Goblin Slayer’s Sloppy, Overhyped Anime Debut

CLICKBAIT TITLE: The REAL problem with Goblin Slayer’s First Episode!

Goblin Slayer’s first episode was a truly controversial one. A lot has been said on how the show handles rape and about the goblin caricatures, but I feel few people have really dived into the meat of what makes this first outing so unbearably and sloppy. So, let’s dive into that, shall we?

G O B L I N S L A Y E RLet’s start with the very first scene since, for my money, this is truly the worst scene of the entire episode. The first scene is a grossly misleading advertisement for how the OP MC operates in a self-indulgent way to make you wanna see the main character when he appears halfway into the episode. It sucks the fire out of the traumatized female deuteragonist’s eyes, snuffing out the candle of life within her to suggest that the titular Goblin Slayer is a horrifying, overpowered main character who give no fucks about anyone like a truly monstrous antihero protagonist. This is clickbait at its finest, a painful way of advertising your show and your protagonist as “dark and badass”. No doubt the GS man is a powerful badass, but not because he’s some terrifying monster like DOOM Guy -the character Goblin Slayer is compared to most often- comes off most of the time. He may be “he who hunts monsters”, but seeing him in action, you can tell that he’s simply experienced. He’s seen a lot, and with his experience, he issues several traps and tactics to take down the goblin horde that preys upon everyone else in the episode proper. If we actually saw him organically through this instead of having to put up with this gross advertisement and mischaracterization, this episode would certainly be more tolerable.

Goblin Slayer Dumb Bullwankery.jpgNow, we get to the two major action sequences: the encounter between the heroine’s party and the goblins, and the Goblin Slayer’s hunting of said creatures. They’re pretty bad. Let’s start from the top. Yes, it’s clear that most of the party members are dumb and in over their head. The show goes out of its way to show this as early as the scene where they recruit our heroine for this quest. However, when we get into the actual encounter, the show goes from showing a dimwit party being careless to just presenting their encounter in the sloppiest and most time-wastingly gratuitous way imaginable. For one, when the mage is chanting her spell while keeping an eye on the gobline, those same goblins who were running towards her manage to slip out of her line of sight and tackle her…just by continuing their course…as she just stands there. Earlier, when the party splits up into two groups of two (solely because the two magic-based girls were just standing there and/or walking very slowly), we see that the leader and the girl who relies on her fist didn’t get very far. They look in the general direction of the other half of the party when they sense something wrong. It takes two minutes for them to show up, amidst all the screaming, all because the show wanted to show their peril in full (well, not really, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In the midst of that, we see the main character piss herself, and the show decided to do a close-up on the area, with her thighs in full view. Needless to say, gratuitous and drawn-out nonsense like this only contributes to how needlessly drawn-out and self-indulgent this moment of supposed terror comes off. Not to mention that the action here is terrible, with both the leader’s sword and the goblins themselves arbitrarily switching between 2D and clumsy 3D models. I understand this sequence is supposed to be awkward, but the visuals should actually convey that through visual storytelling instead of cheap, poorly-realized and inconsistent cost-cutting techniques.

G S REEEEE.jpg

The Goblin Slayer’s fight isn’t great either. The titular Goblin Slayer suffers the same issue as the goblins, switching from relatively decent 2D drawings to abysmal 3D CGI models. The action direction feels clumsy and weightless, with no actual intensity or impact to any of the combat at hand for what’s supposed to be this retribution of a tactical slaughter. It’s like watching a fight in Darling in the FranXX, only with the animation being flat-out terrible instead of just lacking in impact. Worth mentioning is the reused footage regarding the goblins appearing, which adds another layer of cheapness to the visuals. It comes off as if the animators and/or budget cannot handle detailed sequences of any kind, or that the show just marred by a bad production schedule and/or director.

The tactics and traps the titular MC employs are pretty rad, but that’s the only praise I can give it as the scene bathes in a pathetic attempt at moral ambiguity regarding the killing of goblin children, all while ill-fitting music plays in the background. The music feels far more metal and brutal than the sequence itself does, and what follows does not deserve emotional music, let alone any validity in terms of tackling moral grey areas given context. This is a race of villainy and rape, and everyone is traumatized by a species that is purposely designed to be this way. Trying to make us suddenly feel for them is foolhardy.

Another weird element is that despite this entire quest being about saving girls from goblin rape, we never actually see them. The closest we get is when one of the other survivors in the initial party is in the cart with the original survivors. Showing these girls would have been nice. Another thing is that the Goblin Slayer implies that if he had arrived later, the small pack of 5-6 goblin kids would have multiplied into 50. Given that we don’t see that the girls have survived at this point in the episode, this just comes across as awkward. It’s no less weirdly presented when we learn that the girls are alive for reasons mentioned earlier.

G O B L I N S L A Y E R S U C K S.jpgLet’s finally address the rape. I held off on this until now for a few reasons. First off, I wanted to show that there’s more to this episode than just this one scene, and that the episode is still awful, even outside of this moment. Secondly…that shit was disappointing. I mean, we don’t even see rape, and the way they try to imply it was lazy and poorly communicated. The visuals were pretty garbage and the actual scenarios themselves were nonsensical. One of the girls get stabbed a bunch by a pack of goblins, and in the very next shot, not only are all her clothes gone, but we don’t even see any stab wounds, let alone a drop of blood. The other girl is paralyzed immediately upon being stabbed and acts like she’s downright comatose until weakly begging Goblin Slayer to kill her 5 minutes later. I get that she was poisoned, but unless that poison acts immediately and renders damn near every function of your body paralyzed, this is just pathetic. This is on top of the aforementioned shitty visuals, and it’s all just another issue with the episode, rather than the main thing that defines it. That’s also why I won’t bring up the whole racist goblin caricature thing, especially when apparently this is a common, even classical interpretation of goblins in fantasy folklore.

Ultimately, this first episode is just…sloppy. Everything about this episode -which didn’t even do much in the way of worldbuilding or establishing beyond the fact that there’s ranks, guilds, classes, and goblins, so we don’t even know about the arbitrary rules of magic here- is sloppy. The visuals suck when we get into the cave where the majority of the episode takes place. Its handling of events, its attempts at moral ambiguity, and its attempts at visual storytelling are clumsy at best and gross at worst. Even the music rarely fits what the shoddy visuals have presented. I like the character designs and the tactics the titular MC uses, but they are not enough to make up for just how sloppily presented the episode is. Outside of the tacky rape and obnoxious first scene, this show is just lame, unremarkable even. I guarantee the show won’t reach this point again, simply devolving into a boring mess with typically boring and undercharacterized characters and awful fight sequences for the MC to tactically maneuver through. The tactics he employs will be the only remotely decently written thing in this entire show as it basically just becomes another lame fantasy show that prides itself on elements that are inconsequential in practice. Mark my words.

In short, I’m not sure what I should be angrier at: the clumsy and pathetic episode, or the trigger-happy, offended, and spiteful individuals who falsely hyped this show up as the fuckest thing in anime. Perhaps I should be most annoyed myself for caving in, but at least it let me get this off my chest more accurately.G O B L I N S L A Y E R I S T R A S H.jpeg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s