Goblin Slayer – Anime Review
Synopsis: “I’m not saving the world. I just kill goblins.” Rumor has it that, in a certain guild in the middle of nowhere, there is an extraordinary man who has climbed all the way to the Silver rank just by killing goblins. At the same guild, a priestess who’s just become a new adventurer has formed her first party… and the man who ends up rescuing that party when they get into trouble is none other than the Goblin Slayer. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Goblin Slayer became 2018’s most divisive anime thanks to its first episode that, in all honesty, really doesn’t capture what the series is about. Shocking people with a graphic (for anime anyway) rape scene, Goblin Slayer was viewed as edgy, with gratuitous violence, and uncomfortable sexualized brutality. The truth is however that first scene is mainly there to shock, to try and instill in audiences that Goblin Slayer isn’t the same as other fun, light-hearted, wish fulfillment Light Novels. While the first episode’s content is perhaps in poor taste, it doesn’t speak for the rest of the series. Goblin Slayer frequently revels in the brutality of our titular character’s fight against the scummy Goblins, and while we’re at times reminded of just how nasty these Goblins can be, the contents of the first episode are never revisited in such full force.
Linny: Goblin Slayer is truly at its best when it’s focused on its titular character’s innovative methods to combating and taking down masses of goblins, which was a highlight in the first episode that was overshadowed by the somewhat graphic rape sequence. These episodes and action scenes are gripping, action packed and it’s actually rather impressive how the story comes up with clever challenges for our heroes to have to face off against. However, these action packed story lines are almost always followed by a ‘cool down’ episode, aka one that is almost entirely slice of life and mundane as the cast goes around engaging in random activities. The repetitive cycle makes these slower episodes seem all the more boring after the adrenaline rush of the previous episodes.
Tom: That juggle between adrenaline pumping action and slice of life tone is something so many anime struggle with today. Series often feel bipolar in their efforts to both carter to the easy going crowd and viewers who want incredible fight scenes. Goblin Slayer falters like most other recent anime, allowing for far too many of those ‘cool down’ episodes Linny spoke of. Thankfully, Goblin Slayer ultimately goes out on a high, with a two-part final battle that feels truly epic and engaging, with strategy, mayhem, and the brutality the series often displays. Goblin Slayer isn’t a looker however, and its efforts to generate compelling imagery are at times hindered by stilted animation or, more detrimental, CGI usage that looks wholly flat and at odds with the traditional art. Still, the series is captivating enough when its mired in combat that it overcomes its visual shortcomings.
Linny: Unsurprisingly, Goblin Slayer does not go too deep in exploring any of its cast members, outside of its titular character. Even then, what we get is rather simple and compact compared to others. Nevertheless, Goblin Slayer does a good job of establishing its unlikely and uncommon protagonist, one who isn’t your altruistic hero setting out to shine light and hope but rather one scarred by a traumatic experience and on an almost manic like mission to eradicate the reason for that experience. This makes for a welcome and engaging change from the sea of do-gooder heroes anime is often littered with.
Tom: Goblin Slayer is far from perfect. Its 1st episode goes too hard on shock value. While the shock of its content drew tons of attention, it doesn’t accurately set expectations for what’s to come. Uneven at times, bipolar in tone, Goblin Slayer still shines through as an enjoyable title for the Fall. I hope however, if there is truly a follow up down the line, the series will play better towards its strengths and skim down on the slice of life content that deflated my excitement at times throughout the season.
Linny: Goblin Slayer had a controversial start with accusations flying around about its violent content. And while it does have a violent opening episode and continues to have some rather violent showdowns as it continues, it’s actually not as bad as one might assume based on the early accusations. Yes, it does have a sexual assault scene or two, but they’re not depicted with extreme graphics beyond the first episode and while it does have a bit of fan service, those who have watched a lot of violent or fan service laden anime will probably label Goblin Slayer tame by comparison. Unless you are uncomfortable with violence exceeding Shonen style or comical levels, viewers should be able to enjoy Goblin Slayer for its clever approach to upping the stakes in its action showdowns and watching its protagonist come up with even more clever methods to wiping out the goblin infestation.