Sometimes the popularity of an anime series can be measured by its longevity. In this case the original 1995 television season was followed by 5 movies, 2 OVAs and 3 more TV seasons, the latest of which has just finished broadcasting in Japan.
The longevity probably has as much to do with the strength of the stories’ setting as with the popularity of the characters. This sword-and-sorcery parody is set in a well-drawn fantasy universe, with stories that are comic, but just dark enough to hold an adult’s interest.
It is interesting to compare the first season to the latest effort. The visual style has changed over the years. The latest series looks different, largely because the anime industry has shifted from hand-drawn cel animation to all-digital techniques. Yet I think the most important difference–and the main reason to check out the first season if you haven’t already seen it–is in the writing. The first season is a lot funnier and tells a better story.
Original TitleSlayers (SUREIYAAZU)
LanguagesJapanese with subtitles, English.
Contents26 Episodes on 4 DVDs
Based onA series of light novels by Hajime Kanzaka
Series CompositionTakao Koyama
Character DesignNaomi Miyata
Art DirectorToshihisa Tojo
Character Conceptual DesignRui Araizumi
Animation producerKoji Ogiwara
Animation StudioE.G. Films
BroadcastTV Tokyo 1995
Region 1 PublisherFUNimation Entertainment
I don’t recommend this for young children. There is a lot of violence, and while most of it is comic slapstick, some of it is not, and people sometimes get killed. Age 10 might be a reasonable minimum.
This is one series that Netflix does not carry, even though it is in print. (I guess they just don’t reorder new discs when the old ones wear out.) However the box set is inexpensive and available from most of the usual online vendors.
Premise and Characters
- Black Magic Destructive spells performed by calling upon the power of the mazoku.
- White Magic Healing and protective spells, presumably powered by the shinzoku.
- Shamanistic Magic Spells that draw on the power of the spirit world. These are morally neutral, but some are quite destructive.
Any magic user can perform all three types of magic, but it generally pays to specialize. Anyone who is really good at one type will probably be bad at the others.
- The Slayers 1995. Reviewed here.
- Slayers Next 1996.
- Slayers Try 1997.
- Slayers Revolution 2008.
These are prequels to the TV series, in which Lina has not yet met Gourry and is travelling with a scantily-clad sorceress named Naga the Serpent.
- Slayers The Motion Picture 1995.
- Slayers Return 1996.
- Slayers Great 1997.
- Slayers Gorgeous 1998.
These are also prequels featuring Lina and Naga.
- Slayers Special 1996.
- Slayers Excellent 1998. Shows the first meeting between Lina and Naga.
Slayers Premium (2001) is a short feature shown on a triple bill with two unrelated anime spinoffs. The story involves Lina and Gourry, though Naga also makes an appearance.
Wikipedia entry (spoilers).
Anime News Network Encyclopedia entry.
 This detail seems to have been forgotten in the latest TV series.