April 7th, 1995, the first episode of Slayers premiered in Japan (the English version came out in 2002). Based on the first four volumes of the light novel(YA) series of the same name, it follows the exploits of Lina Inverse, a self proclaimed sorceressing genius, and her friends. You can find a subtitled version of the first season streaming on Hulu.
The story begins with Lina doing what she does best, robbing bandits and spreading chaos. Later that day she meets Gourry Gabriev, who Lina allows to “save” her from an ambush. Quickly, they form a friendship. As they travel, they are attacked for a statue that Lina grabbed from the bandits. Turns out that the statue Lina grabbed from the bandits holds the philosopher’s stone, and some powerful men want it for themselves. One of these men is Zelgadis Greywords. Zelgadis has been cursed into a monster, golem, human hybrid and he wants revenge on the one who made him this way. Rezo the Red Priest is the culprit. He was born blind, and while he had great healing powers, he couldn’t heal his own eyes. So he went a little crazy.
The second half of the season has Lina and Gourry meeting the Crowned Prince Philionel El Di Seyruun and his daughter Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun. They fight for justice while jumping off of high buildings to make dramatic entrances. Lina and Gourry have bounties on their head so they and Amelia head out to find out what’s going on. The trio meet Syphiel Nels Lahda, a shrine maiden with a huge crush on Gourry. They also meet up with Zelgadis again. Just in time to deal with more Rezo the Red Priest shenanigans.
Slayers has the classic anime style. Huge eyes, impossible eyelashes, and crazy colors that should clash but strangely work. Lina has bright orange hair and rocks a pink unitard. Sylphiel has a dark green cloak that pairs well with her lavender tights. Rezo has purple hair and wears red robes. It can’t be said that the main characters are afraid of color.
I love the characters of this show. They are all individual, even when they have overlapping qualities. Lina is a powerful genius with an appetite to match her ego. She keeps her wits about her, talks a big game, and backs it up with her Dragon Slave. She uses black magic. Gourry also has a big appetite, but he doesn’t use magic at all. Instead he is the stereotypical good natured, dumb jock, who happens to be a master swordsman. Zelgadis is also a swordsman and he uses shamanic magic. He usually ends up being the straight man to the rest of the group’s antics. Amelia is kind of an idiot because of her obsession with being a warrior of justice, but she’s a sweetheart. She also uses a similar type of magic as Zelgadis. Sylphiel is a sweetheart as well. She’s a shrine maiden, so she mostly uses white magic, but she can use black magic spells as well.
Slayers is a classic comedy. This means that there are lots of puns, yelling/fighting about nothing and everything, and fourth wall breaking. The yelling can get kind of shrill, which is why I recommend watching this subbed. I find that the early animes are horribly dubbed. Especially when they feature loud female characters, like Lina. Those characters almost always end up yelling all the time. Lina is loud and yells a lot, but she has her quiet moments, which is how you know that she’s up to something brilliant.
Slayers is one of the first anime I ever watched, it’s in my top five favorites, and I’m happy to say that it ages well. It’s a classic for a reason and I would recommend it for anyone who likes adventure, fantasy, laughing, kick ass female protagonists, and/or classics. It’s wonderful.
4.5 out of 5 stars