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As a general rule, the sword and sorcery genre tends to take itself very seriously, as do its adherents. The casting of spells is a deadly business (so is the carnage that usually ensues). The results, for those not quite so fond of the genre, can be rather dreary (Record of Lodoss Wars, Legend of Crystania). Until the advent of Slayers, that is.

Lina Inverse, the teenage heroine of Slayers, has two primary motivations in her young life. The first is getting enough to eat (she never does). The second is getting rich, preferably by robbing bandits, evil sorcerers, and other villains. There is of course no question of giving any of this ill-gotten loot to "the poor"; if there's anything Lina isn't, it's Robin Hood.

There's also the slight problem of collateral destruction. One of her favorite fund-raising devices is to accept commissions from terrorized villages to destroy one or another demon, dragon, etc. which is devastating their countryside. This she (usually) succeeds in doing, often with one of her multi-megaton spells such as the dread Dragon Slave. The only catch is that she typically destroys part or all of the sponsoring municipality as well. (Makes it hard to collect her fee, that.) Clearly the Dirty Pair live on, if in another incarnation.

The TV series

There are two different Slayers "universes," featuring completely different casts of characters. For the television series (three in all) she is assisted in her chosen vocation by Gourry, a tall, blond, handsome and well-built fellow with a magic sword and a room-temperature IQ. Gourry spends a good part of his time fending off

  • Lina's attempts to steal his share of their food;
  • Lina's attempts to get his magic sword; and
  • Various monsters, demons, dragons and other apparitions of evil;
    in that order. There's also Zelgadis, a remarkable (and rather tragic) character who is one-third human, one-third golem, and one-third demon; and Amelia, a justice-obsessed white magic practitioner wannabee who serves as an excellent foil to the brash Lina.

    Elevating this concoction up to the highest anime standards are spectacular story arcs, skillfully plotted out
    (See also Fantasy and Reality in the First Slayers TV Series for more on this. Warning: Spoilers!)
    over 26 episodes per season, which build to a stunning climax and many moments of real suspense. (Will -------- really die? Will -------- really stay dead? Tune in next episode!) This and Blue Seed have set new standards for television anime that will be hard to beat (though Vision of Escaflowne and Saber Marionette J certainly come close).

    There are a total of three seasons, all available on DVD. The second, Slayers Next, and third, Slayers Try, maintain the same high standards as the first, both for comedy and suspense (Lina's ultimate opponent in Next, Hellmaster, is perhaps one of the most frightening characters in all anime). The most recent Slayers movie, Slayers Premium, was recently released on DVD. This 30 minute movie is the first to feature the TV series' Lina, Gourry, Zelgadis and Amelia.

    If you haven't gotten the message by now, Slayers is an absolute hoot, and well worth the cost for all three series. Hayashibara Megumi, one of Japan's brightest seiyuu (and an outstanding singer as well), here puts on one of her all-time funniest performances. You'll be left speechless at the astonishing variety of voice shadings she can produce; listening to her Lina growl, grumble, screech, mutter, and snort (in additional to speaking) is to experience one of the most remarkable performances ever recorded. The English dub is simply not in the same league.

    The "other" Slayers universe

    There are numerous Slayers theatrical releases and OAVs. Set in a time previous to that of the TV series, they feature a younger Lina and an earlier sidekick, Naga the Serpent, in place of the inimitable Gourry, Zelgadis and Amelia. Naga is a tall, black-haired sorceress whose main attributes are an almost total lack of clothing and a pair of huge, um, nakas. A hilarious parody of a classic adolescent male love/lust-object, she also sports the most irritating laugh in all anime (used to great advantage in at least one of the OAVs).


    Slayers Universe
        Episode guides:
          Season 1
          Season 2 (Next)
          Season 3 (Try)

    Slayers Anime Web Ring
    Slayers Ring

    Slayers the Motion Picture:
    Slayers OAVs:

       THE MUSIC
    Good news here! Slayers, in its various incarnations (TV, OAVs, movies) has spawned more top-quality music CDs than any other anime series I can think of, with the single exception of Kimagure Orange Road. Featuring title songs performed by the inimitable Hyashibara Megumi and Okui Masami, plus endlessly inventive BGM, I have yet to be disappointed by a Slayers soundtrack disk.

    All of these are, of course, Japanese imports, but can be easily found at Japanese outlets in major cities or ordered from various Web sites. This music is witty, brash, atmospheric, and at times rather haunting. Beware, however, of the many Slayers "image albums" available, which consist of a few songs (or pieces of songs) surrounding spoken dramas. Unless you know Japanese (or just love the sound of Hayashibara-sama's voice, as do I), you may find these disappointing.

    Slayers [First TV series] vol. 1-2 (King KICA 250, 265)
    Slayers Next Sound Bible vol. 1-3 (King KICA 307, 317, 332)
    Slayers Try Treasury/VOX (King KICA 351)
    Slayers Try Treasury/BGM vol. 1-2 (King KICA 361, 380)
    Slayers: The Motion Picture (King KICA 254)
    Slayers Gorgeous: The Motion Picture "Go" (King KICA 415)
    Slayers Great: The Motion Picture "G" (King KICA 364)
    Slayers Return: The Motion Picture "R" (King (KICA 314)
    Slayers Special: The Motion Picture "S" (King KICA 318)

    The illustrations on this page are scans of animation cels. For larger versions of these and many others, visit our Cel Gallery.


    Slayers Copyright Kanzaka H./Araizumi R./Kadokawa/TV Toyko/SOFTX/Marubeni.

    This site in The Slayers Anime Web Ring site is owned by Lamont Downs.
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    This page last updated 2/5/2010.