Final Impressions: Goblin Slayer

What’s poppin’ friends! It’s a new anime season, but like my grandparents, I’m still stuck in the past.  That means it’s time for a final impressions article! Today’s article is gonna be about Goblin Slayer.  

I was pretty excited for Goblin Slayer.  Having read a fair bit of the source material, I loved this story that kept a tight focus on well, slaying goblins.  Goblins seem to the the trash mob of choice for most fantasy shows, and I think they get the short end of the stick, so a show that put these nasty little creatures in the spotlight sounded like something right up my alley.  

With that said, let’s get into it.  

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Goblins Slayer is a surprisingly accurate title for this fantasy show.  Our main character is the mysterious Goblin Slayer, an adventurer who has only one goal: to kill all goblins.  As the series progresses, he parties up with a diverse collection of other adventurers, including a Young Priestess, an Elf Ranger, and a Dragonborn Shaman, to kill more goblins.  While that description may sound fairly boring, the show does a very good job at keeping it interesting. There is a lot of time spent developing the goblins as an enemy, with the titular Goblin Slayer explaining the goblins’ tactics and psychology.  I took great pleasure in watching Goblin Slayer set up elaborate traps and schemes to defeat his enemies. It’s like watching someone solve a difficult puzzle, except this time the payoff is watching dozens of goblins die in a variety of gruesome ways.  

There isn’t a whole lot of grand world-building in the show.  There is mention of a demon lord and a hero, but that is all background information.  In fact, there is not a whole lot told about the world of Goblin Slayer.  This is because it’s not necessary.  We don’t need to know about the affairs of the country because we don’t care about that huge area.  The story is much smaller in scale, but that narrow focus gives the show all the attention a world-saving adventure deserves.  

Goblin Slayer was quite a hot topic of conversation when the first episode released.  There is a rather graphic scene that, while not explicitly shown, certainly implies a character getting raped.  This was an extreme start for the show, and while it certainly shocked me, it also impressed me a bit, as most shows aren’t be bold enough to include such material.  This strong start, however, didn’t really hold up as the series went on. While I wasn’t expecting more of what happened in episode 1, I was expecting more gore than I actually got.   As for the rest of the content, at least plot wise, the story progressed fairly linearly. The voice acting of the supporting cast, particularly Young Priestess and Dragonborn Shaman, were quite good and the character interactions between them were amusing, if a little cliche even. Though, I will admit I’m not particularly fond of Goblin Slayer. Despite his stoic and serious personality, our protagonist barely says anything, responding to almost any statement with “I see”, and being extremely literal.  While entertaining at first, I started to find it fairly bland as the show progressed.  

Aside from the dry biscuit which is Goblin Slayer’s personality, there were a few other issues that I had with Goblin Slayer.  The first was the use of CG.  I don’t think that CG is a bad thing to have in a show, but it wasn’t used well in Goblin Slayer.  For those that haven’t watched, often times during Goblin Slayer, the titular character is a CG model while the rest of the cast isn’t.  This felt really jarring. Having the main character look so out of place didn’t make the world inside the story seem real.  This dissatisfaction is further compounded by the fact that Goblin Slayer isn’t CG all the time. Sometimes he is animated the same way as the rest of the cast.  This inconsistency was frustrating, because it showed that there was a choice to render him in CG, even though it was possible to draw him “traditionally”. The animation overall was kind of sub-par.  

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My second gripe is with one of the character designs, namely “Cow Girl”. While the naming convention in the show is very simple, with characters usually being named after their jobs, the name “Cow Girl” seemed laughably accurate in more ways than one.  While she is a girl who looks after cows, her breasts are so large that someone with less tact would probably call them udders. This character design served no narrative purpose, and seemed to only be used for blatant fanservice camera angles, which felt tonally out of place.  The rest of the character designs were standard fantasy fare, with the exception of the Dragonborn Shaman. I liked the Native American design he had, which included a feather headdress and hand stitched leather clothes.

To bring things back to a positive note, I want to mention the soundtrack.  I really want to talk about the opening theme and the episode 9 and 12 insert songs.  All three of these songs were performed by Mili, one of the first Japanese bands I listened too, and one of my favorites.  The opening, “Rightfully”, does an excellent job of building tension to hype up the viewer for the following episode. The episode 9 insert song, with the simple instrumentation of church organ and vocals, sounded like funeral music, which was very fitting.  The episode 12 insert song, “Within” has some of the same driving energy of the opening, but the slower tempo changes the mood from frantic to inspiring.

Overall, I enjoyed Goblin Slayer, but it’s not for everyone.  It’s a very niche show that I would only recommend it to weirdos like me, who actively seek out dark and gory shows and don’t have super high standards. If that sounds like you, then give it a try.  

Diyo likes the Fate franchise, anything directed by Masaaki Yuasa, and anime girls with shoulder-length hair. Diyo's non-anime hobbies include sleep deprivation, Magic: The Gathering, and trains. Diyo's one true goal in life is to interview everyone who has worked on From the New World.
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