|Written by||Hajime Kanzaka|
|Illustrated by||Rui Araizumi|
|Published by||Fujimi Shobo|
|Imprint||Fujimi Fantasia Bunko|
|Original run||1989 – present|
|Written by||Hajime Kanzaka|
|Illustrated by||Rui Araizumi|
|Published by||Fujimi Shobo|
|Imprint||Fujimi Fantasia Bunko|
|Original run||1991 – 2008|
Slayers (Japanese: スレイヤーズ, Hepburn: Sureiyāzu) is a Japanese light novel series written by Hajime Kanzaka and illustrated by Rui Araizumi. The novels have been serialized in Dragon Magazine since 1989, before being published into individual volumes. They follow the adventures of teenage sorceress Lina Inverse and her companions as they journey through their world. Using powerful magic and swordsmanship they battle overreaching wizards, demons seeking to destroy the world, and an occasional hapless gang of bandits.
Slayers inspired several spin-off novel series and has been adapted into numerous manga titles, anime television series, anime films, OVA series, role-playing video games, and other media. Including the spin-off series, the novels have over 20 million copies in print. The anime series is considered to be one of the most popular of the 1990s.
In the Slayers universe, the ultimate being is the Lord of Nightmares, the creator of at least four parallel worlds. An artifact known as the Claire Bible contains information about the Lord of Nightmares' task to regain its "true form", which is only attainable by destroying these worlds and returning them to the chaos (sea of darkness) that it itself is. For unexplained reasons, though, the Lord of Nightmares has not acted upon this desire by itself so far. On each of these worlds are gods (shinzoku, lit. "godly race") and monsters (mazoku, lit. "demon race"), fighting without end. Should the gods win the war in a world, that world will be at peace. Should the monsters win, the world will be destroyed and returned to the Sea of Chaos.
In the world where the Slayers takes place, Flare Dragon Ceiphied and the Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo are, respectively, the supreme god and monster. Long ago, their war ended more or less in a stalemate, when Ceiphied was able to split Shabranigdo's existence into seven pieces in order to prevent him from coming back to life, then seal them within human souls. As the souls are reincarnated, the individual fragments would wear down until Shabranigdo himself would be destroyed. However, Ceiphied was so exhausted by this that he himself sank into the Sea of Chaos, leaving behind four parts of himself in the world. A millennium before the events in Slayers, one of Ruby-Eye's fragments (which was sealed in the body of Lei Magnus, a very powerful sorcerer) revived and began the Resurrection War (降魔戦争, Kōma-sensō, alternately "War of Demon Conquering") against one of the parts of Ceiphied, the Water Dragon King, also known as Aqualord Ragradia. Ultimately, the piece of Shabranigdo won, but Aqualord, using the last remnants of her power, sealed him into a block of magical ice within the Kataart Mountains. Nevertheless, Shabranigdo's lieutenants remained at liberty, sealing a part of the world within a magical barrier, through which only mazoku could pass.
There are four types of magic within the Slayers universe: Black, White, Shamanistic, and Holy. Black magic spells, such as the famous Dragon Slave, call directly on the powers of the mazoku and are capable of causing enormous damage. White magic spells are of an obscure origin and are used for healing or protection. Shamanistic magic is focused on manipulation and alteration of the basic elements of the natural world (earth, wind, fire, water and spirit) and contains spells for both offense and convenience, such as Raywing, Fireball, or Elmekia Lance. Holy magic uses the power of the shinzoku, but the aforementioned barrier made its usage impossible for anyone inside before the death of the mazoku Hellmaster Phibrizzo. As a rule, mazoku can only be harmed by spiritual (astral) shamanistic magic, holy magic, or black magic which draws power from another mazoku with greater might than the target.
Above all other magic, however, are the immensely destructive spells drawing power from the Lord of Nightmares. The two spells of this class are the Ragna Blade, capable of cutting through any obstacle or being, and the Giga Slave, which can kill any opponent, but which could also destroy the world itself if the spell is miscast. Some have claimed that these terrible spells, drawing their power directly from the Lord of Nightmares, constitute a fifth form of magic: Chaos magic.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (January 2021)
The protagonist of Slayers is Lina Inverse, a teenage wandering genius sorceress with many nicknames and much infamy attached to her that she refuses to acknowledge. Lina narrates (within the novels) the history of her various adventures, ranging from whimsical and silly to dramatic to even outright world-threatening crises, in which she becomes involved along with her traveling companions everywhere she goes.
Slayers began serialization in Dragon Magazine in 1989 as a short story series written by Hajime Kanzaka and with artwork by Rui Araizumi. The chapters were then published as light novels under the Fujimi Fantasia Bunko imprint across 15 volumes from January 17, 1990 to May 10, 2000. Although the original story ended with the 15th volume in 2000, Kanzaka began a new arc 18 years later in the May 2018 issue of Dragon Magazine, which was published in March 2018, to celebrate the magazine and Fujimi Fantasia Bunko's 30th anniversary. He described it as "kind of a reunion" and said he had not decided to relaunch the series yet. Volume 16 was published on October 20, 2018. A third story arc began in the November 2019 issue of the magazine, released in September 2019. The author described this as "Rather than an official history, the third arc is going to be more like one of the possibilities, a parallel existence to the TRY TV anime and the Water Dragon King manga, I guess." Volume 17 was published on October 19, 2019.
On September 7, 2004, Tokyopop began publishing the light novels in English, ending with the release of volume 8 on January 2, 2008. On July 3, 2020, J-Novel Club announced their rescue license of the series during their panel at Anime Expo Lite. As part of their digital pre-publication releases, the first chapter was released on their website that day. The J-Novel Club physical release of Slayers is set to begin in July 2021, is a 3-1 hardcover omnibus edition based on the 2008 revised edition that featured new illustrations and covers.
- Slayers Special (スレイヤーズ すぺしゃる) is a spin-off prequel series of 30 novels published from 1991 to 2008. Each consisting of one-shot stories (sometimes, two-chapter stories) chronicling the exploits of Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent before the events in Slayers. Five additional volumes were released under a new series title, Slayers Smash. (スレイヤーズ すまっしゅ。) between July 2008 and November 2011.
- Slayers Delicious (スレイヤーズ でりしゃす), a four volume prequel featuring Lina and Naga, was released between 1997 and 1999. These four stories were originally published separately by Fujimi Fantasia in mini-bunko format, and later they were included in different Special novels. A one volume crossover between Slayers and the series Sorcerous Stabber Orphen was published in 2005 under the title Slayers VS Orphen and was later reprinted in 2013.
- Slayers Select (スレイヤーズ せれくと) is a best-of compilation of Slayers Special. Its five volumes were published in August 2008, September 2008, June 2009, February 2010, and March 2010.
- Slayers Anthology was released to mark the 25th anniversary of Slayers novels in January 2015. It is a compilation of six stories, one of which was written by Kanzaka and five by fan writers. It is illustrated with previously unpublished pictures by Araizumi and contributing artists.
- Slayers (one volume, illustrated by Rui Araizumi, original story, published in 1995, reedited in 2001, also known as Slayers Medieval Mayhem)
- Chōbaku Madōden Slayers (超爆魔道伝スレイヤーズ) (eight volumes, illustrated by Shoko Yoshinaka, adapted from Slayers main novels volumes 1–8, fourth volume adapted from Slayers Return movie, 1995–2001, also known as Super Explosive Demon Story Slayers)
- Slayers Special (four volumes, illustrated by Tommy Ohtsuka and Yoshimiro Kamada, adapted from Slayers Special novels, 2000–2001)
- Slayers Premium (one volume, illustrated by Tommy Ohtsuka, adapted from the movie of the same name, 2002)
- Slayers Knight of the Aqualord (six volumes, illustrated by Tommy Ohtsuka and Yoshimiro Kamada, original storyline, 2003–2005)
- Slayers Revolution (one volume, illustrated by Issei Hyouji, adapted from the anime series of the same name, 2008)
- Shin Slayers: Falces no Sunadokei (新スレイヤーズ：ファルシェスの砂時計 / New Slayers: The Hourglass of Falces) (three volumes, illustrated by Asashi, 2008)
- Slayers Legend (two-volume compilation from old Slayers manga, with chapters from Slayers and Chōbaku Mahōden Slayers)
- Slayers Evolution-R (one volume, published in Monthly Dragon Age, illustrated by Issei Hyouji, adapted from the anime series of the same name, 2009)
Between July 26, 2008 and March 2009, a new manga series entitled Slayers Light Magic (スレイヤーズ ライト・マジック) was serialised in Kadokawa Shoten's Kerokero Ace. The series was written by Yoshijirō Muramatsu and illustrated Shin Sasaki, and set in a technological world instead of a fantasy world.
In July 1998, Central Park Media announced they had licensed the manga for distribution in North America. On June 15, 1999, Slayers: Medieval Mayhem was released. The four-volume series Slayers Special was published between October 12, 2002, and June 25, 2003. A seven-volume series Super-Explosive Demon Story followed between July 9, 2002 and December 1, 2004. Finally, Slayers Premium was published in North America on July 5, 2005.
Anime television series
The self-titled first season of the anime adapts volumes 1 and 3 of the light novels. The second season, Slayers NEXT, adapts volumes 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 of the light novels. The third season, Slayers TRY, is an original story. However, a fourth season, Slayers AGAIN, was rumored following the success of TRY, but early scheduling conflicts caused interest in the project to dissipate.
A fourth anime series, Slayers Revolution, premiered in Japan on July 2, 2008. Megumi Hayashibara, the voice actress for main character Lina Inverse, performed both the opening and ending theme songs. The new plot is told across two 13-episode arcs and follows an original storyline that has subplots based on events in the novels, with series director Takashi Watanabe and production studio J.C.Staff reprising their duties from the three original TV series. A fifth Slayers series titled Slayers Evolution-R is the second 13-episode arc of Slayers Revolution and was aired on AT-X starting on January 12, 2009 in Japan.
Central Park Media licensed and distributed the anime in North America under the Software Sculptors label on VHS and Laserdisc between 1996 and 1998, collected in eight volumes. It was a commercial success for Central Park, which led them to license Slayers NEXT and Slayers TRY; NEXT was first shipped from April 1999 in a similar format. A box set of the first four volumes was released in July 1999, and a box set of the second four volumes in October. Slayers TRY was released later in 2000. The first three seasons were subsequently re-released on DVD (in season box sets). Months before Central Park's license for the anime properties expired, FUNimation Entertainment was able to obtain the license and it aired as part of the new owner's programming block on CoLours TV, as well as the FUNimation Channel. The first bilingual DVD box set after FUNimation's rescue of the license was released on August 27, 2007 retaining the Software Sculptors-produced English dub. A boxset of Slayers, NEXT and TRY was released by Funimation on August 4, 2009.
Fox Kids won the rights to broadcast Slayers but eventually did not air the anime since it would be too heavy to edit it for content. The first North American television broadcast of The Slayers was February 17, 2002 on the International Channel. In 2009, MVM Films began releasing the series in the United Kingdom on a monthly basis. The first series was released on four DVDs between January 5, and April 6, 2009. The first volume of Slayers NEXT was released on May 11, 2009. Episodes have also been made available on the streaming video sites Hulu, YouTube, Crackle, Anime News Network, Netflix, and Funimation's website.
FUNimation licensed both Slayers Revolution and Slayers Evolution-R for American release; the episodes in Japanese with English subtitles were uploaded to YouTube, as well as Funimation's website in July 2009. Funimation contracted NYAV Post to produce the English version of the series, with dialogue being recorded in both New York City and Los Angeles. NYAV Post was able to reunite most of the original Central Park Media main character cast for the new season. However, Michael Sinterniklaas replaced David Moo as Xellos. Other notable characters, such as Sylphiel, Prince Phil, and Naga the Serpent were also recast with new voice actors. In December 2009, Funimation announced that the first Slayers Revolution boxset would be released on March 16, 2010. Funimation released the first four English-dubbed episodes of Slayers Revolution to YouTube on January 19, 2010. They have also uploaded the first two English-dubbed episodes of Evolution-R to YouTube and released Evolution-R on DVD in June 2010. Funimation released both Slayers Revolution and Evolution-R on Blu-ray on September 21, 2010  Both seasons were later re-released together in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack. Both Revolution and Evolution-R made their North American television debut when they began airing on the FUNimation Channel on September 6, 2010.
Original video animations
- The first OVA series, Slayers Special (スレイヤーズスペシャル), consists of three individual episodes directed by Hiroshi Watanabe. The first episode was released in Japan on July 25, 1996 by Kadokowa Shoten and J.C.Staff, approximately 10 months following broadcast of the final episode of the original anime series.
- A second three-episode OVA series, Slayers Excellent (スレイヤーズエクセレント) followed in 1998, also directed by Watanabe and produced by J.C.Staff.
In North America, Slayers Special was initially sold as two separate titles, Slayers: Dragon Slave and Slayers: Explosion Array on VHS by licensee ADV Films. All three episodes were later compiled into Slayers: The Book of Spells, shipped on November 21, 2000. ADV Films released all the OVAs to VHS and DVD in both North America and the UK.
- Slayers The Motion Picture, also known as Slayers Perfect (or Slayers the Movie: Perfect Edition) and originally released in Japan simply as Slayers (スレイヤーズ), is a 1995 film written by Kazuo Yamazaki, based on an original story by Hajime Kanzaka, and directed by Yamazaki and Hiroshi Watanabe.
- Slayers Return (スレイヤーズ RETURN, Sureiyāzu ritān), also known as Slayers Movie 2 - The Return, is a 1996 film written by Kanzaka and directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and Hiroshi Watanabe. It was adapted into a standalone manga.
- Slayers Great (スレイヤーズ ぐれえと, Sureiyāzu gurēto) is a 1997 film written by Kanzaka and directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, Hiroshi Watanabe and Yoshimatsu Takahiro.
- Slayers Gorgeous (スレイヤーズごうじゃす, Sureiyāzu gōjasu) is a 1998 film written by Kanzaka and directed by Hiroshi Watanabe.
- Slayers Premium (スレイヤーズぷれみあむ, Sureiyāzu puremiamu) is a 2001 short film written and directed by Junichi Satō.
Most of the films were produced by J.C.Staff and licensed for home video release in North America by ADV Films. Slayers Premium was animated by Hal Film Maker.
- Slayers Extra aka Slayers EX (four episodes, loosely (with Gourry replacing Naga and set after the first season of the anime television series) adapted from Slayers Special novels, 1995–1996)
- Slayers N'extra (four episodes, adapted from Slayers Special novels, 1997)
- Slayers Premium (one episode, prologue and epilogue to Slayers Premium movie, 2002)
- Slayers VS Orphen (one episode, adapted from Slayers VS Orphen novel, 2005)
- The Return of Slayers EX (帰って来たスレイヤーズエクス, Kaette Kita Slayers EX) (three episodes, 2006)
The series was adapted into an add-on for the Japanese role-playing game system MAGIUS (Slayers MAGIUS RPG). In 2003, Guardians of Order published a licensed role-playing game The Slayers d20 using the d20 System, as well as three guidebooks including pages of game statistics in their Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) game system for the TV series' major characters, spells and weapons. A collectible card game Slayers Fight (スレイヤーズふぁいと) was developed by ORG and published by Kadokawa Shoten between 1999 and 2001.
A series of five Slayers role-playing video games were released exclusively in Japan between 1994 and 1998. Two different 16-bit games titled simply Slayers (including the one for the Super Famicom) were released in 1994. Three 32-bit / CD-ROM games followed in the late 1990s: Slayers Royal in 1997 and Slayers Royal 2 and Slayers Wonderful in 1998. In addition, Lina and other Slayers main characters have been featured in several other video games in crossover and guest appearances, in particular in mobile games since the late 2010s.
Including the spin-off series, the Slayers novels had 18 million copies in print by 2015. As of 2018, this number had grown to over 20 million copies. Writing in 2020, Iyane Agossah from DualShockers opined Slayers "is still rarely equaled 30 years later, with an incredible mix of comedy and tragedy, an intricate amount of world-building, great story developments and iconic characters."
Of the various media which make up the Slayers franchise, the anime has by far reached the largest audience and is considered to be one of the most popular series of the 1990s, both in Japan and abroad. As it is a parody of the high fantasy genre, the series' driving force lies in comic scenarios alluding to other specific anime, or more general genre tropes and clichés. Its focus on humor and entertainment and "old school" anime feel make it a nostalgic classic to many. According to Anime News Network's Daryl Surat, 1996 was the best year of Slayers anime with the releases of Next and Return. Slayers Next took the third place as the overall best anime of 1996 in the Anime Grand Prix '97 awards (in addition to winning in the category best female character), while the next year's series Slayers Try placed second but technically also third (the first place was a tie between the films Mononoke Hime and The End of Evangelion) in 1998.
Slayers was sometimes compared with Record of Lodoss War, another hit Japanese fantasy franchise that began around the same time. In Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Needs to Know, Gilles Poitras wrote: "More humorous and less serious looking than the characters in the Lodoss War series, the stars of Slayers provide action and laughs." In The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917, Helen McCarthy similarly called it "the antidote to the deadly serious Record of Lodoss War, with a cynical cast modeled on argumentative role-players. (...) Ridiculing its own shortcomings, Slayers has successfully kept a strong following that watches for what some might call biting satire, and others bad workmen blaming their tools." Joseph Luster of Otaku USA called it "the very definition of an all-encompassing media franchise. (...) Slayers certainly has that in its memorable lineup, and they'll likely cast some sort of spell on you, regardless of age." Paul Thomas Chapman from the same magazine voiced a more reserved opinion about this "franchise whose remarkable longevity and popularity is matched only by its remarkable averageness," especially regarding the various aspects of the TV series, but which was still appealing to him and making him return to it when he looks for a light entertainment.
- List of Slayers songs
- Lost Universe, a science fiction comedy series set in one of the dimensions parallel to that of Slayers
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