The Slayers

TV - 26 episodes

A quite popular show that combines comedy and a Dungeons & Dragons type story.

Lina Inverse is a young sorceress who has made a name for herself in the world. She spend her time killing bandits, robbing them blind, and generally blowing things up in her quest for riches and good food. She meets up with Gourry Gabriev, the handsome but dumb-as-a-rock swordsman and together they head for their glory. However, they attract the attention of Rezo the Red Priest, one of the wisest men of the age, and Zelgadis, a part man - part golem chimera who is out to find a way to cure himself whatever it takes. Both seem to have something to do with the dark lord Shabranigdo though, and its up to our heroes to find out what. And that's not even mentioning Amelia, the 'Hero for Justice' in training and Sylphiel, a shrine maiden who Gourry once knew. Before you know it the world is in danger and it is up to our unlikely heroes to save the day, somehow.

The main aim of this show seems to be to send up all the conventions of traditional swords and sorcery stories, and this it manages to do. The atmosphere on the whole is light and bright and the show goes out of it's way to show that it is not taking itself too seriously. The comedy is a mixture of slapstick and general silliness, but it is often oddly placed, sometimes interrupting a very dramatic scene for a quick face-vault or gag. In fact the show itself would work very well as a straight swords and sorcery tale, as the story is quite good with some great characters, but then it wouldn't be Slayers. It does manage to get quite serious and dramatic at times though, particularly towards the end. It really depends on your sense of humour as to whether you will find some of the more strangely placed jokes funny or just stupid, but it does give the show an interesting and original atmosphere. The show follows the simple structure of having the first story arc, a group of filler episodes, then the second story arc.

As to who this show is good for I would say older children and up, since there really isn't that much in it that gets nasty except some blood in the more serious fights and the fact that Lina's big spells tend to involve pledging herself to darkness or some such (which is often re-done in the dub to make the spells rhyme). Older viewers will also enjoy this simply because it is a fun show, particularly if you have seen other straight played swords and sorcery shows or have participated in those sort of role playing games.

What struck me first about the visual style of this show was that the drawings tended to be more detailed than usual. In fact at times it looks like a coloured manga since there are often sketch marks on the cheeks or other details you don't often see in an animated production, especially in the serious scenes. Also, the quality of the animation tends to stay consistent thought the show, regardless of the action, so the serious scenes often look better than the comedy ones regardless of the amount of action in them. However, that fluidity of the animation itself isn't very high, with exception being made to the stock footage used for some spells and a few of the major fight scenes. Even so, it isn't the best-looking show out there, with the drawings themselves taking precedence over the movement. It just gives the show it's own unique feel which I havn't seen in any other productions.

I must say that the dub for this show is one that I will never like. The main gripe I have is that Lina herself just doesn't have that high pitched voice for when she tries to be super-cute. As such, those shots just look wrong. There is also the glaringly obvious fact that halfway through the series the voice actor for Zelgadis changes. It is during a natural break for the character, but it still seems weird. Luckily the new actor, while having a rather serious voice, does do the job well and I would have to say is probably the best suited to his role. Also, Lina's actor, while not as great in the role as she could be, is an improvement over the one used in the currently released film and OAV in the fact that she is more clear in her delivery. On the whole though this dub just felt annoying and I would recommend you stay clear of it in favour of the original Japanese.

Whether you like this show depends quite a bit on what you find funny. If you dislike hectic and sometimes silly comedies that you are unlikely to enjoy this show as much as you could, since that is more prominent that the serious side of the show. If however that is to your taste then you'll find this a fun show with a good D&D style story behind it.


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Some of you may also know me as 'Nutzoide'!
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