Saturday, March 24, 2007
Slayers; animated fantasy comedy series, Japan, 1995; D: Takashi Watanabe, S: Megumi Hayashibara, Yasunori Matsumoto, Masumi Suzuki
The 16-year old sorcerer girl Lina Inverse lives in a strange fantasy world of dungeons and dragons. She likes using her special powers to steal money from thieves and one day meets Gourry Gabriev, a blond and naive fighter. Together they travel from village to village and fight demons for cash. Their biggest enemy is the blind magician Rezo who plans to resurrect the evil demon Shabranigdo in order to regain his sight and rule the world. Although Zelgadis, a man covered with stone, was working for him, he joined Lina and Gourry. Rezo dies as the demon is awakened, but Lina manages to beat him. As Amelia joins their group, they have to fight Rezo's clone who continued with the plans to rule the world. But they manage to beat him too.
One of the most beloved animes of the 90s, "Slayers" is a comedy which is so sympathetic and cute that you almost start to delude yourself and imagining it is better than it actually is, ignoring its obvious flaws, among them even the fact that the story is not particularly funny. Actually, a lot of the jokes is too childish and mild - for instance, Lina slams into a tree and remains holding on to it, looking into the camera and saying "Koala". The potentially interesting duel between Gourry and a gay dragon that kidnapped sailors on the sea, was reduced just to the scene in which Gourry stabs him with his sword in the nose. Even the episode where Lina decided to get (falsely) married for money to a prince she could not stand could have turned out much, much funnier. Still, despite very little emotions present, the main protagonist, the quirky, dynamic heroine Lina, is extremely charming, and even the character of the justice obsessed Amelia is imaginative, while the unusual mix of satire, comedy, fantasy and sorcery has its virtues that are not even bitten by the average animation. Up until the intense finale, "Slayers" is a good anime, but the second season, "Slayers Next", is much better and gives a lot more reasons to become its fan.