In the last episode of Slayers' first season they defeat the Big Bad not with the ultimate spiritual attack spell, nor with the power of the greatest demon in existance or even the one who made the world. Even though all three were invoked, it was a simple healing spell cast on a tree that won the day. Oddly enough, it makes sense in context.
The show was originally licensed in North America by Central Park Media, released to home video under its Software Sculptors label, and dubbed into English by TAJ Productions. FUNimation rescued the license after it expired, and it also picked up the belated fourth and fifth seasons when they were released. ADV Films licensed the movies and OVAs.
Bad Export for You: Subverted with Central Park Media's DVD box set releases; their downgrade in quality was their own doing. In the first season box set, the Japanese audio is phase-inverted, meaning that no sound would play if one was viewing an episode with a mono speaker setup. In the second season box set, the picture quality was exceptionally blurred, but this is due to a bad video transfer (off of a laserdisc) rather than imported low-quality masters. At the time, one would be better off buying the individual DVDs or even old videocassette tapes. Funimation fixed all of these problems in their re-releases, but for some reason, the masters in the first season are darker than CPM's (especially noticeable during the openings and endings).
Not quite. It's not obvious unless you play around with the settings but Funimation's first season release actually has two camera angles: the dark one with English credits and title cards (that makes Lina's tunic look red instead of pink) and a lighter one with the proper colors, albeit Japanese credits during the Op and Ed.
Creator Backlash: The creator of the Slayers franchise, Hajime Kanzaka, stated a few times in interviews that, despite working on it, he had come to dislike the third season (Try) of the anime adaptation, which was one of the first divergences from the plot of the light novels. When the belated season 4 came out, a Discontinuity Nod noted this: on the plane chart that lists the numerous BigBads of the verse, the two that were slain in season 2 were dented, noting their destruction, but one of the higher-level demon lord's spots on the chart was intact—this particular lord, Dark Star Dugradigdu, was slain in season 3.
The fourth season rumored to follow TRY in 1998 was canned due to Megumi Hayashibara having scheduling conflicts.
During the later 90's in the U.S. when anime was becoming more popular on the networks, Fox Kids won a bid over Cartoon Network to air the first season of the show, but ultimately decided not to due to the more mature content that would be nigh-impossible to gloss over.
Expy: Naga the Serpent was originally going to appear in the fourth light novel and join Lina and Gourry in the main series, so in context there would've been no secret to the fact that she was a princess of Seyruun. Apparently, Kanzaka was too lazy and under time constraints during writing it, so he gave her a little sister, Amelia, to replace her.
Hey, It's That Voice!: A ton, given that the English dub was produced by TAJ Productions. In both this case and in the Japanese version, most of the actors were either new or still fresh in the industry (which was the case for the voice actors of the four leads). In fact, the actors that didn't fall off the map here eventually by used by 4KidsEntertainment (among other New York-based companies), and become well-known anime voice actors:
The Other Darrin: When the first TV season was exported, Central Park Media took a year-long break to evaluate video sales, which resulted in a large portion of their actors losing contact with them. As a result, Veronica Taylor replaced Joani Baker as Amelia, and Crispin Freeman replaced Daniel Cronin as Zelgadis. Other actors were bought in as well, including Jimmy Zoppi for Phil, Ted Lewis for Zangulus, and Peter Davis for Rezo.
The television series and the OVA series/movies had different sets of voice actors due to each being licensed by different groups (in this case, the TV series was licensed first). For the OVA/movies, Cynthia Martinez played Lina Inverse instead of Lisa Ortiz. In the Slayers Premium movie, which featured her allies from the TV series, Chris Patton played Gourry instead of Eric Stuart, Luci Christian played Amelia, and Kurt Stoll played Xellos instead of David Moo; however, Crispin Freeman returned to play Zelgadis.
When Funimation licensed the fourth and fifth seasons, they were able to get the four original actors (Ortiz, Stuart, Taylor, and Freeman) to play the four leads again; however, everyone else was replaced. Among them were Michael Sinterniklaas replacing David Moo as Xellos, Stephanie Sheh replacing Stacia Crawford as Sylphiel, Liam O'Brien replacing Peter Davis as Rezo, and J. David Brimmer replacing Jimmy Zoppi as Phil.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Central Park Media's original DVD releases of each season are, surprisingly, not too difficult to find. In this case, they are coveted for their extras, which are lacking on the re-releases. The same can be said for the movies and OVA series, which are now harder to come by in stores (however, as long as you look for the single individual releases, not the boxsets, they can be found at decent prices used or new online).
No Export for You: The anime is the only form of media that was released in its entirety in the states. As for everything else:
Light Novels: The first six were released in 2004; Tokyopop stopped translating them after that due to poor sales. With a little pursuasion, they released a limited amount of the 7th and 8th novels four years later, completing the first arc. The remaining seven novels (and none of the prequel novels for that matter) have not been exported, and all of the translated novels have gone out of print since then.
Manga: Central Park Media's manga department translated the Slayers' Medieval Mayhem manga, the Slayers: Super Explosive Demon Story manga, and the manga adaptation of Slayers Premium. All of these are out of print, and the manga that began to diverge into more alternate continuities (such as The Hourglass of Falces) were never translated.
Video Games: Since they bombed in Japan, they had no hopes of being exported.
The Other Darrin: The American dub of the first series, produced by Central Park Media, had several cases of this.
Partway through the series, CPM took a break from dubbing the series for about a year, and during that time period, lost contact with several of the voice actors. As a result, Crispin Freeman replaced Daniel Cronin as the voice of Zelgadis, while Veronica Taylor replaced Joani Baker as the voice of Amelia. Other characters like Zangulus and Prince Philionel also changed as a result of the gap.
ADV Films handled all the Movies and OVAs and used their talent pool. Cynthia Martinez replaced Lisa Ortiz as Lina, and in Slayers Premium, Chris Patton replaced Eric Stuart as Gourry, Luci Christian replaced Veronica Taylor as Amelia, and Kurt Stoll replaced David Moo as Xellos; however, Crispin Freeman returned to play Zelgadis.
Somewhat subverted with Funimation's dub of Revolution and Evolution-R: Ortiz, Stuart, Taylor, and Freeman return to voice the four leads; however, all the other returning characters have been recast, with the new cast including Michael Sinterniklaas as Xellos, David Brimmer as Phil, Stephanie Sheh as Sylphiel, and Liam O'Brien as Rezo.
Rule34-Creator Reactions: Rui Araizumi draws erotic doujinshi once in a blue moon, so it's assumed that he doesn't hold any contempt towards SlayersHentai. Weirdly, during the later have of the Turn of the Millennium, Araizumi himself has supplied the majority of unofficial eroge for the series! It's creeped its way into actual published works, unfortunately; most of the artwork is overtly sexual and pinup-like in nature, especially of Lina, compared to older artwork that is actually fantasty-inspired and related to the story. For example, compare this older artwork from the main novel line to this◊ recent Slayers Smash novel.
Screwed by the Network: Screwed by Tokyopop, which secured the rights to English translations of the original novels. The first six were released with minimal promotion and advertising, sold relatively poorly as a result, and Tokyopop canceled further translations, with two books left to go in the Hellmaster Fibrizo plot arc. Overwhelming fan-demand actually caused them to reverse their decision and release the last two in 2007, although with almost no announcement or promotion, once again. As of now, Tokyopop has no intention of releasing the other half of the novels, although bits and pieces of fan translations can be found floating around on the Internet.
Throw It In: The first season of the anime broke the fourth wall a lot; the second season onward doesn't do it at all, and the characters are no longer as self-aware as they were before. However, in the third anime series, they try to do it again in a Filler episode (Zelgadis addresses that the absurdity of the fillers had to end for the sake of the plot), but it's so poorly forced that it isn't believable.
Word of God: the creator has stated in official interviews that Gourry Gabriev is not half-elven, despite the implications of The Movie, going on to suggest that Rowdy Gabriev left Mellyroon and found himself a human girl to marry, as he aged faster then she did. He has also stated that Gourry actually has the potential to be a sorcerer of power equal to Lina's; it's just his lack of interest and memory problems effectively cripple him, as he'd never be able to remember the incantations. Finally, he confirmed that Naga really is Amelia's elder sister Gracia Ul Naga Saillune, who went adventuring under a nom de guerre after the death of their mother.