Slayers Next
Slayers Next
Sorry about the extended delay on the second part of Slayers Month, things have been a little messy over here, with University going back soon, plus other stuff going on. Without further ado, we move on to Part 2 of Slayers Month: Slayers Next!

This particular 'season' is focussed more intensely upon the search by Lina and her companions for a powerful magical script known only as the Claire Bible. During their travels, they meet up with a mysterious priest, named Xelloss, who seems to know much about the Claire Bible, but also evidently has his own intentions for Lina's group. The Monster Race has also taken on a greater interest in Lina Inverse, after her defeat of Shabranigdo and Zanaffar, intent on making use of her power for their own purposes.

In this series, the Monster Race (the mazoku) take on a much larger role than they did in the original series, with two major antagonists as well as several minor antagonists being powerful members of the Monster Race.

Several new characters appear in this series, both good and bad, so let's start with... the neutral?

Xelloss is a new character in Slayers Next who goes on to make a regular appearance in both Slayers Next and Slayers TRY, he is infact a powerful monster, being the general and priest of Greater Beast Zelas-Metallium (An underling of Shabranigdo that, while referred to, plus having a couple of vague images, never actually makes a physical appearance in the anime). An important note about the Monster Race is that each of the other higher lords (Gaav, Phibrizzo, Grauscherra) have one priest and one general, for reasons only known to herself, Zelas-Metallium is the only "Lord" to give Xelloss the powers of both a priest and a general, making him a force to be truly feared, he is effectively the single most powerful mazoku that is not an upper lord.

As powerful as Xelloss is, however, his role is largely comedic, as well as enigmatic. He keeps his true goals 'close to the chest', any direct questions he does not feel like answering are met with his catchphrase "Sore wa himitsu desu" (literally "That is a secret!")

While he sees fit to grant Lina and her companions the benefit of his help, he occasionally reminds them "Never forget I am a Mazoku" - meaning that one day he could just turn into the strongest foe they have faced yet...

Martina is a character that is effectively the true 'comic relief' of the series, once the crown princess of Zoana, she and her father tried to take over the kingdom of Sairuun by capturing Amelia. Naturally, Lina and her companions foiled their plans and inadvertently ended up levelling the kingdom. Now, homeless and penniless, Martina follows Lina around, determined to seek her revenge. She also becomes easily infatuated with males, developing attachments (albeit short ones) to Zelgadis, Gourry and Xelloss, before finally becoming a couple with Zangulus. Surprisingly, she plays a role in the final battle against Hellmaster, being the last one standing apart from Lina, who had lost her will to fight.

On the side of good, you have not got many new recurring characters, but a couple of powerful characters making some short appearances.

Auntie Aqua is, in truth, the manifestation of the remaining memories of the Water Dragon King. She helps Lina in her endeavours to locate the Claire Bible to learn how to defeat Gaav, while also saving Lina when she was ambushed by Gaav.

Milgasia is a Golden Dragon, who is a skilled healer and a resident of the Katahto mountains, home to the Gold and Black dragons. While he both fears and hates Xellos, he is forced to bend to his request to lead Lina to the true Claire Bible, Milgasia knowing that if he did not comply, Xellos could easily destroy him without a second thought.

Now for the interesting characters, the bad guys!

Minor monsters that play roles in Slayers Next (though calling them 'minor' is a little deceptive, they all have power to burn...) include Kanzel and Mazenda, a pair of Mazoku who appear as sorcerors hired by Christopher, Amelia's uncle, but in truth are skilled Mazoku working for Gaav.

Seygram is another formidable foe, again a servant to Gaav. He initially appears as an ally to Halciform, the banished director of the Atlas City Sorcerors Guild, having made the Pledge of Immortality with him, though is forced to retreat when their plans are foiled.

One major antagonist of this series is Chaos Dragon Gaav, one of the 5 underlings of Ruby-Eyed Shabranigdo (also known as Gaav, the Demon Dragon King), while he is 'officially' considered a monster, he in fact turned traitor and primarily set his sights on Lina Inverse after Hellmaster and Xellos had taken such a vested interest in her, knowing that his best way to interfere with Hellmasters plans was to get rid of Lina. His power is equal to, if not rivalling that of Shabranigdo, in that he is able to survive her most powerful spells, though he does sustain some damage.

The penultimate antagonist of this series is 'Hellmaster' Phibrizzo, one of the 5 underlings of Ruby-Eyed Shabranigdo - and truly worthy of that name. He is the master of death within the Slayers world and is able to kill someone with the snap of his fingers, or bring an entire city of long-dead citizens back as his servants. The souls of the dead are truly his playthings. He is a merciless lord, seeing humans as nothing more than toys and is a force to be feared. His goal is to have Lina cast her forbidden spell, the Giga Slave, so that it will escape her control and destroy the world.

And lastly, one special mention, by far the most powerful character in the series, but definitely a neutral, impartial 'character'.

The Lord of Nightmares is an Omnipotent, Omniscient and possibly Omnipresent being, it rules over the moster race, as well as presumably everything else in the Slayers world. The Ragna Blade spell draws from the Lord of Nightmares, for its power, while the Giga Slave is effectively a summoning spell, drawing the Lord of Nightmares to the world, hence its extreme danger. It is described as "darkness beyond blackest pitch, deeper than the deepest night; Lord of Darkness, shining like gold upon the sea of chaos." While the Lord of Darkness has no 'true' form, being an amorphous being, in the single appearance it makes, it takes on the form of Lina Inverse, being the one that summoned it to the Slayers world.

If you were a fan of the original Slayers series, you will likely find Slayers Next just as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable than the original series, it expands upon the world the series is set in, while also giving more detail about the Monster and Dragon races, with some twists and turns to keep you guessing. If you have not seen the original series, it is solid enough to be able to be enjoyed by itself without seeing the original series, but it may still be worth watching the original series first, as there is some plot threads that do connect to major events that occur within the original series.

Rating: 8/10

I will get the Slayers TRY review up as soon as possible.