Art By: Kento Sakaeda
Original Story: Kumo Kagyu
Character Design: Shingo Adachi & Noboru Kannatuki
Translation: Kevin Steinbach
What They Say:
While the novice warriors embark on a Rock Eater quest, the armored man, having left behind the remnants of his youth, drenches himself in the blood of freshly slain goblins. His old friend, who bears witness to this change, laments the divide that has formed between them and resolves to turn over a new leaf. Unable to quench his thirst for goblin slaying, the man heads out on a quest near the mountains to eradicate his next targets alone, carrying with him only what he needs to paint the landscape red …
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Goblin Slayer has received a reputation among his fellow adventurers and these unusual qualities have earned a distinction of being an odd fellow, which is especially noticeable when entering the guild hall and whispers begin of his fixation for novice quests. Although Guild Girl tries to educate this gruff man about the basics of successfully completing his menial goblin slaying tasks, even she is made a bit uncomfortable by the one minded obsession, minimal need for speaking and most off all, intimidation from an all encompassing helmet. However she cannot deny his resolute success in finishing these low level hunts which no one wants and always avoid by thinking it is beneath their pride if they wish to make a name for themselves. Yet this Porcelain ranked will not go after any other monsters no matter how much others may wish for his help and it is this eccentric nature which separates him, causing a rift to develop due to this quirk and even more for his wordless and insular nature.
And yet as Goblin Slayer is on one of his singular quests for these ferocious toddler sized beasts, it is then he runs into someone who knew him before an isolated temperament became his most recognize condition. Much has not changed since they first registered to become adventurers as his compatriot still has a single minded desire to slay the same beasts, however a new inclination is sparked once one of these supposedly dead menaces attacks a cute female elven member. With no hesitation Goblin Slayer plunges his short sword into the creature to finish it off, but then much to the horror of the party takes a dagger and begins to carve into the corpse all in an effort to learn more about his vicious foe and any weaknesses. Obvious revulsion was etched upon their faces and once he returned to the guild people once again gossiped, although with the stench of blood and gore still clinging to his armor new rumors began to circulate and it did not cause his reputation to become any less favorable. But as he was receiving a new lecture from Guild Girl, former members of the goblin extermination party found themselves on a new quest after blobs within a foul smelling mine, causing the same elf maiden to complain about the smell and an immediate need to leave as soon as possible. However as they ventured deeper into the retched cave system and cleared out the last slimes, it was soon apparent they were not alone as her childish complaints came to a sudden stop and all he could find was a single boot discarded upon the floor. Cold drops of something above signaled a need to look upwards and it resulted in the sickening image of terror itself: the lifeless dangling legs of his deceased friend being consumed by darkness. They sought adventure and it had found them … the embodiment of their nightmares and it had a name – the rock eater.
Although this volume may be toned down in way of presenting cruelty from the premier book, it does not mean by Kagyu-sensei has opted for a less horrifying story, in fact the psychological terror of how an adventurer is overcome by grief in watching a friend die is more striking in lieu of actual depicted gore. That is not to say mangaka Sakaeda’s outstanding work is sacrificed to present a gentler tale, in fact his amazing line work and outstanding usage of black upon the page permits for striking imagery no matter the subject matter – allowing for a depiction of ideas with equal effectiveness. And while the signature violence is not as prevalent, it is still enthralling to watch how normal life carries on for all characters especially Cow Girl, allowing us to witness her recollections of how a traumatized boy became who he is today; though they share a common event in their lives, the two children were effected differently with how they coped in losing their families – one became withdrawn with her uncle and the other submerged himself in training all in hope of saving others for not going through the same suffering. This type of narrative is captivating in its two fold approach, creating a method for the audience to partake of the trauma and still being objective in how it shows both sides of as one copes with grief.
Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One continues to amaze with stunning artwork and an enveloping story which shows us how the title creature’s harassment continues to effect those who have suffered at their hands, no matter how much time has passed after death. And while the characters may prevail in their lives after such great losses, one cannot deny they will be forever strengthen or crippled in how they handle the aftermath and this volume brutally incorporates this torment in every manner within the narrative. Although I still wish the actors were given names to make the emotional connection more moving, one cannot deny this tale only becomes better even with this minor flaw after each book.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: Mature
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: June 18, 2019