TransMedia Retrospective: Slayers

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! It is time for another TransMedia Retrospective when it comes to some of my fave anime series and one of them has to be Slayers!  

 

Slayers has been put into so many versions of media such as anime, movies, light novels, and manga, and even had a crossover with one series which I will get to later, but it has been one of my fave series for years. Trust me, try having all five seasons including the original box sets to season one and three. Shall we get into what is it all about? Maybe I should go into characters first since the entire anime revolves around them!

 

Characters

 

Lina Inverse: She is known as the “Dragon Spooker,” “Bandit Killer,” and so many other names that people fear whenever they encounter her and that is Lina Inverse! A spunky, teen sorceress with a huge appetite, with a tiny chest according to many, Lina is known to cause not only trouble in order to get her treasure but also a savior of the world. She has fought a possessed priest who had the demon Shabranigdoh, a demon king, and even a Dragon King, and of course a huge destructive dragon in order to save millions of lives in the process. What is the funniest thing about her is that despite her taking on so many scary villains she is scared of her older sister Luna. Hell, she even was spooked when she sent a letter in Try to take on a prophecy from her because she couldn’t do it!

 

Gourry Gabriev: The talented and jellyfish-for-brains swordsmen with a heart of gold and an appetite matching Lina’s, Gourry is the holder of a family heirloom known as the Sword of Light. Not much on his background but it is revealed that he came from Imekian Empire and his he doesn’t get along with his grandma and brother. Also said that he was a descendant of the Swordsman of Light that took out Zenafaar that tried taking out Zyraag, which pretty much according to season one is where he came fron, and his family members were fighting on who became the heir to inherit the sword but Gourry stole it to stop the fighting. This past doesn’t really get mentioned anywhere in the anime or manga but a short story, especially when he got frustrated and wanted to through the sword out, Gourry meets a fisherman that happens to be Lina’s dad and neither he nor Lina know. Which is weird to not mention the past even though I did remember Syphiel talked about how she knew Gourry when they were kids and after watching the anime, I am thinking he lived in Zyraag originally and left. I did read on the Wiki article about him that they did mention some of his grandfather in the Slayers Motion Picture. We will never know about his past except for the first season and the motion picture but we do know that with his attitude and chivalrous character, it balances Lina’s fiery temper and of course she wants his sword, which she will never get!

 

Zelgadis Greywords:  Oh yes, the man with a sexy voice….ahem! I mean a man who was transformed in order to become stronger. While a teen, he was changed by his great-grandfather, Rezo the Red Priest, a three part chimera, which he travels with Lena and crew in order to find a cure, but in season five, Evolution R, Rezo reveals that there is none. But he does have very strong magic which is called upon through the Astral Plane and his strongest spell is known as the “Rah Tilt” which can also be used by Amelia. Despite this strong power, Zelgadis hates what he has become! You do get to see a detailed version of how he changed into his chimera form in Evolution R, which I will explain that in the anime part!

 

Did You Know? Crispin Freeman was the second voice of Zelgadis in the anime, originally he was done by Daniel Cronin, who has really only been in one other thing and that was the Gal Force movie. David provided the voice for Zelgadis for eps 2-10 in season one while Crispin provided the voice from 18 on, including the Funimation dub when they licensed Revolution and Evolution R. Plus, he was the only original cast member in the Premium movie.

 

Amelia Wil Tessla Seyruun: The fighter for justice and princess of Seyruun, Amelia is on the scene! It’s even funny when you include her father, Prince Phil, in the series. She is also a priestess and wants to be a hero of justice and follows Lena and crew to fight anyone she considers evil in the world but her actions and gets told kind of has her quick to judge in who is really friend or foe. Despite her naïve and immature personality and how she thinks all bad guys wear black, she does mature and does get looked at as Lena’s little sister. It is revealed that….::shudder:: which I shudder at the belief that Naga the Serpent is Amelia’s long lost sister. I am having a Bennet moment like he did during the InuYasha Movie review.

 

Did You Know? Veronica Taylor was not Amelia first as well? In eps 11-13 of Season One, Joan Baker, who has been in La Blue Girl and MD Geist (reviewed by Bennet the Sage, which you can find on Channel Awesome for this title). Veronica provided the voice of Amelia from ep 14 throughout the rest of the anime including the Funimation dubs of Revolution and Evolution R.  Who provided her voice for Premium? Luci Christian.

 

Naga the Serpent: Since I’m providing info for the main cast, had to include her despite how she annoys me so much, even Return caused me to cringe when she laughed. Anyways, since she counts a major character and I mentioned above, she’s Amelia’s long lost sister, Gracia. How did she leave? Well, apparently she ended up killing her and Amelia’s mother’s murderer at age 16 or 17 with a spell called “Chaos String” out of revenge. She was traumatized and took an outfit from their mother’s closet and left to learn more spells and gets sent expenses via messenger since she keeps in touch with her family, which in Next, Zelgadis does mention a runaway princess and it happens to be her, which makes it more interesting. It gets more complicated that the reason why she is with Lena is because Lena is her arch rival and challenges her to win the title of “Dark Lord” which she makes up. Pretty much their alliance is a double edge sword, which they are companions but there are times when Naga does side with anyone who gives her a better thing to win but she does stay on Lena’s side in the end even if it means she gets hit by a Dragon Slave!

 

Media

 

Slayers has expanded across different media which includes novels, manga, a video game, anime, and even movies and OVAs. It originally started as a series of short stories printed in Dragon Magazine and then became a series of light novels in fifteen novels from 1990 to 2000. These novels were published in English for four years from 2004-2008 by TokyoPop but only the first eight volumes. There were even prequel novels covering the adventures of Lina and Naga which and some of these include Slayers Special, which is a thirty volume novel, Slayers Smash, and an anniversary collection that included original stuff by the creator, Hajime Kenzaka, and stories by fans, and there was a crossover special that my friend Xeno has and that is Slayers vs. Orphen which shows Lena versus Orphen the sorcerer.

 

With the manga, it seems that some of it was based on the movies while the rest were original stories and I did almost pick up one of the manga volumes when there used to be an anime shop close to my area but didn’t due to reading other manga at the time. The manga did get published by Central Park Media, the ones who also licensed the anime during the 90’s, and Slayers Medieval Mayhem was released in June of 1999 and then a few years later, Slayers Special was published here in the states. There was a seven  volume manga that was adapted from the Slayers Return movie known as Super Explosive Demon Story, which I can see why with seeing the movie, which was made from 2002 to 2004. There is still one that is still published in Monthly Dragon Age Magazine and that is Slayers Evolution R. There have been other titles made but they are only in Japan, which is kind of sad but there is always the internet for translations!

 

What about the anime? Well, season one based off the first three light novels while Next was based on volumes four through eight and then Try was more of an original story, which is weird with how a pillar of light came to be in Try. Anyways, apparently there was supposed to be a fourth season after Try called Again but that was given up due to early scheduling conflicts. If they would make Again, would be a nice in-between story for Try and Revolution. Originally, Slayers was released on video tapes and laser disk and it was separated into eight volumes during the 90’s by Central Park Media. It was very successful and that led to the release of Next but as separate box sets with the same eight tapes and disks. So glad that the DVDs are four disks, I can imagine how much room those old sets would take, even after Try was released the same way. Then that brings me to the next point which was that all three seasons were released as four disk boxsets and man they’re big! I own the first one and Try only as the original ones but can’t find Next. If you’re wondering,how I got my hands on them since CPM ended their license? Well, that same anime shop sold the both of them except I only got Season One for my birthday two days before Hurricane Charlie roared through back in 2004 and in 2006 got it signed by Veronica Taylor. As you guys know, after CPM ended the license, Funimation picked up Slayers and re-released all three of them as smaller sets which the disks are in a plastic facing and the set folds up. I did buy Next and Try in the newer sets back in 2009, during 2012 at FYE, someone traded in the original box to Try and picked itup. We did surprise Eric Stuart and Crispin Freeman with these boxes and what is interesting as a fact, the sound is better on the older version and I can see why. Later on this year at AFO, this will be signed by Veronica Taylor.

 

Anyuway, the last two seasons, Revolution and Evolution R were pretty much based on subplots in the novel and were original stories. It reunited Takashi Watanabe and J. C. Staff to work on this two 13 episode arc from the days of the original three seasons. Not only that, when Funimation licensed the anime for America, they reunited the main four cast members, Lisa Ortiz as Lena, Eric Stuart as Gourry, Crispin Freeman as Zelgadis, and Veronica Taylor as Amelia. There were re-castings of some of the characters which included Amelia’s dad, Sylpheel, Naga, and Xellos. I did ask Eric about his reprise of the role of Gourry, you can see what he said in my MythiCon Interview with him Part 2 on YouTube.

 

Now onto OVAs! Oh yeah, not done yet! There were two OVAs and they were three episodes each and they were Slayers Special and Slayers Excellent. These took place after Try ended and they were made by Hiroshi Watanabe and J. C. Staff. ADV Films released these to the states with Special separated into two  called Dragon Slave and Explosion aaand then as three episodes again as Book of Spells. ADV did release Excellent to both the states and UK along with Special on VHS and DVD.

 

And finally, the films! I only seen two of the movies and know that ADV done the licensing to them. Slayers the Motion Picture was pretty much the first movie with Return being its sequel, which deals with an adventure with Lena and Naga that dealt with a bracelet, not only that being a manga story as well. Great and Gorgeous were also released and then Premium being a short film that has all the original characters reuniting. All except Premium pretty much followed the adventures of Lena and Naga by the looks of it since I only saw Return and got Premium because of the original characters and did trade them in because I didn’t like the casting despite Crispin being the only original cast member in that. In my honest opinion, I prefer the anime, even though Premium does have a funny plot about eating a certain octopus that makes you speak in a weird way and also no offense on the ADV cast, they are great actors in their other works.

 

There are other parts of media that Slayers has gone through like radio dramas and there was a game made in Japan for it like most anime. But this series has been a long running and the manga seems to be going still in Japan. The only collectibles I have from the series since the merch is hard to find in the states are a Lena plushie from the Next series, a Gourry pin, and collector cards from the films that I found at a convention back in 2004.

 

Well, that is it! Next series I will be tackling is Yu-Gi-Oh since it is still running and has a lot to cover! I think my fingers may kill me. Til the next Retrospective!

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