“Goblin Slayer – Season One” (2019)

Manga

12 Episodes

Written by: Kumo Kagyu

Directed by: Takaharu Ozaki

Featuring:  Yuichiro Umehara, Yui Ogura, Nao Tôyama

Goblin Slayer: “Think about how it would feel if your home was suddenly attacked by monsters… Yes, if your home was suddenly attacked by monsters one day. They act as though they own the place and kill your friends, kill your family, and plunder the rest of the village. Another example would be if your older sister was attacked, tormented, made a plaything, then killed… Let’s say that you witnessed all of this, from start to finish, in hiding as you held your breath… There’s no way you’d forgive them.” 

Released this month on Blu-ray/DVD is the controversial Manga “Goblin Slayer – Season One” (2019) based on the Japanese dark fantasy light novel series ‘Goblin Slayer’ written by Kumo Kagyu and illustrated by Noboru Kannatuki. Many staples of the fantasy genre are present here in the “Goblin Slayer” series but with some very dark twists as well as an unforgettable first episode that while it does not graphically show a rape does have one within its narrative which for some is not only unforgivable but pretty much unwatchable.

The one element of this series that works incredibly well is to establish the goblins as truly frightening entities despite most fans regarding them as weak and a non threat in fantasy terms. The very first episode sets out the ground rules about them: they are a race of deranged and sadistic beings that think of nothing but killing humans, defiling women for breeding and destroying villages. Of course the series also creates new versions of goblins so that they are a match for the hero of the story, which helps move the plot along quickly.

Like the best genre series, “Goblin Slayer” is all about the goals of each episode, one feels that a series like this is not about beating the ultimate bad guy or guy but the journey itself. It is also about the history of the main characters, as well as thier development both personal and professional.

The two most interesting aspects about the series’ premise and plot are its subtle exploration of obsession, as well as presenting itself as a merely small story of a far larger narrative that we might never see. The obsession part is mostly revolved about our titular protagonist’s psychotic hatred towards goblins.

The titular Goblin Slayer is the draw card of this series, he is a combination of other genre characters so he proves to be a surprisingly complex and relatable lead character in spite of being incredibly dispassionate and stoic in behaviour, like many other similarly themed characters.

The only real downside so far is that while his character arc is brilliant with its careful and subtle direction and deliberate pace, the early finale of the season leaves his growth far from finished. At the very least, the season concludes with an optimistic look at the Goblin Slayer’s future. The titular Goblin Slayer is the draw card of this series, he is a combination of other genre characters so he proves to be a surprisingly complex and relatable lead character in spite of being incredibly dispassionate, like many other similarly themed characters.

The reaction to the first episode that caused the controversy involves a scene where goblins rip the clothing off a hunting party member before they brutally rape her.  There’s plenty to like about the show that defenders will happily point out. However, for many, the mishandling of one of the series’ core issues has earned it an enduring black mark. The treatment of sexual violence rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. This led to situations where viewers either stuck with the show or abandoned ship after the first episode. Overall, Goblin Slayer isn’t a must-see masterpiece, but it does have some really compelling moments.

Episodes:

The Fate of Particular Adventurers: On the first day that the Priestess became an adventurer, she joins three other rookie adventurers on a quest to save some girls who were kidnapped by some goblins. Despite being one of the weakest monsters around, the rookie adventurers fall for some traps that were set for them in the goblin cave, which leads to dire results. A goblin was about to attack the Priestess when a mysterious armored figure appears before her. The armored figure then mercilessly starts slaughtering the goblins and tells the Priestess that his name is Goblin Slayer.

Goblin Slayer: The Goblin Slayer is a silver-ranked adventurer covered in armor from head to toe. The Goblin Slayer never accepted any quests from the Adventurers’ Guild other than quests to slay goblins so he was perceived as strange by the other guild members. Ever since she was saved by the Goblin Slayer the Priestess had been joining him on quests and slowly began to understand how he functions.

Unexpected Visitors: The High Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman, and Lizardman Priest come to see Goblin Slayer. They tell him of a demon lord that’s revived with the intent to destroy the world, and they ask for Goblin Slayer’s help. However, he tells them they have no interest until they mention goblins.

The Strong: Goblin Slayer and his companions enter some ancient ruins that had been taken over by the demon lords’ minions. Goblin Slayer works together with the High Elf Archer and the others to slay the army of goblins, but suddenly, an ogre appears. The tables turn on the battle as the ogre beats Goblin Slayer down.

Adventures and Daily Life: Goblin Slayer and the others return successful from their quest in the ruins. Goblin Slayer spends a few days sleeping at Cow Girl’s home to recover and then heads to the guild. There, he gives advice to a couple of adventurers on how to deal with some giant rats and also accepts a request from Guild Girl.

Goblin Slayer in the Water Town: Goblin Slayer and his party recieve a request to slay some goblins. The one who sent the request was the Sword Maiden, one of the heroes that defeated the Demon Lord. Goblin Slayer, Priestess, High Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman, and Lizardman Priest head to Water Town. It’s a peaceful, beautiful city, but apparently, there are some scary incidents happening. The party believes that there might be some goblins hiding in the sewers so they head down there as soon as possible.

Onward Unto Death: Goblin Slayer and his party go into the sewers of Water Town to investigate some brutal incidents they think were caused by goblins. When they go down to the sewers, they are immediately attacked by a horde of goblins. Because of the sheer number of goblins, the party has a hard time dealing with them all and then a goblin champion also appears before them.

Whispers and Prayers and Chants: Goblin Slayer was gravely injured after the battle with the goblin champion. The Priestess and Sword Maiden work together to heal Goblin Slayer with a special ritual. Meanwhile, High Elf Archer and the others investigate the sewers a bit further and encounter a mysterious creature. Due to the creature’s abilities, the party heads back up to the surface to regroup with Goblin Slayer and Priestess before they go any further.

There and Back Again: The party encounters a giant mirror in the sewers. The mirror, the mysterious creature they encountered, the horde of goblins, and the goblin champion that appeared – Goblin Slayer and the others try to get to the bottom of what’s going on. They once again encounter the horde of goblins as well as the goblin champion, which gravely injured Goblin Slayer previously. But Goblin Slayer had a plan to take care of them once and for all.

Dozing: Goblin Slayer and his party head back to town. The news that the Hero had defeated the Demon Lord is spreading, putting everyone in a celebratory mood. However, Goblin Slayer doesn’t seem to care much about the news and continues on with his daily life. On the other hand, it seems that Goblin Slayer is changing ever so slightly through his interactions with his companions.

A Gathering of Adventurers: Goblin Slayer does his usual rounds around the farm and finds a bunch of goblin footprints, and realizes that they’re planning to attack the farm that night. Goblin Slayer tries to convince Cow Girl and her uncle to leave, but she refuses to leave, wanting to protect the one place that Goblin Slayer has to come home to. In order to protect the farm Goblin Slayer heads to the guild to make a request.

The Fate of an Adventurer: The battle against the Goblin Lord and his horde of goblins had begun, and High Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman, Lizardman Priest, and the other members from the guild face them head-on. Meanwhile, Goblin Slayer goes to face the Goblin Lord alone.

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