Goblin Slayer is a dark Fantasy following around a man known as The Goblin Slayer, and as the title implies he specializes in killing Goblins. The world at large seems unaware of how terrifying the goblins truly are, but through the actions of The Goblin Slayer, we get to see first hand what the are capable of, and furthermore what mindset the Goblin Slayer finds himself in.
I will say now, the show does feature some pretty explicit scenes of rape, as explicit as you can get without any nudity. I'll not derail the view on the topic, and simply say I think it makes very good use of rape and not simply employing it for shock value, I did a full write up on why if you are interested, I just don't want to derail the view considering I go rather in depth on it. If you're interested, you can find it a few posts back.
That said, the show is not for people who aren't comfortable with extreme violence or people who just aren't okay with depictions of rape in media they consume. It is worth pointing out the violence in Goblin Slayer isn't just played up for spectacle as one might suspect, as that was a common thing for anime to do back in the '80s and '90s. Most violence in Goblin Slayer isn't as over the top as what you would see in those days, but the feelings you get aren't cheering on The Goblin Slayer as he works, he's so cold and calculating in all he does it's a bit unnerving. Even though he's killing these monsters who are presented as beyond redemption, something seems off about him even the first time you see him.
If there is a good way to describe it, there is an old quote from Friedrich Nietzsche that describes the idea perfectly, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” There are even times that The Goblin Slayer states that what the Goblins are to normal people, he is to Goblins. Then there is the way he sees everything. An example I'll use is 'Protection', a spell the priestess is able to cast. When he learns she can now cast it, his mind doesn't think about it's intended use, his first thought is using it to seal off an entrance as he burns a group of Goblins alive.
The show also has this bizarre aspect that may or may not bother you, but no one has a name. Everyone is referred to by their class and race, or their title. There is this bizarre aura of this being a tabletop RPG being played between the gods of the world, and everyone involved is a pawn in their game. I kind of like it, as I feel it works well with the theme and tone of the show, but I do understand why someone would be bothered not having a name to put to the characters.
Despite the lack of names though, the cast is fantastic. Even though they are built off a lot of cliques, like the Elf and Dwarf constantly bickering with each other, the show does well to make them engaging. The bickering is funny when it needs to be, the characters are varied and play well with each other, and there is enough unique about them despite the cliques to keep them all feeling like more than just an archetype.
The Growth of the Goblin Slayer as a character is also pretty great, especially since he manages to feel like the same person from beginning to end. It's a typical anime transition from loner to gaining friends, but like other tropes, the show makes use of it handles them well. Like most things, it works because you care about the characters. Even with his uncomfortable obsession with slaying goblins, the Goblin Slayer has this way of just drawing you in, as well as all those around him. You end up caring about him, and seeing him travel around with the rest of the party it's nice to see him grow.
If there is an issue I take with the show, it's from his childhood friend. See, a lot of women in this show seem drawn to the Goblin Slayer and develop feelings for him. This can be a bit annoying in many shows, but every character in terms of this show it makes sense as to why. The Priestess was saved by him in the beginning and the two have continued to struggle and grow together, the Elf Ranger has a bond of respect similar but also has a desire to show The Goblin Slayer what a real adventure is supposed to be and feels bad that he is stuck in his current mindset, and then there is the Sword-Maiden whose story I won't spoil here.
Now the Childhood friend makes sense as too why she would care about the Goblin Slayer, unlike the other characters she really doesn't have that much going for her as a character, she's just the Childhood friend. Then you get to a point in the show a Goblin Horde is going to show up, something you sort of expect to happen for most of the show, she just doesn't want to leave the farm and her reasoning is terrible, especially since her father just seems to be going along with it.
One other thing that is a bother is how the show seems to keep track of spells. See, it works like many tabletop games in that each caster can cast so many spells per day. The problem is the show doesn't always show when spells are being cast, and you end up in this odd moment where whenever their remaining spells come up it feels that they have just the amount that would be needed to make the scene more dramatic. It feels a bit lazy at times.
All that said, the action is still fantastic and intense. The fights may never be too long, but they get an amazing amount of impact in the short time each fight goes on. I actually think the longest arc goes of for about three episodes, even the horde I mentioned only takes up two. Compared to most other shows, Goblin Slayer is able to get a lot done in a very short period of time, it doesn't feel like the show is ever wasting time.
Goblin Slayer is the best anime of the season, and likely something that I'd put in my top ten anime of all time, though I wouldn't want to make that declaration too early. Time does have a way of making you look back on some shows differently. So long as the depictions