Slayers contained many references to popular culture or to other anime series in its various incarnations.
- The light blade from the Sword of Light has visual similarity to the lightsaber weapon from the Star Wars series. It also makes similar noises as it's being swung around.
- The bracelets Amelia Wil Tesla Saillune wears are similar to those worn by the title character in the anime series Hoshi no Ko Chobin.
- In Episode 12, the stone formations at the top of the mountain resemble Stonehenge.
- In episode 14, Zaboga tries to lure Lina Inverse, Gourry Gabriev, and Amelia into a cave by roasting a chicken. He presents the cooked bird on a platter, and he is dressed as Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- In the same episode, Lina, Gourry, and Amelia are chased by a rolling boulder reminiscent of the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- In episode 14, a group of bounty hunters attack Lina, Gourry, and Amelia, claiming to be from Gondor. Gondor is a country in The Lord of the Rings series.
- In Episode 11, Lina attacks some monsters with a Balus Rod, yelling "Call me queen!" This was a catchphrase of Tira Misu, a character from the anime Sorcerer Hunters. Tira is also voiced by Megumi Hayashibara.
- Amelia's stage outfit in Episode 16 is similar to that of the character Hikaru's in the anime series Magic Knight Rayearth.
- Gourry's girly hairstyle in Episode 17 is like that of Sailor Moon's Usagi Tsukino.
- In the same episode, a woman with red hair dressed as Naga the Serpent passes in front of the camera, causing Amelia to do a double-take.
- Also in Episode 17, Gourry being tied up with thorns is reminiscent of a scene from The Rose of Versailles.
- Martina Zoana Mel Navratilova's name is based on that of real-life tennis player Martina Navratilova. Ironically, while the Slayers Martina is boy-crazy, the real Navratilova is a lesbian. In addition, Martina faced Lina in Brass Rackets, a tennis-like game, in Episode 16.
- In an early episode of Vision of Escaflowne, Allen strikes Van with his sword, making Van fall to the ground. Allen says, "Don't worry, I struck you with the back of the sword." In Episode 2, Zelgadiss Graywords does the same to a bandit leader, only he double-takes and says, "Oh, sorry. This sword is double-bladed."
- In the same episode, Xelloss creates a force field that is visually and functionally similar to an AT Field utilized by the Angel Ramiel in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- While in Halcyform's mansion, Lina's group passes a smashed statue that looks like the one carrying the Philosopher's Stone from the first series.
- In Episode 6, Amelia and Lina are in the hot spring discussing Lina's chest size. Amelia says, "Maybe next time we'll find a hot spring that will grow your breasts!", and Lina becomes angry. In Slayers: The Motion Picture, Rowdy Gabriev tricked Lina into visiting a hot spring in hopes of expanding her bust, and Naga teased her about it.
- In Episode 8, Philionel El Di Saillune's outfit and secret identity are reminiscent of Racer X from Speed racer.
- In Episode 17, a woman presents a rose to Gourry. The woman is dressed and drawn in the style of Revolutionary Girl Utena.
- NEXT contains at least two references to the popular Japanese show, Iron Chef:
- In Episode 07, Lina's speech about the wonders of Dragon Cuisine is similar in style to Chairman Kaga's explanations of the episode's secret ingredient, including his "If memory serves..." introduction.
- In Episode 15, Xelloss is involved in an Iron Chef style battle against a puppet chef.
- Auntie Aqua bears a striking resemblance to Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and has a similar personality. Like Yoda, she originally appears to the Slayers as an eccentric elderly being, but in reality possesses great power and knowledge.
- Many say Kira is similar in appearance to Sailor Moon's Chibi Usa.
- Mimi and Nene resemble Shampoo from Ranma ½, and use similar martial arts styles.
- Rudo Balzac resembles Tange Danpei from Ashita no Joe.
- In the sixth episode at about 15 minutes, when Martina 'unmasks', her speech begins with the words 'Sometimes I'm a lovely foreigner. Sometimes, I'm a faithful maid. And sometimes I'm the real me'. This is an obvious spoof of the way Cutie Honey introduces herself to the Tiger Claw near the end of the episodes in Cutie Honey and Cutie Honey Flash...
- In episode 23, the hilt of Zangulus' sword resembles the Raijin Ken of Yaiba Kurogane from Yaiba
- The Sand People from Episode 3 and 4 resemble Jawas from Star Wars, in appearance and in speech. (Ironically, the name "Sand People" was used in that movie to apply to another larger, fiercer race of indigenous people of Tatooine).
- Episode 6 contains an example of subliminal imaging. To enhance the emotional impact of Lina's taunting of Jiras, split-second scenes of Jiras being harassed as a child are flashed on screen.
- Episode 15 is patterned after Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
- Episode 16 features a sea captain whose obsession with jars in many ways resembles Captain Ahab's obsession with the white whale in Moby Dick, including the way his obsession ultimately killed his crew and destroyed his ship.
- Episode 19 has many similar themes and plot elements as Shane
- the concept of Galveira bears a striking resemblance to the Ranger's Bow from the animated series, Dungeons & Dragons
- In Episode 1, the pirate captain resembles Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Carribean.
- In Episode 6, the old woman at Gongoro Village Festival looks like a character called Obaba, from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and even she had the same voice actress, Hisako Kyōda.
- In Episode 13, the Saillune army calls its cannons Jilas cannons.