Goblin Slayer Season 1 Recap and Review

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Goblin Slayer Anime

Originally a dark fantasy light novel written by Kumo Kagyu in early 2016, Goblin slayer was adapted into a manga later in the same year. Recently, it was graced with its every own anime adaptation. Once under the radar of many anime fans, this relatively new release has been on the rise in terms of popularity.

With Season 1 under its belt, many anime fans are now eagerly looking forward to the next release. But what is it that makes Goblin Slayer rise from a little-known manga to a fan-favorite anime? Let’s look at a few key elements.

SPOILER ALERT: This season recap contains spoilers. Don’t read on if you don’t want us spoiling the anime for you. Go watch it then come back.

The Storyline

Goblin Slayer tells the story of an adventurer that…you guessed it, slays goblins. It seems like a simple and straightforward plot, and that’s the beauty of it. How do you take someone who dedicates his whole life to doing the same thing over and over and over, and somehow make it exciting for an audience?

The answer: You find different ways to do it. You find better and more efficient ways to completing the task with fireworks (or in Goblin Slayer’s case, bloodworks).

And speaking of bloodworks, what sets Goblin Slayer apart from other fantasy-type anime is the blood and gore, which adds a little bit of extra spice for a more “mature” audience. In any other fantasy-type anime, the anime will start off with a party of adventuring buddies who you know will survive any hardship and adversity and in the process, discover the true meaning of trust and friendship in the process, and most importantly, nobody will die.

In Goblin Slayer, you start off with a party of adventuring buddies off to kill some goblins, and next thing you know, they’re laying in their own pool of blood in a dark cave somewhere.

Even more daring for this anime, and something most other anime wouldn’t even dare try, is the “rape zone”.

This is extremely controversial and sensitive territory that many other anime wouldn’t think of venturing into. The rape scene in the first episode is brutal, vulgar, and gives viewers the sense that the fragile human race is meant to be abused by stronger, viler creatures, which is definitely not the fantasy world that you might have envisioned. This is the kind of spice that goes from “tabasco sauce” to “ghost pepper hot sauce” in a minute and leaves the customer with a stun of “what the hell did I just eat?”

In comes the Goblin Slayer, who gives zero fucks about everything, including the rapes, and proceeds to murder every goblin he can find because they killed his family, even baby goblins. It’s the ultimate revenge story, the take-the-law-into-your-own-hands Punisher-esque (pardon the Marvel reference) badass. In a world where an adventurer is suppose to aspire for glory by becoming the Hero that slays the demon lord and get heaps of praise from everyone, Goblin Slayer has chosen to become the Frank Castle to everyone else’s Avengers (if you didn’t get that reference, look it up, you’ll thank me later) by cleaning up the “street trash” that no one else wants to associate with. In a world where everything is suppose to shine and sparkle with magic, the Punis…er…Goblin Slayer has taken us into its dark and bloody underbelly filled with despicable goblins.

The Artwork

What can I say about the artwork, except that it is fabulous. The Goblin Slayer himself is portrayed as a faceless, nameless individual hidden behind a helmet and a set of armor, which only adds focus to his title role and task at hand by diverting us away from his character. The goblins, on the other hand, are drawn perfectly to embody the conniving evilness in the dark that they are.

Now those are faces that only a mother could…oh wait, what’s that? Their mothers were kidnapped human females used as reproductive tools? Okay then, never mind.

Also, the facial expressions perfectly capture what the characters are supposedly feeling at the time. (Except Goblin Slayer, whose face you never see, since he’s supposed to be emotionless and shrouded in mystery). Just look at this face – that’s the face of true terror right there.

The Cast

While we’re on the subject of cast, it is important to point out that Goblin Slayer is not a character solely surrounded by beautiful women whom he can ogle at from the concealment of his helmet (why else do you think he wears that thing? For something stupid like defense in battle? Pshh, please.)

Alas, though the focus is on the achievements of the title character, the anime is not without an array of colorful, and more importantly, supporting cast members. There is the mage girl and archer elf girl, both eye candies in their own right, the dwarven spellcaster, and a large lizardman who serves as both a fighter and summoner. Each of these four add a differing personality to complement the Goblin Slayer’s lack thereof, and each one brings a different set of skills to the table. Let’s dig deeper into the supporting cast.

Priestess

A young aspiring adventurer who, being solely a healing and defensive-type spell-caster, can do very little to hold her own. This is the type of character that a professional gamer refers to as a “newb”. She is young, naive, and full of high hopes, which embodies the spirit of every new adventurer that sets foot into the “guild”- the place where adventure quests are handed out.

She accepts a quest with a group of other young and aspiring adventurers seeking out glory, and they decided to snuff some goblins, supposedly one of the easier quests on the guild board. If slaying a dragon was the equivalent of cooking for Gordon Ramsay, slaying goblins was supposed to be like making oatmeal for old folks at the retirement home. Easy stuff, right?

And as everyone already knows, things go very wrong as the inexperienced party is nearly annihilated and literally raped by goblins. The priestess came to a shocking realization that adventures aren’t all fun and games and nearly gets offed by the goblins before the Goblin Slayer swoops in and…well, slays the goblins. Since then, she has joined herself to Goblin Slayer as his sidekick, and much to his benefit. Goblin Slayer, with a mind set entirely on the mass genocide of goblin kind (goblincide?), employs the young priestess’s magical abilities to do just that, often with a bloodthirsty twist, much to her displeasure and reluctant acceptance.

High Elf Archer

Speaking of reluctant acceptance, here is another female cast that doesn’t agree much with the way Goblin Slayer does things, but goes along with him anyways. Supposedly a member of a “nobler race” (hence the name “high” elf), she was not eager to deal with goblins in the comfort of filthy sewers and musky caves. But for whatever reasons, she goes along with all of the Orcbolg’s (the elven name she uses to call Goblin Slayer) goblin-slaying quests, and contributes effectively as a long-range attacker and a scout to sniff out traps in goblin lairs. Other contributing factors: she’ll be a favorite among cosplayers and a highly “shippable” character in fan fictions.

Dwarf Shaman

This character, as the name suggests, is a dwarf and a spell-caster. He is the hard-drinking, easy-going guy that every frat boy would want to invite to their party. In terms of personality, he serves as a nice complementary opposite the elf archer, as the constant bickering between the two livens up the mood for the party in which the leader is the emotionless Goblin Slayer. He refers to Goblin Slayer as “Beard-cutter” (the name of the goblin-slaying sword created by dwarven hands) and contributes to the combat ability of the group with golem summons and spells that immobilize the enemy.

Lizard Priest

Last but not least in the party is this huge lizardman. Despite his enormous size, he is also quite easy-going (among friends, not so much with enemies). This guy has a tendency to refer to his fellow party members in honorifics, often addressing the men with a “sir” or “lord” and the females with a “lady” or “madam”. On the battlefield, he is not so polite. In fact, this guy kicks ass. He is possibly the strongest member in terms of physical strength, as shown in the Goblin Slayer’s plan to have him remove a gigantic magical mirror from a wall. And a swing of his mighty lizard tail will send an array of scrawny goblins flying.

In addition, he is able to cast summoning spells and bring forth “dragon-tooth warriors”- or skeletal lizardmen. How badass is that? He’s the guy you want on your team when its time to lay wreckage to a whole crew of scrawny fiends, as long as you provide him with cheese.

Sword Maiden

This is not a member of Goblin Slayer’s party. But she is a crucial cast in offering a major quest to eliminate a horde of goblins living under her town. Having once been a heroine who defeated the demon lord, she was blinded when she was kidnapped and violated by goblins. She resides in the temple of her town as the Sword Maiden, revered by all, but holds onto her encounter with the goblins as a dark secret deep within herself.

Though limited in appearance, she is shown to be possibly the most emotionally developed character as she reveals her deep fear of goblins to Goblin Slayer and asks him to provide her with emotional security. Goblin Slayer, true to his style, says he can’t save her from emotional distress, but will come if there are goblins to slay. It was clear at some point that the Sword Maiden was making advances toward Goblin Slayer, but he was having none of that. He only gets off by killing goblins.

Conclusion

All in all, Goblin Slayer has delivered something unique that many other anime haven’t dared to: Violence, death, blood, gore, sex, nudity… all in the setting of a fabulous fantasy world filled with magic, with an array of fabulous characters whose roles are all clearly defined and are all interesting in their own ways. Here’s hoping that Season 2 will deliver more of the same.

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