Slayers"...one of Japan's longest running and still continuing adventure/comedy anime series receives its first major collection with the first three seasons (a total of 78 episodes) released in one major box set. A classic series that is witty, funny and highly entertaining!
I can easily remember watching "The Slayers" when it first appeared on television in Japan, catching the premiere of the series at an anime convention and watching the main Japanese voice actress Megumi Hayashibara promoting the series in America and singing a song from the series. And then the release of the series on VHS and owning multiple copies just to get a subtitled and English dubbed version because I enjoyed the series that much.
It's hard to believe but nearly 14 years later since "The Slayers" debut as a light novel by Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi (which the duo has since released 50 light novels), the series has received a manga treatment, two OAV series, five movies, countless video games and for anime series, there have been a total of five.
With the series having had its release in the US from Software Sculptors and Central Park Media, the series is now receiving its first major collection with "The Slayers: The First Three Seasons" which consists of Season One: The Slayers (April 1995-Sept. 1995, 26 episodes), Season Two: Slayers Next (April 1996-Sept. 1996, 26 episodes) and Season Three: Slayers Try (April 1997-Sept. 1997, 26 episodes) for a total of 78 episodes included in this collection.
All three series were directed by Takashi Watanabe ("Casshan: Robot Hunter", "Y's II", "New Fist of the North Star", "Ikki Tousen"), screenplay by Takao Koyama ("Dragon Ball Z", "Saint Seiya", "Urusei Yatsura", "Zillion"), character designs by Naomi Miyata ("Kino's Journey", "Revolutionary Girl Utena", "Sakura Wars") and music by Osamu Tezuka ("Shadow Skill", "Popotan", "Lost Universe, "Akazukin Cha Cha").
The series revolves around the character of Lina Inverse, a powerful sorceress who has a love for money and eating a lot of food. Everytime she tries to help a village (for money), somehow, she ends up destroying it and thus, has a reputation of being a destructive and evil sorceress. During each season, she is accompanied by Gourry Gabriev, Zelgadis Greyswords and Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun during her adventures for more money, food and fun.
The main characters of "Slayers" (for each of the three seasons) are:
Lina Inverse - A powerful sorceress who loves money and food. She is very sensitive when she's around other women that are more bustier than her and tends to have a short fuse. Whenever she's in battle, her spells tend to do more damage than she thinks. But because of the sheer amount of destruction that she's caused, the rumors have spread throughout the country and people tend to fear her and make her out as an evil person when she's not.
Gourry Gabriev - The marvelous swordsman who wields the sword of light. He also has a bad memory and is a powerful magic wielder but doesn't remember being one. So, he joins Lina on her adventures as her personal bodyguard.
Zelgadis Greywords - A powerful sorcerer who is a chimera made of a rock golemn courtesy of his ancestor Rizo. Known for his green face and purple, wiry hair and is half demon and human. He looks desperately for a stone that will change him to a human, even if it means losing his chimera powers. A stoic, no-nonsense character.
Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun - A young miko and also a princess. Her dream is becoming a hero of justice and thus, joins Lina and Gourry. Very naive at times and believes almost everything that people tend to tell her.
Supporting characters that appear in other seasons are:
Xellos - Joins Lina and friends in the second season of "Slayers Next". A high level Mazoku and a priest of the "Greater Beast Zelas-Metallium". Also known as Beastmaster Xellos.
Filia - A priestess of the Fire Kingdom who wanted Luna to accompany her in her quest but hires Lina and her friends to join her. Appear in the third season of "Slayers Try".
"Season One: The Slayers"
"Season One: The Slayers" consists of 26 episodes and are featured on four DVD's. In the first season, Lina and Gourry Gabriev travel town to town to help villagers with their problems. During their adventures, they find an artifact that can resurrect the demon lord Shabranigdo. Thus Lina, Gourry and friends mus take on the Red Priest Rezo and other enemies along the way. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:
* EPISODE 1 - ANGRY? Lina's Furious Dragon Slave! - Lina and Gourry partner up and help out a village and try to take on a group of bandits.
* EPISODE 2 - BAD! Mummy Men Aren't My Type! - The duo are attacked by a mummy known as Zolf.
* EPISODE 3- CRASH! Red and White and Suspicious Doesn't Work? - Lina and Gourry meet Zelgadis and Rezo the Red Priest.
* EPISODE 4 - DASH! Run for It! My Magic Doesn't Work? - Lina and Goury try to stop the resurrection of Sahbranigdo.
* EPISODE 5 - ESCAPE! Noonsa, the Flaming Fish Man! - While Lina loses her magical power, she comes across Zelgadis - Friend or foe?
* EPISODE 6 - FOCUS! Rezo's the Real Enemy?! - Red Priest Rezo is revealed as the enemy.
* EPISODE 7 - GIVE UP! But, Just Before We Do. The Sure Kill Sword Appears! - Rezo sends demons after Lina and Zelgadis.
* EPISODE 8 - HELP! Shabranigdo is Reborn! - Gourry and Zelgadis fight over the Stone of Wisdom. Meanwhile, Rezo tries to find a way to get the stone.
* EPISODE 9 - IMPACT! The Eve of the Great Life or Death Struggle! - Rezo resurrects Dark Lord Shabranigdo.
* EPISODE 10 - JACKPOT! The Great Life or Death Gamble! - Lina and friends fight against Shabranigdo.
* EPISODE 11 - KNOCKOUT! - The Seyruun Family Feud! - The introduction of Amelia.
* EPISODE 12 - LOVELY! Amelia's Magic Training! - Amelia wants to be trained to become a sorceress like Lina.
* EPISODE 13 - MONEY! Knock Out Those Bounty Hunters! - Lina, Gourry and Amelia arrive in Seyruun and notice wanted posters with Lina and Gourry's face on them.
* EPISODE 14 - NAVIGATION! An Invitation to Satraag! - Zangulus and Vrumugun plant a trap to capture Lina and friends.
* EPISODE 15 - OH NO! Lina's Wedding Rhapsody? - A man named Harris wants Lina to marry him and she... agrees?
* EPISODE 16 - PASSION! Shall We Give Our Lives for the Stage? - As Lina and friends continue to go towards the direction of Sairaag, the three find a touring company that has a show based on Lina.
* EPISODE 17 - QUESTION? He's Proposing to THAT Girl? - In order to sneak on a ship, Gourry must disguise himself as a woman. But one of the men on the ship starts to fancy Gourry.
* EPISODE 18 - RETURN! The Red Priest is Back! - An enemy of Lina and Gourry's returns!
* EPISODE 19 - SHOCK! Satraag Falls! - Rezo tries to capture Gourry's Sword of Light.
* EPISODE 20 - TROUBLE! - Rahanimu the Furious Fish Man! - Rezon sends out a monster named Rahanimu after Lina and friends.
* EPISODE 21 - UPSET! Gourry vs. Zangulus - Gourry and Zangulus fight to the death.
* EPISODE 22 - VICE! The One Who Was Left Behind! - Lina takes on the demon Tiva.
* EPISODE 23 - WARNING! Eris' Wrath! - Rezo's true nature is revealed.
* EPISODE 24 - X-DAY! The Demon Beast is Reborn! - Eris controls Rezo to go after Lina and friends.
* EPISODE 25 - YES! A Final Hope: The Blessed Blade! - The fight against Rezo continues and Lina is injred.
* EPISODE 26 - ZAP! Victory Is Always Mine! - Rezo attacks the town of Sairrag. Lina and friends continue their fight against Rezo in this final episode of season 1.
"Season Two: Slayer's Next"
"Season Two: Slayers Next" consists of 26 episodes (episodes 27-52) and are featured on four DVD's. In the second season of "Slayers Next", Lina, Gourry and Amelia search for the Clair bible. Meanwhile, a mysterious priest named Xelloss and the monsters want to use Lina, Gourry and Amelia for their evil plans. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:
* EPISODE 27 - The Sudden Pinch! The Terror of the Monstrous Zoamelgustar! - When Lina and Gourry hear about The Xoanna Evil Book, the two decide to go to the Kingdom of Xoana.
* EPISODE 28 - The Roguish Priest! His name is Xellos! - Lina and Gourry help Zelgadis find a copy of the Claire Bible and meet up with Amelia.
* EPISODE 29 - A Wonderful Business! Being a Bodyguard Isn't Easy! - The four arrive at Atlas City and Lina and Gourry and Zelgadis and Amelia have an argument of what to eat and thus separate from each other.
* EPISODE 30 - An Ancient Pledge! One Who Seeks Immortality! - Lina and friends try to investigate who created the jelly-like creatures.
* EPISODE 31 - Staying Behind for the Sake of Love! - Lina and friends try to find the pledge stone.
* EPISODE 32 - You Can't Escape! The Return of the Obsessive Martina! - Martina curses Lina in order to get close to Gourry.
* EPISODE 33 - Sudden Cooking! Follow the Phantom Dragon! - Lina and friends look forward to the Dragon Cuisine but the group must assist Chef Ashford in capturing a lake dragon.
* EPISODE 34 - Be Eternal! The Day Prince Phil Died? - Amelia receives bad news about her father.
* EPISODE 35 - Hidden Ambitions! The Shocking Confession? - Lina and friends find out that evil beings are after the Seyruun Kingdom.
* EPISODE 36 - On a Journey With a Pack of Scoundrels?! Take Back that Magic Power! - Lina needs to regain her magical power and decides to visit a magic doctor in the mountains.
* EPISODE 37 - Voices of Darkness! Slash `Em to Bits. Ragna Blade! - The evil demon Kanzel goes after Phil.
* EPISODE 38 - The Unexpected End? The Shocking Truth! - Phil has been captured and the evil monsters plans are revealed.
* EPISODE 39 - Impending Fall! The Moment of Ambition's Defeat! - The group takes on Magenta and now they take on Kanzel.
* EPISODE 40 - The Forbidden Dance? Where is the Strongest Spell? - Lina and friends learn that the person in charge of the evil plans is the evil Dragon Lord Garv.
* EPISODE 41 - A Big Crash? The Battle at Artemay Tower! - The search of the Claire Bible continues and take on a monster named Joe.
* EPISODE 42 - Bitter Curve Balls! Gutsy Fast Balls! - Lina learns that the Claire Bible is on the trophy that someone can win in a tennis competition. But she may have to go against Martina.
* EPISODE 43 - They're Talking About a Girl named Zelgadis?! - The search for the Claire Bible leads them to a land only for women.
* EPISODE 44 - The Temple of Sand! The Secret of the Giga Slave! - The group learn about a copy of the Claire Bible being inside a castle.
* EPISODE 45 - Disclosure at Last?! Xellos True Form! - The evil Dragon Lord Garv plans his attack on Lina and friends.
* EPISODE 46 - No Other Choice! Set Course for Dragon Valley! - Lina and friends take on evil Dragon Lord Garv.
* EPISODE 47 - The Thousand Year Old Truth! The Traitorous Demon Dragon King! - Lina and friends go to a cave where the Claire Bible may be at.
* EPISODE 48 - The Stolen Sword of Light! The End of the Demon Dragon King! - The introduction of evil Lord Phibrizzio.
* EPISODE 49 - The Menacing Swordsmen! A Journey of Reunion! - Gourry has been captured and Lina and friends want to save him. Sylphiel joins Lina's crew.
* EPISODE 50 - Sinister Trap! The Mysterious City of Ghosts! - Lina and friends go to Sairaag to rescue Gourry.
* EPISODE 51 - The Souls of the Dead! Lina's Final Decision! - Lina and friends take on Phibrizzo.
* EPISODE 52 - Go to NEXT! And Then Again... - Lina uses the Giga Slave which goes out of control.
"Season Three: Slayer's Try"
"Season Three: Slayers Try" consists of 26 episodes (episodes 53-78) and are featured on four DVD's. In the third season of "Slayers Try", more adventures with Lina and the gang as the barrier to the outside world has been broken and thus the gang venture to the outside world and discover a new enemy...Dark Star Dugradigdo. This is the first "Slayers" anime series not based on the light novels or manga but creator Hajime Kanzaka did take part in writing the story for "Slayers Try".
* EPISODE 53 - Majestic? Hoist Sails for the Journey! - The monster barrier is gone and now people can transfer to the Outer World. Lina and friends meet up with Filia who asks for them to join her on an adventure.
* EPISODE 54 - Doubtful? A Letter from Home! - Lina and friends head out to the Outer World and meet two monstrous thugs: Jillas Jillos Jillas and Gravos Maunttop.
* EPISODE 55 - Where'd That Arrogant Guy Go? - Fillia starts to lose her cool while on her adventure with Lina and the gang. The introduction of Valgarv.
* EPISODE 56 - On the Move! He's Out For Revenge? - Xellos joins up with Lina and friends and learn that Xellos is trying to go after Valgarv.
* EPISODE 57 - A Wild Rumor? You Can't Have Smoke Without Fire? - Filia is held captive by Valgaav's men. Lina and friends try to rescue her.
* EPISODE 58 - Wandering Around? The Runaway Shrine Takes a Trip! - Lina and friends take on Jillas and Gravos.
* EPISODE 59 - A Peace Conference? This is The Dragon Shrine? - Lina and friends try to have some R&R and work with the dragons.
* EPISODE 60 - Be Careful! The Plan Has Begun! - The Dragon Shine is being attacked and an enemy goes after Gourry's Sword of Light.
* EPISODE 61 - Continuous Fire! The Wind Swept Shore of Battle! - Linna, Gourry and Fillia are locked up after being suspected of trying to steal an artifact.
* EPISODE 62 - Ready for Exile! Isn't Two People's Love Eternal? - The gang try to save a young group Princess Sera and Prince Marco from Jillas and Gravos.
* EPISODE 63 - The Hurdle's Cleared? Jillas True Power! - Lina and friends encounter Jillas while Gourry loses his sword.
* EPISODE 64 - Selfless and Sensless! Pursuit Through the Labyrinth! - Lina and friends take on Jillas.
* EPISODE 65 - An Explosive Situation! The Ones Who Holds the Key! - Valgarv opens the gateway for Dark Star Dugradigdo to come into the world.
* EPISODE 66 - Striding and Swaggering? Lamentation Without End! - Lina and friends try to prevent Valgarv from summoning the Dark Star.
* EPISODE 67 - Disaster and Danger? This Place is a Wonder Island! - Lina ends up in an Alice in Wonderland type of world.
* EPISODE 68 - Pandemonium! Terror of the Cursed Jar! - Lina and friends come across a cursed jar in which the spirits of the men on a ship are stuck in the present world and are unable to pass on.
* EPISODE 69 - Immediate Results? Love Is In the Tiny Differences! - Amelia is discovered by a fish family and she discovers that the family is trying to prevent their fish daughter from having a relationship with a human.
* EPISODE 70 - The Right Person in the Right Place! Amelia in the Village of Justice! - Amelia and Gourry discover superheroes of justice but learn that they are not what they are cracked up to be.
* EPISODE 71 - Three People. Three Ways! Where the Light Leads! - Jillas returns to his fox village, where Lina and friends happen to be at as well.
* EPISODE 72 - A Hero's Advent? For Whom Does the Young Girl Pray? - A young girl thinks that a man cloaked in a robe is a hero but is he?
* EPISODE 73 - Savage and Unexplained! History Sealed Away! - Lina and friends go after the final weapon in a cold conditions before their enemy can.
* EPISODE 74 - Eternal Death. Final Farewells! A Cry to the Fallen! - The secret of the ancient dragon's barrier is revealed. Lina and friends take on Sirius and Erulogos.
* EPISODE 75 - No Time for Arguing! Head for the Showdown! - Xellos reveals his true intentions and takes on Sirius and Erulogos.
* EPISODE 76 - No Way to Guess! The Forbidden Gateway is Opened! - The gateway for the Dark Star has been opened. Meanwhile, Lina and friends try to destroy the Dark Star.
* EPISODE 77 - He Who Emerges from the Dark Star! - Valgarv is resurrected and a the battle against him begins.
* EPISODE 78 - Try Again? When All Returns to White! - The season finale features Lina and friends and their final battle against Dark Star/Valgarv.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
It's important to note that Slayers debuted on Japanese television back in 1995, so for those who just started watching anime or are interested in the older series after watching "Slayers Revolution" or "Slayers Evolution-R", there is a big difference in the quality of anime and the overall sharpness and vibrancy of the colors. But as an anime series that came out in 1995, the series was on par of what we were used to seeing from anime series around that time ("Dragon Ball GT", "Blue Seed", "Sailor Moon Super S", etc.) The series is featured in 4:3 and when I was younger and watching this series, I felt that the animation was very good for a television series. I also enjoyed the overall painted background settings of the series.
Of course, comparing this 1995-1997 series with the 2008-2009 series is almost like comparing to apples to oranges but considering the time period this anime series was released, I enjoyed the comedic play of serious to humorous character designs and of course was more cel driven and doesn't utilize the 3D CG that we see in today's "Slayers" anime series. Also, unlike the recent FUNimation Entertainment releases of "Dragon Ball Z" or "Dragon Ball GT" which has received major digital remastering and restoration, this series doesn't and so it does show its age and at times you will see picture quality a bit faded at times.
As for audio, this series retains its Central Park Anime English dub, so for fans of the classic series, Lisa Ortiz and Eric Stuart fans should be happy to know that FUNimation Entertainment retained the original talent. As mentioned earlier, when the VHS first came out, I was purchasing both the Japanese and English VHS versions, because I'm a big fan of Megumi Hayashibara's vocal work and was one of the first series (not from Pioneer) in which I enjoyed both the English and Japanese voice talent at the same time. Both vocal tracks are in Dolby Digital stereo and subtitles are in English only.
I preferred to watch the series with my audio receiver set for "Stereo on All Channels" for a more immersive soundscape.
"The Slayers: The First Three Seasons" contain the textless songs and FUNimation Entertainment trailers for each season on the fourth disc.
"Slayers" will always be an anime series that I will always enjoy. I was heavily into the series back in the 90's and I know there had been this lull of when I didn't catch anything related to the series but just a few related films. But watching this series again, definitely brought back memories of catching the series at an anime con meeting, an anime convention, buying multiple versions to get the subtitled and English dubbed versions. I really enjoyed this series.
But it takes some dedication. Where a long anime series such as "Dragon Ball Z" can have a conclusion, the fact that this series has literally been on television or released in some format for the last 15 years, you really have to be a dedicated fan to following a series this long. In fact, each season is a story arc in itself but for the most part, they are stand-alone episodes and typically the final three or four episodes is where everything tends to lead to a major battle. And despite these episodes being over a decade old, the anime still holds up today. And the fact that you can own all three seasons in a single box set for a great price is also another incentive.
For those who are wondering how the packaging is done for this box set which has 12 DVD's, you get a slipcover but then almost in like a large digibook format, instead of pages you get six plastic sections where two DVD's fit into. Episode titles are on the inside front and rear covers.
Overall, there's nothing bad I can say about this series. You're getting 78 classic episodes and to imagine back then, it took forever for these episodes to come out in the US let alone having to wait for each season to come out on DVD. So, personally, I think it's a great service for anime fans that FUNimation Entertainment has released "The Slayers: The First Three Seasons" on one set and are dedicated to releasing the newer seasons in the US as well.
Fans of "Slayers", this box set is definitely recommended for old school anime fans and those who simply enjoy the "Slayers" series!