Slayers

Title - Slayers (original TV series, Next, Try, OAV's)
Publisher - Software Sculptors / ADV Films
Availability - VHS & DVD

Pros - Funny! And great voices - Megumi Hayashibara on Japanese audio track, Lisa Ortiz on English track!

Cons - Although there are many intense and serious moments, this series may be too silly for hardcore action fans. 

Overview

Slayers is a high-spirited fantasy series focusing on a young sorceress named Lina Inverse.  Lina is a very spunky individual who wields incredible magic powers (the kind that level towns and villages, not the Sailor Moon magical girls sort) in order to defeat evil doers and steal their treasure. ^_^

Lina tosses fireballs, shoots flame arrows, levitates, and even slays dragons and demons with reckless abandon.  She's often joined by Gourry Gabriev, an excellent swordsman, though not one of the brightest individuals.  Other frequent characters include Zelgadis, a cursed human with astral powers, and Amelia, a princess who also acts as a crazy agent of justice.

As far as comedy goes, Slayers is top notch.  Lina has a witty sense of humor, coming up with clever insults for her opponents before blowing them away with a spell or two.  However, even for all her power, Lina suffers the same problem that many other female spell casters do.  Her magic is greatly weakened during "that time of the month".

Slayers isn't nearly as serious as some other anime fantasy series like Record of Lodoss War, but it does have some intense action in certain episodes.  The music blends well into the show, building up at climatic moments to increase the action.  It's hard not to take things seriously when facing dark lords, after all.

One of the best features of Slayers is its top-notch voice casting, something that's hard to find in English dubbed anime.  The original Japanese language track features megastar Megumi Hayashibara as the voice of Lina Inverse, who also sings most of the intro and closing songs for the series.  But while I love Megumi Hayashibara's music, I prefer English voice-actress Lisa Ortiz (my favorite English voice-actress) as the voice of Lina.  Lisa Ortiz tends to have more edge in her witty one-liners.  While I realize this may come across partly because I don't speak Japanese, the subtitles have also been translated in a fairly straightforward manner.  As a result, there are many great spoken lines in the English dubbed version that are either added in, or just aren't funny in the subtitled dialog.

Two other important notes about the voice selection.  Gourry's voice in the English dubbed track is Eric Stuart, who has voice roles in several other anime, including Brock in Pokemon.  Also, the English dub voice cast for the OAV series released by ADV Films is completely different.  In that respect, Lina Inverse doesn't have that great a voice, and I prefer the original Japanese language track.

     

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