The Dark Knight
Have a goblin problem you need solved? There’s only one person you need to call for the job, and his name tells it all. Enter Goblin Slayer, the popular anime, light novel, and manga series’ titular armor-clad adventurer. Armed with a complete and utter disdain for goblins, he’s committed himself to a life of ridding the entire world of the creatures. While there are dozens of opportunities each day for him to take on additional assignments for money and other rewards, he’s only interested in tackling the tasks that require him to exterminate all goblins in sight.
The recent anime series Goblin Slayer finds this mighty goblin-decimating force teaming up with a party of adventurers, all without proper names and instead referred to by the classes they’re a part of. Together they pool their powers to devastate the goblins left in the world, all the while growing stronger and learning new lessons about themselves and others in the process. The enigmatic Goblin Slayer slowly begins to open up more and more to his newfound group of friends, despite being an unusually stoic and quiet giant.
It’s a show that’s quickly gained traction since its debut, and one that’s already left its mark in the realm of dark fantasy with the likes of series like Berserk and Claymore. If you haven’t seen any of it yet, you’d do well to rectify that. It’s brutal, hopeful, and familiar for anyone who enjoys role-playing games or fantasy tropes, plus, you’re going to see a whole lot of twists and turns come about if you take the plunge! Enter the austere world of Goblin Slayer.
When a young Priestess (that’s her name, for all intents and purposes) ends up traumatized and nearly killed during a cave raid to kill off goblins, she finds her companions slaughtered and has nowhere left to turn—until Goblin Slayer shows up in a suit of armor, imposing but knowledgeable, and saves her from certain death. She follows Goblin Slayer deeper into the cave and learns just how committed he is to eliminating all goblins from the world, even their infant offspring. Despite having been just moments away from death, after seeing Goblin Slayer in action, Priestess decides to join him as his adventuring companion, determining that she’ll get stronger in the process.
Eventually, Priestess and Goblin Slayer are joined by additional party members, all of whom head to the Adventurer’s Guild to take on new jobs and earn pay in the process. This includes High Elf Archer, a 2,000-year-old High Elf who refers to Goblin Slayer as “Orcbolg,” the character’s name in her native tongue. Deadly with a bow, she’s an important addition to the party.
Then there’s Lizard Priest, a Lizardman adventurer who can heal like Priestess but can also fight with a sword and summon lizard-like skeleton warriors to help assist him in battle. Finally, Dwarf Shaman is a 107-year-old Dwarf who’s well versed in spell casting and working with metal and stone. The party argues, particularly Dwarf Shaman and High Elf Archer, but they begin to work together beautifully as a team who memebers have complementary strengths and weaknesses. It’s a lot like watching the members of your own online guild in an MMORPG come together to fight off frustrating boss characters or tackling raids.
Meeting the NPCs and Quest-Givers
Of course, Goblin Slayer and his team aren’t the only personalities you’ll come across on this journey. Every adventurer needs someone to hand out assignments if he or she going to “level up” and earn cash to fuel the lifestyle, and the Adventurer’s Guild Guild Girl does just this. You can always find her performing her stalwart work duties and helping to provide information to adventurers passing through.
And then there’s Cow Girl, Goblin Slayer’s childhood best friend and farmhand who works at her uncle’s farm, where Goblin Slayer lives during his off-time. There’s a long story behind Goblin Slayer’s hatred of the accursed creatures, and Cow Girl and her family play an important role in it, which you’ll see if you see the series through.
Then there’s the Witch, a sorceress who knows Goblin Slayer and travels with a young warrior named Spearman. She has an interesting way of speaking slowly and pausing between words and is always found with her special pipe. Spearman, on the other hand, is strong and brash and is the strongest of the adventurers.
Finally, Sword Maiden is a heroine who previously helped defeat the evil Demon Lord behind some of the worst transgressions the show’s world has seen. Blinded by the evils imposed on her by goblins, she’s as powerful as she is beautiful and has played a part in several important factors in Goblin Slayer’s life, including bringing he and his companions back from the brink of death.
Getting Down to Business
Goblin Slayer has an episode for just about everyone, whether you like it dark and fantastical or are looking for a bit of slice-of-life experience that give you more information about Goblin Slayer’s past. Many of the episodes, however, focus on Goblin Slayer and how he’s able to defeat the pesky creatures, with the help of his loyal adventuring companions. Whether it means using silence and sleeping spells to kill an entire hall of sleeping goblins, or using a teleportation scroll to send powerful water to kill a hulking ogre, Goblin Slayer is positively rife with inventive moments that recall the best of JRPGs.
Referred to by some as one of the “darkest series” in anime in quite some time, the show certainly has its gruesome moments, but it’s hardly the “darkest” anyone’s ever seen. The first episode kicks things off with some tremendously heavy scenes that some viewers won’t be able to handle, but if that’s not your thing, don’t let that deter you from sticking it out and taking in everything it has to offer. If you are looking for violence and goblin-slaying carnage, you’ll get plenty of that, too.
Goblin Slayer is much like diving into your favorite RPG and digging in to conquer one specific enemy, all the while discovering how strong you really are with your best friends at your side. It’s also like discovering some terrifying secrets about the game you’ve been playing all along. If you’re interested in another fantasy anime that you won’t be able to look away from, you’ll want to invest some time in traveling with the Slayer himself.
Goblin Slayer is available from Crunchyroll and Funimation.