I guess it's been a while since we've talked about Slayers...or really anything for that matter. I'd make an excuse but eh I got nothing. Lets change that and talk about Slayers Return 2 or as the kids call it,Slayers Gorgeous. It was released in 1998 almost a year to the day after the forgettable Slayers Great and the first one that wasn't released alongside an anime season but was the last part of the prequel series to the main series. I'm going to get the bad out of the way first so I can actually say nice things about this movie.
The movie is a really a point for point retread of Return,right down to the the plot being hijacked by a monster that the villain can't control. It attempts the same twist that Return had,with it's darker opening The editing and color palate being very similar with their attempts to mislead you into thinking this might be a bit serious. Hell it throws in a callback to the bizarre golem scene from Return as well. However you know what the film is still funny.
Upon my last re watch I really did start noticing the above mentioned gripes but it does not matter because again it is still hilarious and actually does add a few new things in to the mix. As I have said numerous times Slayers plots tend to be average and more a medium for the comedy. Thus they tend to fall into a sort of template that works for them. See the anime having clearly defined arcs where Lina and co have build up to one villain. There is nothing wrong with that,it's a solid foundation that the comedy builds the house on. When the story tries to get more serious the harder we have to look at the foundation and realized that it is made of sand, I.e Hourglass of Falces. So Returns had a stable plot and structure that worked. Gorgeous realizes this and use that structure to tell a fun story with a breezy pace.
The only real problem I do have with it borrowing Return's structure is that final part of the movie with the aforementioned hijacking. The villain seems to be there because I guess the director had some scenes to foreshadow him and it would look awful silly if they didn't do anything with them. There are no really good jokes in the big battle and the guy is just not that unlikable that I want to see him defeated. You really could have cut these scenes and lost nothing outside of showing how well Naga and Lina can work together. Even then that could have been demonstrated better without those scenes
Through out the series Naga and Lina have had a volatile yet trusting relationship and while Return played with it a little it was tame compared to here. Their own relationships is almost central to the plot as they go from fire forged comrades to bitter enemies at the drop of a coin. They are both greedy as all get out and this fact does lead to them choosing sides for no other reason than to fatten their own purse. However as much as they are constantly trying to one up the other they can pull their act together to fell a mutual enemy. If only to have go right back to quibbling a moment later.
Admittedly they did try something like this in Great as well but there their own conflicts took a back seat to the abysmal main conflict and their big showdown was one of the most boring thing ever animated. Here the main conflict is more of a free standing joke on dragons while Lina and Naga are just trying to one up each other and get paid to do so. It's honestly pretty funny that Naga joins the bratty princess just to teach her how to laugh more arrogantly.
The comedy does borrow slightly from Return with it's misleading seriousness but goes on to rely on smaller twists with pratfalls and some great continuity jokes. It has great comedic timing and I was laughing quite often. It does lack the big comedic set-pieces the Return had but makes up for it with it's mythology gags and pratfalls that you never really notice the lack of the former
Overall this is not a bad movie by any means it is very entertaining and well paced. This is probably the best portrayal of the Naga/Lina relationship and I'd place it up there with Return. Yes,maybe I will marry Return,what's it to you. Definitely worth checking out if you need a laugh.
Till next time: Stay Positive.