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volume 3 issue 12

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Slayers: Super Explosive Demon Story
Volume One: Legend of Darkness
Volume Two: Legacy of the Dragon God
Left-Right Manga
CPM Manga
Kanzaka Hajime
Yoshinaka Shoko
Knowing that Lina is 15 years old, is just plain disturbing.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Slayers: Super Explosive Demon Story Vol.1 & Vol.2
By Patrick King

More than one year ago (on September 1st, 2001, in fact), I was delighted to discover a copy of Slayers: Medieval Mayhem in the shipment for my bookstore from our distribution center. I bought it that day, read it that night, and ordered more copies in for other customers as soon as I could.

For some reason, they never made it to our store.

For more than a year, the world of Slayers didn't exist in any form in my bookstore. It was a sad year. All of a sudden, however, we received two newly published Slayers manga! One was the first volume in the "Super-Explosive Demon Story" (or "SEDS") series, and the other was the first volume of the "Slayers Special" series. Not long after this pleasing delivery, we received the second volume in the "SEDS" series, and suddenly, I was in Slayers bliss. So, here we are, checking out the first two installments of the manga version of the popular fantastic comedy.

Every anime fan should see Slayers in some form or another. Unlike heavier must-see anime (such as Evangelion, Grave of the Fireflies, or even Silent Möbius), Slayers is just plain fun to watch. I'm happy to report that reading the graphic novels has been equally entertaining. This particular series follows the story of the first season of the Slayers TV series. It shows the meeting of Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev, the former a physically underdeveloped yet magically powerful sorceress and the latter a physically overdeveloped yet mentally underdeveloped warrior wielding a legendary magical sword. For the most part, they like to eat more than anything, but their spare time is equally consumed searching for treasure of various shapes and sizes. The first few chapters are rather carefree in plot design, but soon enough, the beginnings of an ongoing story develop as Lina and Gourry are attacked by a mysterious cloaked figure. Calling himself Zelgadis (or Zegaldis...Lina and Gourry can't seem to remember which), he requests that Lina surrender a statue she stole from a pack of thieves. Not one to back down from a fight, and certainly one to hang onto her treasure tighter than Ebenezer Scrooge pinches a penny, Lina refuses Zelgadis's demand and fighting erupts. By the time the second book has come to an end, our two heroes find themselves receiving aid from Rezo, another mysterious character with incredible priestly powers.

There is definitely a deeper plot here than needs to be, which is a good thing. The whole series is full of constant cute jokes and plenty of slapstick humor, and the gags work just as well in print as they do on the television. Overall, this is a very funny series with a good plot for a backbone, so it's enjoyable to read even if you have no sense of humor.

The dimensions of each volume is about average manga size. Think Ranma 1/2 or any of Viz's other books. It's nice, but not nearly as nice as "Medieval Mayhem," which is a good inch wider and almost two inches taller (comic book size) than these volumes. Not only that, but it was the same cost as these two, as well - only $15.95. I wouldn't really complain about the price and size of these volumes if I hadn't been able to purchase a larger book for the same cost only a year ago, but that's not the case. I really like the larger editions; they allow far more detail to be visible on each page. I can't really hate CPM for wanting a few dollars more, however, so I guess I'll just have to accept it until larger and cheaper manga becomes profitable.

The artwork in the manga adequately captures the feel of the Slayers world, and it's not bad looking for comics published waaaaaaay back in 1995. If a reader were to casually flip through the book, one might think it was a serious hack and slash fantasy epic. Upon closer inspection, however, some really goofy scenes would be noticed and the illusion of grandeur would be shattered. The art is good, but we came for the humor.

On the editorial / domestication side of things, there are some odd sentences here and there, most likely a result of editing oversights. For example, a thief confronts Lina and tells her, "Hey little lady, good finishing off my brother." Now, either that's slang I'm unaware of, or I'm getting punished for reading the first printing of a book. There are a few other noticeable errors in the text, but I'd like to believe that CPM will nail those in future printings. It seems kind of hard to believe that they'd allow such obvious misprints in what should be a flagship title, but they're there.

If you've enjoyed other incarnations of Slayers, then this is a must-buy for any fan of the series. Otherwise, this could be an inexpensive way to break into the complex and humorous world of Lina Inverse and her destructive tendencies. The anime is only available (so far) in boxed set collections, and while I'd say they're worth the money, not everyone really has money to begin with. So, save up a few bucks, get the first installment of this series, and see how you like it. Just a warning before you go: you may get hooked.

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