|First appearance||Slayers Episode 1 (Season 1)|
|Notable relatives||Rowdy Gabriev (ancestor)|
Gourry Gabriev (ガウリイ・ガブリエフ Gaurī Gaburiefu ) is a fictional character from the Japanese anime and light novels Slayers. He is the tallest of the main cast (6'1" or 182 cm, which is considered quite tall by Japanese standards) and the oldest (human) of the party, muscular like an acrobat, possesses long blonde hair and blue eyes, and notorious for his poor memory.
Very little is known about Gourry's immediate family and past, what is known is that he at least has a grandmother and brother, the latter of which he's supposedly on bad terms with, and his hometown has been mentioned to be within the Elmekian empire. He is the descendant of the Swordsman of Light that many years ago slew the Demon Beast Zanaffar that terrorized the city of Sairaag. His family often feuded between themselves over who would become heir to the Sword of Light. It was also revealed in an interview by Kanzaka that his brother was killed as a result of the internal strife within the family. When Gourry was 17, he stole the sword and ran away from home in attempt to stop the fighting. He was a wandering mercenary for the following several years (even participating in a war), and nearly threw away the Sword of Light when he grew frustrated with the weapon. A short story details his inner struggle and his change of heart: When Gourry was just about to chuck the heirloom into the sea, he was stopped by a traveling fisherman, who convinces Gourry to do something worthwhile with the sword. In a strange twist of fate, it turns out this man is Lina's father, though neither Lina or Gourry are aware of this. Several days later, Gourry runs into Lina herself, and from that point on he is seldom seen without her. His history has never been covered in any animated feature, nor the manga, and the one time it was ever covered did not come from his mouth nor did it take place in the present, alluding to the fact Gourry probably does not like talking about it.
Personality and controversies
One of the biggest areas of dispute regarding Gourry's ancestry centers around the original Slayers motion picture. In the movie, Rowdy Gabriev is established as Gourry's ancestor - most likely his grandfather, ascending to his Russian heritage. This has led fans to believe that the elf princess Meiroon, who Rowdy has a crush on, is Gourry's grandmother. Hajime Kanzaka has struck down this notion, saying that by the time Rowdy was old enough to marry and have children that Meiroon would had still been a child herself. So Rowdy married a human causing his grandson, Gourry, to be fully human instead of part-elf as it is commonly believed.
Gourry is basically a nice guy, with a calm, mellow demeanor and a somewhat chivalrous attitude that serves as a foil to Lina's fiery temper tantrums and greedy disposition. He is one of the few characters who can eat almost as much as Lina, even accounting for the fact he is much taller and structurally larger than she is. He is also, rather infamously, characterized by his lack of intelligence and his tendency to put things bluntly without any tact, occasionally hurting the feelings of others or humiliating his friends, namely Lina, without meaning to. He is also arguably, despite being the second most prominent character within the series, the least developed of the Slayers characters, serving more as comic relief even within a series that is already primarily a comedy to begin with. It's been somewhat implied this lack of development is due to the fact Gourry probably isn't very proud of his past or of the memories it holds for him and his family, and as a result he hardly if ever makes any mention of it, preferring rather to live in the present rather than dwell on the past.
Though his intelligence in most every day things is severely lacking, he is an incredible swordsman, performing extremely well against both regular and supernatural foes in the heat of battle. He also often shows excellent skills of observation, intuition, and is a good judge of character, though sometimes it comes a bit late to be of any good. A rather notable example of his exceptional observational skills is that he apparently figured out Xellos was not human long before anyone else did. When questioned about why he never said anything sooner about it, Gourry further dumbfounded everyone when he stated he thought it was obvious. While Gourry may not be the smartest of characters, his ignorance is purposefully beneficial to helping the audience understand what is going on; hence making him a device for exposition. The other three main characters are well educated and have knowledge regarding the cosmology and history of the world which is assumed everyone in the world would know. Since Gourry, however, does not know or remember these facts, it forces the other three to verbalize these facts, which allows for the audience to learn what is assumed to be well known - even the author himself admitted to be making use of this fact. While Gourry is still somewhat lacking in the mental department in the original novels, his intelligence is portrayed more as tactless and slightly out of-the-loop rather than idiotic, as the novels are written from Lina's point of view and thus she is able to explain situations through narration rather than having to resort to Gourry's supposed faulty memory.
To his credit, Gourry is extremely loyal to his friends and allies and has displayed a great deal of patience with Lina and her tantrums. The only time his own patience is questioned is when he doesn't have access to food, much like Lina, as they both share a great passion for fine cooking. Another notable occasion where his temperament was strained is when he was led to believe that Lina was dead in order to deceive the enemy (he cries); for which, for the first time ever in the series he whacks Lina in the head in way of admonishment for worrying him (in which Lina, bashfully and uncharacteristically, apologizes). Even Gourry has his insightful moments and there are times when his strong points are highlighted within the series.
On occasion he has displayed limited degrees of superhuman strength/stamina and a great deal of acrobatic prowess, in stark contrast to his companions, Lina Inverse, Zelgadis Greywords and Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun, who rely more on their magic while Gourry himself is not a magic user. Due to his constant exposure and sometimes being the receiving end of many of Lina's, Zel's, and sometimes Amelia's spells, Gourry has developed a rather high toleration to magical attacks and damage in general. Hajime Kanzaka also revealed in an interview that Gourry possesses a magical capacity that rivals Lina's. However, he further explained that Gourry would be incapable of utilizing spells due to his inadequate memory.
While he is handy with any blunt object, Gourry's biggest contribution to a fight is his swordsmanship. Not only does Gourry reveal himself to be a nearly invincible swordsman, he is found to be the owner of the Sword of Light, a legendary weapon which, when not possessing a metal blade, produces a blade of pure energy, which Gourry and others can summon by shouting "Light come forth!". The energy blade, which functions very much like a lightsaber from the Star Wars series, can cut through almost anything and even absorb, store and then release magic spells against his enemies. When Phibrizzo released the seal on Sword of Light that withheld its full power, it was capable of firing beams of pure energy as well. His swordsmanship is downplayed as the series progresses in favor of the magic, but one occasion when he was placed under a spell and turned against his comrades he proved to be nigh unbeatable.
It is explained that the Sword of Light channels and amplifies the willpower of the wielder to create the blade, which would explain his enhanced power when under mind control as his will would have been reinforced by the one controlling him. The sword was later revealed to be not a weapon of light, but a weapon more closely associated with the mazoku, specifically the dark lord Dark Star.
In the novels series, he later procures a new sword called the Blast Sword, which absorbs the magical energies around the immediate area to sharpen the edge of its blade. It was even powerful enough to wound the astral body of the dark lord Ruby Eye Shabranigdo.
He has been shown to have some skills as a blacksmith, and can apparently repair his sword in a ridiculously short amount of time (though it seems a too short period of time results in a comically flimsy sword).
Gourry is first seen when Lina is having a conflict with the surviving members of the Dragon's Fangs (she had previously decimated most of their band, killing their leader, and took a fair chunk of their treasure for herself). Believing Lina to be a "babe, a luscious damsel in distress", Gourry steps in and warns the bandits to leave her alone or else they'll have to deal with him in what Lina calls a "battle of the cliché men" (in the original Japanese language version). The bandits decide to attack him instead and a violent fight breaks loose, with Gourry demolishing the bandits and sending one running away without any clothes on. When Gourry discovers that Lina is not the beautiful maiden he had thought but merely a small, under developed teenager - he actually thinks she's a little girl - he displays a vain, shallow streak of disappointment, much to the embarrassment and humiliation of Lina, who wasn't even in any danger, given her powers as a sorceress. This superficiality is a stark contrast to the behavior Gourry displays throughout the rest of the series, in which he is basically a nice guy, albeit a ridiculously dense and tactless one. Assuming that Lina is a lost little girl, he offers to escort her home when her real objective is to get to Atlas City, but she plays along with his misconception and, upon hearing that her goal is to reach Atlas City, he vows to escort her there at any cost. Along the way Gourry shifts gears into the more familiar nice guy persona that would define him for the remainder of the series.
Gourry remains Lina's closest, most consistent companion throughout the series, traveling with her even when their other two friends, Zelgadis and Amelia, are off somewhere else. Though Lina once claimed she only let him tag along because she wanted his family heirloom, the legendary Sword of Light, they continued to travel together long after the weapon was no longer in Gourry's possession, with Lina instead saying she stayed with him so she could help FIND him a new sword. Despite her frustrations with Gourry's seemingly apparent lack of mental agility, among his other habits such as making frequent blunt observation about Lina's less-than-favorable traits (which usually results in Lina abusing him with objects and nasty spells), Lina eventually falls in love with him, and he apparently falls in love with her. Despite this, their relationship never blossoms fully within either the manga, light novels or the anime. However this lack of a developing relationship is partly because Lina, as a zesty, whimsical but not fully emotionally matured teenager, is not adept at expressing affectionate or romantic feelings. Instead, their relationship is referred to and makes presence in the series through slightly more subtle ways other than blatant public affection. The two have proven to be a highly effective combo in battle, and often can sense what the other is thinking. They actually shared a kiss at the end of Slayers Next when Gourry came to rescue Lina from the Lord of Nightmares, but they didn't remember it afterwards. In Evolution-R, a fish man named Toppi, inquires "You love Lina, don't you?" out loud to Gourry. While Lina stumbles through a denial in embarrassment, Gourry doesn't vocalize a denial at all—the closest to a confession present in the anime to date. At the end of the original novel series when Gourry asks Lina to visit back her hometown in Zephillia, Lina thinks that he's proposing to her and that's the reason he wants to visit her family.
- Lina Tsuushin - Japanese guidebook
- The Things that He Sees Beyond the Point of His Sword - Slayers Special novel 21
- BLASTER! IX - Collection of interviews with the author Hajime Kanzaka (Japanese)
- Slayers Special novel 8, Afterword, pg. 221-224 (Japanese)
- BLASTER! VII - Collection of interviews with the author Hajime Kanzaka (Japanese)