Story by Hajime Kanzaka
Illustrations by Rui Araizumi
Translated by Elizabeth Ellis
Edited by Megan Denton
Lina and Gourry’s journey continues in Slayers Volume 4! After escorting Sylphiel to Saillune City, Lina and Gourry find themselves in the midst of an assasination plot against Saillune’s royalty. Amongst the chaos, the duo find that the assailants are not only after Saillune’s next king, but another target as well: Lina Inverse.
Two of the prominent characters introduced in this volume are Sir Phil and his daughter Amelia. Despite being the first prince of Saillune, Sir Phil is contrary to expectations. Rather than a charming youth, Sir Phil is a buff man in his forties that delivers justice upon his foes. Sir Phil is the embodiment of absurdity, and he is given plenty of memorable scenes throughout the volume, including when he kills an assassin with a single punch. While Slayers may have its serious moments, characters like Sir Phil help make it a fun series.
Ameila is similar to her father in that she is very over-the-top. Amelia is a constant ray of positivity, and she yells words of heroism at her enemies during battle. It makes her an interesting contrast to Lina’s more laid-back personality, leading to some humorous conversations between them. As some may know, Amelia becomes a regular member of Lina’s party moving forward, and her role in this volume helps reassure readers that she fits in nicely with the rest of the gang.
So far, each volume of Slayers has worked as an entry point into the series, and while this remains the case, you can notice that Hajime Kanzaka is tying together more narrative elements. Volume 4 makes various references to the first three volumes, with a particular emphasis on previous antagonists such as Seigram and Shabranigdu. It’s obvious that Slayers is building to a grander story, and the groundwork for it is being aptly layed.
Volume’s 4 initial premise is admittedly deceptive. While Sir Phil and his retainers are in danger, the direct threat against them is miniscule compared to what Lina must face. This is first evident with the introduction of Zuma, an powerful assassin that specializes in darkness spells. During his first appearance, he almost single handedly takes down Lina, only to be stopped by Gourry at the last minute. If this didn’t make him intimidating enough, he appears to be shrouded in mystery, having few discernible features beyond his black attire. While Lina and Gourry have had plenty of run-ins with assassins, Zuma is a threat that they haven’t faced before.
The early chapters make it obvious that the main antagonist is Kanzel, a strange sorcerer who has been introduced to the Saillune royalty. As the story continues, it’s revealed that Kanzel is no ordinary enemy, having connections to the demon race and working for an unknown being. Kanzel’s open animosity to Lina throughout the volume helps build a sense of tension, making you guess when he will attack the heroes. This tone is further built by his sadistic nature, wishing to give Lina a painful death once she’s defeated. Lina has faced several powerful foes already, but the conflict with Kanzel feels on par with the stakes of the first volume. While Kanzel’s motivations are left largely unclear, it emphasizes Lina’s struggle is only a stepping stone to a greater battle that we have yet to see.
Slayers continues to be a fantastic series, with its fourth volume raising the stakes to a new level. Amelia and Sir Phil were incredibly entertaining, and the series feels like it’s building towards a more ambitious event. This journey is far from over.