Goblin Slayer (ゴブリンスレイヤー)
Created By Kumo Kagyu & Noboru Kannatuki
So I decided to watch another controversial anime that drove the anime community mad and that’s Goblin Slayer. I was curious as to how bad the first episode was and I must say after watching it, I kind of understood why viewers were having an uproar. However, the first episode wasn’t enough for me to stop watching and I’m glad I didn’t stop.
How Much Pain Can You Handle? – Episode 1: “The Fate of Particular Adventurers”
In the first episode, we are introduced to our main protagonist, a petite woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, the symbol of innocence as indicated by her occupation as a priestess and her white snowy outfit. She’s a young adventurer who dreams of helping other people out. However, her first task ends up joining a group of immature adventurers who want to slay goblins. Well, this group of adventurers underestimated the goblins because two of them ended up getting killed and the other one ends up being a “plaything” as well as being mentally and emotionally scarred. In fact, the Goblin Slayer ends up saving the Priestess and the other girl.
Personally, I found it a bit dumb that the lady who manages the adventure tasks didn’t say anything to the Priestess, but I think it was implied that the lady did tell the Goblin Slayer about the immature group of adventurers and so he managed to get there and save what was left of that party.
Now, I admit that this episode was pretty graphic and traumatizing, and if you aren’t comfortable with that then I suggest you stop watching this series because there are still some moments of violence not as detailed as this episode but it’s still a bit painful to watch (even for me). Well, personally, I think anybody getting mutilated sexually or violently is a bit too painful to watch, but I somehow managed. (I like to thank the countless horror movies my friend forced me to watch in the past because it helped me deal with these graphic scenes).
Episode 1 was an episode that pushed viewers to the limits when it comes to witnessing pain. The graphic scenes definitely brought forth a reaction, negatively, towards viewers. However, as part of the dark fantasy genre, I was kind of expecting this sort of violence. So it was on point in my opinion.
Occupational Names Are Identities – Episode 2: “Goblin Slayer”
Episode 2 gave us a glimpse into the mindset of the Goblin Slayer and why he’s so focused on killing goblins. He has every right to feel this anger and hatred towards goblins because they killed, slaughtered, and dehumanized the women, children, and men in his hometown. I feel bad for him because now his only purpose in life is to kill goblins and he has no other reason to live.
In fact, he isn’t given a true name, but rather everyone just calls him the Goblin Slayer. His occupational role is his identity. Like I said before, his sole purpose in life is to kill goblins and that’s what his mind is programmed to do. He isn’t interested in anything else except killing goblins. Also, his stoic nature is shown in his monotone voice and he has no facial expressions since he hides behind armor. Unlike Al who is hollow inside but has emotions, the Golbin Slayer is a tin man who lacks emotions despite having a real body.
Also, this idea of just naming the character by occupation continues throughout the series so far since our main female protagonist also doesn’t have a real name. We just call her, the Priestess. Her role as a priestess encompasses her identity as well: her persona consists of innocence and kindness which is what Priestesses are known to be like. I questioned why we aren’t given names. My theory is that they have no names in order to represent social class and rankings as there seems to be a hierarchy when it comes to race distinction such as elves and dwarves, and also that their occupations already imply specific identities to them and so, personal names aren’t really necessary.
Loyalty Trumps Everything Else – Episode 3: “Unexpected Vistors”
There is a hero’s quest that the Goblin Slayer and the Priestess received from three adventurers; in which they must destroy a nest of goblins that are invading the Capital. It’s a call to action that we see in traditional chivalric and knighthood literature.
In this episode, we see how others think lowly of the Goblin Slayer because he only does goblin quests as opposed to more “serious” and high reward quests that most silver ranked adventurers do. Yet, the Goblin Slayer makes a valid point that he’s doing good by exterminating the goblin pests who cause more everyday problems and trouble than any other ferocious monster. Plus, the Golbin Slayer is dedicated to his job in helping the everyday person as opposed to the aristocracy.
Now the Priestess’ loyalty is questioned by the Witch because the Priestess is seen to be wasting her time with a silver ranked adventurer that’s seen as mediocre in the eyes of other adventurers. I think it’s out of loyalty and trust. The Goblin Slayer saved her life and I feel like she is obligated to help him on his quests. Yet, I do think the Golbin Slayer is a great mentor for the Priestess. He taught her how to hunt goblins and what she needs to do to protect herself when there’s an attack. Unlike the other adventurers that she went on an expedition with, they only cared for the glory and recognition of being heroes. The Goblin Slayer dedicates his life in protecting and serving the everyday people and I believe that’s what the Priestess admires most about him. So when she was questioned about her loyalty, you already get the impression that she isn’t going to join anyone’s party except the Goblin Slayer’s.
Their relationship reminds me of Sesshomaru and Rin’s relationship. Sesshomaru is filled with darkness and secrets and Rin was the light that balances him out and keeps him humane. Likewise, we can see the Priestess being that person for the Goblin Slayer. Whenever the Goblin Slayer is on a killing spree, the Priestess always tries to reason with him. In the first episode, we see the Golbin Slayer planning to kill the innocent goblin children. The Priestess tried to reason with the Golbin Slayer that they are still innocent and there’s hope that they might be good goblins in the future. However, no one is born evil, they are taught to be evil. In this case, although those goblin babies are innocent, they have seen evil and are technically taught by the Goblin Slayer how to kill. So the Goblin Slayer was right in that it’s necessary to kill them since they will hold grudges.
Overall, Episode 3 was mainly used to set up the epic battle that happens in Episode 4 and also to question the bonds between the Goblin Slayer and the Priestess.
OP Priestess – Episode 4: “The Strong”
Now I understand why people would drop this series after watching the first episode, but I am glad I didn’t because, in Episode 4, we get to see the Priestess’ badassery.
The Priestess isn’t this weak, petite size woman. If she was, she would have quit being an adventurer after what happened to her in the first episode. However, she doesn’t. She isn’t annoying like some of these other “strong” female characters that go on dangerous adventures and constantly doubt their skills. Instead, she’s willing to get her hands dirty and have blood smeared all over her clothes. She’s straightforward when it comes to expressing her feelings and the Goblin Slayer respects her opinion because he doesn’t talk down towards her.
In Episode 4, we see how powerful she can be. When the ogre released a fire blast, she faced it head on with her own spell and protected the party. In that scene, the Goblin Slayer didn’t order her to do something, she did it out of her own volition and she didn’t doubt her power and capabilities.
I can see why viewers feel that this series is too graphic, sexist, and misogynistic, but from what I’ve seen so far, I think we should recognize that the Priestess in the eyes of the Goblin Slayer isn’t objectified. She’s treated with respect by him and is appreciated and rewarded for her efforts on their quests. Also, she’s very grounded and stable and seen as the Goblin Slayer’s voice of reason. As viewers, I think we should acknowledge and respect her character because she’s pretty badass.
You can watch this series on Crunchyroll.