What’s it about? An unnamed young healer joins her first adventuring party, hoping to save some kidnapped girls from goblins. The inexperienced group is quickly overwhelmed and one by one meet terrible fates, until by chance the healer is saved by an armored man known only as “Goblin Slayer.”
CONTENT WARNING for discussion of sexual assault and brutalization of women
Y’all, I’ve got something that’s gonna blow. Your. Mind. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Okay so it’s like. An MMO—
Okay that’s not the part I meant.
So it’s like an MMO, right, but it’s like. What if when you got overwhelmed in a raid it was, like, REAL LIFE, and there was BLOOD—
Look, I know what I said but you have to work with me here.
Okay but like, it’s MEDIEVAL. So women (who coincidentally all have perfect teeth and shaved body hair) are ra—
…You know what, thanks for cutting me off that time, actually.
My point is that GOBLIN SLAYER, putting aside its repugnant content, is a brainless copycat loudly braying about its cleverness despite being incapable of a single original thought. It would be pathetic if it weren’t so nasty, like a parasitic worm only worth grinding under your heel.
Now let me say that with more words, because this show deserves to be dragged Rail Tracer-style (spoilers for Baccano!) until all its face meat comes off.
It is laughably obvious that GOBLIN SLAYER longs to be Berserk, with its lone, implacable monster slayer and excessive focus on rape as an increasingly meaningless vehicle for cheap shock horror. Except that Berserk had a striking visual style, at least attempted to use assault in a meaningful way early on, and was a pioneer in its genre. Meanwhile, Goblin Slayer is limping in decades late with broken pacing and visuals so generic I look forward to people misattributing the GIFs of it on hentai blogs three seasons from now.
It can’t even hit the basic watermark of the famous tentacle rape porno Legend of the Overfiend, which in addition to being very boring had genuinely impressive, fleshy-looking monster designs that turned the stomach to look at. Goblin Slayer has generic fantasy orcs and a boner for its own nonexistent cleverness.
The show’s treatment of women is upsetting, but not in any new or noteworthy ways. If I tell you that this Edgy Edgelord Show starts out with three untrained female characters getting in over their heads, I bet you can fill in the rest (you can even have “the one male adventurer dies offscreen while the women are tortured at length in full view of the camera” for free!). I bet you didn’t guess the deliberate close-up of our unnamed healer peeing her pants in terror, because this is nothing if not a fetish porn without the courage of its convictions, but two out of three ain’t bad.
Oh, and I’ll also throw in the end-episode reassurance that the kidnapped women are all broken for life with no hope of recovery, because these kinds of male-empowerment fantasies view women as a collection of holes dragging a punchline behind them. Because it can’t even bother with being a lazy “rape is the only trauma we can think of to have women grow strong from” story.
The titular Goblin Slayer is indeed quite prepared, although tragically his estus meme was lost somewhere in the legal department. And I’m just gosh-darned invested in the plucky and still-unnamed healer’s decision to go on more adventures with him so that the show can scar her in new and ever more masturbatory ways.
No, you got me. I’m not. But that feint was at least clever enough to fool people with less than two brain cells, so I bet the author of GOBLIN SLAYER bought it.
Anyway, if you’re looking for hilariously gory grimdark anime that doesn’t boost itself on the broken, exploited bodies of women (after that opening fridging, at least), Netflix’s Castlevania is just down the street.