This year, I looked at a grimdark Netflix exclusive and a silly, over-the-top ecchi series. So the next logical step is dark fantasy. The subject of today’s post started off as a light novel series written by Kumo Kagyu and illustrated by Noboru Kannatuki, which was adapted into a serialized manga series illustrated by Kosuke Kurose. Then, in fall of 2018, it got an anime adaptation that garnered a lot of controversy in the anime community, mainly thanks to its first episode. More on that later. But right now, let’s get into Goblin Slayer.
In a fantasy world, adventurers from all across take quests in pursue of money, fame, or even becoming a great hero. A young priestess joins a party of inexperienced rookies who head off into a cave where goblins reside. Most of the team gets brutally taken out by the goblin horde, sans the priestess, when they encounter the legendary Goblin Slayer, whose sole mission is to eradicate all goblins from the world. The whole world of Goblin Slayer is set up like a tabletop RPG, which you can tell by the world-building and the way the story is told. There is no hero’s journey to be had, it’s just a series of events occurring around the titular character, which is a refreshing break from most fantasy stories. While most people are focused on fighting larger threats like demons and dragons, smaller threats like the goblins grow, which is where you-know-who comes in the picture.
An interesting thing about this anime is that the characters aren’t referred to by their actual names, but by their roles. We have our titular character, Goblin Slayer, who is not the traditional hero that we’re all familiar with. He’s not about fortune or fame or honor, he just wants to kill all goblins, which is all related to his background or whatever pieces of his background is shown. He’ll only take quests that involves slaying goblins and nothing else. He’s followed by a priestess who’s able to use healing magic. Eventually, they form a party with a dwarf shaman, an elf archer, and a lizard priest. There’s other characters, but they’re pretty much secondary to the main lead.
We might as well talk about that first episode while we’re at it. Usually, the first episode is meant to give you a taste of what to expect from a series overall. The first episode of Goblin Slayer definitely left a pretty bad impression on people with how graphic it was, to the point where Crunchyroll put a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode. I get what they were trying to do, showing how awful the goblins really are, especially with what they do to women, but it could have been done better than what they ultimately did. Fortunately, grimdark moments like that are rare in this series and are more spread out. Most of the focus is on character study of Goblin Slayer. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of goblin slaying going around and even a battle with an ogre. In the last two episodes, the adventurers are convinced to fight off a goblin horde that threatens a farm that Goblin Slayer manages. If I have complaints outside of the first episode, it’s the use of CGI, especially on Goblin Slayer himself. It always looks weird and doesn’t mesh with the rest of the animation, which looks amazing.
And that was Goblin Slayer. It’s definitely an interesting anime to watch. Interesting characters, good animation, gruesome fight scenes, funny moments, touching moments, etc. It has all the things you want in a good dark fantasy story. I did enjoy this anime overall and it’s worth checking out. Just skip the first episode. For those who want to check it out, all 12 episodes (plus a recap) are up on Crunchyroll and Funimation. I look forward to seeing where this story goes in season 2. Next time, I’ll talk about Black Clover and my complete 180 on it.