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Review: 'Goblin Slayer'

Anime Review

Anime: Goblin Slayer
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Age Rating: Adult+
Studio: White Fox
Music: Kenichirō Suehiro
Author: Hideyuki Kurata, Yōsuke Kuroda
Dub/Sub: Dubbed
Ecchi Level: Otaku (Lots of teasing, but nothing shows.)
Triggers: Violent Rape

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Right off the bat, I’m going to tell people that this anime isn’t for everyone. This thing blew up huge because it was posted on CR without proper warning labels, and a looooot of people exploded over it. Rightly so if you ask me. So here is your warning about this anime. In the very first episode, if you can’t tolerate scenes involving violent non-consensual sex, then you will not enjoy the first episode at all. And if it is a must see for you, then skip episode one. Because it doesn’t do a whole lot except introduce two of the main characters, and then basically kill off the rest.

That said, even without the horrific act of rape in the first episode, it still confuses the shit out of me. Going into it, I thought that this was supposed to set the tone for the rest of the series. But it does just the opposite. All the other episodes have plenty of violence, but never really against anyone but the villains of the story, which are the goblins. Occasionally you’ll run into a character who has suffered through hell with the goblins, but all that is done off screen. So I was confused as shit when in episode one, they commit to this dark and horrific feel for the anime, and then proceed to undo any expectations that the episode set with a reptile’s cartoonish love for cheese and the party going out for ice cream. So, from this point on, I’ll be adding “triggers” to the list above in case there is any kind of material that might psychologically harm any future watchers. Thanks Goblin Slayer...

In any case, as for the series itself, it did a decent job starting off. The entire series takes place in a fantasy world where humans, elves, dwarves, and lizard people are known to live. There’s also magic, which I think spices up any kind of anime if done correctly. A newly rolled Lvl 1 Priestess (None of the characters’ names are told to us) finds herself at a guild looking for a job when a merry band of happy-go-lucky scrubs with as much experience as her stroll up and ask her to join them. After telling her that they’re going to slay some goblins, she hesitantly joins. And when they finally get there, everything goes to hell.

Society itself underestimates how deadly goblins actually are. On top of that, with their extremely low level of experience, they miss a lot of things that a more experienced adventurer would pick up in the goblin cave. This leads to one of them getting stabbed with a poisoned dagger, one losing his weapon due to an amateurish mistake which results in him getting mobbed and killed, and one gets knocked senseless and violated. The priestess, being the least harmed, runs for her life, only to end up running into an armored adventurer at the beginning of the cave.

This adventurer ends up being the Goblin Slayer, an expert hero who only cares for slaying the little green bastards. After putting the poisoned member out of their misery, he teaches the priestess all of the mistakes that the party made as they go along. Their relationship pretty much immediately becomes the “Master and Apprentice” that you see in many other anime. After finally cleaning the cave out, they rescue the violated young woman and she is sent home, too traumatized to continue her adventuring.

That’s what you have to contend with in episode one, so if you still want to watch the rest of the series, it’s mostly clear from here. Like I said, there are some occasions where they run into victims of the goblins, but any horrific acts from this point are left off the screen.

Despite the idiotic bait and switch in episode one, I still really enjoyed the rest of the series. It follows Goblin Slayer and the priestess as they travel together and continue hunting down goblins. At one point, a party of adventurers, including an elf, a dwarf, and a lizard man decide to team up with the two and proceed to rid the land of as many goblins as they can. The interactions throughout the anime between the characters is typical. It’s never outright told to you why the Goblin Slayer only goes after goblins, but you see through flashbacks what happened. And as with many silent, brooding, and edgy main characters, it’s traumatic as hell. Little is ever spoken about the other characters though, which knocks points off for me.

They also do a pretty decent job at establishing the world they live in. There are many tales told of heroes slaying the Demon King, as well as having the party visit a city much bigger than the one they’re used to and meeting one of the heroes. It was pretty well laid out as far as the story goes, and expands a bit on the goblin lore about where they are coming from. But other than that, it’s just a decent anime, all intros aside. The combat is creative and isn’t just “I STAB GOBLIN LOTS!” and the animations is pretty well done. The music is on point where it exists. But I suppose on a budget, it is better to save the catchy music for the important scenes.

Episode one aside, I only have a few gripes about the anime as a whole. I’ve already mentioned the lack of character depth for the other party members, so I won’t go off into that whole thing. But this anime, like many others, has a habit of pulling the “single piece of cloth covers up all nudity” trope. I’ll let other anime get away with it simply because some of them don’t want to show it, so I’m not going to question it. But going off the rails in the very first episode by not only violently killing off an entire party of teenagers, and then show on screen one of them being violated, and then resorting to this cheap tactic of scraps of clothing and long hair covering body parts is stupid. It’s stupid and you should be ashamed of yourself. This anime could have easily cemented itself as a fantasy with dark undertones by excluding that entire scene in episode one, or even having it done off screen. But no, they added it in full animated idiocy, and then decided to go a different direction for the entire rest of the anime. To be honest, it sounds horribly like the first episode wanted to get attention through controversy before taking up its normal, regular pace.

Oh, there was also a recap episode. Don’t do that. Only villains do that.

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TLDR: It was a good anime. First episode aside, I actually looked forward to watching future episodes after I got past that. That said, this anime has a lot of missteps, but none that are unforgivable. If you want to burn a day and binge the series, I would recommend it. To those with weak stomachs, or who were potential victims of sexual abuse in the past, I’d either avoid the anime entirely, or skip episode one. For the rest of you, it’s a decent fantasy anime with main character development, awesome battles, and cool music. There’s not much more I can tell you about it that I haven’t already above.

Ratings
Animation: 8/10
Music: 9/10
Story: 8/10
Comedy: 5/10
Overall Rating: 6/10

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SPOILER TALK: Not much to spoil here. I’m glad I gave it a second chance after the first episode. But, if you’re looking for fantasy, I’d say there are other, better anime out there personally.

BEST GIRL: Best girl goes to the character simply named Cow Girl. I don’t know if this is because she’s a farmer, or because of her... assets. But either way, she’s adorable and doesn’t give up on her childhood friend, AKA Goblin Slayer. For that she has my respect.