Genre(s): Dark Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Age-Appropriateness: 17+ (Graphic violence, partial nudity, disturbing scenes)
Platforms: Crunchyroll, Funimation
Episodes: 12 (+1 recap episode)
TheAwersome Rating: 8.0 / 10 (Oddly binge-able)
Premise: Goblins are known for their ferocity, cunning, and rapid reproduction, but their reputation as the lowliest of monsters causes their threat to be overlooked. These vile creatures continue their onslaught on rural communities as adventurers turn a blind eye in favor of more rewarding quests with larger bounties.
On her first day as a Porcelain-ranked adventurer, a Priestess joins a band of young, enthusiastic rookies to investigate a tribe of goblins responsible for the disappearance of several village women. Unprepared and inexperienced, the group soon faces its demise from an ambush while exploring a cave. The terrified Priestess accepts her fate—until the Goblin Slayer unexpectedly appears to not only rescue her with little effort but destroy the entire goblin nest.
The Goblin Slayer allows her to accompany him as he assists the Adventurer’s Guild in all goblin-related matters. Together with the Priestess, High Elf Ranger, Dwarf Shaman, and Lizard-man Priest, the armored warrior will not rest until every single goblin in the frontier lands has been eradicated for good.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: I was not expecting to love this anywhere near as much as I did. Rather than an Isekai or being based in a more Video-game inspired world, Goblin Slayer takes its inspiration quite clearly from Dungeons & Dragons and Tolkeinistic fantasy in a way that I haven’t seen done in anime before. Goblin Slayer doesn’t follow the heroes and adventurers that save the world from the Demon King (though there are ones that do) and keeps the scale smaller and more personal. In doing so, I found it easier to immerse myself and get more invested. So much so that I watched all of the series and movie in three days.
TLDR: A visceral love letter to Dungeons & Dragons, tabletop RPGs, and high fantasy.
There is a movie: Goblin’s Crown, which will be reviewed next week.
It’s important to know going into this that it is brutal and sexual abuse is a frequent topic. For some reason or another, this erroneously was given a PG-13 rating for its first week, resulting in a lot of disturbed and scarred viewers (rightfully so). That being said, most of the show is tamer than the first episode. There is some fanservice, but it isn’t obnoxious or to the point where I’d classify this show as ecchi at all.
Something that makes Goblin Slayer stand out to me is the Soundtrack, which is done by Kenichiro Suehiro, the same composer who did Re: Zero’s soundtrack. For Goblin Slayer, the tracks go one of two routes: either they go whole hog into the Renaissance Fair/medieval vibe, or Heavy Metal. Ordinarily you might think “well that’s a hard juxtaposition” but you have to remember that when D&D was popular, so was metal and progressive rock such as Yes! and Jethro Tull that utilized a lot of renaissance-flavored instruments or feelings. Led Zeppelin has a whole song dedicated to Gollum, so this soundtrack of the Ren Fair and Metal is a perfect homage to the era of D&D and the Satanic Panic. A lot of Metal and Prog Rock uses fantasy themes both in lyrics and often instrumentally.
Something else that I really liked with Goblin Slayer was what I really liked about The Mandalorian (First season at least, I haven’t seen the second): lower stakes. When the fate of the world or nation is at stake, you can expect all the mightiest forces to come and aid in one way or another. When only the lives of a few low-rank adventurers or a small rural town is on the line, you’re on your own. It means there’s less a chance for Deus-ex Machina, and so though the stakes are lower, they feel more real. I’m not an amazing, famous, super person, so it can be harder to relate to a protagonist who’s the best at everything. Somebody who has a special interest and tends to keep to himself, however? Yeah, I can connect a lot easier.