Begun in 1998 by Twoflower (If his name sounds familiar, it's probably because you've read or heard of one of his other works, Sailor Nothing), Slayers Trilogy is what TF calls a "dramedy epic trilogy", which sums up the premise rather nicely. The story begins when Lina accidentally breaks a priceless magical artifact belonging to the Sailoon royal family, one with the potential to open up a whole new school of magic. At risk of being lynched by Sailoon's citizens, Lina (and Gourry) agrees to go a-questing for the means to reconstruct the artifact, and sure enough Zelgadis, Amelia, Xelloss, and Naga manage to get caught up in their quest along the way. But what starts as "just another adventure" quickly snowballs into an epic battle with the fate of the Red World hanging in the balance. And that's just in Reflect.
Chaos continues the story by building on the consequences of the events of Reflect when Lina accidentally casts a spell that completes an ancient prophecy tied to the Lord of Nightmares. Charged by L-sama Herself to "gather the wingless", Lina and Gourry set off once again to save the world by almost blowing it up, this time delving into the ancient history of the Red World and the mythic origins of the human race.
And last but not least, everything comes together in ReBirth when the true conflict behind the Trilogy finally comes to light. Lina's completion of L-sama's quest comes just in time for Shabranigdo's remaining generals to launch the Third Mazoku War and Sailoon is set to be Ground Zero for a cataclysmic battle between the mazoku and the dragons. As Lina and the gang help Sailoon prepare for the worst, news comes from a tribe of chimera that one of several artifacts called The Most Important Things In The World has been stolen from them by a girl whose description, according to Xelloss, matches that of the Knight of Shabranigdo, Luna's opposite number. As the great powers of the world assemble for an epic showdown, Lina and the crew embark on a race against time to claim the remaining artifacts before either the mazoku or the dragons can lay hands on them. This is no mere Fetch Quest; the clock is ticking, the bad guys are already two steps ahead of them, and this time failure will come with consequences beyond imagination...
On top of being an epic story in every sense of the word, Slayers Trilogy is also one of the very finest examples of Original Flavor that can be found on the internet; Twoflower's work combines action and drama on a grand scale with the quirky slapstick humor that characterized the anime with such perfection that one wonders sometimes if Stefan Gagne isn't a pen name for Hajime Kanzaka. And this is before you get into the HTML coding that accompanies and enhances the reading experience.
The Reflect/Chaos/Rebirth Trilogy can be found in its entirety here.
- Badass Boast: Naga and a lesser mazoku turn this into a "who has more evil deeds to their name" competition. Amusingly, Naga wins.
- Badass Bookworm: Reason. Hell, she was able to destroy a Mazoku just by talking to it.
- Badass Normal: Mirror Lina presents a significant threat to the heroes despite having no magical powers whatsoever.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy
- Been There, Shaped History: Goury invents the Selfie by messing around with a camera at a magic convention.
- Butterfly of Doom: The series uses this a lot. In fact, the butterfly is the symbol of the Lord of Nightmares since it represents chaos.
- Canon Immigrant: Naga.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Just like the anime, the rampant slapstick humor is most prominent in the beginning of each of the three stories and slowly gets phased out as the plot becomes more serious.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Lilly, who makes reference to a White Magic counterpart to the Giga Slave not long after her introduction, then becomes instrumental in its casting at the end of Reflect.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Averted with Naga, who shows up early on and plays an important role in the story, but played straight with Syphiel and Filia, who aren't even mentioned.
- Crapsaccharine World: The alternate future with the Dragons. Peace and order everywhere, death was rare, massive technological and theological advancements, and criminals were extinct! The problem? To make sure that this peace and order is never disturbed, all humans were purged of any and all evil thoughts, stripping them of their free will.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Lina metaphorically punching out the very personification of Order, a being who is the equal of the Lord of Nightmares.
- Eviler Than Thou: Naga's above-mentioned Badass Boast competition.
- Evil Twin:
- A major plot point of Reflect deals with the characters facing "the worst within", but the worst within isn't an evil twin exactly so much as it is the result of the worst possible outcome for the character. Mirror Lina, for instance, is the result of what Lina would have become had she failed to defeat Shabranigdo in Slayers Classic.
- Also used somewhat more metaphorically with some of the characters involved. Twoflower's authors notes, for instance, make it clear that The Goon is supposed to be what Gourry would have become had he not chosen in his backstory to accept people as they were.
- While most of the alternates only stay around long enough in the first story to ensure that the character learns an important lesson, Naga's parallel manages to become a recurring character in the trilogy, and even undergoes some Character Development. Before her death.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Partially averted. One of the villains in Reflect makes use of a six-shot musket, but it's mentioned that the gun in question is a prototype that was only invented a few weeks before the series started. Lina and Goury think it's for playing marbles with, in fact, when they see said prototype in chapter 2.
- Grand Finale
- Gratuitous Japanese: As strong as this work is, there's a lot of this going on, and not just having noblewoman Amelia using Japanese suffixes either.
- Guns Are Worthless: Averted. Mirror Lina's rifle has enough power behind it to punch through the shield component of Lina's Raywing spell. This is in spite of the gun in question being roughly equivalent to a blunderbuss.
- Healing Magic Is the Hardest: While Lina retains her bordering-on-casual ability to throw highly destructive attack magic around, her attempts at casting healing spells in Reflect are written in extreme detail and make a point of the amount of effort needed.
- Heroic BSoD: Naga has one of these in Rebirth after Sailoon is leveled.
- Humans Are Special
- In Which a Trope Is Described: Chaos has such chapter titles as "...in which old enemies taunt each other, fortunes are won and lost, strange bedfellows are made, and plenty of clowns are set on fire." and "...in which breakfast is served, we go once more into the breach of fear and loathing, a chimera goes postal and Xelloss tells a secret."
- Killed Off for Real: Poor Lilly in Rebirth.
- Light Is Not Good: An alternate future showing where Lina screwed up Giga Restoration showed what would happen if the Dragons completely ruled the world.
- Luke, I Am Your Father:
- More like Xellos I Am Your Son.
- And Lina, I am your half-sister.
- Magical Girl: Amelia. Seriously.
- Meaningful Name: Chaos introduces Gourry's aunt Koirry, who proves to be a significant help to the group. "Koi" is Japanese for "love".
- Magitek: Another artifact in the magic convention is a vacuum cleaner that runs off a barrel magicked to create a small tornado inside of itself.
- Mirror Self: A central theme in the first story arc, with several characters confront their alternate selves from different distorted universes. Lina Inverse is bedeviled by a crazy, white-haired Lina who failed to prevent the rise of the Mazoku and end of the world, and Zelgadis bumps into another Zelgadis who was never turned into stone and became a reckless, dumb braggart.
- Order Versus Chaos: The overarching conflict of the entire trilogy.
- Original Character: While several exist, the most significant are Dayvid and the Wingless.
- Original Flavor: Yes.
- The Power of Love: Love, natch. Also directly invoked by Lina during the finale of Chaos to defeat one of the nightmares.
- Rule of Drama: Let's put it this way, one of the characters introduced in Chaos is the person who made the very concept of Drama.
- Rule of Funny: ...is very much in full effect. At least up until Cerebus Syndrome kicks in.
- A shady character offers to sell a map to the Legendary Lost Treasure of Melee Island.
- In the same chapter, mention is made of a map offering a guided tour of the Incredibly Dangerous Training Grounds of Juh Sen Kayo.
- When Lina meets her big sister she rubs her head in a way reminiscent of Yusaku Godai.
- Not to mention the many Discworld references. There's a reason why the author called himself Twoflower.
- Sins of the Father: The Justivalerans try to execute Amelia over an act of petty theft committed by an ancestor of hers more than a century previous.
- Stuff Blowing Up: This is Slayers, what were you expecting? The trilogy opens with Lina competing in (and winning) a competition for the most impressive explosion at a mage's convention.
- Time Master: Paradox
- Winged Humanoid: At the end of Reflect,Lina. At the end of Chaos, all of the Wingless. At the end of Rebirth, everyone.
- You Will Know What to Do: The second part starts out with The Lord of Nightmares tasking Lina with gathering the Wingless Ones, but she does not explain anything about it, merely telling "You will soon have help".
Let's call her Lina.
Lina was known across the land for a variety of reasons. She was a famous bandit hunter, magic slinger, world saver, and consumer of large dinners. With no fixed address, she wandered the world doing random quests and getting into surprising amounts of trouble. In recent times, her and her usual gang of cohorts managed to find a lost power, unearth a deadly danger from beyond space and time, and save the world from it; all in the span of a few weeks.
That's just the sort of person Lina was, always active, always leading an exciting life. Randomly moving from situation to situation. She was like a monster reincarnation of some hero long gone; a girl on the move, just lucky enough to be totally confident.