Excluding Sylphiel, Gourry is perhaps the most misinterpreted character in all of Slayers. Being the butt end of so many jokes, he is often labeled as an idiotic, useless sidekick! o.O Since I believe otherwise, I have put a lot of extra effort in writing Gourry's character analysis, so that I could clear up all of these fallacious ideas that Slayers fans have come up with. I hope I've succeeded somehow. ^^
Alrighty, then! Let's start by tackling the biggest misunderstanding concerning Gourry's character: his intelligence. (Or, to most fans, his lack of intelligence. *sigh*) Let me start out by telling you this tidbit: Gourry, with all due respect, IS NOT an idiot. He simply lacks some of the favorable qualities of his companions (notably the "leadership" qualities), which is why he is often vastly underrated as a character. For the most part, I believe that Gourry's "assumed inferiority complex" is due to his bluntness and his short-term memory. Not only does Gourry have trouble remembering important events of the past (i.e. - enemies who tried to kill him) because he lives by the present, but he's also blunt by nature. This is easily proven by the many instances in which he brought up Lina's bust size -- even though he blantantly knew that it would result in rather harsh physical punishment. o.o; At any rate, the bottom line is this: Gourry is often looked upon as an idiot because of his bluntness and his lifestyle. Rather unfair, if you ask me. =/
Moving on, I feel an impulsive need to touch on a quote that I often hear from the mouths of Slayers fans: "Gourry is only good for comic relief, and NOTHING MORE." While I agree with the notion that Gourry serves mostly as comic relief (albeit I think that the creators of the show abused his character for that purpose), I feel that his contribution to the show goes much deeper than that. In my eyes, he plays a very complementary role (as he is often referred to as "the better half of Lina Inverse") throughout the series, and without him, many of the other characters in Slayers would've turned out much blander.
Gourry COULD NOT possibly have a more laidback lifestyle. Why? Because he has absolutely no plan/agenda for his future! Rather, he sits back for the ride and bends with the wind. If you recall the very first episode of Slayers TV, then perhaps you remember how quickly Gourry was able to rush to Lina's "rescue," and divert his attention and protection towards her? He easily/smoothly changed his itinerary (if he had an itinerary at all) to suit Lina's itinerary, and promised to accompany her during her trip to Atlas City. That just goes to show that Gourry has not taken the time to plan his future, which is why he was able to divert to Lina's agenda so quickly.
Loyal and Sincere
Probably the character trait that has won Gourry the most fans is his loyalty and his sincerity. Gourry's steadfast loyalty towards Lina Inverse (whom he has assumed the role of a guardian ^^) is unbreakable, and it seems as though she appreciates and returns his feelings. I think that one of the best demonstrations of Gourry's loyalty took place during the resolution of Slayers NEXT, when the Lord of Nightmares had taken over Lina's body. With all odds against him, he chased after her, dashing past a barrage of meteors and other dangerous obstacles. That scene just goes to show that Gourry will always stay by Lina's side, and would do virtually anything for her. ^_^
Many people may believe that Gourry is a jerk for constantly bringing up Lina's bust size, or for lifting up Filia's skirt. But he isn't a jerk; he has absolutely no intention of hurting people -- there's not a shred of malevolence in him! He's just extremely blunt (he doesn't know it, so he can't help it), which is why he mentions Lina's bust size every so often. Gourry does not understand the power of a white lie, nor does he know what it means to be tactful. So, he often says things that are true but not necessarily welcome. As for the issue with Filia's skirt... well, he's just curious about her tail. O.o;
Gourry = ADD?
Yet another commonplace belief that fans have come up with (most with the intention of defending Gourry, actually) is that Gourry has Attention Deficit Disorder. *shrug* I suppose this is a plausible argument -- it certainly would explain all of the instances in which Gourry "spaced out" during one of Lina's lectures. But, despite this argument, the chances that Gourry has ADD are actually VERY unlikely. This goes back to my argument that Gourry has a very laidback, spur-of-the-moment lifestyle. Because of the way he lives his life, he only picks up things that are crucial at the moment. For instance, whenever Lina lectures to him, it is usually on the topic of magic, right? Well, Gourry doesn't know magic, doesn't need to know about magic, and thus could care less about magic. So, why the heck should he have to listen? He chooses not to listen because it wouldn't do him much good, anyway. One person may call it "selective hearing," while another may call it "ADD." Personally, I perfer the former.
A Wonderful Character
Simply stated, Gourry is perhaps the most honest, pure, and untroubled character in all of Slayers. He is entirely his own character; his quirks and whims neither resemble Lina's logical tactics, Amelia's effusive dutifulness, Sylphiel's passivity, nor Zelgadis' competitive and depressive demeanor. It is saddening that Gourry has not recieved all of the recognition that he deserves, because he truely is a singular and wonderful character. Perhaps with the passing of time, Slayers fans will come to realize that.