Lina Inverse as she appears in the TV series
|First appearance||Slayers novel series (1989)|
|Created by||Hajime Kanzaka
|Title||Lina the Pink|
|Relatives||Luna Inverse (older sister)|
Lina Inverse (リナ・インバース Rina Inbāsu?) is a fictional character and the primary protagonist and the only character that appears in all incarnations of the comic fantasy themed light novel, manga and anime series Slayers, where she is a young yet very powerful sorceress travelling the world. Lina has been consistently voiced by Megumi Hayashibara in Japanese. She is voiced by Lisa Ortiz the English version of the TV series produced by Central Park Media and Funimation Entertainment, and by Cynthia Martinez in the English version of the films and OVAs produced by ADV Films. Slayers novels and anime are narrated from Lina's point of view.
Character and appearances
Lina was born in the fictional village of Zephilia. Since her mother used to be a mercenary magic user, Lina, suffering from inferiority complex to her sister, decided she would like to be a sorceress and coaxed her parents to send her to the Sorcerer's Guild school. Her older sister, the Knight of Cepheid Luna Inverse, was the darling of both her parents and the town, excelling in martial studies and quickly beginning to make a name for herself. Although Lina has faced down dragons, monsters, and even dark lords with little fear, the mere mention of Luna's name sends her into terrified hysterics. When Lina was a child, she sold pictures of Luna naked in order to earn money and, in turn, Luna punished Lina so severely that Lina has feared her ever since.
Lina has many different nicknames, including "Bandit Killer" and "Dragon Spooker," neither of which she likes. To her, her most embarrassing nickname is "Lina the Pink", which is her official title amongst the Guild. In the light novel, manga and film/OVA prequel stories, Lina meets an unhinged and secretive sorceress calling herself Naga the Serpent and maniacally obsessed with Lina, with whom she then travels with and often ends up fighting against during their adventures. During that time, Lina earns her reputation of someone who tracks and destroys numerous bandits for fun and profit, stealing their ill-gotten gains for their own use. In Slayers REVOLUTION, Lina embarks on pirate hunting after bandits have become an "endangered species". According to Hajime Kanzaka, the creator of the original novels, Lina and her self-proclaimed rival Naga are the mightiest human magic users in the world of Slayers; while Naga has a larger potential magical capacity, Lina knows the ultimate black magic spells, notably the devastating Dragon Slave, which is her famed signature attack.
Although she is an adolescent (between 15 and 16 years old in most stories), she is an extremely powerful sorceress, with a great love for money, treasure (especially the magical sort) and food. In the anime and manga (but not the light novels), Lina recklessly (but comically) uses overly destructive magic, often with little provocation. As such, she is widely reputed to be an evil and calamitous "Enemy of All Who Live", among many other similar monikers (such as "Empress of Destruction", "Natural Disaster Mage", "Raven-Black Witch" and "No-Breasts Demon"). In spite of her infamy and an underdeveloped body, Lina likes to see herself as a genial, noble and lovely sorceress. Adding to her mental unstability, she is also very short-tempered and glutonous, and suffers an inferiority complex over her flat chest, especially alongside the very busty Naga. Lina's accomplishments include the destruction of a piece of Shabranigdo and having a hand in the destruction of the demon lords Flaredragon Gaav and Hellmaster Phibrizzo, as well as defeating Dark Star. Due to these accomplishments, she is increasingly piquing the interest of the Mazoku demon kind and has become a frequent target.
At the beginning of the main series, Lina meets a swordsman named Gourry Gabriev and a chimera named Zelgadis Greywords. Lina encounters and destroys a part of the Mazoku Lord Shabranigdo with her ultimate Giga Slave spell, which draws power from the Lord of Nightmares, the highest deity of the Slayers universe, but has no plans to ever use it again after almost ending the world. She befriends a princess named Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun and the priestess Sylphiel Nels Lahda. She later meets a mysterious priest Xellos and gets caught between Chaos Dragon Gaav and Hellmaster Phibrizzo. In the anime-exclusive series Slayers TRY, Lina is recruited by the dragoness Filia Ul Copt to save the world. In Slayers REVOLUTION, Lina gets arrested on false pretense which later comes leading her on a journey against another incarnation of the Demon Beast Zannafar. She also meets an odd little creature named Pokota, who too has the ability to use the Dragon Slave.
Lina and Gourry have traveled with each other ever since they met, and they have been featured in every form of Slayers media that takes place in the timeline after they meet. Lina appears to fall in love with Gourry, once even risking the destruction of the universe in order to save him. There is a distinct lack of romantic development in the series, even after it is affirmed that Lina and Gourry love each other. Hajime Kanzaka addressed this by jokingly stating that he is not adept in writing romantic scenes. The final climax of Slayers NEXT, the second season of the Slayers TV series, the two characters share a kiss, though they cannot later recall the incident. However, both Gourry and Lina remember that something important had happened between them. In any media taking place after the two met, they have been featured together and should they ever get separated, are never apart for too long.
Lina is also the main protagonists through the entire official series of the uncanonical Slayers role-playing video games from the 1990s: Slayers for the PC98, Slayers for the Super Famicon (SNES), Slayers Royal, Slayers Royal 2, and Slayers Wonderful. Lina further appears as a player character or an avatar option in Heroes Phantasia, with Naga in Magical Battle Arena, with Gourry in La Tale, and with both Naga and Gourry in Granblue Fantasy. The 2006 audio drama Slayers Kita Kaette EX #4 provides a closure to the entire Slayers saga, featuring the retired Lina and Naga, both now elderly in their eighties (with almost all other characters already dead) and vacationing together while still violently bickering with each other.
Hajime Kanzaka has originally created Lina and Luna as the heroines of his science fiction story when he was in high school. While creating her visual design, the Slayers illustrator and visual designer Rui Araizumi was inspired when he by chance came upon a vintage film with the actress Audrey Hepburn on TV.
Lina has a petite body type and is 147 cm (4 feet 10 inches) tall, and her heabdands cover a mole on her forehead. Despite her supposed to be having very small breasts, so much she can be confused for a boy, Lina is often depicted by Araizumi with sizable chest size due to his personal preferences, which then carried over to some other media too. Lina's appearance whilst wearing Zephilian folk clothing in Slayers: The Motion Picture is based on Ranma Saotome, the titular character from Ranma 1/2, who like Lina is also voiced by Megumi Hayashibara in the original Japanese version.
In the science fiction themed Lost Universe, Kanzaka's another media franchise, Lina and Gourry were mixed to create its male protagonist Kain Blueriver. Several different versions of Lina populate the Slayers world itself, due to various plots:
- In one story, Lina and Naga are exposed to a mirror that creates an exact opposite of whoever looks in it. The wizard using it expects this to produce dark and violent version of the two that would side with him and destroy the originals, but the mirror copies turn out sweet, kind, generous, and extremely concerned about the feelings of each other and everyone around them. In their attempts to break the spell, Lina and Naga actually wind up creating dozens of such doppelgängers of themselves, which go on to found an entire village full of philanthropic Linas and Nagas. A slightly adapted version of this story, which resulted in the mirror being destroyed without creating more than the initial copies, served as the bassis of the Slayers Special OAV episode "Mirror Mirror".
- In the Slayers TV series, Gourry and Lina are both the subject of an attempt at cloning, which spawns a number of miniature, super deformed versions of them both. The clones fight to humorous effect, and after the mini Linas win, they all disintegrate.
- Even more, in this case mostly lifelike, clones of Lina were created by Xellos' master Zellas Metallium in the Super Famicom Slayers video game. One of them is a playable character.
- In the film Slayers Great, a super deformed giant cute toylike fighting golem named "Piko-Piko Lina-chan" is constructed in a distorted image of Lina's. That golem is also featured in the game Slayers Royal 2.
Reception and cultural impact
Lina Inverse has become a popular and critically acclaimed character both in Japan and overseas; writing in 1999, Dave Halverson called Slayers' Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent "two of anime [medium]'s brightest stars in both Japan and the U.S." In 2000, Lina won the "Best of Dragon Magazine" popular vote in two categories, including first place in best female hero. Japanese magazine Famitsu declared Mai the second top video game heroine of the 1990s.
Serdar Yegulalp from About.com ranked her #13 on the list of "Best Anime Heroines" as "few characters walk such a fine line between being both insufferable and inexplicably charismatic," Citlin Donovan from The Mary Sue included her among "Six Leading Ladies of Shonen Anime," and Jamaica dela Cruz from the Special Broadcasting Service ranked her as number one "baddest anime female". Anime News Network's Lynzee Loveridge put "Lina Inverse and Company" at #2 in "Traditional Fantasy Parties" while the same website's Gia Manry ranked her first among all anime's "Easiest Good Guys to Make Angry" as well as placing Lina second on her lists of "Destroyers of the Fourth Wall" and "Most Destructive Heroes".
The character's popularity led to several cameo appearances in various media, including the video game Shadow Warrior, where Lina is featured in an in-game poster, and in the first episode of the anime series Full Metal Panic!, where she is shown on a cover of Dragon Magazine. The protagonists of the anime miniseries Cosplay Complex, Chako and Reika, dress up as Naga and Lina in the third episode of this anime miniseries. Lina and Naga also made a cameo appearance in French comic book series Les Légendaires Origines in 2014. A Slayers-inspired hero character is part of the Dota video game series: in the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients, she shares the name of "Lina Inverse", while simply going by "Lina" in Dota 2; in both games, her spells' names reference these in Slayers: "Dragon Slave", "Light Strike Array" (Explosion Array), and "Laguna Blade" (Ragna Blade).