Goblin Slayer Review Light Novel Volumes 5 + 6

The Endless Cycle of Rookie Mistakes

I don’t normally review volumes together unless they are clearly two parts of the same story with no resolution in between, however when I finished reading volume 5 of Goblin Slayer I was kind of at a loss as to what to write and so I simply stacked the book to the side and waited. Many months later I read volume 6 and suddenly felt a need to write about the books so here we are.

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Goblin Slayer, Vol. 5 (light novel)
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Volume 5

I’m going to point out that volume 5 is actually quite a good story. The reason I’m saying that straight up is that it is probably going to sound very soon like I didn’t enjoy it but to be honest most of my issues with it are issues with the series as a whole that have been building and have nothing to do with the individual volume.

The story focuses on Noble Fencer who was out on a job to take care of some goblins and completely stuffed it up by underestimating goblin resourcefulness and sneakiness. As a result, her party has been killed and she’s taken captive by the primitive cult of goblins in the north. Naturally Goblin Slayer and friends are recruited to go rescue her.

As I said, nothing wrong with the story. The problem is, that this is almost the same story as Priestesses introduction only spread out longer and with more tenacious goblins thrown in. That’s kind of the point. Goblins keep doing the same things over and over and adventurers keep underestimating them. Yet while I appreciate the point I found the basic story less enjoyable because there just isn’t enough novelty five volumes in to keep this feeling fresh.

Still, the action is solid, the characters within the party continue to bounce well off one another, and the story concludes well within the volume so there’s little to really complain about. That said, I was contemplating leaving this series here feeling I’ve taken all I can from it.

Volume 6

After my mixed feelings around volume 5 and whether this series had anything more to offer, I went into volume 6 with a little bit of hesitation. I am really glad I did go into it though.

This volume turns its attention very much onto the Priestess as she’s now been with the group for a year. Her growth over that time has been impressive and she’s been in some very dangerous situations. Despite that, this volume begins with her missing out on advancement at the guild as there’s the thought that maybe all the strong adventurers she’s travelling with are actually carrying her through these encounters.

So begins an effort to give the Priestess opportunities to show her own strengths including having Goblin Slayer and the others take orders from her during a mission.

It is a minor shake up to the usual formula and yet it is enough. Not to mention, Priestess as a character has experienced the most growth (as all the other characters were fairly well developed when they were met and Priestess was such a rookie) and so seeing her get the limelight was very nice.

While it might seem trite, I also liked the inclusion of the Wizard Boy. His older sister had died a year ago on a quest to kill goblins and he’s very much out for revenge. It is pretty clear that the older sister was probably one of Priestess’ original party members that got wiped out but they don’t make a big deal of that. Instead, this volume focuses on teaching Wizard Boy, and indeed many of the rookie adventurers, how to stay alive.

That becomes particularly necessary when the newly built training grounds get attacked by a goblin horde at night.

With the training grounds having been built on the site of Goblin Slayers home village there’s more than enough personal drama and stakes in this story to really lift is beyond just basic goblin slaying and while the basic formula established in this series hasn’t changed, this volume seemed to breathe a bit of life back into it.

Anyway, it was enough that I’m going to read the next one as I’d really like to know what happens next.

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Goblin Slayer, Vol. 5 (light novel)
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Goblin Slayer Series Review

He’s Not Trying To Save The World – He Just Wants To Slay Some Goblins

If you were on any kind of social media during the last months of 2018 then you probably caught some of the Goblin Slayer rape/infant killing controversy after episode one aired. Fortunately, after the storm died down and more thoughtful posts and commentary started coming out, most people seemed to agree that largely the problem could have been solved by the various streaming services providing sensible classification or warnings prior to the show airing and only a few extremists were still calling for the entire show to be trashed and calling those who enjoyed it degenerates.

Wow, I love it when people make a judgement over your entire existence based on your preference of fictional stories. That said, I don’t want this review to turn into a debate about censorship and I kind of covered my thoughts on this whole thing in a feature about triggers back when episode one first aired so I’m just going to get on with reviewing the anime now.

Still, the need for a warning label on this anime does exist because it does have content that some people will find distressing. I’d strongly recommend not watching it if you know that you don’t like shows where female characters are subjected to sexual assault or if buckets of blood flying about the screen in fight sequences is going to make you feel queasy.

The problem with that though is that while these things are in Goblin Slayer, it isn’t really what the show is about. Quite a few reviews I’ve read have criticised Goblin Slayer for not being as dark as Berserk or for being toothless. While Goblin Slayer does explore some of the darker aspects of adventuring and the less noble side of killing creatures most other consider merely pests rather than facing off against demon kings, the story is essentially about the two main characters: Goblin Slayer and Priestess.

In the first episode we meet the Priestess as she joins up to become an adventurer, gets recruited into a party of rookies and more or less lead to her death by the overconfidence and cockiness of youth and general perceptions about the weakness of goblins. It’s a solid opening encounter that sets the tone for a world where adventurers can and do die particularly early in their careers and goblins might be individually weak but in a dark cavern with numbers on their side if you aren’t prepared you are in for a world of hurt. It’s also pretty confronting in that the fates of these nameless rookies are pretty tragic. Fortunately we haven’t spent enough time with them to feel we know them, but basic empathy for humans and knowing none of these characters were actually bad people, just inexperienced, makes the whole encounter leaving you with a slightly sick feeling in your stomach, which is more or less what it intended.

Goblin Slayer Episode 1

Fortunately, Priestess is rescued by Goblin Slayer and the two then form a partnership of sorts. The story follows the two as they learn from one another, the Priestess learning how to use her miracles to best effect for a party and about the tricks goblins use and how to beat them, and Goblin Slayer learning slowly how to interact with others and to trust others even if just a little bit.

Goblin Slayer Episode 9 Goblin Slayer and Sword Maiden

What this means is the story seems to sway back and forth between life and death encounters in dark dungeons and slower moments where the two go about their days in the guild and town preparing equipment, eating and drinking with others, and generally living their lives. It is this two toned approach that seemed to annoy some viewers who stuck around after episode one. I think they might have expected the violence just to keep going and not let up, but the point of the story isn’t to be violent. Violence happens in the world being constructed but it isn’t all there is to life. That is what Goblin Slayer is needing to learn and his removal of his helmet in the guild in the final episode is a good sign that he is finally starting to realise he doesn’t need to be the armed Goblin Slayer 24 hours a day.

That might seem like a small step but it is some massive character progress for him and it builds on dozens of small exchanges peppered throughout the series.

Priestess is no slouch either really stepping up in the final fight to both immobilise the final boss and to heal Goblin Slayer. She uses his plan and her own decisions to get the outcome she decides is best.

However, in case it seems like I just keep heaping praise on this series, I do have to point out the biggest problem with it. The series works best if you’ve read the source (either the manga or the light novels will do).

And that’s a problem.

Goblin Slayer Episode 5

An anime adaptation should stand alone. It should show the story in anime form for fans of the source who want more of the characters, but should also be accessible and make sense on its own.

Goblin Slayer fails in that regard in that a lot of the decisions and ideas are kind of hinted at in the anime but don’t make sense without the additional knowledge the source gives you.

One example that stands clear from reading episode reviews was when High Elf Archer asked Goblin Slayer not to use fire and a whole bunch of other things on the goblins under water town. And he agreed. That was all there was to the exchange in the anime.

From reading the books there was a lot more behind both her request and his acceptance. Namely the whole town being above the sewers and potential collateral damage. Now it makes sense why she’s being fairly specific with her limitations (other than she doesn’t want to get set on fire or poisoned) and why he actually listens and agrees. More importantly, it makes sense that in the next episode, when he is about to set off an explosion he checks first that they have travelled beyond the borders of the town before he puts his plan into action.

Now, the sequence makes enough sense in the anime in that you aren’t completely unable to follow it, but it also feels like you are missing something. That isn’t how a story should make you feel and this was only one scene out of many that had anime only viewers tilting their heads and wondering just what was behind a decision.

So while I will recommend this anime, it is an average anime. It isn’t great or amazing. There are definitely issues with how this has been adapted from its source.

Still, I thought it looked great, I enjoyed the characters, loved the sound design, and all and all had great fun following along with these characters and adventures. While it does get dark, there’s also plenty to balance it and from a narrative point of view it makes sense that those moments are as dark as they are.

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Goblin Slayer Volume 4 Light Novel Review

Goblin Slayer Volume 4 Cover Image

The party are all doing their own thing in this volume and in the end we get small vignettes of characters living in this world.

While the first three Goblin Slayer books have jumped around a little bit between adventures and quests and some slice of life stuff, the fourth volume really does feel more like a collection of short stories loosely connected via the setting and the cast. Expect no epic goblin slaying antics in this one, as we follow Rookie Warrior and Apprentice Priestess into the sewers (a story that appeared in the anime much earlier on in the timeline), Goblin Slayer doing his solo goblin slaying thing, some shopping, drinking and other mundane tasks, and the defeat of a necromancer.

Goblin Slayer - Rookie Warrior and Apprentice Priestess

If that all seems horribly unfocused (and it didn’t even cover everything) then you have a fair idea of the reading experience. I found this volume worked best when I read a chapter (or story) and then stopped for the day, picking it up later to read another story. There was no real flow or connection between sections but each story on its own was kind of interesting enough.

While Goblin Slayer features in a number of the stories, there are plenty of moments for other characters, both major ones like Priestess and High Elf Archer, and more background characters like Heavy Knight, get some time to be developed as characters. It all adds to the sense that this is a world, real and whole and these characters don’t just cease to exist when their adventures end. Their lives continue off-screen or off-page so to speak and this volume very much feels like a glimpse at some of that down time (and not so down time when you see what Goblin Slayer is still getting up to).

Goblin Slayer - Yep, he's slaying goblins
Is this down time?

Now, when you get the end and read the afterward, the scattered feeling of the book really makes sense as the author explains that this collection of stories take place largely between volumes 1 and 2 or volumes 2 and 3. So at least that disconnected feel was deliberate.

This one I’d recommend if you are really into the setting of Goblin Slayer and would love more of the support cast. However, if you are wanting the grand adventure, I would simply skip this one and head to volume 5 (review coming soon) because honestly it is a much stronger narrative and one that is really exciting to read (can’t wait to review it). I had fun with this because I do really enjoy the world of Goblin Slayer but again, this wasn’t the greatest of reads as a whole.

Goblin Slayer - High Elf Archer and Guild Girl

That said, I’d love to know your thoughts if you’ve read this one, and there are definitely some fun stories in here, so if you enjoy sharp, short stories featuring these characters this one will probably entertain.

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Goblin Slayer Vol. 4 (light novel)
Goblin Slayer Vol. 4 (light novel)

In Case You Missed It 2019 #6

Welcome back to another week and as normal I’ve found some really interesting posts from the community. There’s a few game related posts this week and I’m not really sure why, but there just seemed to be a lot of interesting content around some new releases that caught my eye. Anyway, hopefully you find something fun to read in the list below. And if you want my overall thoughts on the Winter 2019 Anime season so far check out my half-time thoughts.

Posts from the Community

Season 1 Episode 1 gives their first impressions of Grimms Notes and looks at how a narrative posing a question but not answering it in a satisfying way can leave the viewer feeling just a little disappointed. If you are curious about Grimms Notes this is probably an excellent first post to read as it looks for positives in the series but addresses the flaws in how the series is executing its ideas within the first episode.

Crow and Irina discuss The Promised Neverland Episode 4 and if you haven’t watched it pass on this discussion because it is going to reveal… well, everything from the episode and it is worth watching cold provided you haven’t already heard it all on Twitter. The back and forth between these two as they look at each scene is really fun to read so if you are following the Promised Neverland and you missed this post, go check it out.

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Ray

Ryder from The Kitten Who Eats Ramen has a review of a Visual Novel called Red Embrace. BL and Vampires, and it look s kind of interesting. I’ll admit, I’m not hugely into Visual Novels but I have played the odd one or two and I enjoy reading reviews of new games because occasionally I’ll look for a new one to play and this one definitely grabbed my interest from this review. Might be a post worth checking out if you are also looking for something new and you don’t mind BL Vampire stories.

Lynn Sheridan has a review of Goblin Slayer. I love their review format as it breaks things down into nice, manageable chunks of what was liked, what wasn’t, which characters work, which need more screen time, etc. It’s an easy reading experience and gets the point across. Anyway, if you want to read a review of Goblin Slayer this one is well worth reading.

Goblin Slayer - High Elf Archer

Nintendo Soup shared a video of Piranha Plant in a parody anime opening featuring a range of characters from Super Mario Smash Bros Ultimate. They didn’t make the video but I am very glad they shared it because I did not know my life was missing that until I watched it. If you want a minute and a half of pure fun check it out.

Mel always has a good eye for collecting anime boys and once again this year they’ve presented their harem for 2018. There are some excellent choices on the list and some interesting ones but if you want to know about the boys from last year this is the post to check out. Also links to their 2017 list in case you are curious. Also from Mel is a great review of The Ancient Magus’ Bride so be sure to check that one out as well.

Shania from Quotable Creations has a quick run down on the timeline of the Kingdom Hearts games leading to Kingdom Hearts 3. It doesn’t go into too much depth but it does give you the quick overview of the main events and characters and if you were looking to reminisce about the franchise it is a nice place to start.

Pick of the Week

And still on Kingdom Hearts, Lethargic Ramblings shares their thoughts on Kingdom Hearts 3 and how it has concluded a story spanning more than a decade. There are some spoilers for the game here (and that warning is at the beginning of the post) but the love for the game is very clear in this post and I loved reading it. One well worth checking out if you enjoy feeling excited about a story.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Promo Image

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In Case You Missed It 2019 #5

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 3 Shirogane

Another fine week watching anime and we are now in February so I’m anticipating a lot of romance and valentine posts coming out over the next few weeks. My Twitter Feed kind of exploded when I asked what was on people’s list of most romantic anime after updating my own list of Top 5 Romantic Anime and that has been really fun seeing the different choices from the community. Hopefully everyone has had a good week and below are some great posts that I found from the community and links to my own posts in case you missed them.

Posts from the Community

Marth has a great review of Land of the Lustrous that gets to the point and addresses what might be a draw and what might be a turn off for viewers of this particular anime. If you want a quick take on whether Land of the Lustrous might be for you this is a great post to check out.

Cain S Latrani has a review about Goblin Slayer and with a focus on the theme of overcoming PTSD. It is a really interesting look at the central character and his personal journey throughout the series as supported by the supporting characters and a great review of how the anime dealt with its subject matter.

Arthifis continues to roll out his impressions and recommendations for the season before his guide comes out and he’s up to The Promised Neverland. If you are still on the fence about whether to start this one, this look at the first three episodes and the strengths and weaknesses of the anime may well convince you to give it a go. Be sure to check out this post and the others Arthifis has been putting out as the new season continues to roll along.

And speaking of Arthifis, he also posted an interesting discussion piece about talent and Danganronpa that was quite the interesting read. Well worth checking out if you missed it.

Crow’s World of Anime has a great post on episode 3 of Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka detailing their three favourite moments and these pretty much highlight why this anime has become such a pleasant surprise this season. If you haven’t checked out the anime but are considering it, check out this post and it might very well make you want to check out the show.

Still on Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, Xenodude has a more measured approach finding more issues with the series but still finding points to enjoy. If you’d like a bit more of a measured response to the episode then this review might be what you are looking for.

There Goes My Kokoro has a great March Comes in Like a Lion post this week focusing on a specific arc from season two. There are some spoilers for the ‘burnt field’ arc in this post (okay, it tells you what happens so if you haven’t watched it and spoilers bother you, watch the anime first), but it is an amazing explanation of what makes this arc so incredibly powerful despite its focus on a seemingly very side character. Well worth the read for any March Comes in Like a Lion fans and well worth reading if you are curious about what March Comes in Like a Lion is so great.

Seasonal Prattle gives new and old users of the community some guides for engaging in seasonal content. While some of the points seem obvious, others are a welcome reminder that we’re all watching anime because deep down we love it and those differences of opinion don’t matter all that much. Definitely one for people in the ani-community to check out.

Pick of the Week

Marion over on Otaku, She Wrote has an absolutely fabulous post about character design looking at Eiji from Banana Fish and comparing the real life inspiration to the appearance in the manga to the appearance in the anime and how the design conveys his character. It is a lovely post to read and well put together. If you were wanting more Banana Fish now that it is over, this is a great post to check out to get your fix.

Banana Fish Episode 13 Eiji

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In Case You Missed it 2019 #4

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cute Moment

Here we are at the end of week 4 and things couldn’t be hotter (both for the Winter anime season and the general weather in Australia). As always, here is my weekly round up of anime related content from the community and from my blog this week. Please send me a link if you find a post that you feel needs a shout out, I always love finding new content to read.

Posts from the Community

Ya Boy Jack has an interesting post this week about politics in anime. This one isn’t preaching but is more just looking at why everything is political and yet why that shouldn’t stop people from enjoying what they enjoy or being part of the anime community. Definitely one to check out this week.

LynLynSays takes a look at how Goblin Slayer addresses trauma, specifically in episode 9 with the Sword Maiden. There’s definitely spoilers for the episode if you haven’t watched it and are concerned about it, but it is a great look at one of the more grounded fears in Goblin Slayer and the idea of living with trauma.

Goblin Slayer Episode 9 Goblin Slayer and Sword Maiden

Sakura Sunrise has a review of the first couple in a series of short anime films by Bones that I’ve never even heard of but after reading this review I’m certainly going to try and find it to watch. Towa no Quon’s first two stories are reviewed here and while the review isn’t glowing this certainly made me interested in finding out more about these stories.

Arthifis is starting to run out his impressions posts for the season as episode 3’s are watched. Here we have his thoughts on Boogiepop wa Warawanai. If you are still picking a watch list or were waiting to see what was worth the effort, Arthifis is doing an excellent job of taste testing and I’m certain his season guide when he finishes it will be well worth the read.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 1 Boogiepop

LofZOdyssey reviewed Skeleton Bookseller Honda San from last season and looks at the context and pace of jokes as well as character designs and voice acting. For a brief review it hits the needed points and clearly they had fun with this anime. If you were curious about Honda San last season this one might be a post to check out.

Lyn Sheridan shares their thoughts on Conception with a series review. Conveniently this came out the same day as my own review of Conception and now I’m wondering who enjoyed the show less. If you want to know what went wrong with Conception check out the reviews.

Conception Episode 9 Itsuki mad at Mana

Irina gives us 5 life lessons learned from blogging. A fun little list of things to remember when blogging that can be applied to your everyday life. Who doesn’t like a post that makes them feel good about themselves and also potentially gives them a pointer they can use?

From Atelier Emily we have a nice breakdown of the use of camera in The Promised Neverland over the first three episodes. Yes there are some spoilers here if you’ve not started watching it, but for those who have it is a really great post to read to sink your teeth into just why it feels so nicely put together at times.

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 - Norman and Emma

PeregrinePrincess has another fantastic Natsume post, this week looking at Natori’s introduction and the relationship that forms between Natsume and Natori during Natori’s first appearance. It’s a really great discussion about the episode and the motives behind the characters though it does spoil the episode if you’ve never seen it and want to go in cold. Still, a definite read for Natsume fans and if you are just curious about what makes the show great this series of posts have been a pretty fantastic in highlighting why the series speaks to so many people.

Pick of the Week

There Goes My Kokoro managed to really get my attention this week when they revisited and finished Re:Zero but amazingly found Subaru still an unlikable idiot. The number of people who have told me I should go back and give that anime more time because it gets better is more or less uncountable at this point in time and yet no matter what the plot might do later, the main reason I’ve never made it beyond the double opening episode is a deep seated irritation with every single thing Subaru does. After reading this post I’m finally crossing Re:Zero off my watch list for good because clearly I will not like watching any more. This post does a great job of breaking down Subaru’s flaws as a character and even though I didn’t watch far this post really did speak to me.

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SEISHUN BUTA YAROU WA BUNNY GIRL-SENPAI NO YUME WO MINAI WALL SCROLL: BUNNY GIRL-SENPAI WATCHES OVER US

In Case You Missed It 2019 #3

Week three of the new year has given Australia an extreme heat wave. Now given I live in the middle of nowhere anyway and our standard January temperatures are in the 40’s (celcius), I’m coping but I’d be lying if I said it was pleasant (and I don’t even want to know what my power bill will look like because there has definitely been a need to run at least one air-con in the house more or less continuously during this period – if nothing else, my computer keeps overheating if I try and use it without cooling the room). Then of course I get told that other bloggers are all but snowed in.

Given the outside is hostile, it seems like a great week to indulge in anime – though who am I kidding, I don’t really need an excuse to do that. As always I’ve found some great posts during the week and I’ve linked below to some great posts from the community. There’s also links to my posts from the week below in case you missed them and hopefully we’ll find some more great content for week 4.

Posts from the Community

From PeregrinePrincess there is an incredibly beautiful analysis of a Natsume Yuujinchou episode in a post called Fleeting Light. It is the firefly episode and if you haven’t seen it there’s definitely spoilers here, but if you have seen the episode definitely go and check out this post. It beautifully captures the magic of Natsume and why these episodes speak to so many of us.

The Archive is on Fire has a post about Goblin Slayer and how the series looks at the title characters slow building of relationships and healing. If you are wanting a bit of a thoughtful and reflective take on an anime that has gotten a lot of criticism, this post might be a great read for you.

Crimson shares their thoughts on Soul Eater having finally finished the anime (Yay!). Here they discuss the characters, the pacing and that ending. There are a couple of spoilers here though for such an old anime it probably isn’t an issue and if you are looking for a fresh take on the series this is one to check out.

Soul Eater - Little demon

Aldael explains fairly wonderfully how the Boogiepop anime adaptation failed its first arc. They provide some excerpts from the light novel and compare to how the scene was depicted in the anime and suddenly the feeling that something was missing while watching the anime all makes sense. It really was just missing.

Irina brings us another thought provoking post about positive negative reviews. It examines different ways people approach writing negative reviews and how they come across to the reader. The comments section makes for some great reading, as is usual from one of Irina’s posts that get the community talking.

Tokyo Ghoul - Keneki Ken

Marshmellow Pastel has a really intriguing post about Pastel Memories and asks the question of ‘who is this for?’ With a lead in discussion about the disconnect between subject matter and style for Ready Player One, this post is an intriguing read and one well worth the time so be sure to check it out.

Pick of the Week

Floating Into Bliss does it again with another thought provoking video/transcript discussing the Actual Problem with Subtitles. This one looks particularly at translations that add gendered terms to sentences where they did not exist and it comes with a myriad of anime examples and discusses why these might be a problem and why translations need to address this issue. Very thoughtful post and one worth watching/reading.

And a late entry and bonus pick of the week. Kapodaco did a bit of a follow up from my feature on Light Novels looking at his own viewing habits and ratings for anime and whether or not Light Novel adaptations scored lower. It’s an interesting post and takes the conversation in a different direction and is well worth reading.

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