Slayers: A Chance Encounter in Atessa

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.

The Slayers main series ended in 2000, but that does not mean that the Slayers series was abandoned by its author. There are 39 novels (!!) starring a younger Lina Inverse with her traveling partner Naga the Serpent, and these continued until 2011 (that said, don’t expect J-Novel Club to be licensing them anytime soon, I expect). There were also two new anime series, Slayers Revolution and Evolution. And then, in 2018, Fujimi Fantasia Bunko was celebrating the anniversary of Dragon Magazine and wanted Kanzaka to write a new Slayers novel in the main storyline. As such, we’re bringing the band back together, at least for this particular book. Well, the band members who weren’t horribly killed in the 2nd arc of the main series, that is. You’ll be delighted to hear that Amelia and Zelgadis are present and accounted for. And there may be someone else, but I’ll leave that a secret -desu. And the plot? Does Gourry meet Lina’s family? Ha. No. Instead, it’s elf wars!

On their way to Lina’s hometown, Lina and Gourry happen upon a city that if having a problem with bandit attacks. The trouble is, these are very well-trained and adept bandits. In fact, notes Lina, one of them seems very familiar… Meanwhile, the situation has grown so dire that Amelia arrives from Saillune to take charge, and also to fight for justice… mostly in that order, for once. There’s also an elf in town, Alaina, who would be very helpful in resolving things if she did not have severe social anxiety. (She has a terrific cap, though. Really, more characters should wear that cap and NOT be a delinquent.) As for the cause, well, it might come as a surprise to the reader of the old, 20th century Slayers novels, because we’ve had Lina hanging out and being allied with elves before… why are we getting cliched elves now?

Because it’s a Slayers novel, that’s why. This one is definitely in a much lighter vein than the previous couple of books, and the body count, while it is there, is minimal. This allows for some more amusing humor, which can stem from Gourry being dumb or Lina being narratively obtuse (her description of a “light” breakfast was pitch perfect.) As for Amelia, I was pleased to see that she really has matured as a princess and acts it. The novels never really had an Amelia problem the way the anime did, but I get the sense the author was listening to anime fans complaining, as she gets a lot of really cool things to do. Indeed, possibly more things to do than Zelgadis, who feels like he’s there because you need to have everyone there. As for the bulk of the book itself… it’s magic battles. Come on, it’s still a Slayers book. It’s ALWAYS 50% magic battles.

Good news! There is another book coming soon, written in 2019. Bad news for fans of “the gang” – it’s a Lina and Gourry solo book. That said, any excuse to reconnect with Lina is a good one, and this was a decent volume that didn’t show any rust after an 18-year break.

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