) to stop him for the sake of the children, because as Black Dynamite said: “I never told nobody this, but I used to be a children.”

The only problem I had with this pilot is that it was only around 11 minutes long, but this is being remedied for the actual broadcast of the show. The episodes will be a full 22 minutes long when the show starts airing on Adult Swim in the Spring of 2012.

Anime Review: The Slayers

I used to be into anime a lot more than I am now. It used to be something I was completely obsessed over, I would watch every single episode of anime that would come past me on TV (which unfortunately made me watch a large number of unmitigated dreck) and at one point was spending $40 a week on manga. My love of anime has declined over the years, partially through the fact that I almost stopped reading manga entirely when I went off to college and partly because most of the anime that has been coming out recently has been almost entirely terrible. I usually have to go back in time if I want to be able to watch some genuinely good anime, and that is exactly what I did this week.

One of my friends has been cosplaying as Lina Inverse from Slayers at Otakon for the past two cons and my group of friends is planning a Slayers cosplay group for next year. I decided to cosplay as Gourry Gabriev, but there was a problem with this: I had not seen Slayers before (or to be more precise, I had not seen any Slayers with Gourry in it (I had seen some of the OAV’s and the first movie)). Netflix very recently put all of Slayers up on Streaming, so it was time to finally remedy the lack of Slayers in my life.

Slayers follows the adventures of Lina Inverse, a very powerful but greedy sorceress. She will help anyone who asks for it, but always for a price, and is always out there looking for her next treasure score. Lina will take on anyone who gets in her way and will even seek out groups of bandits, eradicate them, and take their loot. It is precisely this kind of act that gets her into trouble in the first place and has her get saved by the great but incredibly simple swordsman, Gourry. Gourry is the kind of person who will not be able to remember anyone’s name (even the names of ancient evils that he helps to put down) unless they are able to provide him with the food he craves. They are joined on their quests by the shamanistic sorcerer, Zelgadis Greywords, who was granted immense power, but was turned into essentially a living stone statue in the process, and Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun, a princess of Seyruun and a self described “hero of justice.” Her attempts at being a hero are usually overdone and are decidingly silly, but her heart is in the right place.

The first series of Slayers (there’s 5 of them now), merely named Slayers, follows the forming of the main group and their battles against a powerful sorcerer who hopes to resurrect the dark lord Shabranigdo in order to restore something important to him. What I find to be very interesting about this show is that the story described above is only the first half of the season, the rest of the show is something that cannot really be summarized without some major spoilers.

Slayers is a show that is immensely watchable. It has some strong ties to Dungeons and Dragons, and draws much of it’s humour from using what is essentially the framework for a D and D campaign, with all of the stereotypes that come with it, and turning everything on it’s head. Lina will help people out, but usually ends up causing even more damage in the process, sometimes even destroying the entire town that she was hired to save with her immensely powerful signature spell, the Dragon Slave.  She is also loud and brash, as compared to other sorcerer’s in other fantasy stories. She may be as powerful as Gandalf, but she has none of his restraint or wisdom. Zelgadis is a character who does great acts of good, but considers himself to be one of the bad guys, despite travelling with the good guys. Amelia always stays on the side of “good” even if that side involves betraying her friends. The villains are even polite! Slayers is a very funny show, most of which stems from the fact that nothing is quite as you expect it to be, but also the fact that Lina and Gourry are black holes when it comes to food. The show is very silly, but that just adds to it’s charm.

Slayers is definitely one of the best shows to come out of the 90’s and is one of the best shows in all of anime. It’s funny, action packed, and simultaneously original but familiar to anyone who has ever played a tabletop fantasy RPG. If you haven’t seen it, change that. Seriously, all 5 series are on Netflix and you can get the first three series (that’s 78 episodes) off Amazon for only around $26. If you don’t like it, well you are going to be up the creek without a paddle as there is going to be a bunch of Slayers related content in the coming weeks as I work through all of the Slayers series.