In these three self-contained half-hour stories, Lina Inverse and her partner, Naga The Serpent, take on a variety of jobs for quick cash, food, and/or their own skins. The first episode, "The Scary Chimera Plan," pits them against a lunatic magician who intends to use Lina to create a fearsome, spell-slinging monster. Then, in "Jeffry's Knighthood," they're hired by an overprotective mother to see that her son - a young man barely capable of holding a sword - becomes a respected knight, by "helping" him fight off the marauding soldiers terrorizing the area. Finally, "Mirror, Mirror" puts the two in a race to hunt down and capture (for bounty, of course) a rogue sorceror who's found an ancient artifact that can create loyal duplicates of anything or anyone, including his enemies.
The Slayers Special OVAs were released between July of 1996 and May of 1997. Three episodes were made in total. Overall, they are unrelated, short snippets into the lives and adventures of Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent. Being a prequel to the previously released movie, Slayers Perfect, it is assumed the events disclosed occur, well, prior to the movie. An exact timeline is anyone's guess.
The first episode starts off with Lina discussing a rather pressing matter with a sorcerer named Diol – specifically, turning Lina into a chimera. For unknown reasons, it seems that Lina breached the subject in the first place, but
now that she's seen what the man plans to do, she wants out. Naga enters the picture, and things grow a bit more complicated. Will Diol succeed in turning Lina into a chimera? Well, obviously not, but it's still amusing to see the events leading up to Lina being rescued by Naga, even if she did manage to completely misunderstand the situation.
The second OVA concerns Lina and Naga taking on the task of assisting Jeffrey Mailstar with “becoming a man”. No, not in the way you might think, thanks to Naga's rather questionable choice of dress, but to help him become a full-fledged knight. This naturally entails defeating heinous enemies. The catch is that Jeffrey makes a very ineffectual knight; indeed, he's the sort that you probably shouldn't trust to carry a plate, given how clumsy and absentminded he is. How on earth will our favourite sorceresses succeed in completing this task? It may very well be as daunting as saving the world.
The third and final episode introduces us to the legend of Shazal Rugandy, a magic user who supposedly created a mirror called the Shadow Reflector. Capable of making exact copies of anyone reflected in it, with the exception that they will have the opposite personality of the person replicated, Shazal sealed the mirror away, never to be found. Until recently, when clue of its whereabouts was discovered. A thief has stolen the information, however, and it is up to Lina and Naga to stop him from taking over the world with shadow copies – and they'll get a reward in the process.
Lina and Naga are, once again, the protagonists. Lina is much the same Lina we've come to know and love: feisty, cunning, and exasperated by her rival's antics. Despite first appearances, we actually do get some more depth from Naga, mostly due to increased screen time. I managed to grow attached to her over the course of watching the specials and I would definitely not be averse to learning more about her. As Naga herself puts it, she holds “a supreme sense of superiority and extreme self-confidence”, and those aspects make her rather endearing.
Any side characters that dwell within the OVAs are memorable if only for their absurdity and hilarity. Most are defined by single, shallow character traits and used for laughs, whether they're getting their derrières proverbially handed to them by Lina or Naga or wreaking havoc all on their own.
Like the movie, the Slayers OVAs are animated by J.C. Staff. Unlike the movie, though, the OVAs use brighter and more pleasant palettes. The animation also seems to be just a bit more fluid and graceful.
As per usual, the ending theme is sung by Hayashibara Megumi, and it is called Kagirinai Yokubou no Naka Ni. It's a good tune that I wound up listening to all the way through for all three episodes. The third special has not only one, but two insert songs. The first one is called Run All The Way! and the second one is called Touch Yourself. Both are performed by Hayashibara Megumi, and once again, they are both great songs.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I don't really remember the rest of the soundtrack – I don't. Truly, the only saving grace Slayers' music has is Megumi herself. Again, she does a great job of voicing Lina. I really loved Kawamura Maria's role as Naga – she's oddly endearing and hysterical all at once. Her laugh is nothing to sneeze at and I can certainly see why she would have trouble breathing after recording certain parts of the first OVA.
If you stumble upon Slayers with the hopes of getting some mind blowing revelations about human nature or something of the like, I'm sorry to say that you'll be quite disappointed. The Slayers franchise is primarily comedic, and that's exactly what you will get. The first and second episodes are especially reliant on repeating gags, although they never get boring or seem out of place. As a final note, while the stories in these OVAs are self-contained and bear no connection to one another, it is still advisable you watch Slayers Perfect/Slayers: The Motion Picture beforehand. Overall, the Slayers Special OVAs are a welcome addition to the franchise and well worth the time of fans or newcomers to Slayers.
The Book of Spells is a three episode OVA series taking place either before the television series or in a separate universe (I’m still unclear about this and I’ve found no definitive answer as to the chronology). That means that we’re focusing on Lina and Naga, who pretty much ruined the first movie. I have no understanding why they kept going with Naga and Lina as companions considering how dull and lifeless the series becomes without some of the more developed characters we’ve come to love. Nonetheless, this OVA series has the animation of the first film, which means it looks brilliant, but retains all
the things that the film did wrong. I’m going to do this review a little different, looking at the episodes individually, as there is no overarching story, so we can get a better perspective on what is wrong and what is right.
The Scary Chimera Plan
Lina nearly takes a deal with a guy who wants to combine her with dragons and winds up blowing him up and destroying his castle after realizing that plan is really dumb. He returns a month later with clones, but not of Lina, of her companion Naga. The greatest weapon that these clones have: Naga’s annoying-ass laugh. But Naga soon joins forces with her clones to create a choir of awful and basically bring the entire world to its knees.
Terrible episode overall and mostly because the main joke is not only annoying for the people within the show, but the viewer will seriously be leaving with a migraine. Naga’s laugh was annoying enough by itself but add ten tracks of that laugh being played over each other and the joke isn’t funny, nor are my ruptured ear drums.
The plot itself isn’t that great either, nor is there really anything comedic within. It’s an all-around terrible episode that you’d be much happier avoiding.
Lina and Naga are hired by an overprotective mother to help a young knight find his way to manhood. They take the pathetic young man on a quest, battling bandits and a black knight, all while the mother attacks anyone who talks bad about him.
This is an overall much more palatable experience than the first OVA, though it’s still not without issues. The humor is much funnier but the plot is still as paper thin as it gets. Naga gets one little piece of development (she’s scared of blood) but is otherwise still boobs. It’s an average episode that isn’t offensive, nor is it worthwhile.
Naga and Lina are hired to take down a sorcerer with a mirror that can create an opposite version of the person. Of course, this means that the opposites of the ladies are sweet, loveable, nonviolent creatures.
Worse than the last episode but not as bad as the first, this episode doesn’t add much of anything to the series. The cute versions of the two girls are probably the only reason to watch this episode, making me wish we focused on a sweet Naga rather than the annoying, characterless bimbo we’re given.
Three episodes, all pretty weak and pointless makes The Book of Spells a huge mess. Nice animation and some occasionally decent music aside, this OVA series has very little worth caring about and can be happily avoided whether a fan of the series or not.
This isn’t like the ones before. In fact, I’m not sure that this is even in the same dimention as the others. Lina is with a strange woman named Naga the Serpent who dresses rather… well… just look at her! (Kurai: “Um… is she a striper?” Angel: “Uggg… could very well be.”) I’m guessing that this is before she ever meets Gourry in fact because she doesn’t talk about him or even mention him. You don’t have to see the first two seasons’s to watch this one, though Naga seems to get a tiny bit of time on screen in them. In fact, the three
episodes are not really repetitive and you can probably watch them in any order, though the first one does have the ‘first meeting’ (if you can call it that) of the two. It seems in the first episode that they have a small history between the two though the story never talks about what did happen, Naga seems to know Lina but Lina doesn’t really remember her. I hate when they do something like that because though the whole show, they never say what is really going on. They have a love/hate relationship between them, once in a while they will act like friends but more over then not, Naga always tries to out shine Lina and fight her.
Naga is pretty much a fan service character, not really adding anything except someone who wants to fight Lina every single time and make her life almost hell. Her skimpy outfit reminds me of a hooker and I don’t think anyone can wear her outfit out on the streets without being called over by the police. I understand fan service and being bi, I can actually say I like a little of it but this does tend to gross me out. I am happy that they do not always pay much attention to her outfit, and they do say out ridicules it really is so I let them slide on that.
Lina on the other hand seems to be a bit more down to earth then the episodes before and I’m not sure why that is. She doesn’t feel like ‘our Lina’ but someone playing as her. This tends to throw me off slightly as I fell in love with her character from the TV shows.
The Animation is actually nice cell shaded, good for the time at least. It does show its age but again, it fits slightly with the others. It’s only a little bit more blured then the others, as seen in most OVA’s like that. They also end up getting off the character designs at times. You would think for an OVA, they wouldn’t do that.
There isn’t much background music except for the slap stick comedy sounds we will normally hear but these never overpower and sometimes are even non-existent throughout the show. When we do get epic music, sometimes its cut off to leave sort of a comical end. Lina sounds much younger then the other shows and so I guess it shows the time frame. I can’t stand Naga’s voice at all, especially her laugh!