Slayers: The Book of Spells is a collection of three self-contained OVAs, which are set prior to the start of the first season of the Slayers anime series and features Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent.

Slayers: The Book of Spells
English Publisher: ADV Films
Format: DVD
Release Date: January 9, 2001

The first OVA is titled, “The Scary Chimera Plan,” and it sees an alchemist named Diol requesting Lina’s help for one of his experiments. It turns out he wants her to become part of a super chimera he’s trying to create, and she angrily turns him down. Just then, Naga the Serpent (Lina’s on-and-off again companion) arrives and agrees to the plan, which angers Lina even more and she destroys Diol’s lab. This OVA ultimately sees Diol using a strand of hair he found in his lab to create 10 clones of Naga. Chaos ensues when the 10 Naga clones become attached to the original, and they laugh and run through the area looking for Lina. Naga thinks Lina is trying to leave her out of a plan to get a free meal and wants to find her and get in on the action.

The second OVA, “Jeffrey’s Knighthood,” sees a woman named Josephine contacting Lina and Naga to ask them to tutor her son Jeffrey to become a member of the royal guard. As part of the deal, Josephine is hiring actors to pose as brigands so her son can easily defeat them and gain some confidence. Unfortunately, Jeffrey turns out to be small, clumsy, incredibly stupid, and having a bad habit of blundering headstrong into battle to show off. The humor is supposed to come from Jeffrey’s idiocy and the fact he doesn’t figure out his mother is the masked “passing pedestrian” who’s always beating people up when they badmouth him, but I found Jeffrey to be more annoying than humorous.

The last OVA is titled, “Mirror, Mirror.” It sees Lina and Naga in pursuit of Lagan, a magic user who has absconded with a mirror that is supposedly able to make an exact copy of the person who is looking into it. The copy would have the same knowledge and skills as the original but would be opposite in personality and loyal to the holder of the mirror. Lina and Naga are trying to catch him in order to get the reward for Lagan’s capture. Hijinks happen after Lagan uses the mirror on Lina and Naga and creates their opposites, because the copies are absolutely worthless to Lagan for his fight against Lina and Naga.

Of the three OVAs included in this set, I thought “Mirror, Mirror” was the best one. “The Scary Chimera Plan” was good as well, but I thought the Naga clones in the first OVA were just funny, while the opposites in “Mirror, Mirror” are outright hilarious.

When it comes to the animation in these OVAs, you can tell by looking at them that they were made during the mid-1990’s. Because of this, their visuals didn’t manage to age well. If you’re not a fan of fanservice, be warned that Naga’s endowed figure is utilized quite a bit in these OVAs for fanservice.

ADV Films’ DVD release of Slayers: The Book of Spells includes the three OVAs, as well as some bonus features. The first is “Slayers Trailers,” which includes trailers for the original VHS release for these OVA episodes, as well as two versions of the trailer for Slayers: The Motion Picture.

The next feature is “Portfolio,” which includes character designs and background designs for each of the OVAs. The character designs are production sketches of the characters that appear in each OVA, and the background designs are production sketches of the locations that appear in each of the OVAs. I know that this DVD would have been released during the early years of the format, but the interface for the “Portfolio” section is rather cumbersome. Instead of using the “skip ahead” button on the DVD remote to scroll through the images, you use the “play” button to advance.

“Website” takes you to a page that simply lists the URL for ADV Films’ website. ADV Previews takes you to a menu to choose from six promos for other releases that ADV was promoting at the time this DVD was released.

While there may have been some odd choices made when ADV Films authored this DVD release of Slayers: The Book of Spells, I have to recommend this release because it’s the only way to get these three OVA episodes in North America. But, having said that, this DVD release is long out of print, so you’re not going to be able to find a new copy of it. The only way to get a hold of it at this point is to come across a used copy of the disc.

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