Mariya IseYuka IguchiHideyuki KurataGoblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer II
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2023
Director: Takaharu Ozaki, Misato Takada
Writer: Hideyuki Kurata
Original creator: Kumo Kagyu
Actor: Maaya Uchida, Mariya Ise, Nao Toyama, Sayumi Suzushiro, Tomokazu Sugita, Yoko Hikasa, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuichiro Umehara, Yui Ogura, Yuka Iguchi
Keywords: Goblin Slayer, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Episodes 13-24, not counting the movie that goes between Seasons 1-2
Website category: Anime 2023
Review date: 29 January 2024
I thought it was good. I like Goblin Slayer and I've enjoyed it all so far.
It's got an extremely nasty side, mind you. Goblin Slayer's devoted his entire life to killing goblins and will murder them all on sight, including children. He's sick in the head. He talks like a robot, he hardly ever takes off his armour and he doesn't bother remembering things that won't help him kill. We only buy this because the goblins deserve it, being sniggering sadists who'll commit every possible atrocity on their victims. Yes, including that, if you're female. This has made the show understandably controversial in some quarters, while also being an international hit.
That said, though, this season's also quite nice. Goblin Slayer now has a party. They're his friends. He probably doesn't understand the concept, but they are. They're all tolerant, friendly and good at what they do. They're a strong team. (Priestess was a rookie when Goblin Slayer saved her at the start of Season 1, but she's been with him for a year now and has gained a lot of experience.) Then, in addition, there's also the farm to which Goblin Slayer goes home every night and the girl who'd call herself his wife if asked (although she knows she'd have more success trying to chat up a brick wall).
Fans who just wanted to see goblin slaying were disappointed in this season. Even Goblin Slayer himself at one point notes how often they've let themselves get sidelined, although they still splatter lots of little green guys. Personally, I think this variety improves the show. Our heroes get invited to a High Elf wedding (those ears are ridiculous), defeat some exotic monsters (sea serpent, dinosaur, disembodied demon hand) and babysit a brat. Good grief, he's annoying. He's in eps.1-4 and he'll grow as a person, obviously, but he's still a boy with a mountain of attitude and not enough competence to fill an eggcup. He bad-mouths adventurers with more experience than him (i.e. all of them). In ep.2, he ignores what everyone's saying about a trapped door, declares that it clearly isn't trapped, opens it and triggers the trap. This nearly gets him and everyone else killed. I wanted him to die horribly.
Season 1 was apparently a better adaption of its respective light novels. They built a tightly knitted story arc, whereas Season 2 changes the original light novels while dropping things like character development. They've also changed the animation studio. I didn't notice any of that and I was perfectly happy with what we got here.
One headscratcher involves the green moon. Goblin Slayer's world has two moons, which usually (but not always) look as if one's a slightly smaller magical reflection of the other, in a different colour. They have the same patterns of light and shadow. The same mountain ranges. They appear to be the same celestial body, except duplicated. If I were this show's writer, I'd be planning to go somewhere with that. (I've seen a fan theory that the goblins all come from the green moon and that they don't even have a gender in any recognised sense. Officially, they're all male and can only reproduce by impregnating humanoids. In practice, the details of this are so different to normal reproduction that you could liken them to small, green versions of H.R. Giger's Aliens.)
Paradoxically, this show's become almost charming. Goblin Slayer himself is almost lovable, in his autistic way. "Is that an elephant?" (No, it's a dinosaur.) His friends are a hundred times nicer than he deserves, as is in a different way Cow Girl. We're starting to get a better idea of his background and childhood, suggesting that'd get a bad reception if he went home. The effective immortality of elves and lizardmen adds an odd undertone to the show, given its proximity to mortality. I'm hoping for a third season.