Goblin Slayer Ep. 12 (Final): No end to this campaign anytime soon

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: of course this is continuing. For better or worse (usually worse), Goblin Slayer was quite popular. 

— So it seems that the goblin king is already running away cause he knows his horde has lost. So do we actually have an episode of action left somehow? Well, time to find out.

— His plan? Go back home, reproduce, and raise a whole new army in a jiffy. I had forgotten that goblins… uh, matured that quickly. And of course, he needs sex slaves in order to reproduce. I still firmly believe that this reproductive strategy would fall apart in any universe with brains (i.e. people actually tried to protect themselves), but whatever.

— Anyways, Goblin Slayer is here to slay the king. The king looks weaker than the goblin champion variants, so how bad can this be?

— I bet this fight would look a whole lot better in manga form. But of course, that’s true of almost any adaptation. The Berserk manga is probably a billion times more eye-pleasing than any of its adaptations.

— Watching this duel, I’m still waiting for a dark fantasy series to fall in love with. Berserk‘s alright, but I dunno… it doesn’t tick all the boxes for me. But this is not a post about that, so we’ll leave that discussion for another time.

— I’m kinda surprised that Goblin Slayer is doing this alone. I’m more than positive that Priestess is lurking around here somewhere. After all, I barely noticed her at all in last week’s episode. Not only that, being the first girl that we see in the series — and the first girl to get naked with the hero — she’s obviously in the lead as the top waifu. But even with Priestess, they couldn’t spare one other person to make sure they finish the king off?

— We cut back to the farm to see one newbie save another one. We then get to see other adventurers continue to fight remnants of the horde. Gotta kill some time, I guess. Nothing too pertinent here. Some minor characters get to have the spotlight, but I mean, since we barely know anything about, say, Paladin Girl or the Guts Wannabe, should we really care?

— Elf Girl is still whining about how adventurers aren’t like this. Maybe they should do a spinoff to show me what actual adventures are like.

— All the guts and gore are also kinda disingenuous. All the attractive good guys escape unscathed. Not even a single scratch on them. Not so much as a blood splatter on Paladin Girl’s spotless armor. On the other hand, all the unattractive bad guys die unceremonious. Last but not least, the goblins are here to demonstrate the comic overuse of arterial spray.

— After that brief diversion, we’re back to Goblin Slayer and the king. He’s actually losing against the king. Something about how he’s not used to fighting them directly. I dunno, isn’t this the plan that he came up with? And again, considering how important the king is, I’m still surprised that one or two people didn’t come with him.

— But that’s the other thing: this battle feels a little more evenly-matched. Although Goblin Slayer is on the ground, the king has suffered a few blows himself. Meanwhile, the fight back at the farm is just typical anime garbage where the overpowered characters get to flex and pose for no good reason.

— I think they could’ve executed this part a little better. The goblin king is smashing Goblin Slayer’s head into the ground with one of his foot, but it looks so pathetic in action.

— The king is about to finish the hero off when Priestess finally shows up and protects the guy with one of her spells. Well, that was kinda predictable.

— The girl then proceeds to sandwich the king between two barrier. Watching Priestess calmly walk up to the goblin king and help finish him off, I gotta say that it feels like she had the most growth out of all of the main characters. Alright, let’s be real: Elf Girl, Dwarf Guy, and Lizard Man didn’t get any character development. None whatsoever. They’re complete non-starters. On the other hand, I’ve been told over and over that Goblin Slayer’s growth is the actual star of this show. He goes from being closed off to finally opening up to his friends. Honestly, I could barely feel it. On the other hand, picking Priestess is admittedly the easy way out. She goes from being a scared, unsure adventurer to (in a sense) defying a king without flinching. In this day and age, it’s especially easy to say, “You go, girl!” You always score brownie points for this sort of thing even if you’re being disingenuous. It’s like when a guy brags about being a feminist while hitting on a girl at a bar. But what can I say? I didn’t feel as though Goblin Slayer’s character arc was pronounced enough for me to pick him over Priestess even if her growth is so overt.

— For some odd reason, as the goblin king nears death, tears well up in his eyes as he starts to express his remorse. He starts claiming that he’ll go back to the forest and live out the rest of his peacefully. C’mon, Priestess can’t be dumb enough to fall for that, right? When you ruthlessly rape your prisoners over and over as they beg for mercy, it’s hard to believe that you are actually capable of contrition. Look, if Priestess lets him go — and she might ’cause we have a ton of time left in this episode — I’m gonna take back everything I said about her growth as a character.

— We then get a flashback about how he had pulled the same tactic on some poor (of course) female adventurer.

— This is followed by rape scenes of more female adventurers because…? I mean, I just don’t understand the point. This fact has already been established. I’m not railing against the fact that rape exists. This is just a dark fact about life. But why are we seeing this again? Does it lend anything to the storytelling? Do we learn anything new? That’s why detractors say that the show is gratuitous.

— Well, Priestess is lucky ’cause Goblin Slayer picks himself and makes the decision for her. Kind of a cop-out, but whatever. I wanted the girl to finish her character arc.

— We then see that this was Goblin Slayer’s plan from the start. He would use himself as bait so that Priestess could trap the goblin king. I dunno, I still feel like they had enough people to protect the farm. They could’ve spared a few adventurers to take down the king safely without needlessly endangering Goblin Slayer’s life. Then again, maybe he wants to be a martyr. Maybe this is his penance in a way. It’s not that he wants to die, but he has to put his life on the line. He has to push his limits every time to make up for the fact that he couldn’t even move a finger when his sister was being murdered.

— The guy says he trusts Priestess which is why he was sure everything would work out. I guess you could argue that this is growth, but there’s no reason for me to believe that he didn’t believe in her abilities in the past. The only time she let them down wasn’t really her fault (her barrier fell in Water Town because Goblin Slayer got hurt).

— The sun has come up, so we know that the battle is over. Time to pick up the pieces. There’s still half an episode left of runtime, so I guess it’s all just denouement from here.

— I know you guys said that the story was told out of order, so it’s kinda weird to see best boi (the bird) on the table. I guess for the anime, the events have literally been rearranged.

— For some reason, we now cut to Haruhi the Great Hero and her party. It’s like we’re watching two series in one. Goblin Slayer and his exploits show how minor characters struggle to even protect their homes from trash mobs. Meanwhile, Haruhi the Great Hero kinda has your typical JRPG storyline where a plucky, child-like protagonist somehow manages to slay the demon lord without breaking a sweat.

Typical celebration scene. I do like Lizard Man entertaining the masses with his skeleton pet.

— Guild Lady is moonlighting as a waitress for some reason.

— Paladin Girl got screwed over by the fact that a goblin champion is worth the same as any regular ol’ goblin. This incentivizes ignoring the real threats in order to amass a bunch of cheap kills, so again, this world is just plain stupid. Either that or the guild is cheap as hell. Still the same results, though. You want higher-ranked adventurers to help out with the goblin problem, but then you nickel and dime them like this? It’s just dumb. They play this off as humor, but I’m not laughing. I don’t want to see the Guild Lady ever gripe again about people not helping out with goblin-related quests.

— Likewise, Goblin Slayer and Priestess only get a single coin for taking down the king. Y’see, the real reward is the friends we made along the way!!@!#!

— But seriously, did anybody go and save those prisoners that the king had talked about? I would hope so…

— Oh good lord. Between this, the fact that Goblin Slayer made the decision to finish off the goblin king (’cause maybe Priestess would’ve been too soft-hearted), and girls being shown as rape victims over and over… I dunno, man. The show leaves me in an uneasy spot. Then again, you have Haruhi going around, saving the world so who even knows?

— Childhood Friend is like, “You’re being nicer than usual?” Wha? Huh?

— Goblin Slayer tells his Childhood Friend that the future still isn’t clear to him, but he thinks he wants to be an adventurer (which he already is). But maybe this means he’ll branch out and fight more than just boring ass goblins. If there’s a sequel, then one can only hope.

— Another problem with these fantasy settings is that the lore is never good. Give me rich lore. Give me something fascinating to delve into, so that we feel like archaeologists unearthing a lost, mystical realm. This show has lore, but it’s threadbare and kinda boring. Oooh, some gods played D&D… and… and… something about deciding the fate of the adventurers. Yawn. Likewise, goblins as a main threat stops being interesting after a single arc ’cause they don’t have interesting lore either. For god’s sakes, give me a twist or something. Give me something to chew on.

— When Priestess wakes up, Goblin Slayer tells her that she deserves the gold coin since she finished off the goblin king. Well…

— Priestess asks the hero why he didn’t just post a job request. Since nobody helped his village way back then, he didn’t want to rely on luck. He had to appeal to everyone personally. Sure. It’s not going to help, however, if the guild keeps screwing everyone over with stupid technicalities.

— Nevertheless, Priestess assures Goblin Slayer that everyone — herself included — would always be willing to help him out in the future. That’s a nice thought. I’m just not sure how true it is. Oh, I’m sure she will always be by his side as the designated waifu number one. But everyone else? I dunno, man.

— She then asks to see the guy without his helmet on, because apparently, when they got all naked back in Water Town, she avoided seeing his face out of embarrassment. This is like seeing your online lover for the first time, huh? Ooooh, I hope they’re not fugly!

— But of course, we don’t get to see exactly what he looks like. It’s better this way anyway. I don’t think I’d be able to reconcile the fact that a typical anime protagonist somehow has such a deep voice.

— He’s so hot that he’s captivated the entire establishment. All of the ladies approve. Even tsuntsun Elf Girl wants a piece.

Pfftttttttt. Pure escapism through and through.

— After the credits, we are then told that Goblin Slayer is special because the gods aren’t deciding his fate. Uh, sure.

— Alright, let’s wrap this up. The show is competently made. Nothing great, but nothing super bad either. The gratuitous rape scenes are problematic, sure, but beyond that, the show is… eh, fine. Could the animation have been better? Could it have better captured the manga’s level of detail? Well, it didn’t even come close, but I don’t expect much from TV adaptations. There’s only so much money to go around. The voice acting was fine as well. But let’s get to the meat and potatoes. With the story, I honestly felt like it chickened out on me. On the one hand, we are forced to face the harsh realities that when adventurers fail, they are ruthlessly murdered or brutally raped over and over. It all depends on your gender. Harsh but okay, life is not sunshine and rainbows. But when we have Goblin Slayer and his party marching through every encounter with nary a casualty, that puzzles me a bit.

Sure, Goblin Slayer came close to dying a few times, but these moments felt artificial. As a hero, we know that he has plot armor on at all times, but when the guy doesn’t even, say, lose a limb, can you see how this doesn’t coincide with the story’s initial premise of the consequences of failing being totally realistic and uncompromising? It’s like the story wanted to have its cake and eat it too. Yeah, all of the other adventurers can suck it, but my group will always get the good rolls when everything is on the line. My group will always triumph in the end. That cheeses me a bit, especially when the story didn’t even try to get me emotionally invested in anyone other than Goblin Slayer and maybe Priestess. Elf Girl, Dwarf Guy, and Lizard Man had personalities, but again, they rarely had any character development. Since I don’t care about them, why not make it interesting and have one of them die? The first episode told me that the stakes are super high! Don’t screw up! Don’t screw up or you’re gonna lose your friends and loved ones! But then I watch the rest of the series, and not once did the high stakes ever come into play. It’s fine if Goblin Slayer always makes it out alive. Whatever, he’s the hero. But other than killing off a bunch of faceless nobodies, the story played it so safe with everyone else. That’s weak.

Final grade: C-

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2 Replies to “Goblin Slayer Ep. 12 (Final): No end to this campaign anytime soon”

  1. ‘But maybe this means he’ll branch out and fight more than just boring ass goblins.”

    Or amass a larger party and hunt even more goblins !!!

    not sure you watched grimgar but i think it handles the stakes a lot better. especially when it came to how it affects the characters. Sure you see each new addition get initially creeped out by how gruesome it is, but that quickly fades and everything is just dealt with so lightly. even if a character doesn’t die, serious injuries like you mentioned or some mental breakdowns or something would have really added to it.

    i enjoyed the show more than you but i think it could have really been good if they just went all in with the dark fantasy. obviously the world has no lore to offer so the show has to rest on the back of it’s characters.

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