Ah, The Slayers, probably the quintessential fantasy/comedy anime. It certainly has a large following, and given the charming cast of characters and exciting action, that's not too surprising.
Leading the Slayers pack is the utterly cute, utterly charming, and diminutive yet powerful sorceress, Lina Inverse. She is, without a doubt, one of my favorite anime characters (and one of the cutest to boot). Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's superbly voiced by Megumi Hayashibara, either. Whether making wisecracks or raining destruction upon her foes, Lina is simply loads of fun to watch. Her sidekick, the dimwitted Gourry, is also funny at times, but I think the jokes about his slow nature were a tad overdone. I didn't much care for Zelgadis, a sorcerer with deformed blue skin. His personality was rather somber, and as a result, he was a bit dull. Amelia is another leading character, although she doesn't show up until a bit later in the series. She's even cuter than Lina, and the combination of her ridiculous over-posturing and zealous do-gooder attitude makes her a barrel of laughs. The villains were a bit on the comical side (naturally), but even the nefarious Rezo the Red Priest wouldn't be out of place in a serious fantasy title. Everyone is fleshed out nicely, and it's easy to cheer for the heroes and despise the villains.
Story-wise, things are pretty much on par with the fantasy genre. While events aren't *too* predictable, the plot does follow the basic "bad-guy-threatening-the-world- so-let's-go-stop-him" formula. And naturally, with a plot like this, the action gets served up by the bowlful. There are lots of spells chucked around, complete with the requisite mass destruction and pyrotechnic flashbangs. I must admit I never got tired of watching Lina wreak havoc with her Dragon Slave or Fireball spells. It's just so much fun!
In the humor department, this series is rather over-the-top. A lot of the jokes are based on outright silliness, whether watching Lina getting mauled by a giant fish or seeing Gourry do battle with a gay sea serpent. However, it's this element which I found was the weakest link in the series. While some parts are completely hysterical (the sea serpent, for example), other times the humor wore a little thin. As I stated earlier, the jokes about Gourry's dimwitted personality were funny the first couple times, but after the dozenth joke I could only roll my eyes in distaste. Still, if you can appreciate the knee-slapping groaners, then you'll probably be laughing your pants off.
This series was made for TV, so the art and animation aren't up to par with other Slayers offerings. But while it may not match the quality of the OAVs or movie, the visuals are still decent. And they certainly do a good job displaying the effects of Lina's more devastating spells.
Whether you like comedy or fantasy, I'd recommend you give this series a try. While I found it a bit too silly at times, it still proves to be very fun nonetheless. And with a series like this, that's all that matters.
The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|