Reason And Restraint – ‘Goblin Slayer’ Episode 2 Review

Reason And Restraint – An Anime QandA Review of Goblin Slayer Episode 2

What’s the show? Goblin Slayer, Episode 2.

So… uh, Goblin Slayer… kind of became a bit of a thing for a while there, huh? If you’re referring to the fact that my review of Episode 1 got 1300 views in less than a week and became my most viewed post on my site OF ALL TIME, then yeah… “bit of a thing” is a massive understatement!

So I assume you’re back to capitalise on the bonanza? Nope. In fact, I hadn’t planned on returning to this show at all despite my assertion at the end of the last review that I was interested to see where it would go from there. I was fed up with the seemingly non-stop circular discourse that had encapsulated this show in the west. Yet… something… something was drawing me back to this show…

An unlikely duo!

And that was? I choked it up to morbid curiosity on my part—after all how bad could it possibly get after the first episode was an all-out assault on everything decent?

And how was it? I’m annoyed.

Oh boy. What now? What happened? This show got good, like really good, living up to the promise of its pre-airing hype—and it’s done so ~without~ resorting to the cheap hentai-esque rape scenes that made the first episode a scapegoat of scorn and controversy—and I’m left wondering why did it chose to over-sexualise its rape scenes in Episode 1 when it was capable of such restraint in Episode 2? Its just damn frustrating is what it is! This episode is just as dark—if not more so than the first, but it doesn’t resort to sexualising rape like the first one did!

Goblin Slayer as a child, having to watch his sister be raped and murdered through the floorboards. Effective and not exploitative because it didn’t resort to fan-service! That’s the difference!

Okay… so I sense we can have a conversation here as opposed to the last episode where I just sat helplessly against the full brunt of your rant. What happens in this episode? We open with a flashback to the Goblin Slayer’s childhood—though the focus is on ‘Cow Girl’—yes that’s her name, it’s a thing—I’ll get to it later. As she thinks back to the time she left her home’s village to live in the city. Turns out the country life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be as it’s (eventually) confirmed that Goblin Slayer saw his older sister raped and murdered by goblins—hence why he has a single-minded hatred for them. Thankfully Cow Girl has grown up into a busty maiden who holds a candle for the broken man that is the Goblin Slayer.

The eponymous ‘cow girl’

And what else? What else, well a whole heck of a lot. In sharp contrast to the first episode which felt so intent on getting to the most alarmist, trigger happy content as quickly as possible—this episode actually is well-paced, well-structured with an ample amount of introspection from nearly everyone—even our ‘to the point’ protagonist Goblin Slayer comes out of this episode positively. I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the ‘strong silent type male power fantasy’ cliché that he was exuding—rather I was actually empathising with his journey and interested in his tactics.

Well this is certain a turn-around. It’s still not the best thing on this season, it still has its fair share of problems—I really don’t like the fact that all the characters are known by their job title or what they do rather than have names, it feels dehumanising and cheap. Maybe there’s a good reason for it but it makes this fairly generic fantasy world feel more so because of it.

I love the autumnal colour palette of this scene.

So how do you recommend a show like this that had a first episode you thought was handled poorly but now a second episode that you think actually has merit? Put simply, I don’t. Just being better than it was doesn’t excuse or nullify its previous actions. If what I’ve said in my episode 1 review doesn’t phase you then that’s probably enough of a recommendation for you anyway, if you were concerned it might pull those ‘tricks’ again, it could very well in the future, but reviewing just episode 2 by itself—as is the point of these episodic reviews, all I can is it’s good, verging on very good. And I’ll keep watching to see where it goes from here.

Previous Goblin Slayer Reviews:

Dark Twisted Fantasy – Episode 1 Review

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Author: Cactus Matt

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

6 thoughts on “Reason And Restraint – ‘Goblin Slayer’ Episode 2 Review”

  1. I thought this was a good origin story. And told subtly, through someone else’s viewpoint entirely. It didn’t have to say “This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened.” It set up a whole bunch of things in small segments and then let you see the thing that connected them all together, giving you the whole picture and letting you infer the result.

    I also really liked the way they had Priest Girl disagreeing with Goblin Slayer, not big drag out arguments but being independent and voicing her opinion. Also the way that she doubted the “miracle” that she was granted for the new skill… which they then promptly used to trap a lot of goblins in a burning fort.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It was definitely a different episode from the first. While still dark as you said, it tried to do something different and as such it was a far more balanced episode. I do wonder if it will continue along this path or head back to the things it did in the first episode. Probably, at least that is what I think : a little bit of both. Well: we’ll find out soon enough😊

    Liked by 1 person

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