Goblin Slayer Review

Oops, I stopped blogging for a while. I don’t really have any excuses other than some major life changes and laziness. Actually, the major life changes should have served to increase my blogging input, because I have way more free time now that I’m not working anymore.  The important thing is I’ve started up again, so here goes.

***Spoilers ahead, nothing too major but if you’d rather read this series with fresh eyes, then beware****

Goblin Slayer: recommended?

…Hmm. Hard to say. I like GS quite a bit, but I’d have some pretty serious reservations about recommending it to others. Let’s start with the good stuff:

  • The exploration of a career/calling.

GS is, of course, about an adventurer who slays goblins. You never get his name – he’s simply known as goblin slayer, and for good reason: this guy’s full time job is killing goblins, and he takes it to the extreme. The story goes out of its way to point out how good he is at killing goblins. He is the best in the world at this job. I like that it paints this job in different lights as well – he’s a scientist when it comes to killing goblins. He hypothesizes different ways to kill goblins and tests those hypotheses in real world experiments.

However, he’s also an artist in a way. He find self expression through the numerous ways he slaughters goblins. He’s burned them to death, drowned them with a river, sliced them up, stabbed them, bashed their skulls in, shot them with arrows, etc.  This guy is basically the Da Vinci of goblin killing, Not only is he dedicated to his craft, but he enjoys it as well. Looking at GS from a different perspective, the story could be portrayed as going into the obsessive mindset of someone who’s reached the top of their field, what lengths it takes to achieve the pinnacle, and how others view those who are so singularly minded.

  • Related to the previous point – one of the themes of the story is emotional repression, which resonates strongly with me for some reason.

Pretty much everyone who meets GS notes how fucked up he is. He doesn’t  think of anything else besides killing goblins. He doesn’t express emotion at all, except when it comes to something goblin related. The guy’s backstory is that goblins wiped out his village and ever since he’s thought of nothing else but goblin genocide. It’s not as if he’s sadistic – he’s not into torture or inflicting pain on goblins. It’s the act of killing them that’s cathartic. But outside of this, he’s almost a robot. While his backstory plays a massive part in his personality, his job exacerbates things. For the most part, he’d been killing goblins solo, which didn’t do him any favors in the emotional health department. Relating to the career point earlier, the manga shows some of the side effects of pursuing the top of the mountain.

What does it cost to be the best in the world at something? Interpersonal relationships take a hit, first of all. This guy is so busy focusing on his career that he has no outside friends besides his one childhood friend he lives with and the receptionist at the adventurer’s hall.  He doesn’t have any hobbies, or any other outlets for release besides goblin slaying.  People misunderstand him and despise him. Why does he spend so much time on this one thing? Only weirdos are so obsessive. That is, until people see the practical benefits of his skills. Then they kinda get on board the GS train. He doesn’t have a life outside of killing goblins. But that’s what it takes to be the best.

  • It’s really grounded in its fantasy setting.

It focuses on the realities of its setting. What would life be like with magic and monsters? In this world, monsters exist and are at war against humans. How does this affect daily life here? People live under the specter of goblin attacks at all times. Goblins, making up the bulk of the monsters, raid villages frequently for food and women for the purposes of reproduction and pleasure. However, the government doesn’t prioritize killing goblins, because they have bigger fish to fry in the form of demon lords and shit. But because these goblins are so common, attacks on human settlements happen constantly. You end up with a bunch of small towns on the fringes that are left to fend for themselves.

I’ll have to write up the cons in the next article, this post went on a bit longer than I expected.