Story by Hajime Kanzaka
Illustrations by Rui Araizumi
Translated by Elizabeth Ellis
Edited by Megan Denton
Lina and Gourry’s adventures continue in Slayers Volume 2! Having arrived in Atlas City, the duo is placed in the middle of a conflict between the two vice chairmen of the sorcerers’ council. As our heroes investigate the situation further, they soon learn that not all is what it seems.
While many folks associate Slayers with its more humorous elements, the series often explores darker territories. Volume 2 showcases the horrors that magic is capable of in the Slayers universe, detailing the grotesque testing and violence occurring within Atlas City. That said, the book isn’t prone to spicing up the story with some gags. Lina’s quippy narration is still present, and there are plenty of hilarious scenes to go alongside it. The tonal shifts don’t feel jarring, in part because Lina’s narration naturally transitions the story through her reactions. Slayers has found a perfect middle ground that allows it to capitalize on its existing strengths while also experimenting with new ideas.
Fans of the Slayers anime may notice that this volume is the loose basis for Slayers NEXT’s first arc, but beyond some similar plot threads in the latter half, the story feels grander in the light novel. The volume explains more of the intricacies of the world’s magic, including the taboo practices that are studied in the shadows. The story also involves a wide cast of characters, including the mercenary swordsman Lantz, the powerful sorcerer chairmen Halciform, and the mysterious demon Seigram. Having these multiple parties helps raise the tension of the conflict, making it a lot more engaging than the previous volume.
Massive improvements have also been made in the series’ pacing. The narrative naturally builds to its final conflict, and while most plot threads are wrapped up, Kanzaka intentionally lingers a few for future installments. New characters are also given ample time to be fleshed out, which makes their characteristics and motivations more significant. This is especially true for Halcifom, whose personal attachments blind him from the morality of his actions. While certainly not redundant of Rezo, Halciform feels like a natural evolution of his archetype. It’s evident that Kanzaka’s storytelling has improved since the previous volume, and you can tell Slayers is starting to find its identity.
Slayers continues to be a fantastic read, with its second volume exploring some darker themes and expanding upon the series’ world. Lina and Gourry are as entertaining as ever, and their dynamic with the growing cast is great to see. Don’t fire off a Dragon Slave until you give this a read!