Yuichiro UmeharaToshiyuki MorikawaHideyuki KurataGoblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer: Goblin's Crown
Medium: film
Year: 2020
Director: Takaharu Ozaki
Writer: Hideyuki Kurata, Yousuke Kuroda
Original creator: Kumo Kagyu
Actor: Aya Endo, Maaya Uchida, Nao Toyama, Sayaka Kikuchi, Shinsuke Sugawara, Shinya Takahashi, Shouta Hayama, Sumire Uesaka, Tomokazu Sugita, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yoko Hikasa, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yui Ogura, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuichiro Umehara, Yuka Iguchi
Keywords: Goblin Slayer, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 85 minutes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22010
Website category: Anime 2020
Review date: 20 September 2020
I liked the Goblin Slayer TV series and I also enjoyed this movie. Mind you, fans of the original light novels think it's rushed and inferior to the manga adapation. (It's doing the fifth novel, for what it's worth, and I suspect it wasn't planned as a movie. The new material's exactly an hour long. I reckon they made this as an OVA, then decided at the last minute to release into cinemas and tacked on a 25-minute TV series recap to pad out the running time. Technically, that's a pre-credits sequence.)
Personally, though, I thought it was fine. Nothing special, but exactly what you'd expect from Goblin Slayer.
It's a pretty one-dimensional series. Goblin Slayer himself makes Judge Dredd look well-rounded. (They're also similar in that they famously don't take off their helmets.) He kills goblins. That's all he's done for ten years. He never talks or thinks about anything else. These days he has some comrades who are, in their own ways, trying to drag some humanity out of him, but it's a low, slow job.
The show works, though, because of how seriously it takes its premise. The goblins are mass-murdering rapists and the show's first episode is still controversial even now. They're supposedly fantasy's weakest monsters, no more than cannon fodder, but plenty of overconfident adventurers have met gruesome goblin-hunting fates. (That happens here too.) They're a serious threat and Goblin Slayer's actions feel proportionate, even when he's slaughtering goblin children.
I quite enjoyed the recap. It's told from Priestess's perspective and it's an effective reminder of what she's been through so far. I'd forgotten details like the two moons and the idea that goblins came from the smaller, green one.
As for the main story, it has Goblin Slayer's party accepting a quest to rescue an aristocrat (Noble Fencer) who ran away from her family to become an adventurer. She went looking for goblins. It went badly. Our heroes will eventually find her, but under tragic circumstances that have put her on the road to becoming another Goblin Slayer. (Abandonment of social skills, check. Hatred of goblins, check.)
There's some character work, although not a huge amount. Noble Fencer goes from "confident leader" to "implacable trauma victim" to... well, that's at the end. Spoilers. Priestess shows us her empathy. High Elf Archer has been thinking about mortal lifespans. There's enough to remind you that these are people, but ultimately this is a war movie. That's its closest real-world equivalent. No other genre is so clearly, unambiguously focused on attacking an enemy with all of your strength and fighting to the death. The goblins have a fortress. Our heroes go there to kill them.
The script's dazzlingly clear about its objectives. Kill or be killed. It's going to be ugly and one of Goblin Slayer's allies is going to have him digging an arrowhead out of her leg. (The nearest she gets to anaesthetic is some fire.) Downtime? A little, right at the end. Cow Girl gets a cameo. The goblins are getting smarter. The film works.