Beginning in the 1980s, the Slayers multimedia franchise has had a sprawling history that can make jumping into it an incredibly intimidating experience. The series includes light novels, manga, anime, movies and even video games, many of which were anime fans' first exposure to the medium, arriving in the West at the same time as the likes of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball.
The zany fantasy series is known for lampooning the genre's tropes, as well as its equally ridiculous sorceress protagonist, Lina Inverse. With a re-release of the original light novels on the horizon, here's a look back at the franchise and how to get into its various adaptations.
How to Read Slayers
The Slayers franchise began back in 1989, starting as short stories written by Hajime Kanzaka and published in Dragon Magazine. These were eventually collected into light novels, which is where the franchise began to really pick up steam. This light novel series was 15 volumes long and published between 1990 and 2000. The author also wrote an additional arc in 2018, followed by an alternate universe arc in 2019. There are also spinoffs and compilation novels: Slayers Special, Slayers Delicious, Slayers Select and Slayers Anthology.
There were also several manga adaptations, with the most recent being 2008's Slayers Light Magic. All of this reading material is surely intimidating for newcomers, but there are easy ways to get a hold of some of the foundational books. The original English translation of the novels can currently be read through Amazon Kindle, but there's also an upcoming re-release, with the new collected editions beginning their publication this summer. The manga is sadly much harder to come by, with an older release of the first volume a good bit more expensive than typical manga. Barnes and Noble has more affordable options for the manga available on the NOOK.
How to Watch Slayers
The anime was based on several different volumes of the light novel series, with the first season covering the first and third volumes in particular. The second and third seasons, Slayers NEXT and Slayers TRY, respectively, ran from 1995 to 1997, with the fourth and fifth seasons, Slayers Revolution and Slayers Evolution-R, not coming out until 2008 and 2009. These shows more loosely adapted the novels, pulling from many different volumes at once. Two OVA specials, Slayers Special and Slayers Excellent, were also produced, though their English releases split them into different movies and retitled them.
The last three seasons of the anime are available for purchase through Amazon Prime Video, while the first season is available on Hulu. Funimation all five seasons of the show available both subbed and dubbed. However, none of the movies or OVAs are available for streaming, and while Amazon offers box sets of the shows, its DVD of the original movie is incredibly expensive. But, thankfully, with the pending release of new editions of the original novels, and the anime's easy accessibility, it's never been easier to get into Slayers.