Note: The following review is part 0f a 5-part series covering every season of the Slayers TV series. This review covers the first season: The Slayers
Distributor: FUNimation (streams on Hulu and Youtube as well as FUNimation’s home page)
Creator/Studio: Hajime Kanzaka and Rin Araizumi/J.C. Staff
Rating: 10/10 Recommended Age: 10+
No. of episodes: 26
Summary: Lina Inverse is a sorceress who is feared by evildoers around the world. She’ll save the day…for a price. She’s accompanied by various heroes in quests.
Review: I love this series! It starts out like a parody of the fantasy genre (in fact, it was originally created as a parody of Dungeons and Dragons-style board games), but unlike some parodies, it actually has a story and not just jokes. The heroes are great subversions of what we normally see in fantasy.
Lina is anything but virtuous–she’s only a sorceress for money and food. If she helps you, she expects a reward. She’s easily annoyed and very careless with her magic. Her speech during the opening song pretty much sums her up, making the song an “I want/I am” song: “Where monsters rampage, I’m there to take them down! Wherever treasure glitters, I’m there to claim it! Wherever evil rises to face me, victory WILL BE MINE!”
Next is Gourry, the only hero who can’t use magic (because he’s too stupid). Gourry wields a magical sword called the Sword of Light (the sword is literally made of light). He’s basically the team’s muscle and he and Lina argue a lot.
Zelgadis is kind of the show’s lone wolf. I’m already treading into spoiler territory just mentioning him here. I’ll just say he goes through a good deal of character development and leave it at that. He’s the most stoic member of the team and pretty much the Spock of the cast.
Amelia acts and seems as though she’s from a Sailor Moon-style show, right down to the speeches. She’s an amateur sorceress who often idolizes Lina. Of all the heroes, she’s the only one who seems the most virtuous, that is until we meet Slyphiel.
Sylphiel is the team’s “white mage”. She is a shrine maiden and a childhood friend of Gourry (she’s also quite smitten for him, but he never seems to notice). I found her an enjoyable character because she is kind and has a selfless zeal. I just wish she wasn’t introduced so late because it seemed like she joined at the last minute just so we could have a team of five heroes. (However, she turns up in most of the following seasons, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much) She’s clearly meant to be the heart of the group, admonishing Lina when she uses black magic and acts in an unheroic manner.
The villain is Rezzo, the red priest. His sly smiles makes him quite creepy, and he’s very devious and arrogant. He spends a lot of time lurking in the shadows, like any main villain should.
The show’s only flaw is that it doesn’t focus on plot much. It does have shonen roots, so there’s a considerable amount of filler. However, the filler was so funny that I wasn’t really bothered by it. It is worth bringing up, though.
Music/Score: The opening and closing are sung by popular Japanese VA Megumi Hayashibara, who holds the record for most voices by a Japanese voice actress. They are both very catchy.
Sub/Dub: Either way is excellent. (I actually alternated between the two) I recommend the sub because Lina’s voiced by Megumi Hayashibara. The dub’s cast is also great, with Lisa Ortiz playing Lina’s emotional range very well and Crispin Freeman is in top form as Zelgadis. The biggest surprise for me was that Amelia is dubbed by Veronica Taylor for FUNimation’s dub. Veronica Taylor is best known for her role as Ash Ketchum in Pokemon. I had no idea she’d done other roles and honestly didn’t know it was her until I saw the credits.
Violence: (5/10) Some fantasy violence and slapstick reminiscent of Looney Tunes. I also saw some scenes where spells do cause some bloody moments. It’s not gory, though.
Language: (2/10) Mild, nothing above PG level.
Sexuality: (3/10) Gourry often criticizes Lina’s breast size. There’s also a sequence in episode 17 where Gourry is in drag and the costume fools both a man and an effeminate dragon (who’s actually male.)
Nudity: (2/10): A few bathing scenes, usually involving Lina. Most of the time, the details are obscured, though.
Religion: (4/10) The show uses Sailor Moon and Final Fantasy-style magic and Lina is often criticized by Sylphiel for using black magic against her foes. As someone who’s enjoyed these kinds of stories, this didn’t bother me.
Related Media: Hoo boy! Slayers has quite a few sequels, each one considered a separate season: Slayers Next, Slayers Try, Slayers Revolution, and Slayers Evolution-R. It was based on light novels. There’s also mangas, OVAs (which I can’t cover at the present time because I can’t watch them legally for free), and Japanese-only video games.