After reviewing Reincarnated As A Slime, seeing the 1st episode of this goblin series definitely gives you a wake up call…and may not want you to watch the rest of the series. Stick with it though if you can…underneath the shock value there is a good series here…
What They Say:
A young priestess has formed her first adventuring party, but almost immediately they find themselves in distress. It’s the Goblin Slayer who comes to their rescue-a man who’s dedicated his life to the extermination of all goblins, by any means necessary. And when rumors of his feats begin to circulate, there’s no telling who might come calling next.
The sound quality has options of 5.1 English Dolby Surround and the Japanese a 2.0 Stereo option. There were no complications of the audio throughout the release and the 5.1 option definitely comes through well with no need to adjust default settings on the audio system I was using. There were no problems with the video synching in with subtitles as definitely acceptable as a DVD release, though when you watch the first episode some of those sounds may stick with you for a bit…(shudder)
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio via NTSC transfer to PAL format – with DVD releases nowadays the effect definitely seems more grainier compared to HD and with me doing a ton of Blu-ray reviews recently this is a good way to remind you how the times have changed. This combined dull and dark with bright and strong quite well and whilst there is noticeable computer-generated effects, it does flow very well (especially during the cave scenes) that it isn’t that much of a problem.
There was no packing for this test release however the Blu-Ray Special Edition version of this will get collector’s packaging.
The menu on both discs pretty basic – both have an image of Goblin Slayer on the left with the roll the dice message on the right where a scroll is with Play All, Episodes and Set Up (neither disc has extras) – the set up menu is interesting because it allows you to set up subtitles even if you have the dub option, I mention this as this is harder to come by in a lot of releases (in particular Blu-Rays) to have hard of hearing subtitles as an option and you have to fiddle with the menu screen or pop up screen to get them on – at least here it’s an easily accessible option. Nothing more to say as pretty standard and does the job.
There are no extras for this release however in the Blu-Ray special edition, it contains 15 mm amaray, a 48 page art book, a filter box including an envelope, some art cards and a fabric poster.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Goblin Slayer is one of the most recent anime to get a UK release – airing between October and December 2018, it falls into a video game like scenario like the recently reviewed Reincarnate As A Slime albeit without the person from another world is the lead scenario, and more is treated as a real world of fantasy. And with Slime giving a good name to goblins, this one…er….not so much.
Let’s get it out of the way – the 1st episode is VERY harsh and can be upsetting, triggering, hard to watch, etc. It definitely showcases the harsh realities of the adventurer life and isn’t pleasant viewing. That said, if you can get through it, the series whilst still dark, has a much deeper story than you’d expect, the characters introduced get more fun and you learn more of Goblin Slayer’s psyche which is the strength of the series.
So the first episode. The abridged version is that we meet our secondary lead, a cute young lady known as Priestess (the characters in the show seem to not refer by any formal names, more their role in this environment) as she looks for her first adventure in this world. She teams up with some cocky yet likeable young adventurers also on their first mission, and decide to take out some goblins, seeing them as easy money. Priestess is a little wary of their lack of preparation but surely everything will be fine…
…what happens next is pretty much the definition of not fine. One of them is killed, the other is poisoned and molested, and the fighter is actually raped (you don’t see it but you know it happens) by the goblins, and Priestess is rightfully terrified. Fortunately there is another adventurer here who comes to her aid, the infamous Silver ranked adventure, Goblin Slayer.
Goblin Slayer is a hard character to initially describe – very stoic, has a one track mind for killing goblins (albeit for very good reasons as we later learn) but he still helps Priestess out and even though some of his actions the Priestess does not agree with (mercy kills one of the companions who was poisoned, kills goblin infants so not to be a threat in the future…again, something that is actually proven true by the end of the series), she does accept this and soon becomes Goblin Slayers first real partner, albeit seemingly reluctantly.
The character development between Goblin Slayer and Priestess is one of the strongest things of the series and both develop well (Slayer as he slowly begins to appreciate some companions, Priestess learning the ways of the world and accepting them but still has a charm and innocence which is refreshing) – it’s just you have to get through that first episode…
Once you do, it becomes an adventure anime with dark elements but also some fun elements. We learn of Goblin Slayer’s past with his childhood friend, a buxom farm girl known as Cow Girl and why he only accepts goblin related quests despite his high rank (and mocking from other adventurers) – though the Guild Girl holds him in high regard for the same reasons. Needless to say his reason for his goblin hatred is quite understandable as he teaches more to Priestess about the ways of goblin hunting. However, the two won’t be alone for much longer…
It gets more interesting when we get three new adventures searching for Goblin Slayer though under a different name. High Elf Archer, a female elf with a sharp tongue and even sharper arrows, Dwarf Shaman, a portly but fun dwarf with powerful magic, high alcohol tolerance and a never ending rivalry with the elf, and the Lizard Priest, a summoner who is stoic and serious…until his love of dairy products becomes known. Whilst at first there is tension (as the mission they want Goblin Slayers’ help initially has no goblins, as said…he does have a one track mind), he later does help when finds out there are goblins, the group cleverly take them all out, though have to fight an Ogre, where we see Slayer is also a great tactician, using his comrades abilities combined with his own items to best use, as it is clear he doesn’t have any true magic abilities or super strength, just his own training and skill. He actually does pretty much make friends with all of them (High Elf Archer in particular wanting to take him to a non-goblin adventure) as Goblin Slayer slowly becomes more emotional (helps out Guild Girl, gives advice to two new adventurers, etc) but the plot hits more when we see a flashback to when a demon lord was killed and we cut to the next adventure, involving one of those adventurers who seems to have a history with Goblin Slayers, named the Sword Maiden whilst a new generation of heroes take out the current Demon Lord…
Goblin Slayer seems to be wary as the goblins in this town seem to be using boats which would have to be taught to them, which leads to them dealing with a goblin champion which nearly kills Goblin Slayer but thanks to Priestess he manages to take him out and we learn of the history of Sword Maiden and why despite her power she fears goblins so much – it’s here we learn a bit more about two other adventurers who have been shown as well in Witch and Spearman, who are kind of acquaintances of Goblin Slayer but also not really – and they use their help to defeat a demon and then eventually the goblin champion and its crew and how Goblin Slayer realised how much involvement the Sword Maiden was in terms of the goblins. However, he seems to take it in stride, and seems to be much more open, not quite friendly but definitely open to new things (making ice cream of all things)…
…that is until he discovers goblin footprints near Cow Girls’ farm, instantly bringing flashbacks to his past and that they are led by a goblin Lord. Knowing he can’t fight them all alone, he humbles himself to ask for help at the guild. Whilst at first refusing, after some humble begging, rewards and help from Guild Girl, many adventurers agree (led by Spearman and Witch, his companions of course and other guild members he has helped) and using his experience dealing with goblins hatches a plan to take them all out, separating the lord from the group where Slayer can deal with him on his own…with a little help from Priestess as she has been getting stronger as her abilities of casting miracles suddenly become far more important to this mission…
This is why Goblin Slayer is worth your time – I definitely understand after the first episode you’d want to not continue as it is very violent, very triggering with bad experiences and can lead you to a false sense of security that could be on a Berserk like level of violence. And it doesn’t hide the fact that yes, this world is cruel and wicked, violence, rape, kidnapping, etc – all these are definitely frequent and the goblins here are definitely not the friendly, rather fun ones displayed in Reincarnation. However, through this destruction is a tale of vengeance but also subtle development with the titular character and how he grows through his growing companions.
Slayer definitely has his reasons for who he is, but through his development and even friendship with the other members of his crew (one on hand he says they are good fighters and that’s all, but on the other hand he also wants to make ice cream for them) it is subtle to the point of his pride he sacrifices to beg for help from the other adventurers when the farm his childhood friend is about to be attacked as he doesn’t want to see what happened to his sister happen to Cow Girl. Combined with his growing care and respect for Priestess, he does subtly grow which is what I like about him – his one track mind for goblin killing aside, he does grow throughout to the point that you never see his face, his mystery is there still but you want to keep it a mystery until the time is right.
Priestess is a big part of that as well, but she herself is very good in the development side too. From someone who understandably wets herself when the goblins kill the swordsman and rape the fighter (as she understandably thinks she will also be raped) to commanding miracles that trap a powerful Goblin Lord which is the key to victory in the final episode. Behind that cute exterior is someone who learns as she goes and her wide-eyed idealism is slowly torn apart and accepts what she is through, but doesn’t lose that innocence about her, making her the perfect partner for Goblin Slayer. Add to that three very fun adventurers in the elf, dwarf and lizard man (the elf and dwarf have a fun rivalry but always back each other up and I do admit I love how the stoic lizard man basically become a kid when he enjoys cheese…he’s basically the lizard version of me…NECTAR!!!) and definitely some history with Spearman, Witch and Guild Girl (there is a minor romantic element with Goblin Slayer when people see his face – sadly we don’t) and definitely the history of one of the heroes in the Sword Maiden means there is a lot more to discover…
Currently there is only one season but the manga is ongoing after this part so hopefully there is a 2nd half. Again, the first episode can definitely be jarring but get through it and you will see this is definitely a character developed story – the violence is still there, but get through the squick and you’ll see there is a good series there, just be wary when treading those 1st episode waters…
Goblin Slayer throws no punches and can definitely put you off with the violent nature that the first episode throws at you, and the crapsack of the world still hits you a lot especially when learning about Goblin Slayers’ past and why he wishes to rid the world of goblins. If you can get through that though, the show is strong, has engaging and well developed characters, and has a ton of mystery that you want to know and see more. Definitely one of those that is worth the trial – just get through the 1st trial…
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: November 4th, 2019
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.