Slayers (スレイヤーズ Sureiyāzu?) is a series of over 52 light novels written by Hajime Kanzaka and illustrated by Rui Araizumi. It was later developed into several manga titles, five televised anime series, two three-episode original video animations (OVAs), and five movies. It also spanned three console role-playing games for the PlayStation, as well as one for the Super Famicom (known internationally as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System). Slayers is a Dungeons & Dragons inspired narrative that follows the adventures of the young 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, dark lords, and the occasional hapless gang of bandits. The series is considered to be one of the most popular of the 1990s.
Setting and magic
In the Slayers universe the Lord of Nightmares is the ultimate being, the creator of at least four parallel worlds. The Claire Bible, an artifact containing the knowledge of a fallen shinzoku, Aqualord Ragradia, states that the Lord of Nightmares seeks to regain its "true form", which is only attainable by destroying these worlds and returning them to the chaos 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 demons (mazoku, lit. "evil race"), fighting without end. Should the gods win the war in a world, that world will be at peace. Should the demons win, the world will be destroyed and returned to the Sea of Chaos. In Lina's world, the supreme god is Flare Dragon Ceiphied, and the supreme demon is the Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo. 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 sealing them within human souls. As the souls are reincarnated, the individual fragments would therefore be worn down until Shabranigdo himself would be destroyed. However, Ceiphied was so exhausted by this that he himself sank into the Sea of Chaos, leaving 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 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 spell 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 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.
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Script error Slayers was originally serialized in Dragon Magazine in 1989 as a Light Novel series written by Hajime Kanzaka, and with artwork by Rui Araizumi. The serialized chapters were then published as Slayers across 15 volumes from January 25, 1990 to May 15, 2000. On September 7, 2004, Tokyopop began releasing the light novels in English. On January 2, 2008, they released Volume 8.
Slayers Special is a spin-off prequel series of 30 novels published from 1991 to 2008. Each consisting of one-shot stories (sometimes, 2-chapters stories) chronically the exploits of Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent before the events in "Slayers". Three additional volumes were released under a new series title, "Slayers Smash" in July 2008, January 2009, and October 2010. The series is ongoing.
A four volume prequel featuring Line and Naga, Slayers Delicious were 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.
- Slayers (1 volume, illustrated by Rui Araizumi, original story, published in 1995, reedited in 2001, also known as Slayers Medieval Mayhem)
- Chōbaku Mahōden Slayers (original name: 超爆魔道伝スレイヤーズ, 8 volumes, illustrated by Shoko Yoshinaka, adapted from Slayers main novels 1-8, 4th volume adapted from Slayers Return movie, 1995–2001, also known as Super Explosive Demon Story Slayers)
- Slayers Special (4 volumes, illustrated by Tommy Ohtsuka, adapted from Slayers Special novels, 2000–2001)
- Slayers Premium (1 volume, illustrated by Tommy Ohtsuka, adapted from the movie of the same name)
- Slayers Knight of the Aqualord (6 volumes, illustrated by Tomy Ohtsuka, original story, 2003–2005)
- Slayers Revolution (1 volume, illustrated by Issei Hyouji, original story)
- Slayers Evolution-R (still being published in Monthly Dragon Age, illustrated by Issei Hyouji, original story)
- Slayers Legend (2 volume compilation from old Slayers manga, with chapters from Slayers and Choubaku Mahouden Slayers, and a new manga called Slayers: Falshes no Sunadokei, Slayers: the Hourglass of Falshes)
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 4 volume series Slayers Special was published between October 12, 2002, and June 25, 2003  Super-Explosive Demon Story, a 7 volume series, followed Between July 9, 2002 and December 1, 2004. Finally, On July 5, 2005, Slayers Premium was released.
Between July 26, 2008 and March 2009, a new series entitled Slayers Light Magic began serialisation in Kadokawa Shoten's Kerokero Ace. The series is written by Yoshijirō Muramatsu and Shin Sasaki, and set in a technological world instead of a fantasy world.
Script error The first of the four seasons of the anime bore the franchise's title. The second season was titled Slayers NEXT, and the third season was titled Slayers TRY. A fourth season, Slayers AGAIN, was rumored following the success of TRY, but early scheduling conflicts caused interest in the project to dissipate.
The series was released in North America by Software Sculptors, who released the first series on VHS and Laserdisc in 1996, with a choice of dub or subtitles. Four volumes were made, covering the first thirteen episodes. Episodes 14-26 weren't released until 1998. Slayers NEXT was released on VHS from April 1999 in subtitled and English dubbed options. A boxset of the first four volumes was released in July 1999, and a boxset of the second four volumes was released in October of the same year. Slayers TRY was released later the next year. Central Park Media also released the first three seasons on DVD (in season box sets) in early 2000. They were also re-released a few years later.
In May 2005, at Anime Central in Rosemont, FUNimation Entertainment announced they obtained the license for the TV series, since the previous owner's license expired in Fall 2005. It aired as part of the FUNimation programming block on CoLours TV. and the first bilingual DVD box set was released on August 27, 2007 containing the Central Park Media dub. A boxset of Slayers, Slayers NEXT and Slayers TRY was released by Funimation on August 4, 2009.
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.
A fourth anime series, Slayers Revolution, premiered in Japan on July 2, 2008. Megumi Hayashibara performed both the opening and ending theme songs. The new plot to be 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. 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 and NYAV Post were able to reunite most of the original Central Park Media main character cast for the dubbing of the new season. However, Michael Sinterniklaas replaced David Moo as Xellos. Other notable characters were also recast. In December 2009, Funimation announced that the first "Slayers Revolution" boxset will be released on March 16, 2010. Funimation released the first 4 English dubbed episodes of Slayers Revolution to YouTube on January 19, 2010. They have also uploaded the First 2 English dubbed episodes of Evolution-R to YouTube. They released Evolution-R to DVD in June 2010. Funimation released both Slayers Revolution and Evolution-R to Blu-ray on September 21, 2010 
Two OVA series followed the anime series. Slayers Special (スレイヤーズスペシャル?) consisted of 3 individual episodes directed by Hiroshi Watanabe and released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten and J.C. Staff. The first episode was released in Japan on July 25, 1996 on Laserdisc and VHS. In North America, Slayers Special was initially released on as two separate titles, Slayers: Dragon Slave and Slayers: Explosion Array. On January 12, 1999, ADV Films released Slayers: Explosion Array! on VHS in a choice of subtitled and dubbed options. On November 21, 2000, ADV Films released Slayers: Book of Spells, containing all 3 Slayers Special episodes.
- Slayers The Motion Picture (Movie, 1995)
- Slayers Return (Movie, 1996)
- Slayers Great (Movie, 1997)
- Slayers Gorgeous (Movie, 1998)
- Slayers Premium (Short movie, 2001)
All films were produced by the J.C. Staff, and released to VHS and DVD in North America by ADV Films.
- SLAYERS Return (1 Volume, adapted from Slayers Return movie, 1996)
- SLAYERS Great (1 Volume, adapted from Slayers Great movie, 1997)
- SLAYERS Gorgeous (1 Volume, adapted from Slayers Gorgeous movie, 1998)
- Slayers Extra (4 episodes, adapted from Slayers Special novels, 1995–1996)
- Slayers N'extra (4 episodes, adapted from Slayers Special novels, 1997)
- Slayers Premium (1 episode, prologue and epilogue to Slayers Premium movie, 2002)
- Slayers VS Orphen (1 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?) (new Radio-Drama, 3 episodes for the time being, 2006)
In August 2003, Guardians of Order published a licensed Slayers RPG that used the d20 System, and three guidebooks that included pages of game stats in Guardians of Order's BESM game system for major characters, spells and weapons.
Several Slayers role playing games have been released in Japan. Slayers was released by Banpresto on Super Famicom on June 24, 1994. Another game entitled Slayers was released for NEC PC-9801. Slayers Royal was released by Kadokawa Shoten for Sega Saturn on July 25, 1997. and by ESP Software for PlayStation on June 25, 1998. A sequel, Slayers Royal 2 was released on Sega Saturn by ESP Software on September 3, 1998 and on PlayStation on July 11, 1999. Slayers Wonderful was published by Banpresto for PlayStation on October 22, 1998.
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Script error 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. A parody of the high fantasy genre, the series's driving force lies in comic scenarios alluding to other specific anime, or more general genre tropes and cliches. Due to the series' comedic nature, less development is given to plot and characters, which some consider predictable. Never the less, the series' focus on humor and entertainment and "old school" anime feel make it a nostalgic classic to many.
In Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Needs to Know, Giles Poitras wrote "More humorous and less serious looking than the characters in the Lodoss War series, the stars of Slayers provide action and laughs".
- FUNimation's Official Slayers Website
- Enoki Films' Slayers website, with plot summary and a short episode synopsis of episodes 1-78
- Slayers (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- FUNImation's Teaser Site for Slayers: Revolution
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