Slayers: The Silver Beast

By Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi. Released in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Elizabeth Ellis.

This book really is starting to feel like the anime series by now, and not just because this is the first book to feature the “main cast” all together. The characterization is getting a bit broader – Gourry is dumber, Amelia is more justice-oriented, etc. I’d say the exception would be Lina, but as we see towards the end of the book, her own narration skews some things to make herself look smarter and savvier than she sometimes is. Zelgadis is back as well, though he’s still sort of the kinder, mellower Zelgadis at this point, at least when a cure for his chimera form is not being discussed. And, of course, as the cover shows, this is the book where we first meet up with a certain mysterious priest – though the volume alternates between “priest” and “monk” – who likes to tell everyone that things are a secret. With Xellos now joining us as well, it feels like the books may be headed for a climax… except they’re still pretty much stand alone.

While beating the crap out of random bandits, Lina, Gourry and Amelia run into a mysterious woman who ends up sealing Lina’s magic, then tells them to follow her to a nearby city, where it turns out there is a satanic cult! OK, it’s the Slayers equivalent of Satan, Shabranigdu, but still. Unfortunately, after another altercation, Amelia is captured and Gourry vanishes, leaving Lina on her own trying to meet back up with them again – and to kill the woman who sealed her magic, as that’s what will break the seal. She gets help on this end from Xellos, who is looking for a rumored copy of the legendary Claire Bible. As is Zelgadis, who’s also wandering around. Everything converges on the cult, who, as it turns out, are resurrecting the legendary Zanaffar, which turns out to be both a monster… and also not.

These books are still very short, so there’s not much room for characterization or plot development. Indeed, one grumble I had is that, after being set up as the Big Bad of the book, the woman who sealed Lina’s magic is killed casually, offscreen, by Xellos and never mentioned again. You get the sense that these books were very much written on the fly, without going back and checking on things. They’re still fun, though, with lots of big battles and dangerous moments for our heroes. Zel/Amelia shippers won’t get much from this book, as they barely interact, though they do seem to get along better than their anime selves. Lina/Gourry shippers don’t get much more, but after getting into an argument (and Lina hitting Gourry with a bedroom slipper she stuck into her backpack just so she could hit Gourry with it) Amelia tells them to stop it with the Couples Therapy. Which is cute.

Oddly, by the end of the book Xellos remains merely “a mysterious priest”, albeit a very powerful and suspicious one. I’m sure that will change. In any case, an9ime fans will be happy to see a lot of what drove slayers Next popping up here, and light novels fans will enjoy a relatively snack-sized action series.

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