Okay, I've had nearly twelve cans of caffeine, going on at least 24 hours of being wide awake, and just finished Slayers Next. TIME FOR A REVIEW!
REVIEWED ANIME: SLAYERS NEXT!
***WARNING, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***
I can't tell which I preferred, Slayers or Slayers Next. True, Slayers introduced the characters, but Slayers Next had Martina, more Xangaless, and of course Xelloss.
To start off with, I'm a bit confused on the Ragna Blade. As I recall, when Lina was reading about it, she said it was comparable in power to the GigaSlave, yet when she used it on Gaav, it didn't finish him off.
This brings me to my next point: If I'm right, then Gaav and HellMaster were supposed to be basically sub-lords to Shabranigdo, yet (assuming AGAIN that the Ragna Blade was near or equal to the GigaSlave in power, like Lina said it was), they seemed to be stronger than him (especially Gaav, who survived the Ragna Blade)
However, I think there's an explanation for this (and I hope I'm right): I think that the Sword of Light focused the energies of the GigaSlave to make it much more powerful than the Ragna Blade.
Of course, this is a moot point if I actually flat-out misinterpreted what was said about the Ragna Blade. :(
Now, about the new characters...first, Xelloss: This guy is calm throughout nearly the entire series, and retains his utter coolness even at the very end. Now, Martina....I find it hilarious that she fell in love three or four times, and it was basically with every single half-decent looking guy. She's one of the most unique characters I've seen in a while (..come on, putting all your faith in a monster you KNOW is false? That's just stupid, and she manages to turn it into a comedy act throughout the entire series). As for Gaav, I didn't really care for him that much, but I LOVE how he fucked with Amelia's head during the fight on the mountain. And I almost found myself cheering when he was butchered, especially after he just ripped Xelloss damn near in half. HellMaster was just beyond fucking nuts, and he was a sadistic little fucker to boot. And I HOPE I'm not the only one who figured out he was the kid by the time they got to the mountain.
Now, for the developing relationship with Lina and Gaurry. I thought it was too early for them to admit their love, but I fucking LOVED how they got rid of that problem ("TAKING ADVANTAGE OF ME WHILE I'M UNCONSCIOUS?" *beats ever loving shit out of Gaurry*). This promises to be very entertaining, especially with Syuviel or whoever the white magic chick is traveling with them now. I also liked how they focused a bit on the old saying about "you never know how much something/someone means to you until it's/they're gone" after Gaurry was kidnapped.
As for the ending, I loved how they worked it. Having the Lord of Nightmares herself come down and cram HellMaster's destruction right up his ass was priceless. And I mean PRICELESS.
***END SPOILERS. YOU CAN UNCOVER YOUR EYES NOW.***
Overall, I give Slayers Next a 9.8/10. Some things (like the explanations) could be better, but overall it's very well-rounded.