DVD Review: Matoi: The Sacred Slayer – The Complete Collection

Matoi: The Sacred Slayer is the latest ‘magical girl’ themed anime series to be released in the UK and in our latest review we will take a look at what the series has to offer; spoilers – it’s actually really good!

Synopsis:

Maroi Sumeragi’s mother disappeared 10 years ago, she’s just moved in with her Police officer father, and all she wants is to lead a quiet, normal life. Unfortunately, fate has other plans, and when Matoi’s friend Yuma’s family shrine is attacked, Yuma’s attempts to invoke an old spell goes wrong, transforming Matoi into a super-powered Exorcist!

Suddenly Matoi’s in the middle of the battle between good and evil, dealing with secret agencies, keeping her father from finding out about her double life and, worst of all, coping with the fact that when the power in her God Cloak runs out, it leaves her naked, no matter where she is! This is so not cool! She didn’t want the job, but now she’s stuck with it and life is about to get far, far too exciting for MATOI THE SACRED SLAYER!

Our View:

I will be honest; I wasn’t expecting much from Matoi the Sacred Slayer but after just the first episode I realised it was going to deliver some special, if not rather unique, and that’s exactly what happens. Matoi the Sacred Slayer may not offer the best animation, with ultra slim characters designs and simplistic animation; but it does provide an ever-changing story thats get better the further your progress forward; and it doesn’t end after the series has finished either.

Matoi The Sacred Slayer follows the daily events of Matoi, a seemingly average middle school girl who spends her days living at home with her father, attending school and working the shrine with her best friend Yuma. That is until she finds herself transformed into a magical girl, later dubbed by her best friend Yuma as an exorcist girl, when the shrine she works at is attacked by a possessed human.

Initially this new power confuses Matoi and she wants nothing but to be a normal girl living with her father, and in turn her mother who has disappeared, but with her over-zealous friend Yuma by her side Matoi soon gets dragged into a world on the brink of destruction by demonic creatures known as Nights.

It’s here where the series begins to show its true colours as organisations within the background, such as the IATO and Anti-Creed groups, begin to appear with each having their own agenda. To summarise the world is separated into twenty-four different dimensions with demonic creatures known as Nights breaching these dimensions in order to cause destruction in the dimensions lived in by the humans.

Two organisations, known as Anti-Creed and IATO, have been set up to protect the world from these creatures; additionally the higher-managment of Shrine Maidens even have their own form of defense in the form of magical girls who have obtained powers by god and achieved ‘Divine Transformations’.

This is where Matoi, who has achieved such a state, comes into affect as with her new powers, and with some help with Anti-Creeds Clarius and then later her best friend Yuma,  the trio team up to defeat an endless array of Nights that are possessing people and causing chaos within the world.

Naturally as the series progresses we begin to learn more about the characters, their powers and the world they inhabit but more importantly we begin to unravel why Matoi was chosen to have this power.  Without spoiling too much Matoi’s mother was also an exorcist girl and as a result Matoi possess the same abilities as her mother to which can be used to defend the world from the Nights that are attacking the world.

A story which starts off as ‘accidental magical girl’ soon evolves into a deep story with a quest for saving the world and ones wish of leading a normal life, and despite how it looks its easily one of my new favourite series. This release by MVM Entertainment also not only contains everything from the main anime series but it also includes two bonus episodes which act as a way of continuing the story in comical form.

Extras:

Unlike most Sentai Filmwork authored releases the DVD, and most likely Blu-Ray, release of Matoi the Sacred Slayer features a variety of bonus features spread across the different discs.

In this case the first DVD disc features textless songs, Japanese promotional assets and trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases while the second disc features an alternate textless opening animation. The final disc meanwhile features the bonus episodes that make this set a ‘complete’ collection.

Disregarding the Bonus Episode, and the OVA Episode, the notable bonus features are the Japanese Promotional Materials, which shows how the series was promoted in Japan, as well as the alternate textless opening animation.

Why is the alternate textless opening animation a highlight? Well in this case the animation has been overtaken by Yuma so at the scenes we should see Matoi or Clarius we actually see Yuma’s face or Yuma taking up the scene. It’s rather unheard of for a ‘serious’ anime to break the forth wall like this; but it does happen and it happens a few times within the series itself.

The Bonus Episode and OVA Episode meanwhile are slightly different and, once again, give the series a refreshing spin on the norm. For starters the OVA episode takes place after the main series has ended and sees Matoi, Yuma and Clarius forming the Nightbusters organisation; which is a parody of the first Ghostbusters movie.

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Later in this episode the Nightbusters soon become TV and Idol sensations, so much so that it provides a few cameos and references – including a cameo appearance by Super Sonico. The Bonus episode meanwhile is a recap, by Yuma, of the events of the entire series – and for once it is actually a decent recap.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x3
Region: 2
Running Time: 1:39:48 (Disc 1), 2:04:45 (Disc 2), 2:04:11 (Disc 3)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps

Overall:

Matoi the Sacred Slayer takes the magical girl theme we are all familiar with and changes it to make it a different kind of experience that rewards people for those who stay for the long haul. Initially the series begins with little insight or progressive narrative; but by the fourth episode the story starts to evolve into its own and a progressive narrative, with some much needed context, is provided.

In this case Matoi becomes an exorcist girl and by joining forces with Anti-Creed member Clarius they attempt to rid the town of Nights that are appearing within the city. This fight continues, with Yuma eventually obtaining her long-since-sealed-away-power and joining in the fight, and when Matoi gets targeted the truth behind the nights, and Matoi missing mother, are soon revealed.

This series is colourful, entertaining and light-hearted with some aspects of fan-service, as the girls clothes disappear when their magical abilities run-out; but more than anything it has a good narrative that builds upon itself until the very end; unlike other series which tend to start good and then end badly.

My only disappointment of this series would be the animation quality and character design, as it is pretty simple, as well as the fights being relatively short lived. A conclusive ending is not given as well; but the ending is good enough to satisfy my needs at least – which is everything (apart from one thing) being resolved.

This DVD release by MVM Entertainment, with assets authored by Sentai Filmworks, continues the positive nature with the multiple episodes spread equally across the three DVD discs alongside bonus materials. Unfortunately for fans of English Dubs Matoi The Sacred Slayer does not contain one, which personally doesn’t bother me as the Japanese audio track is just perfect (especially for Yuma and her over-energetic-personality), so you’ll only receive a Japanese audio track with Yellow English Subtitles.

Overall I found Matoi the Sacred Slayer to be a highly enjoyable series that mixes the themes of magical girls with exorcisim and modern day cultures; but above that its fun, energetic and great to watch. If you like shows such as Madoka Magica or Sailor Moon then Matoi the Sacred Slayer is something that is worth considering. Matoi: The Sacred Slayer isn’t just some half-baked magical girl themed series; it’s a series that just gets better with each passing episode.

Score: review-stars-5

Matoi: The Sacred Slayer – The Complete Collection will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from the 22nd January 2018.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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