Another of my favorite animes, I first saw Slayers in the fall of 2007 and the uniqueness of it as an anime and at the same time its similarity to my favorite video game, The Legend of Zelda, drew me right in. Top that with great story telling, great comedy, awesome action, great characters, and impressive drama for its genre, Slayers was an instant "Hell Yeah!" with me and is still one of my top favorite series, despite discovering and rediscovering multiple other new fantastic titles.
I'm never one to be too into adventure anime, considering how dull and filler-ridden it can be, but Slayers is a fantastic and well-told adventure story. There isn't much filler, but when there is, it's always centered entirely around the comedy that augments the heart-pounding action and makes this series so great.The series comes right out swinging and doesn't stop throwing its punches for its entire 5 season, 104 episode run. All the situations flow from one to the next until the season climax/finale in episode 26, and even from there, the next season (Slayers NEXT) picks up right where season one left off, just a few months later. At the beginning of episode one it introduces the main character, Lina Inverse, and her dopey companion Gourry Gabriev, and from there it just keeps going. Everything evolves seemlessly from everything else, as their misadventures lead them from situation to situation. The introduction of Zelgadis Greywards a few episodes in is very well incorporated into the plot of the first episode, and although Amelia feels kind of tacked on to the group, but her introduction is worked in so that it doesn't feel forced, like in a Sentai series where they introduce a new fighter every few episodes, but it still is a bit abrupt. Season 1 of Slayers is very story heavy and has a good flow, and doesn't concern itself too much with being a cartoon. It treats itself like a work of art like it should.
The action and comedy are both great and work very well together. It's not too intense, but not too goofy either. It's a very balanced package.
The animation is nice for its time. 1994 being around the time of Sailor Moon S, the animation isn't quite as nice, but by the same juncture, it's not an eyesore by any stretch. While other shows at this time were softer, Slayers features slightly sharp animation and especially early on, the backgrounds remind me of something you'd see on PBS in the 90's. It's an odd feeling, but over all, the animation works very well. Dark Lord Ruby-Eye Shabrinigdo looks amazing when he's shown, and the final few episodes of this first season is really where the animation shines.
The sound is really good. The music is incredible, and the opening and ending themes are powerful and catchy tunes. Get Along is one of Megumi Hayashibara's best songs for this series and Kujikenaikara is also a great song.
The voice acting is also great. I was first introduced to the English dub and I have to say, I probably wouldn't like it as much if these voices weren't so spectacular. Lisa Ortiz is the perfect Lina Inverse, and she's like a vocal equivalent of Megumi when doing the voice. Eric Stuart is an astounding Gourry, capturing his coolness and his goofyness. Veronica Taylor is a great Amelia, and Crispin Freeman, well, he's my favorite VA of all time and he makes Zelgadis ZELGADIS. Again, never listen to weaboo's who do nothing but bash dubs. They're wrong. Slayers has an impeccable dub. It's not without its flaws, but it's one of the best out there. I'm not as familiar with the Japanese track, but I know that both are great. Again, this series was done around a time when most dubs were ruined because the ignoramuses at the heads of companies thought cartoons were only for little children.
The characters are great. All very unique and help to give the series its flare. Lina is a fun, irritating, selfish, and lovable little bitch of a sorceress, Gourry is an oaf and the source of most of the comedy in the series, but is just as cool as Zel, and Amelia is just kind of there. She's unimpressive and sometimes just downright annoying, and Sylphiel, well...she just kind of appears later on and doesn't show up again until season 4. She's a quiet wall flower and for most of her appearance, she's a blubbering mess. Dark Lord Ruby-Eye Shabrinigdo, for his short appearance, is nothing short of pure awesomesauce. Rezo the Red Priest doesn't have much of a personality, but he also has a lot of depth to him. Rezo's servants on the other hand, like Eris or Dilgear, are very forgettable filler enemies.
So is Slayers worth your time? Well, does Stephen Hawking talk through a computer? Of course. Slayers is a very fun, enjoyable series, whether you want action, comedy, fantasy, whatever. It's a great anime and is one of my personal favorites. Thanks to Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi for creating this excellent series.