First impressions: Goblin Slayer invokes classic anime tropes, but you’ll still feel uneasy
First impressions review: A rapid fire review based off the first episode of an anime series. Is a show worthy of a deeper delve and should you bother to dedicate more of your time to it past episode one? Let’s find out:
2018 was definitely the year for polarizing opinions for anime viewers. I don’t think a 2018 series has been both reviled and defended more than Goblin Slayer, except perhaps Darling in the Franxx.
To be honest, one episode into the series I can definitely understand why: Goblin Slayer, like the 2016 light novel series it comes from, was specifically written to titillate its young adult audience. Invoking classic OVA anime series of days past such as Urotsukidōji or Wicked City, it has no problems dispensing situations that in 2019 I found a little unsettling.
15 years ago I could have easily sat through Goblin Slayer with little concern, but as time passes, themes like as rape and mutilation don’t quite sit well with me anymore. While not directly shown, I found myself shifting about in my seat uneasily as a young woman is brutally raped and tortured.
In the end however I don’t think it’s the inclusion of this kind of content that is so polarizing for the audience, ultimately I think it simply comes down to a question of quality. Let’s be fair, Goblin Slayer off my first impression seems like an incredibly brainless series.
So what’s it about? Well the setting and simplicity of Goblin Slayer may end up being its greatest strength: a small band of unnamed rookie adventurers set off and venture into a goblin cave to make their mark as skilled warriors. However, the simple act of goblin slaying proves too much for them and their hastily fashioned plans go awry. Enter the Goblin Slayer, a 6 foot armor-plated Goblin killing machine that rescues the party and saves our main characters for certain doom.
In all it’s an odd mix of traditional anime tropes that at the drop of a hat quickly find themselves ratcheted up to 11. Before long what begins as a pretty bog standard anime series filled with wide-eyed anime girls wearing costumes that look like cheap cosplay ideas, turns hardcore pretty damn fast. No less than 5 minutes of the first episode passes by before swords, blood and bare flesh begin flying around your screen faster than a cheetah strapped to a V2 rocket.
My first impression is that there is definitely something appealing here – if the overt ‘naughtiness’ of light novels and yuri manga moves your dial than I can say 100% that jumping into this series is definitely worth your time. In fact, you’ve probably already watched the whole series front to back.
For someone like me however that sat on the fence for a long time umming and arring about whether to dedicate time to seeing it through, it probably won’t float your boat. I’m going to go ahead and assume you may not be a light novel reader or your entire anime catalog consists of shows developed by Trigger or Production I.G. To be honest, I’m right there with you. Just watch one of the bajillion new series of Gundam instead.
But to say I don’t get the hype would be wrong, in fact, I totally get it. The in-your-face violence and brainlessness of it all is reminiscent to the grand ol’ days of direct to video OVA. Goblin Slayer flies in the face of traditional seinen convention. For that reason alone the first episode is absolutely worth a watch. But if you’re an old person like me, be prepared to feel a little uneasy.