Goblin Slayer exceeds expectations

The Fall 2018 anime season was absolutely stacked with great shows covering many genres. “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny-Girl Senpai” was a romantic-comedy that is a contender for anime of the year. “Bloom into You” helped capture the idea of finding love in the place you least expect it. “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” was a refreshing change on the usual isekai (parallel universe or alternate world) anime formula which embraces how silly the premise is. “Zombieland Saga” was the surprise of the season when it balanced comedy and drama in a series featuring dead girls coming back to life to perform musical numbers.

Anime fans had their hands full, but few shows made a splash quite like “Goblin Slayer,” an anime whose title is not misleading at all! In this anime, we follow Goblin Slayer on his journey to, well, slay goblins. How would such a show capture any sort of audience with a premise so simple?

They did it with controversy! After a graphic content warning, the show kicks off by introducing us to our main character meeting a band of young adventurers. Our main character is Priestess; the writers decided not to give anybody names and instead the characters are referred to by who they are and what they do. Priestess and the group of adventurers set out on a quest to kill the supposedly weak goblins.

Instead of returning victorious, the group is beaten, featuring a rape scene I wouldn’t mention here for spoilers if it wasn’t so shocking to see. Luckily, Goblin Slayer shows up to save Priestess and kills off the remaining goblins.

From there, the show is mostly about killing goblins in creative ways while meeting new protagonists. At one point, Goblin Slayer and Priestess run into a traveling group consisting of High Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman and Lizard Priest, with exactly zero of them being greeted with any formal name whatsoever. There are also a handful of memorable characters in Sword Maiden, Guild Girl, Cow Girl and a few recurring adventurers that you don’t really get to know but start to recognize.

The middle of the show plateaus a bit, with the same recurring theme throughout the anime. However, they keep it fresh by incorporating clever villains that the group has to defeat, as well as elaborating on Goblin Slayer’s obsession with goblins. The real treasure in the show is watching Goblin Slayer’s relationship with the cast develop. Goblin Slayer is relatively emotionless, which provides a refreshing twist on how main characters in fantasy anime typically cooperate with the supporting characters.

After 12 weeks, the first season finally ended. The ending was satisfying, and I felt like the 12 episodes of killing goblins wasn’t a waste of my time. Instead, they built up to a second season, and the information at the end of season one makes me excited for it. It’s definitely something I’d rather watch all at once instead of one episode a week, as returning for the same old premise could get boring if spaced apart. Together, the story seems more coherent. It might not be the best anime of the season, or even in the top three, but it’s definitely a fun story if anybody wants something that doesn’t shy away from tough topics. There’s plenty of graphic scenes throughout the series so it’s not for anybody who’s too squeamish at the sight of violence, but I think it was worth the payoff.