What I love about the Slayers is fact, that it combines comedy and adventure fantasy so well. At times it is very serious action, adventure at other times it is slapstick comedy and parody of various tropes including fantasy. In that regard it reminds my slightly of the Discworld series. It is not perfect, that is the movie (Slayers Perfect), but it is entertaining without any major problem. The first season has two arcs and some fillers. However fillers in the Slayers usually mean some heavily comical episode. Like for example the episode, where main protagonists have to play in a theatrical play.
Following images are from the opening. Notice the main hero Lina Inverse defeating rampaging monsters and reluctantly taking treasures in order to protect them from bandits and thieves.
Jokes aside characters in the Slayers are really good and fun to watch. While they are presented and characterized by few dominant traits, there are times they go beyond those simple quirks and show they are more complex, than they look at first glance.
The anime is from the 90', so do not expect visual orgies. It is lot of smoke and mirrors to trick you, that it is animated better than it actually is. However It works.
The Slayers and all relevant follow ups have one of the bests songs. Both OP and ED are good, which is quite rare in my book. Sound effects and explosions do remind of DBZ.
The Slayers is time-tested anime classic at least for me. Overall it stands high over many other series, which are forgotten or are going to be.
The Slayers is one of the few anime I'll ever give a 10 out of 10 rating to, and there's a reason it's my number one all-time favorite anime. Though a lot of it is generic fantasy and spellcasting, the characters bring the story to life.
The anime itself was adapted from a light novel, and though it doesn't follow it to the letter, it's still interesting and entertaining.
I will also say that this is one of the few anime where the English dub is just as good as the original Japanese cast. I have seen both versions, and the voice actors really bring the characters to life.
There are two major arcs in this season. Both are fairly generic plot-wise for a fantasy story, though there are slight twists to them.
Because the plot is slightly generic, I did dock points, but it gives off a tabletop RPG feel (in fact, that's what brought about the idea for the series). However, that sort of plot makes it easy to dive right into the world and not be overwhelmed by terms, locations, and various species.
The Rezo arc starts when the protagonist steals an item which is worth more to sorcerers than originally thought. One of the great sages, Rezo the Red Priest, gets involved with the item and the protagonists, and there's something even darker behind his goal.
The Copy arc contains a lot of the filler episodes, which have their own merit. Someone has put out wanted posters for the protagonist and her party, which makes the protagonist seek out the person who did it. A mercenary and a strange sorcerer with a red gem on his forehead show up to clash with them, and these meetings lead down the road of something much more dangerous.
If you're watching the Slayers, you're most likely watching it for its characters. I don't think my descriptions can give them justice; they're just that charismatic.
Lina Inverse isn't your typical teenaged protagonist; nope, she's a sorceress who falls into the chaotic good side of the scale, stealing from bandits and giving to...herself. She's a sorcerary genius with a petite frame she's sensitive about, and a temper hotter than her fireballs.
Gourry Gabriev is an extremely talented swordsman with a very unique weapon, which makes up for his absolute lack of braincells. Often referred to as "jellyfish brains" by Lina, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but is fiercely loyal and protective of Lina.
Zelgadis Greywords is a mysterious sorcerer who has a variety of shamanistic spells in his arsenal. His appearance is startling at first, as he's part rock golem, part brau demon, and part human; magically altered from being 100% human.
Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun is a girl a little younger (but more developed) than Lina, who appears in the second arc and specializes in healing magic and astral attack spells...along with giving long winded speeches about the "hammer of justice". Despite her good nature, she's perhaps just as hot-tempered as Lina.
Sylphiel Nels Lahda is another female introduced in the second arc, and has an even greater ability with healing magic than even Amelia. She's shy yet very down to earth, and has had a crush on Gourry since they met before the series started.
With excellent opening and ending songs, and fight scenes/animation quality which are considered at the top for a 90's anime, along with a cast of colorful characters who develop nicely and comedy in just the right places...it's a must-watch for all comedy-fantasy fans.
The pacing is excellent, and even the filler episodes don't feel like fillers because of the sheer hilarity they introduce, as well as bringing to light some other sides of our beloved characters we might not have gotten to see in the story itself.
I believe all plot points brought up in the story are completed and resolved within the arcs; I don't recall questioning anything for plot holes.
I have shown this anime to everyone ever since I was shown it, and have even gotten a few non-anime fans hooked on it. It's not well known, it has never aired on TV in the USA, but it deserves much more credit than it's often given.
Certainly, it deserves a full 10 out of 10 rating.
The Slayers is considered one of, if not the, most popular anime of the nineties. Based on a huge series of light novels (over fifty) The Slayers is a comedic response to the more serious fantasy anime of the time, most notably Record of Lodoss War.
This first season of Slayers came out in 1995 and I feel it’s only right to watch and review this series as we approach its’ twentieth birthday. So for the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring all five seasons of the show, as well as the movies and OVA’s.
Lina Inverse is the star of Slayers, a dark magic user who floats around in search of treasure and monsters to slay. After stealing from a group of bandits she meets up with a knight named Gourry, an absolute moron despite his skills with the sword. Together the two battle monsters and bad guys as a man named Rezo wants a statue Lina stole in order to awaken a dark lord and get back his eyesight.
Slayers has a very simple plot that allows it to be episodic while still carrying over a story. What I just described is the first arc, about eight episodes. In the second arc the characters are framed and being hunted by bounty hunters while in the third they have their final battle against the bad guys.
The first arc does a really good job of getting you into the show, providing great introductions to characters in a wonderful blend of comedy and nonstop action. The second arc is a little rougher, with a Pokemon-esque game of cat and mouse between the bounty hunters and our heroes. There are some hilarious episodes scattered in here but these, for the most part, feel like filler. The final arc is the biggest offender for me as it slows the show down considerably, loses the humor, and spends much of it in a shonen-esque fight that goes on way too long.
While the pacing and plot can be a minor issue, the world itself is the interesting part. While the unnamed fantasy land is pretty generic in look and legend, the characters that populate it are all so interesting, perhaps the main reason anyone will want to watch Slayers. While not all the characters are three-dimensional (in fact, I don’t think any of them are), they’re such good company, no matter if they are part of our good guys or one of the baddies.
Lina Inverse, our heroine, is a loud, annoying, and really selfish person. As a main character she is completely unlikeable and the opposite of the fantasy heroes the viewer is used to. She uses dark magic for her own gain, is only friends with certain characters because it benefits her, and treats everyone as a stepping stone. She still does some good, though in the end I feel that she only does it to save her own ass and perhaps become a hero.
Gourry is a knight and a complete moron. He joins up with Lina as her bodyguard and she later learns he carries the mythical Sword of Light, which she hopes to get from him despite the fact it is his family heirloom. In fact, we’re given to believe the only reason she follows Gourry is to get the sword from him (though there is a hint of a romance brewing between the two). He’s the comedic relief for the most part but he does, occasionally, get to be a complete badass.
Later on we meet Amelia, a “hero of justice” who’s pretty much the clumsiest girl in the world. Her father, Phil, is the prince who looks like a barbarian and is a staunch pacifist (unless you get him mad, then get ready for his Goodwill Toward All Creatures Kick). Zelgadis is the son of Rezo who was turned into a Chimera and banished by his father. He’s probably the most level-headed character with the best motivation. Then near the end we’re introduced to Sylphiel, a girl in love with Gourry who is only there to make sure the heroes win the final battle.
Then we have the bad guys. Rezo the Red Priest wants to resurrect a demon lord in a bid to get his eyesight back, something that has driven him crazy for years. He was a good guy but his search for sight made him go nuts, leading to his eventual death. Later, he returns as a clone created by a woman named Eris, one of his followers who loved him and wants to see Lina and the gang die for killing her beloved master.
The bad guys are all competent people with good intentions and backgrounds who are thrust into crappy situations. There are a ton of much lesser bad guys strewn in but the main villains may be more sympathetic than any of the heroes. I felt especially bad for Eris who couldn’t understand why the man she loved was taken from her. Rezo and Eris are just misguided.
Meanwhile the “heroes” are all idiots, which leads to a lot of great comedy situations but doesn’t make you care about their well-being. One of my favorite examples of the stupidity of our heroes is when Amelia asks Lina to blow up a hill using her magic so that the townspeople don’t have to walk over or around it in order to get to the next town. Thus, Lina uses her magic selfishly to blow the hill into a crater, and accidentally unleashes a hoard of malicious ghosts sealed within.
Hell, in the first episode Lina, in order to defeat a dragon, winds up blowing up the entire town she’s supposed to protect. She’s out of control and is the kind of character that in any other series would be the bad guy.
And that right there is why Slayers is so damn good. It’s making fun of traditional roles and tropes in fantasy. The good guys are selfish morons while the bad guys are the ones you feel empathy towards. Does that mean that the series as a whole suffers because we aren’t as impressed by the heroes? No. It actually makes it more fun.
So you’ll watch this show for the characters and not the plot, but I’m sure you’ll be stuck to the show for two more reasons.
First, the animation is so wonderfully nostalgic. The character designs are cute and nearly everyone gets those massive shoulder pads so prevalent in 90’s anime. The animation screws up occasionally with bad lighting effects, graininess, a small part of the frame not colored, any number of issues you can think of. But I feel that lends it charm, something I’m sure people don’t like to hear a critic say (imperfections are so cute!) but I think looking at something from a nostalgic perspective, it shows the leaps and bounds that have been made in animating anime.
The second reason you’ll stick? The music is so damn good. From the opening (a super cheesy, totally nineties theme) to the closing, every piece of music helps make an entertaining package all the more fun. Some of the music sounds Scooby-Dooish, lending that child-like feel you want from a good cartoon.
And that’s what Slayers really is; a cartoon. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all and manages to give even an older viewer a sense of childish nostalgia.
A lot of newer anime fans don’t understand where I come from when I talk about the eighties and nineties and how different anime was compared to now. Anime treats itself a lot more seriously nowadays than it did twenty years ago. In fact, I hesitate to call anime cartoons anymore because the medium has carved its own niche. Comedy anime nowadays aren’t comedies in the way of cartoons but in a more realistic sense, using words and realistic actions rather than silly faces and slapstick. And this is alright, it makes anime a unique medium. Hell, from the outset there were anime that weren’t like cartoons and saying that anime nowadays is different from back in the day is pretty obvious. Cartoons in America are a lot different too; as time goes on, things change.
But an anime like The Slayers is very rare nowadays and watching it after some more recent series, it comes as a breath of fresh air. It’s not at all an amazing anime in any way, but it’s a lot of fun and memorable. It’s a great escape from the monotony of modern anime and, even without comparing it to anything, still stands as a good show worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it.
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: September 4, 2014. Review #89: The Slayers
I have recently completed Final Fantasy IX (a PlayStation 1 game) and I had a lot of fun playing it and I really enjoyed the game. It has now become one of my favorite entries in the Final Fantasy franchise. I felt like watching a fun anime in response to finishing that game, and this one happens to be under the fantasy genre. That anime is… The Slayers.
This is the tale of Lina Inverse, a wandering sorceress and bandit-killer. She joins forces with roving swordsman Gourry Gabriev in what's supposed to be a quick union of convenience. Instead, an artifact that Lina "liberated" from a gang of thieves turns out to be the key to the resurrection of a demon lord. Urged on by the mysterious figure Rezo the Red Priest, the pair has no choice but to fight the dark lord and his servants, accumulating new allies and enemies along the way.
To be technical, The Slayers is a J.C. Staff production and as far as this anime goes, this anime does have the 90’s old school style. That should not discourage you from watching this one, it may be dated but for 1995, It was animated well for the most part. The Slayers looks good for its time and if you are into old-school anime. This one is a classic for a reason. However, for the time… Recycled animation is to be expected in this show, but there’s little recycling in the animation cels which can be seen as a good thing for this anime. Another nice thing is that even though this show does have those special scenes where there is dialogue in it such as Usagi’s transformation to Sailor Moon from, well...Sailor Moon. The Slayers has moments like those too especially with the spell chanting. Even though these are the moments that come with some animation recycling, those moments are nice to look at and like I said, they aren’t heavily recycled and I ‘ll leave it at that.
Now before I mention the music here, I do need to address something to avoid confusion. The composer is not meant to be confused with the influential and well-respected manga artist. The soundtrack to The Slayers is by (composer) Osamu Tezuka, and the music is not exactly memorable but it does fit the show. There are some memorable pieces that I did hear in the show,. However, there are two themes that are very catchy once you start watching The Slayers. The opening theme “Get Along” is really damn catchy, Kujikenai Kara! (I’ll Never Give Up!) also happens to be a damn catchy closing theme as well. These themes are both sung by Masami Ouki and Megumi Hayashibara. Masami Ouki would be also known for the opening theme of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Megumi Hayashibara on the other hand is a seiyu that does some anime openings, especially for all the openings of The Slayers franchise (or so I’ve looked up). The music might be the weakest aspect of The Slayers, but it isn’t a terrible soundtrack. There are just some tracks overused. I’ve seen a few anime where it contained not-so-well-used soundtracks and The Slayers does not have one of those “poorly utilized” soundtracks. So there’s a plus there.
When it comes down to voice acting. The Slayers may have some big names with its Japanese cast but the performances aren’t really A+ material. Megumi Hayashibara is fine in this show despite that she would be known for voicing Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop and unanimously famous for voicing Rei Ayanami. Those two roles I just said don’t feel like copies of Lina Inverse, and Hayashibara-san plays Lina appropriately. Yasunori Matsumoto is also alright as Gourry but I don’t have much to offer in terms of opinion with this guy’s voice. Hikaru Midorikawa is fine as Zelgadis, like Gourry… I don’t have any further comment about the voice, and I can say the same for Masami Suzuki as Amelia which I can only say…it is her only memorable role. A noteworthy extra is the late Daisuke Gori as Shabranigdo. Now, for the English Dub. I do find this interesting to talk about. Back in the 90’s, there were English Dubs that were just flat-out awful and unlistenable. The show was originally picked up by Central Park Media in the U.S. and their dubs tend to be pretty bad. This was because they were licensing and dubbing the shows under their name. In the case of The Slayers, this was a bit of a surprise. This might be stretching it, but the dub of Slayers may perhaps be the earliest of what I would label as a “Tolerable Dub”. Lisa Ortiz may sound over the top at times but Lina Inverse may perhaps be her most memorable role because she actually put some effort in the performance, and I like her voice in the show. Eric Stuart is a blast as Gourry considering he’s used for comedic relief, and yes… He also was the voice of Brock from the 4Kids version of Pokemon. I miss my childhood. Now with Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun, there are two voices on her. Joan Baker (who really didn’t leave much of an impression), and Veronica Taylor. Veronica Taylor would later end up voicing Amelia for the rest of the series whereas Joan Baker only voiced Amelia. Some of you Pokemon fans should know that Veronica Taylor was the original English voice of Ash Ketchum until 4Kids re-casted the character and a number of other characters as well. As for Amelia, her performance was okay in the show. I will say that this dub does contain a lot of lesser-known and inactive voice actors and voice actresses with the exception of some main lead roles, this includes Charles Rolfe and Peter Davis who both played Rezo the Red Priest and aren’t really involved in the anime industry anymore and… well, that’s pretty much it. This dub does contain two performances that are just flat-out bad in this show. First there’s Stacia Crawford as Sylphiel, and then there’s Daniel Cronin as Zelgadis. Stacia Crawford does stick around for Season 2, but Daniel Cronin did voice Zelgadis for 9 episodes but at some point after that… Central Park Media lost contact with him. They decided to re-cast Zelgadis and this would prove to be an improvement of the dub because Daniel Cronin was just terrible in the show, but he was replaced by none other than Crispin Freeman.
The Slayers also happens to be the first anime that Crispin Freeman got to work on, and this led to good times from there on. Crispin Freeman may have not been perfect with Zelgadis, but considering it was his first major role, I’ll give him a pass. He sounds much cooler in the role and it is by far the most memorable role in the dub. The Subtitled Version might be a little more listenable than the dub, but considering the show’s campiness… The dub wouldn’t hurt either. and guess what…The ADR director of this dub happens to be from Jim Malone who was responsible for the old-school Pokemon dub.
When characters are concerned. Lina Inverse has attitude and all. Gourry is funny and has a good heart despite his stupidity at times. Amelia can be a little annoying sometimes, and Zelgadis may have been cool. What most of these characters have in common is that they kind of feel the same since Day 1 but that is not to say that I hate these characters. I actually like them. Zelgadis’ backstory was quite intriguing and at the time I’m doing this review, I don’t know what happens beyond this season and if there is anything revealed about his past in later seasons, I will comment on that in a later review but for this one I won’t since I haven’t seen anything past this season. I know there isn’t much development going on with the characters in this show but considering there is more than one season, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the characters turn out in the later seasons.
As for the story, it is your typical episodic fare. There is a catch however. According to a source or two, The Slayers is a parody of the high fantasy genre which I guess adds up. The story of The Slayers in my opinion is the weakest aspect of the show. The show is watchable in its first ten episodes but after that, the show does slow down and feels like it is going nowhere. I advise you to be patient around the middle third of the show because the pacing is not like the first third. The last third is watchable but the story doesn’t really feel as plausible as the first third of this season. Without giving away spoilers, let’s just say what is seen in the first third could have been done in the last third and the stuff in the last third could have been done in the first third. This might be viewed as a deconstruction of the common “Three Act structure” but who knows… But since The Slayers is a parody of the high fantasy genre, I guess this was fitting to have the pattern like that but it doesn’t excuse some unplausible writing later on after the first third… Does this hurt the show… Hell no! The Slayers is definitely one of those shows that people can get into if they are interested. I really enjoyed this show, flaws and all… but in all honesty, I did feel that the story was a bit weak but I digress. I do commend Takashi Watanabe (the anime’s director) if he remained true to the source material. it is still a fun show and I look forward to reviewing to more Slayers material.
The Slayers was originally available by Central Park Media back in the 90’s but for a number of years… The Slayers is still available by Funimation. The Slayers light novel series was available by Tokyopop but they went under and there were only 8 volumes translated into English, so…good luck to anyone hoping for the rest to be brought here. The Slayers Special light novel series was available by Tokyopop and well… I guess that particular light novel series met with the same fate. A manga called Slayers Medieval Mayhem was available by CPM manga and it is out of print as well as another manga that CPM manga licensed called Super Explosive Demon Stories Slayers. Slayers Mangas such as Slayers Special, Slayers Knights of the Aqualord, Slayers Premium, Slayers Revolution, Slayers Legend, Slayers Evolution-R, and Slayers Light Magic were never brought stateside, light novel iterations such as Slayers x Orphen, Slayers Delicious, and Slayers Smash were also never brought stateside. However, even with a shit ton of Slayers material that was never released in America. The Slayers OVA’s such as Slayers Special and Slayers Excellent were released by ADV Films and they are currently out of print since ADV went under and its successor Sentai Filmworks has not rescued it from out of print. The same applies for Slayers: The Motion Picture, Slayers Return, Slayers Great, Slayers Gorgeous, and Slayers Premium since they were originally licensed by ADV Films. As for the main series…
Slayers Next, Slayers Try, Slayers Revolution, and Slayers Evolution-R are available by Funimation even though Slayers Next and Try were originally licensed by Central Media Park. Now all this supplemental material mentions have finally been said and done. I shall start wrapping up this review.
With everything said, The Slayers is an anime that has its flaws but can still be enjoyable regardless. The animation was mostly good for 90’s anime for the most part, the music is fitting but may not stand out for some with the exception of its catchy opening and closing themes. The characters might not be well written but I wish the story could have re-arranged some of its elements for a more plausible effect in the story. Despite the flaws that I find in The Slayers, My enjoyment outweighed my nitpicks.
I give The Slayers a 7.4 out of 10, it is GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment.
This show doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s what I love about this. It’s much like a dungeon and dragons game where you’re just with a group of friends who jokes around. Even Glass Reflection has said (want more of that, go to the other reviews) and each character has there own personality.We follow two characters most of the times, Lina who is a sorceress with a chip on her shoulder and Gaurry, a rather bumbling warrior. The two work rather well together from the moment they met and are the main reason why the show keeps going on. The two argue like an old married couple but its Gaurry’s heart and Lina’s knowledge that makes the dual work so well in every little case they go. Sure you have some of the stereotypes that happen once in a while, like the ‘stupid’ blond haired Gourry and the little loud mouth girl Lina, but I never found them predictable. I believe one of the reasons why they made him like that is because then we have a sort of open book to help us get into the world. Since he doesn’t know the world (or plays dumb) we get a reason for Lina to explain the things we won’t understand.
Zelgadis is a rather interesting character as he is half stone in his whole body (immature jokes aside fokes). (Kurai: “Ha! Hard as a rock even in bed!” Angel: *smacks him hard on the head* “What did I just say?”) He is also a sorcerer and in the first half, we see him as a protagonist. Now, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say he ends up turning around and teaming with the other characters. Amilia was more annoying then the others but her character sort of grew on me. Lets see, I believe Zelgadis is Chaotic good and Amilia is really Lawful good if you want to get into D&D.
The storyline isn’t really a one directional storyline but it actually changes halfway through. It’s not that it goes into a completely different storyline but it does throw a couple twists and turns. Sadly though, we never get a full sense of the world they are in. They throw things in on last second and then take a little bit of time trying to rectify the change of the world. Now, they have really good luck though in this because most of the explanations actually seem to work but that’s because they didn’t put a standard to the world in the first place.
The artwork does show its age but this was made on cells. Even though its classic, it’s rather clean and when they do stray away from the artwork, its mostly to show a gag rather then just a whim. We do get some still images and overused footage but I never was bothered by this. I have to say their costumes are really ridicules though but that’s a norm for any fantasy style show. The whole magical jewels on magical jewels for a sorcerer, the armor that actually doen’t look like it would protect him to well on his legs, it’s just one of those things. IT is like they made this a stereotypical fantasy but then joke about that same thing at times.
Lina’s English voice was one that I had to actually grow to like, hers and Amilia. They were a little too high but not as high as the Japanese version. I couldn’t get into the Japanese version sadly because of Lina’s voice but the English is another matter. I think some of the jokes also work better in the English but again, it might be regional for this. They talk about lots of items that really aren’t in there time frame like cheeseburgers and such. It gives another layer to the show.