Hey guys. We have an interesting and somewhat divisive anime review today. Episode #1 of Goblin Slayer. I do need to do a small content warning.
Content Warning- Goblin Slayer’s Episode #1, I cannot speak for the whole series, has very graphic scenes of murder, mutilation, and even rape. Personally, I will not be touching on the rape scenes during the overview. We may address it later on in the review because it is one of the factors leading to the divisive nature of reviewers. So, if you are someone who gets triggered, not using the word in a negative manner but in the way the word was intended to be used, I will keep talking about those scenes to a minimum. However, I can already tell you if any of the above factors sound like too much, you will not like this anime. Now let’s get on to the review.
The anime starts off promising enough. The animation production is high quality. The main character is a vibrant and happy lead character. The Adventure Guild is a sprawling hub full of cheery inhabitants bragging about their strengths. From here, Priestess, the main character, is quickly introduced to her team. 3 eager adventurers dead set on stopping a tribe of goblins who kidnapped some girls from a village. The show is littered with foreshadowing and irony from this point on.
The bright undertones are swiftly replaced with the caves dark setting, void of any color except for a single torch frantically flickering, clinging to what little light there is in the world. There are several mentions of them all being rookies, and lackadaisically, almost mockingly, asking “they’re just goblins, what could possibly go wrong?”. Midway through the cave the camera pans showing just darkness, but trained eyes will notice it is a secondary pathway housing several Goblin soldiers. The young boy in the group, like the rookie he is, hits his sword against the top of the cave. In hindsight, for such a dark cave, their doom was clear as day.
The adventurers inadvertently separate into groups of 2. This makes them easy pickings for the goblins who single out the mage first. Breaking her staff then stabbing her and infecting her with poison. Don’t worry, I will describe bits of the violence but I will not touch on the more graphic details, for those of you who still may be reading but aren’t comfortable with that level of disturbing content. Just know, Goblins 1-Adventurers 0
Of course, Action Lad jumps in and kills a goblin or two just for the foreshadowing to now be in the forefront. His blade hits the top of the cave, dislodging it from his grip. The goblins make haste swarming him. They leave only his corpse behind.
Goblins 2- Adventurers 0
Lastly is Ms. Kick Boxer. She gets a few good kicks in (Papa Roach would be very happy). In the end though, she attempts to kick the big cheese, the Hobgoblin. This does not, in fact, end well. Her face promptly makes contact with the rocky, rough sides of the cave walls. Her body, not quite lifeless, is left for the goblins own devices
Goblins 3- Adventurers 0
All that’s left is Priestess as she tries in vain to carry the dying mage to safety. An arrow emerges from the darkness and breaks skin, penetrating her shoulder. The goblins close in on her in the same menacing manner. The goblin are about to claim the victorious 4-0 sweep. The adventurers are finished. Right? Well, not quite. Not yet.
The titular Goblin Slayer ambles stoically from the bowels of the cave. From here, the anime completely switches gears. The goblins are annihilated one by one. The bonus points part is that they are slain in a multitude of ways. Sure, there is a lot of head cleaving, but we also see spears, traps, setting the hobgoblin on fire and rolling him down a hill. Most are brutal and brutish in nature, but that’s okay too. The story for this episode really wraps up at this point. The Goblin Slayer and the Priestess kill all the known goblins in the cave and rescue the kidnapped girls. The Goblin Slayer and the Priestess reconvene at the guild ready for more days of goblin slaying.
Okay so, that’s your recap. Now, normally I try to avoid just recapping the episode, so why did we spend a lengthy time summarizing the first 10 minutes of the show? For several reasons. Let’s discuss.
Setting the Tone- A lot like with Attack on Titan and Akame Ga Kill, it is important to know that characters just get brutally murdered sometimes. Life is meaningless, to a certain degree anyway. If you don’t respect death and all the critters under your feet, in this instances goblins, you will be utterly and completely destroyed even if you are the hero. The gruesome mutilations and the depiction of rape scenes had many in the Crunchyroll comment section turned completely off of the anime. I understand that.
It Perfectly Tells You How To Feel- It’s a cartoon. Sure. But murder and rape are real life things. So, while I dont glorify these actions, I think this anime uses them to great conviction. What do I mean? Because the first 10 minutes are so brutal, so barbarian, it really paints Goblin Slayer as the most heroic and lifesaving dude in all of anime. You spend 10 minutes watching goblins molest, violate, and butcher a bunch of kids. Its’s grisly and savage, yet so commonplace in this world. When Goblin Slayer slices a goblin’s head open you cheer. Then he sets one on fire and you fist bump. He pierces the heart of a goblin with a spear and you let out a “Get em!”. He finds four baby goblins and bludgeons them to death and you ponder if the only good goblin is a dead one. Then you get flashbacks of Star Wars 3.
It Felt Real- Some people may disagree with this part. That’s fine. Kids today are clueless about a lot of parts of life. When adventure lad felt so sure of himself and that he was a hero just to get slaughtered by a world that felt nothing for his heroism, it just felt real. Kids today aren’t taught how to manage money, how to pay for a house, or how to change a tire. Yet, they still get thrown out in the world (most thinking they are ready for it). A lot of them get mercilessly fed to the beast. So many people I know are buried on financial burdens. The younger ones under student loans while the older ones are crushed under credit card debt or trying to pay off a house or what have you. And all those financial woes are just commonplace. I feel like you could go on and on and on about people just being unprepared for the real world but I think you guys get the point.
Now for the Bad.
Priestess is a Lame Character- Maybe she gets cooler or stronger in later episodes. I just did not relate to her as a character. Sure, I could sympathize with her in that situation. I mean, your crew was just brutally murdered before your eyes. There was an interesting discussion in the CR comment section about how what finally broke her was the baby goblins dying. One person defended her saying it was the weight of everything and that was the first moment she was able to breathe. Personally, I don’t buy it. I think they wanted to create a sense of moral ambiguity about killing baby goblins. Too which there is none. You kill them. They are not like humans which have at least a shred of humanity, even if buried real deep. So, she gets no sympathy from me in that moment. Couple the crying with the fact that she literally needed no time mourning her fallen teammates before she eagerly joined Goblin Slayer again felt disingenuous. There is a way to make it feel more real and earned. Show her grow in the cave. Honestly, I didn’t really see any growth on her part. Sure, she cast Holy Light twice. So what? How about more internal monologues? She gave plenty but yet I never really saw her say anything about a rush of adrenaline from killing goblins or how she wants to avenge her dead members. She just talks about how scarring and common events like these are but she is definitely an adventurer. It just felt like an ending they forced instead of a natural progression of her character. Maybe the novel dives more into it? Even so, we are judging the anime, and this has got to be one of the most unsatisfying endings. I’m not against the product of the outing being a stronger, more brave Priestess, just that they did nothing to make it a believable evolution.
Hopefully all my thoughts about Episode #1 are clear and not too confusing. I’ve read some other people’s reviews and everyone tends to have a lot to say about the anime. Personally, I saw some metaphors for life today. maybe I’m off base with those connections. I don’t the anime is completely tasteless or void of substance, but I can see other people not caring for it. I had a lot of thoughts and just wasn’t entirely sure how to structure everything.
Goblin Slayer Episode #1 is good. It certainly is not for everyone. It is important to remember that some people will not be able handle this level of disturbing anime. That’s okay. And if you enjoyed the darker side of this anime, that is okay too. Everyone’s taste is different.
My score for this episode changed a lot over the course of writing this. Episode #1 was an adrenaline trip of mixed emotions. Ultimately, I was ready to watch the next one and rate this one a very solid 9 out of 10. But after bouncing everything in my head a few times, I still really liked the first episode, bad ending aside, I landed on 7.5 out 10. Goblin Slayer more than makes up for how meh Priestess is. The ending didn’t deter how action packed the first episode was. Though I do question where we go from here. Not perfect by any stretch, yet still solid. Here’s a recap for anyone interested.
Action- Some of the best of any anime I have reviewed.
Romance– Not the good kind.
Plot- As of right now it is very grounded. There is no immanent, greater danger. In comics, we call this street level villains. Yet I’m not sure where we go from here.
Characters- Priestess was easily the most boring, so of course she is the one who lived. I loved the goblins as far as villains go. Perfect villains. And Goblin Slayer is the perfect hero.
The World- Most of the episode took place in a cave. Other episodes might follow suit. The world is cool as a whole. I’m just not sure how much of it we will see.
Humor– I’m not sure there was a single funny part in this whole anime. Maybe something chuckle worthy before the cave, but virtually nothing past that. I did laugh a couple times when goblins died, but who didn’t?
What did you guys think about Goblin Slayer? Which side of the coin did you fall under? I’m not really sure where the anime goes from here. It did get a 2nd season so I guess it has to go somewhere, right?
Thanks for reading! Have a great day everybody!
More Continued Readings Below: