The truth about Goblin Slayer

Goblin Slayer focuses on a mysterious warrior who fosters a lifelong grudge against goblins and has been relentlessly hunting them. He does so by taking on guild requests, thus earning a decent living while maintaining his anti-goblin ideology. Because he takes on goblin-extermination tasks and nothing else the people around him started referring to him as the Goblin Slayer. The Goblin Slayer has been known to work alone, but as the show progresses he eventually forms ties with a rather unique party that includes a human priestess, a high elf, a dwarf and a lizardman. Together they take on hordes of goblins for money, glory and to protect humanity from an ever-encroaching bigger evil.

Goblin Slayer quickly became the talk of the internet when its first episode debuted in early October. For those who haven’t seen it yet, that episode included slaughter, several showcases of female nudity and even rape. The scenes which that episode chose to portray reminded me of the 90’s, when provocative movies like Ninja Scroll and Akira also shocked their audiences with similar imagery. Goblin Slayer’s intro truly is dark, but after watching half of the show’s first season I can safely write that the aforementioned first episode does not represent the full package you will be getting. From the second episode onwards the series dials down the nudity and sexual acts considerably. This is because the first episode exists to show us what happens when an inexperienced group tries goblin-hunting. The party that forms around the Goblin Slayer, on the other hand, includes mostly experienced warriors and magicians. Their daily activities form the backbone of the show and include fighting (mostly goblins), performing skits, camping and buying supplies. The series has a light underlying plot about some kind of ancient evil that has been revived/unleashed once more into the world, but at this point that backstory is merely the frosting on the goblin-hunting cake.

The anime is based on a dark fantasy light novel, and the story has a traditional D&D inspired theme to it. This is where Goblin Slayer really shines. A few sequences unapologetically introduce D&D dice. Others showcase side characters (NPCs) that act extrovertedly queer, just as one would expect to see when entering a tavern or a guild hall while playing a traditional D&D pen-and-paper campaign with a group of friends. The Goblin Slayer himself uses “burning water” that he bought from an alchemist, as well as one-use magic scrolls. Goblin Slayer’s party features staples of the D&D universe, with each character serving a traditional role: Goblin Slayer (warrior) and lizardman (priest) are frontal fighters, the elf (archer) and dwarf (shaman) attack from behind while the priestess supports from a safe distance. I really enjoyed the hardcore D&D references and look forward to seeing more example of old-school equipment as well as monsters from that universe’s lore.

Visually Goblin slayers is a mix of video game tropes and contemporary anime fanservice. The female elf wears a skimpy outfit while the priestess unapologetically wears a pajama. Frankly, most of the armor and outfits for both men and women look nonsensical; although I did appreciate the Goblin Slayer forcing the priestess to wear chain mail under her dress). All of the human I’ve seen in the show up to this point are attractive (if somewhat forgettable) bishounen, and the adult women are all well-endowed and thin-figured. This aspect of the show is a bit disappointing and I would have appreciated it if the visuals adhere to the D&D formula and provided a more diverse array of body types as well as realistic outfits.

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