Dark Twisted Fantasy – ‘Goblin Slayer’ Episode 1 Review

What’s the show? Goblin Slayer, Episode 1.

And what’s it about? Hoo-boy, we’ve got a prickly show today!

Oh, and what do you mean by that exactly? We’re going to be talking about ~rape~ today, so you know, trigger warnings and all, after all I am a male who’s about to say some probably stupid things that are bound to offend someone—not my intention of course, I’m going to try and be as sensitive about this topic as possible but, yeah…

Well… this is going to be… something… Did you want to set the scene first, what’s this show about? It’s a fantasy show, that is to say pre-industrial setting, swords and monsters and what not—the show does an excellent example of introducing the kind of world this is in the first few minutes—it kind of reminded me of Konosuba (which is obviously a parody of fantasy-set games) what with the tavern of adventurers and the helpful person at the front desk who gets the adventurers set-up with what’s literally a tutorial and the notice board of tasks that people want to be completed. We’re quickly introduced to what passes for our protagonist—a kind priestess who wants to help with her support and healing magic. She joins a rag-tag crew of relatively inexperienced but nonetheless eager adventurers who head to a goblin cave to rescue some girls who were kidnapped from a nearby settlement. The young adventurers joke about how goblins are “the weakest” enemies and how “easy” this will be. And then shit gets real…

When you say “real” you mean? I mean the seemingly ‘light-hearted’ tone of the series is rather swiftly executed as the goblins ambush the adventurers and start attacking and raping one of the female members of the party. These aren’t your Final Fantasy style goblins, these are drooling monsters who tear the clothes off their female victims and violate them.

Oh boy. …that’s all you have to say to this, “oh boy”?

Well how am I supposed to react exactly? Maybe by showing a bit more outrage and concern rather than reacting like you’ve just misplaced your keys.

We are still talking about a fictional television show, are we not? Don’t try and get my goat, I know you’re trying to bait me into a rant but it’s not going to work—I am trying my hardest to keep this review level-headed and even handed.

Okay, so what’s the problem exactly, an anime has a rape scene. Should a show not contain objectionable material just because it’s upsetting and occurs in real life? The problem is two things for me, 1) is it presented in a way that accurately represents the horror of the act and 2) would the show be the same if it was handled differently.

And your answers to these hypothetical questions? It’s just fan service for people who are into rape hentai. And I’m not kink-shaming, even if sexual assault isn’t a kink but I will concede drawn depictions of rape aren’t actually harming anyone, just like drawn depictions of torture and murder don’t hurt anyone either. But I felt like the rape scenes here were overly sexualised and exploitative to appeal to the aforementioned demographic (clothes torn in strategic ways, sexual poses, etc.) and that’s where my biggest problem lies. As to answer the second part, you could keep the sexual assault silhouetted or implied and the show wouldn’t be any different for it—you’re still establishing this is a brutal and cutthroat world where horrible things happen to good people.

But doesn’t shying away from something minimise the visual impact and therefore the effectiveness of the scene? When one of the sexually assaulted victims begs for the titular Goblin Slayer to ‘end her life’ he obliges, plunging a knife into her throat but it pans up as to not show the blade entering her, you know why? Because it’s called restraint—something this show doesn’t have with regard to rape because its either written or directed by someone who doesn’t understand the impact of sexual assault on its victims—or worse someone who doesn’t care—or worse.

I’ll stop you there; we don’t need to invoke lawsuits over a review of an anime. So now that you’ve got that out of your system you want to talk about the actual show, or… So all the adventurers who were travelling with the Priestess end up dead or dying and things are looking bad when the Goblin Slayer shows up, a forever armour suited dude who is about as bland as a protagonist as I’ve even seen in a show like this. He’s smart, overpowered, unemotional—he’s basically male power fantasy personified and I ~kinda~ hate him. Sure he saves the Priestess, the only character who comes out of this episode better than from when they started but that’s a small positive amongst a sea of negative.

So you don’t like this show then? I didn’t say that. This show is deeply flawed, but its not unsalvageable. I couldn’t get my mind off this show all day after I watched it and while sure a lot of that was just the itch to bitch about it but some of that was being legitimately interested in seeing where this series goes, so kudos to the show—even though it did so much wrong it still made me want to come back for a second episode!

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Author: Cactus Matt

I love anime and more recently manga too. What else do I need to write here?

14 thoughts on “Dark Twisted Fantasy – ‘Goblin Slayer’ Episode 1 Review”

    1. For some people it’s easy to overlook these things, everybody reacts and views media in different ways and it’s important to remember and appreciate different view points even if they aren’t ones we see ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. For me I didn’t find the rape as confronting or offensive as a lot of other ‘sex’ and ‘fanservice’ in shows I’ve watched for the simple reason that it was supposed to be viewed as brutal and grotesque. This wasn’t played off as comedy or an ‘oops – sexual assault’ kind of moment. It is used to make us really despise the goblins and for me at least it was very effective at doing that. That doesn’t mean that I can’t see why plenty of people would happily pass on this (just like slasher horror or anything else that just doesn’t work for some audiences), but I also feel a lot of the negativity that’s been bouncing around about this scene is overlooking that the scene isn’t condoning rape. If anything it is showing it to be a truly disgusting thing that is every bit as devastating as death to the individual involved in the scene.
    Then again, everyone will have their own opinion about it and the scene will have a different impact on different viewers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m not saying a scene like this shouldn’t exist, an author of any piece of fiction shouldn’t be censored—ever, that’s something I strongly believe in. The thing that I have the biggest issue with is that it’s too close to rape hentai I’ve seen and therefore I question it’s presentation. I think the scene could have been presented in a different way, still kept the intended effect that “goblins are bad and need to be destroyed” without straying into fan service. And I keep using the term fan service because it is, the rape category on every hentai site and porn doujin site is always among the biggest, so this is absolutely catering to a niche. While scrolling through the #goblinslayer hashtag I saw hundreds of people, exclaiming how much they enjoyed the rape scene(s) and saying comments like “guess she couldn’t handle the Goblin D” and what not. So while it may have gotten the desired “brutal and grotesque” reaction out of you and me, I question whether that was the full intent given anime’s inexorable link to the hentai and doujin industry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a fair enough point. I don’t get the appeal of that kind of fetish so it wouldn’t even cross my mind to see it that way but thinking back through some of the comments I’ve seen about the scene I can agree that that there are probably a few fans who do.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think even if they show it another way, we get shitheads like that making comments like that. Some of them are probably trying to laugh it off as a way of not thinking about how horrid it was, but some people really are just awful and either do it as performative bullshit (trying to look cool to others) or because they just don’t have any empathy (especially on social media where they face zero consequences). And I don’t know if it has the same visceral effect on viewers if you show it a different way.

        So I’m mostly with Karandi as to opinion of how it was presented.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I thought this was a pretty good depiction of when your party of novices goes bad bad, really bad. And I think it also did a good job to get across the idea that everyone in a fantasy gaming setting is basically a murderer. Even the ‘good guys’. I thought it actually did a good job justifying the murdering, while still acknowledging the brutality and horror of it.

    I’ll probably keep watching the show, but it will get too brutal for me if it tries to outdo itself every week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Likewise, it’ll be interesting to see if whether it was just trying to weed out a certain type of viewer and establish a tone before ‘calming down’ or if it’s going to be more of the same week-to-week.


  3. Well, as I knew absolutely nothing about this series except for the fact that it was a fantasy series, I have to admit that I was fairly shocked when that rape scene happened. I agree with you though, the way it was depicted was pretty “fanservice oriented” for lack of a better term. While it wasn’t enough to make me quit the show, I have to admit that out of the six shows that I am watching this season, for me this one so far is the one I liked the least. But maybe that will change 😊 You made some excellent points here though, and I though this was a great post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad someone finally agreed with me, feels like I’ve been the only one who thought this was fan-servicey! I think this show has the potential to be great, it just needs to know where to draw the line.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it certainly felt that way to me as well. Can’t describe it in any other way. It will be interesting to see where this series is going..and if it will continue on this path or change it’s tune so to speak. Guess we will find out soon enough 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve found a few other posts that describe it as fan-servicey. I rewatched the episode to see if maybe I just missed that angle. Still seems mostly repulsive to me in how it is framed but then again, I’m mostly just hoping she’ll be rescued in time despite knowing that it isn’t going to happen.

        Liked by 1 person

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