Review | Goblin Slayer (Season 1)

The first season of Goblin Slayer has concluded on Crunchyroll and it has left a solid first impression. On the surface, this dark fantasy could only be described as anime’s long awaited answer to Game of Thrones. However it’s less focused on the politics of the nobility and instead highlights those who do the things that others will not.

Goblin Slayer started out as one of the most controversial series but overtime it has stood out for how it brilliantly deconstructs the Tolkienist tropes. It’s a work that wants to challenge not only the audiences perception of the fantasy genre but also the heroes of pop-culture.

This is a look at how the first season of Goblin Slayer and how it stands out to other shows in the fantasy genre. Warning: there are going to be a lot of spoilers and comparisons to Game of Thrones in this review.

A New Journey Begins

Before getting into Goblin Slayer, new viewers should be aware of some things. This is not your standard fantasy themed anime, the level of mature content is almost on par with Game of Thrones. It will play on the tropes of the genre but its obvious and you’re expected to notice it.

Goblin Slayer is based on the light novel and manga series that follows the adventures of the titular hero. While most heroes look for fame and glory by fighting dragons, our hero has devoted his life to exterminating goblins.

The first season focuses on Goblin Slayer along with his adventure party made up of Priestess, High Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman and Lizard Priest as they are tasked to take care of a growing goblin problem (since most experienced adventures see goblin extermination to be beneath them). They start out heroes with separate goals but overtime grow to respect each other. The party also start to accept the threat that goblins pose.

A Goblin Slayer’s Work is Never Done

Goblin Slayer starts off as a generic fantasy series but 10min in and it takes a sharp left turn that nobody was expecting (except anyone who actually read the manga or light novel). After that it doesn’t try to be shocking or edgy but instead attempts to deconstruct the fantasy genre.

On the surface, this is a generic Tolkienist story. Our heroes don’t have proper names and fit in the archetypal fantasy role. The difference is the return of a great evil is only a backstory. Yet it all works out in its favor. The tropes are obvious but what is hidden is how viewers assumption of the genre are challenged.

This is instead the story of “the other guys”, the ones that have to do work nobody wants to do. They are heroes in their own right, even though their world doesn’t see it that way.

Yes; there are shocking moments along with scenes of intense violence but they serve a purpose. Goblins are dismissed as weak foes not worthy of an experienced adventurer. Yet these shocking moments highlight how an army of goblins can be just as threatening as a simple dragon. They may be hard to watch but is there for a purpose and its not just to be “edgy”.

Mirre goblins morghūlis

Goblin Slayer may look like another generic fantasy series with all the Tolkienist cliches seen in every other work. All those notions are tossed aside quickly for story that attempts to pick apart ones idea of the genre while introducing a fresh take.

Plus it’s an excellent show to watch while waiting for the final season of Game of Thrones.

Disclaimer: I watched the entire sub version of the season on Crunchyroll via VRV.

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Goblin Slayer (Season 1)

9

Excellent

9.0/10

Pros

  • Easy to remember and very familiar characters.
  • Deconstruction of the fantasy genre.
  • Knows when to be shocking for story value.
  • The best alternative to Game of Thrones.

Cons

  • The cliche's does not always work to its advantage.
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Author: Stan Rezaee

Stan Rezaee is the founder and Editor of 8Bit/Digi. He is a journalist and gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years.

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