Tue 1 Jul 2008
Just a few days… only a few days remain until… heheheh… AH HAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHA!
This is for your own good. *aims Mk22 Hush Puppy*
Oh come on, Dio! Surely I have every right to be excited! Slayers Revolution is mere days from launch!
Well, yes, but I’m sick of getting calls about whether or not we’re keeping a madman in here.
Surely you jest! Why, EVERYONE should be excited about this momentous occasion! It’s been ELEVEN YEARS since a proper season of Slayers aired!
And if anyone remembered Slayers well enough, that’d be important…
They… DON’T… remember Slayers?
You said it yourself. 11 years.
BUT IT’S A CLASSIC! It wasn’t groundbreaking or anything, but it should at LEAST be as well remembered as things like Cowboy Bebop or Neon Genesis Evangelion! It’s the series that GOT ME HOOKED ON ANIME FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
Calm down, bud. I love the show too. The problem is the bloggers. Most of them, at least to my knowledge, are focused on new series, and often don’t go back to the old ones.
Are they so new to the gig that they completely missed it…? Were they introduced to anime through internet fansubs…? Dio, my brewing buddy, this is a CONUNDRUM. The best show of the summer is set to come out, and many bloggers may give it a pass because they have no clue what’s going on.
This can mean only one thing… WE MUST PREPARE THE ANIME COMMUNITY OF TODAY FOR A REVOLUTION! COME, DIO! We must make a primer for the readers!
Do we have to? I want to see if I can replicate myself with the spore creature creator.
Fine… where do we want to start?
Let’s start with what the new viewers are going to see first as the series begins… The characters.
Do we start with the most dangerous, or the most important?
It’s the same either way. Everyone, meet our Heroine, the lovely firebrand Lina Inverse!
“Watch the new season, kids, or I’ll roast you alive!”
Firebrand is right. Not to mention Explosive, Hotheaded, and anything that suggests burning or destruction.
But that’s what happens when you have a truly strong female lead, both in character and in sheer power. Back in the day, Lina did everything Haruhi-sama does now, and she had enough firepower to level cities in seconds. Even among modern series, she still stands out as unique and enchanting.
Come off it. I know youre just afraid of what shell do if you bad mouth her. Little brat…
No, I’m quite serious. The qualities she possesses are much the same as the ones that get me to like characters such as Kaname from Full Metal Panic!?. There’s just something about the actually outgoing and assertive proto-tsundere that appeals here. You, on the other hand, seem to be one snide remark away from being fricasseed.
So by qualities are you referring to the naked greed? Or perhaps the hair trigger temper? And let’s not forget her being so oversensitive about the obviously inferior figure she posses-
Imma gonna take a ten yard leap over here for a moment…
Yes, she is rather sensitive about that sort of thing, but honestly, I don’t think she’s bad on the eyes at all. It’s just that every other girl in her world seems to be a bit luckier than her in that one respect.
Yeah. I know. But I had to take one for the team. People need to know what to expect. *Douses Self*
But more on that later. As Slayers is a series seemingly lifted straight from a Japanese RPG world with lots of magic, Lina fills the role of a Black Magician Girl.
And in a DnD game, she represents the sort of insane player who insists on blowing up EVERYTHING they meet. And then looting their corpses.
Her trademark in the anime has always been gratuitous launching of Dragon Slaves, the most powerful and flashiest spell in conventional Black Magic, calling upon the power of the World’s Dark Lord, Ruby Eyed Shabranigdu himself.
So when they have to fight him directly, it doesn’t work out so easily.
But that’s something to talk about when we get to the plot that has been so far. Next on the character list is Lina’s foil, the idiot to her straight woman. The eternally thickheaded jellyfish-brained Gourry Gabriev.
Who may actually have a head full of pudding.
“Where am I, again? What’s a blog, anyway? Is it a kind of tree branch?”
Gourry here exists in the story for a few reasons. First is to provide exposition. If there’s any legend in the world, any famous person, any simple fact of history at all, you can count on Gourry to have no idea what people are talking about, giving a nice segue for Lina to explain what something is like in the world.
Second, he’s there to be silly. And covers it in spades. The guy may be, by and large, the dumbest character in any anime.
Just about every time he doesn’t understand something, he goes right for the most obvious pun he can think of, just because he can. One such example is where someone mentions an “Outer World” (japanese: ikai), and Lina, starting to see a pattern in his thinking, tells Gourry to stop before he can pull out the squid (ika) and clamshell (kai) he has hidden behind his back.
Yeah, thats the only problem I have with him. How do you keep track of puns in another language?
Lots of studying. Anyway, his third role is that of the Big Tough Guy. The only dedicated Fighter in a team filled with Magic users, Gourry has to rely on his brute strength to fight.
His brute force, and his nifty magic absorbing/amplifying light saber, of course.
Ah yes, the Sword of Light. A wonderful little magic artifact that allows him to actually fight the bulk of the enemies the party faces… but more on that later. His fourth and final role… is to be Lina’s romantic interest.
I’d make a joke about masochism, but I still smell like smoke, so let’s not go there. Its really cute, actually. Lina, after all, is a teenage girl, and she gets shy when confronted with emotional issues.
The relationship isn’t HEAVILY touched upon, but it is there, and leads to a nice chemistry between the two. Right from the start, the two work well together, with Gourry deciding to escort Lina where she wishes to go because he’s just a nice guy like that, and declaring himself her bodyguard in the process. Not that she needs one, but it’s a nice gesture, really.
And that wraps up our Main Couple.
Next is… oh dear god.
RUN! RUN BEFORE SHE STARTS SPEECHING!
“The Hammer of Justice, Amelia Wil Tesla Saillune appears! COWER IN FEAR, EVILDOERS!”
Amelia is… well, she’s special, I guess you can say. The daughter of the most Gar character in the series, the huge, manly pacifist Prince Philionel (who can take on minor demons with his BARE HANDS), Amelia has grown up worshiping hero figures, and would really fit in well in a Magical Girl or Sentai show.
Though the other characters would eventually ask her to tone down the justice talk a tad.
In Slayers, when Gourry isn’t the comic relief, she usually is. Every encounter she finds the highest place on the battlefield to stand tall and deliver a speech on justice before jumping down into a nicely placed pratfall.
There’s also the part where, before the speech, she gasps for breath for a good 20 seconds while up on the tree, or tall cliff, or Space Needle, or wherever.
She so desperately wants to be Gar in her own right, which would be cute if she wasn’t so loud all the time. In terms of ability, she’s sort of an oddball, dabbling in a little of every kind of magic, and even learning some of the highest level of both White and Shamanistic magic, which we’ll talk about in a bit. Of course, she also invents her own spells that create little magic boxing gloves so that she can punch demons in the face.
So of course, when they meet what is apparently an actual sentai team, she is absolutely ecstatic.
Crazy little hero complex girl. Next is the man who desperately wants to be a loner (but the rest of the cast won’t have it), Zelgadis Greywords.
“Why do I keep hanging out with those people?”
Despite it all, you do have to feel for the guy a little bit. He was transformed into a rather freakish creature against his will by his ancestor, and thats the LEAST of his problems. He’s a serious, semi-angsty character who travels with Lina and crew.
Originally the Dragon for the first Big Bad, Zelgadis does a rather fast Heel Face Turn when he realizes that he hates said Big Bad for turning him in to a freak in the first place.
And from then on in his luck suffers greatly.
While in the first season he has emotional connections with the villains, in Next and TRY his given reason for adventuring is “finding a way to turn himself back to normal,” and much to his chagrin Lina and company are more than happy to help him. Not that he ever finds a way to turn him back, and more often than not his nature of being a third Blow Demon and a third Golem comes in handy enough that he actually seems to like his form when it proves useful.
But he hates the fact, and is somewhat aware of it, that he is essentially there as a form of comic relief most of the time.
Because emo loners are funny. In terms of skill, he fulfills the role of Magic Swordsman; while he lacks a powerful artifact for a sword, his skill with Shamanistic magic usually makes up for it. Too bad every time he tries to use his most powerful spell, the Rah Tilt, it never seems to work.
For all the effect it has, you could call it “light suntan.”
But then, the spell is a powerful blast from one of the planes of magic… that most of the enemies he uses it on actually EXIST primarily in, and tend to be fairly potent in that plane. Regardless, it further cements the concept that the poor guy can’t catch a break.
But he can certainly do a lot of other things. Pick locks, play the guitar, read ancient languages…
If there’s a skill in it, he seems to have ranks in it. Unless he took the Jack of All Trades feat. Which still doesn’t explain why he’s so GOOD at most of the random stuff he does.
I’m guessing he’s channeling anger and annoyance into constructive activity. It’s probably what keeps him from going on a rampage with his sword after Lina uses him as a boat anchor for the fifth time.
The fifth major character confirmed for returning will likely play a less prominent role than these four… but the scenes he’s in he’ll likely steal.
He steals anything you leave unintended around him, if it’s something he can use, after all.
Meet Xelloss, the “Mysterious Priest.” He has many secrets.
“I love being me!”
Shown here happy. If he’s not happy, run. On second thought, if he’s happy, run anyways.
That is because he is unequivocally, absolutely, 100%, EVIL. Of the chaotic sort. He’s probably the most cheerful Chaotic Evil character ever.
That’s probably because his entire race is Chaotic Evil. I’d call this a spoiler, but we’re YEARS past that. Xelloss is a member of what is called the Mazoku race. Essentially, Demons.
But not just any old member of the Mazoku. He’s the strongest Mazoku not of Lord level, making him at current the fourth strongest Mazoku in the world, and either fourth or fifth strongest BEING in the world.
You’re edging close to losing them, I think. We aren’t explaining enough of what it all means, magic and mazoku, and dark lords, and so forth.
Then perhaps it’s time we started talking about the world, one of my favorite fantasy worlds ever conceived. But where to start…
Magic. It all comes from there.
Right then. Magic it is, for the next topic. In the world of Slayers, there are three major types of magic. White, Shamanistic, and Black.
And then theres OTHER.
The “Other” Dio speaks of is where everything begins. The creator of the Slayers Multiverse, the Plane the Slayers story takes place on and three others besides; the Mother of All Things, the shining gold Sea of Chaos.
The Lord of Nightmares, more formally. There are only two spells that call upon this existence, but boy are they doozies. So much that before I talk about them I’d like to talk about the lesser magic. First, White Magic, the school of healing and exorcism. Mostly used as quick heal spells, but it holds the distinction for being the kind of magic used to defeat the first season’s final baddie.
Because Revive Kills Zombies.
Well, yes, but not in this case, actually. It was weird. Anyhow, next is the most diverse field of magic, Shamanism, which calls upon the four elements and spiritual energy to create a variety of useful spells, ranging from simple flying and light spells all the way to massive fireballs, huge bursts of water, earthquakes, blasts of wind, and the aforementioned Rah Tilt.
Shamanism is good, but my problem with it is how its defined. Particularly the fiery spells, there is very little to differentiate many shamanistic spells from the next category.
That is, of course, Black Magic, spells which call upon power from Mazoku. The most powerful Black Magic calls upon the five lords, Hellmaster Phibrizzo, Demon Dragon King Gaav, Beastmaster Zellas, Deep Sea Dolphin, and Dynast Grausherra, as well as the Dark Lord Ruby Eyed Shabranigdu himself. Lina is primarily a student of this school because she considers it the flashiest.
I still don’t get why using black magic of this sort, directly drawing on the powers of evil, does not have the SLIGHTEST effect on practitioners.
Because quite thankfully, the universe of Slayers isn’t overly and stupidly complicated like a White Wolf setting. However, attempting to use one of these black magic spells on the Mazozu that the spell draws power from, or even a stronger Mazoku than that, will mostly be met with a chuckle followed shortly by your death.
Or a chuckle DURING your death.
This is because of the Mazoku physiology. Mazoku are creatures that primarily exist in the “Astral Plane,” where spiritual energy resides, and their appearance in the physical world is but a small part of their actual nature. And unless your astral presence is bigger than theirs, which most humans certainly are not, they can easily kick your ass from here to next Sunday.
And they will, happily. Mazoku are the embodiments of darkness and chaos in the world. Above all else, they wish to destroy. And they feed off negative emotions. Fear, hatred, pain, jealousy…
Technically, every Mazoku stems from Ruby Eye Shabranigdu. Mazoku create more Mazoku by breaking off a portion of their own power to create minions. Shabranigdu created five, the lords I listed above, and each of those Lords in turn created one to four primary minions, who created their own minions, and so on.
It’s like tribbles from star trek, only much more dangerous, and in varying numbers, and really now that I think about it that comparison makes no sense.
About the only existence that can go toe to toe with Mazoku without supernatural aid are the Shinzoku, the race of Gods, which is much less proactive and much smaller than the Mazoku race.
They don’t waste as much energy making minions, but that means that they are limited in number, and don’t have the same scope of influence. Really, from what we see in Slayers, the Mazoku hold all the cards, and the Gods arent even THERE.
The fight between the Mazoku and the Shinzoku happened long before the series begins chronologically. The first battle, between Shabranigdu and the Flare Dragon Ceipheed, raged for hundreds and thousands of years before Shabranigdu was divided into seven pieces and sealed around the world as Ceipheed had to divide his own power into four. The next major battle, the War of the Monsters Fall, took place 1000 years prior to the the series chronologically, and involved one of the pieces of Shabranigdu awakening.
It ended up with one of the four Dragon Lords dead, but the piece of Shabby frozen in ice forever and one of his five subordinates maimed. Also, that part of the world was then sealed off from the rest.
The toll on the Mazoku at the end of the War of the Monsters Fall was so great it severely impeded the Mazoku’s ability to achieve their goals, which presumably is what has allowed the Human race to flourish. Which brings us to the start of the Slayers story, and the saga of Lina Inverse.
Also known as Enemy of all who Live, Bandit Slayer, Dra-mata(a contraction of a japanese phrase that essentially means “so mean even dragons just keep walking past”), and a few other names that she really doesn’t seem to like.
The “All-there-in-the-manual” backstory of Lina Inverse holds that she is the younger sister of Luna Inverse, Knight of Ceipheed, most powerful human being alive, capable of cutting dragon slaves with a kitchen knife… and reportedly very cruel to her sibling and very much stuck in her part time job as a waitress. Lina supposedly began adventuring because her sister told her to, likely as part of a “builds character” argument.
Don’t bother confusing the readers (heh) with characters that don’t even appear in the show. Consider what talking about that did to poor Dominic.
How very true. Luna’s very existence is a pure fan-tease. She never actually appears in any media other than brief cameos in the opening themes. Anyway, before the TV series proper, Lina had a number of adventures with one Naga the Serpent (adventures detailed in the OVA and Movie segments of the story), the frightening runaway older sister of Amelia, before finally getting rid of her and running into Gourry.
And from there into the series proper. Three so far.
All three of the series have two story arcs, one for each half of the season and divided by some of the best filler in anime. The first two seasons are roughly based on the novels, but since this post is in preparation for the new TV series, we will only discuss the TV series. The first series, simply named The Slayers, focuses primarily on its Big Bad, Rezo the Red Priest, and the effects of his mad search for a cure to his blindness.
Said effects include the unsealing of a demon lord, and an angsty clone of himself.
The first story arc deals with arguably the biggest threat Lina has had to face. Sealed within Rezo’s eyes was a piece of Shabranigdu himself, and when Rezo’s plan to summon the beast in exchange for curing his eyes ended up turning him INTO the Dark Lord. And ultimately to fight and defeat him, Lina had to call upon her most powerful spell, one in a level all of it’s own.
And thus we finally get back to what I declared to be OTHER spells.
The spell in question is the Giga Slave, a spell of Lina’s own creation when she discovered the existence of the Lord of Nightmares. She initially thought it to be simply another Dark Lord, one above even Shabranigdu, and that her creation merely called upon its power like any other black magic. Even in that (incomplete) state, with the Sword of Light as a control amplifier and a little bit of Rezo’s lingering conciousness holding back the full might of the beast, Lina was able to cast the spell and destroy the piece of Shabranigdu.
Lets skip ahead a bit, because this blog post is starting to become an epic. Blah blah blah angsty clone of Rezo blah blah unstoppable superbeast blah blah end of season. We should just focus on that plot element, so lets go to Next.
Very well then. Lina’s accomplishment earns her a fair deal of attention from many sources. After a relatively minor run-in with said angsty clone seeking vengeance, Lina starts having an increasingly large number of run ins with Mazoku. The two story arcs of the second season, Slayers Next, detail this story. The Mazoku at first seem very determined to destroy her, and so she begins seeking information about how to defeat them without again relying on the Giga Slave, which she is told from a number of sources actually has the potential of returning the entire world to nothingness if cast improperly.
To the point that essentially a minor God shows her, in a lovely little Nightmare image, just how things fall apart.
Over the course of this story, Lina not only discovers another, less dangerous spell that calls upon the power of the Lord of Nightmares, the Ragna Blade, she ends up learning the true nature of the Lord of Nightmares. This knowledge helps her defeat the rebel Mazoku Lord Demon Dragon Gaav… only to have Hellmaster Phibrizzo create a situation in which she is forced to cast the Giga Slave, now completed and even more dangerous for it.
I said earlier spoiling doesn’t matter, but are you sure we should explain what happens at this one?
I’d rather not go into the full details of this, as it is the most impressive story in all of Slayers. Hopefully, giving this tidbit of information will be enough to get people to go out and experience the series itself, as it truly is excellent.
OK. *ahem* This part is really awesome. Clearly everyone should watch it, since due to us choosing not to talk about it, there’s no other way for you to learn about it. *wink*
That brings us to the third season, TRY, which brings us to the discussion of Slayers filler. For two reasons: Try is the first major story not derived from the source material, and the filler of Slayers is actually among the best filler in anime.
Have you even mentioned the source material yet?
As I said before, Slayers was initially a novel series. When adapted to anime, the animators took a number of liberties with the story. While the first arc is a fairly faithful, if embellished, retelling of the first novel, the rest of the first season and the entirety of Next are rearranged and altered novel stories, with many events changed simply due to the members of the party present and the characters added to the series.
And then they got bored with the novels, I guess, and made Try.
Actually, I believe it was a case of the anime catching up to the novels.
While good for the most part, Try has some issues. For example, the characters are much more severely exaggerated.
It does have the feel of a shounen filler arc, complete with a major character addition that’s one step short of being a Mary Sue. However, it makes up for it by having my favorite villain in all of Slayers, Valgaav, who has just a bit more motivation for wanting to destroy everything than that just being what he does.
Essentially everyone has pissed him off, or done horrible things to him, at one time or another, so hes a bit touchy, to say the least.
But while TRY is fine and dandy, even as filler, the true filler that shines in Slayers is what I refer to as “mid-season filler,” a set of four episodes starting at 14 or 15 each season which showcase the most madcap standalone stories in the series.
You really are going to insist on telling them everything about the show, aren’t you?
And why shouldn’t I? Ten years from now if a new Gurren Lagann shows up, wouldn’t you want to tell all those damn kids about how awesome Gurren Lagann was and why they should care?
I plan to have a shotgun and tell them all to get off my lawn.
Whatever. Anyway, the Mid-season fillers are as I said hilarious little side stories that show Slayers at its finest sense of humor. With full-episode length jokes about Pop Singing, Horror Stories, Sentai Teams, and the seasonal Crossdressing Episode, just to name a few.
You skipped the pig.
Oh yeah, and there’s one really trippy weird midseason filler involving the strangest take on Alice in Wonderland ever, complete with Penguins and a Pig.
Stranger than Card Captor Sakura’s version?
Card Captor Sakura’s Alice in Wonderland episode is one which helped us coin the term “Sillevil,” meaning insane mixtures of Silly and Evil… and I would put Slayers TRY’s Alice in Wonderland episode as stranger. At least CCS played it semi-straight.
I contend your point with an evil queen winged lion, but I don’t care enough to contend further.
Those penguins beg to differ.
DON’T INTERRUPT OUR MARCHING! *popguns Dio*
Aha! You missed! *clonk*. Ow.
So anyway, to wrap this up, what all can we expect from the upcoming Slayers REVOLUTION?
Well, yes. It’s a first episode tradition to blow something up spectacularly with the Dragon Slave, so explosions will be around right off the bat. As for what has been revealed, interviews about the series indicate that at least part of the series will be an adaptation of the second half of the Novel series. Of course, in keeping with Slayers anime tradition we’re also adding new anime-exclusive characters right off the bat. Promotional videos, art and manga indicate specifically the presence of a strange little creature that resembles a Cheagle from Tales of the Abyss. Hopefully it won’t be as annoying as Cheagles, though.
But enough about that, I finished! There are already more of me in the internet!
…Well, I see you’ve been busy. I’m impressed.
Another step to total world microbe domination!
Whoo boy. I’ll leave you to that… Anyway! Watch Slayers REVOLUTION! It’ll brighten your summer! Take care, y’all!