Anime

Goblin Slayer Episode 12: Battle of the Goblin Lord and the Cat’s Out of the Bag

Quick Summary

In Goblin Slayer episode 12, "The Fate of an Adventurer," Goblin Slayer faces off against the Goblin Lord. Remembering that even a Goblin Champion was more than a match for him, how in the world can he, a silver-ranked adventurer, expect to prevail? Especially as higher-ranked adventurers than him are struggling against the Goblin Champions back at the farm!

Warning: This series presents decidedly mature themes, and it contains a dramatic representative of violence against women (including rape). If any of these these trouble you, please do not watch this series or read this review.

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious. 

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

"You fool... your home is gone!" Goblin Slayer tells the Goblin Lord. Now, if he can just withstand the pounding he's about to get... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 1

I love when a show sets up an expectation, then delivers something that blows right past it to something even more cool. In the early moments of this episode, we get to see the Goblin Lord fleeing through the forest. He realizes that he's lost the battle, but he doesn't panic. He's planning to go back to his hideout, "reproduce using the prisoners I have there," (0:19), and make a comeback. Just as we saw at the very end of the previous episode, he encounters Goblin Slayer. I'm expecting our hero to say a way more cool version of "you're about to die, goblin." And that's where the show waltzed right past my expectations. Goblin Slayer said, "I knew that was what you'd think... The army was just a decoy. Your home is gone" (0:42). Goblin Slayer not only anticipated his enemy's tactics and strategy; he went beyond to destroy the enemy base and means to continue fighting. How cool is that?

Onna was completely unmoved by the Goblin Lord's pleas for mercy. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 2

Remember how back in episode 1, Onna Shinkan (the Priestess) objected when Goblin Slayer killed the goblin children? It wasn't exactly that she was squeamish, it's that she objected to killing helpless goblins. She didn't have the experience that Goblin Slayer had. The events of the last eleven episodes have changed her perspective! After using two (and only two) protection spells to trap the Goblin Lord, she calmly regarded the trapped being (8:59). There was only resolve in her eyes. And then the Goblin Lord did something new: it tried to apologize and promise it would never do anything like that again -- if only she would let is escape to live peacefully in the forest. Our Priestess was completely and utterly unmoved. Do you know what the only effect the Goblin Lord's words had? They gave Goblin Slayer time to gather his breath so he could slit the monster's throat. Onna's come a long way since the first episode! They grow up so fast...

Onna's come such a long way that even Goblin Slayer relies on her now! She was as shocked as any of us... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 3

You probably expected me to pick Goblin Slayer's big face reveal as my third moment, didn't you? To be honest, I did too! But another little character moment asserted itself instead. Shortly after the fall of the Goblin Lord, Onna heals Goblin Slayer, but he's still to weak to walk on his own. Tears streaming down her face, she tells him not to push himself so hard. He said it's not as if he did it because he actually believed he could win on his own. That just made her more angry, and she scolded him by saying he should put more thought into his plans. That's when he apologized and said he did it "because... I trusted you" (11:36). Think about that for a second. When he first found her, she was paralyzed with fear. She advocated to save the goblin children. Now, he's relying on her for combat operations. Talk about a formidable pair!

Thoughts

If I could have chosen four favorite moments for this episode, I would have picked Yousei Yunde's reaction to seeing Goblin Slayer without a helmet. That moment provided a wide range of reactions from a lot of different characters, but the High Elven Archer's reaction was my favorite. Is it cheating for me to put it that way?

Is it cheating if I don't actually name a fourth favorite moment, but just tell you which moment it would have been? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Do you remember why I said I chose this series to review (back in episode 1)? I said something along the lines of:

... I've missed the feeling of real danger. I've missed a sense that any of these characters could die at any moment. I've missed the clear link between preparation/planning and successful campaigns. If this show delivers on the promises it made in this episode, then it could be something really powerful.

Do you think the show lived up to my hopes?

I think Goblin Slayer's fight with the Goblin Lord is the perfect capsule answer to that question. During that fight, I couldn't forget that a Goblin Champion nearly killed him. Goblin Slayer had to know he didn't have a reasonable chance against a Goblin Lord -- at least not alone! The show's gained my trust, so I was confident it wouldn't do anything stupid like pull a deus ex machine to save him at the last second.

He made progress, but each time he inflicted damage on the Goblin Lord, it hit him three times as hard. Finally, having broken off his sword in his enemy's chest, the Goblin Lord slammed Goblin Slayer into the ground. The Goblin Lord towered over him, triumphant, and for me, the show's entire run -- all of its credibility -- came down to this instant.

What would the show do?

With the Goblin Lord having hammered Goblin Slayer into the dirt, what would the show do? Would it live up to its promise? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The show delivered, that's what the show did. Onna had been waiting for the right moment to trap the Goblin Lord between two protection spells. The plan had been for her to use three, but she took the initiative to figure out that two were enough. That allowed her to keep the third in reserve. She and Goblin had worked out the plan ahead of time (10:30), just like they did before each encounter. Their planning had paid off!

Even better, Onna showed initiative. The Goblin Lord was dead, but Goblin Slayer was injured. She was able to use her third spell to heal him (10:59). Gotta love yet another sign of her growth -- and another affirmation of planning and preparation as useful tools!

I'm glad I watched the show. It was everything I'd hoped it would be in terms of fighting goblins. To be completely honest, it exceeded my expectations by giving us some memorable and lovable characters. Ushikai Musume isn't the most original character ever, but I found her dedication to her childhood friend to be endearing. Goblin Slayer himself proved himself to be a completely reliable friend and honorable man. I enjoyed watching him investigate everything and dedicate himself to thorough planning. I appreciate those traits! And of course there's Yousei, who managed to combine a supposedly mature 2000 year old High Elf with an almost too well formed sense of adventure. She endured a lot in this series, but she managed to keep her positive attitude. Though she didn't show a lot of character development, I still enjoyed her screen time. I could say similar things about most of the secondary characters. 

And for me, that's enough to consider the show a success!

What did you think of Goblin Slayer? Did it live yup to your expectations? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Goblin Slayer Episode 12: Battle of the Goblin Lord and the Cat’s Out of the Bag

  1. At the end, they pretty much announced a second season, but no schedule yet. The best indicator of what I thought about the show is my reaction to that: will I watch a second season (should it come [I think it will])? Well, my reaction is: of course, of all the shows out there it’s this that gets a second season. Will I watch it? Depends on what else airs on it’s day, but if it’s a weekend show again (probably), the likelihood I’ll watch it is small. But the fact that I don’t rule out watching season 2 from the get go, shows that I did enjoy it enough for it not to have been a waste of time.

    Of course, the anime would chicken out and have Goblin Slayer deliver the finishing blow. We have a series of flashbacks to goblins who are grovelling when it’s bad and who turn on you the moment they get a choice. The set-up is obvious: Priestess is becoming jaded, and the horrors she has witnessed wear away at her compassion. Still there, but less influential. But we still can’t have her deliver the finishing blow (tightening the barriers and driving in the broken sword piece far enough for the kill, as the show suggested). We can’t sully those innocent blue eyes.

    The show’s priority is its fetishes; the emotional core comes second, and it’s never going to follow through on its imperatives were it actually serious about anything. Final verdict: wasted potential, and because of that the (sexual) violence is more bothersome. Not a disappointment, though, since the shows priorities were obvious from the get go.

    Decent entertainment, but any attempt to read any sort of realism into the show highlights its flaws for me, so it’s potential is the rope that the show hangs itself with. You can ignore the potential and watch it as a rote fighter, and in that case it’s entertaining enough.

    The show starts with Goblin Slayer walking from the shadow to save our Priestess, and it ends with pretty much the same scene, roles reversed. That’s visually clever for a popcorn show, but silly and distracting for a serious one. Since I like to enjoy anime, I choose the former interpretation. Replying to your posts here, though, I have to take the second interpretation (or I’d have nothing to say), so I probably come across harsher than I actually am. I have my misgivings, but they’re easy to ignore, and I was entertained well-enough (more than – say – by My Hero Academia 3 this year).

    1. ” Priestess is becoming jaded”

      Do you really think she’s becoming jaded? Or maybe just experienced? Though in practice there might not be a lot of difference, but I saw it more as the latter.

      “Decent entertainment, but any attempt to read any sort of realism into the show highlights its flaws for me, so it’s potential is the rope that the show hangs itself with.”

      Maybe it’s because I played D&D in the mid to late 1970s (I still have the Dungeon Master’s guide around here somewhere…) about the same time I read Lord of the Rings, but that approach to fantasy combat has stuck with me. The combination of “game” mechanics in Goblin Slayer, plus his dedication to planning and preparation, appealed to me because of that. It favorably inclined me to the rest of the show.

      “The show starts with Goblin Slayer walking from the shadow to save our Priestess, and it ends with pretty much the same scene, roles reversed. That’s visually clever for a popcorn show, but silly and distracting for a serious one.”

      I know that you go on to say you’re inclined to go with the first interpretation except the sake of discussion, but I enjoyed that symmetry. It showed growth for both Onna and Goblin Slayer, and honestly, I didn’t expect that from the show. So, I was pleasantly surprised!

      “Final verdict: wasted potential, and because of that the (sexual) violence is more bothersome.”

      I mentioned in my review how the show delivered what I’d hoped it would. What I didn’t say it that it avoided my worst fear: namely, that it would glorify sexual violence. I don’t know if I can get behind the idea that it wasted potential; but I have to admit it might have been able to do more to address the issue.

      As always, interesting comments — thanks for sharing!

      1. I don’t think Priestess is becoming jaded. I think that’s “the set-up”, as in: if this were a realistic show it would be reasonable to expect that it might happen. You can do many things with a set-up: follow through, prevent, subvert, etc. I think GS simply ignores it, because its realism is selective, or maybe not ignore but “prevent by default” (because the type of character never grows jaded).

        I think I may not have expressed myself very well: it’s not that I think GS has “wasted potential” when compared to its own goals. The show is what it is and it’s very consistent in that. I think the show’s set-up has the potential to be something that would interest me more, but it’s not mining the potential by choice: it doesn’t want to be the show I’d like it to be.

        The show as it is is entertaining enough, but comes with diminishing returns.

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