Goblin Slayer Episode 2 Review: A Home to Defend and a Solid Teacher

October 16, 2018

Quick Summary

In Goblin Slayer episode 2, "Goblin Slayer," we find out that Goblin Slayer not only has a home, but he has a childhood friend named Ushikai Musume. He lives with her and her uncle in seeming peace. But we also find out all is not as blissful as it seems, from Goblin Slayer's grimly necessary morning routine to how poorly many of the other adventurers treat him. Despite that, he continues to teach Onna Shinka and puts up with her frequent bouts of stubbornness. Then Onna witnesses a fresh porcelain team go out after a nest of goblins while Goblin Slayer selects a much larger, more strategic target. He says that she can follow the porcelain group if she wants, but he won't. Which mission will Onna choose? And even if she goes with Goblin Slayer, will she be any safer -- since he's taking on a goblin strong hold?

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

Despite Ushikai wearing only a bra and talking to him from the window, Goblin Slayer focused on making sure no goblins had strayed near during the night. That was an interesting insight into his single-mindedness. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 1

One of the reasons I picked this show to review was that I hoped I'd get to see a stronger dose of realism than I've seen for awhile. So far, I have to say I'm encouraged. One of the early scenes in this episode has Goblin Slayer scanning the dirt and examining in minute detail the boundary between the grass and road (3:43). The scene's striking because Ushikai, clad only in a bra, greets him from a window -- and he doesn't even look at her. He responds when she talks to him, but he doesn't stop what he's doing. And what exactly was he doing? He was making sure there were no goblin tracks anywhere nearby. Goblins, we learn, could be very careful and avoid leaving obvious signs, so he scoured the area. They're active especially at night, and they scout areas they plan to attack. Goblin Slayer follows this routine every morning to make sure his base of operations -- and the home of his childhood friend and uncle -- is safe. His vigilance blinds him to everything -- and yet, judging by how Ushikai speaks of him and looks at him, she trust him completely. Not only did I get some realism regarding goblin habits. I also got an unusual relationship!

Despite his appearance and mannerisms, Goblin Slayer is a patient teacher. To her credit, Onna tries to understand what he's saying, not just memorize a set of rules. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 2

At first, I wondered if Onna was just stupid. She meets Goblin Slayer in the guild's reception area and immediately starts badgering him about his tactics in the previous episode (10:22)! Then I watched as he spoke patiently with her and considered her points. He told her, for example, that yes, burning the cave could cause a cave-in, but that killing goblins was the higher priority. He even drilled her on goblin habits and how they related to their plans -- like what time they're attacking (11:00) because it corresponded to the time when the goblins would be least vigilant. Not only did I enjoy the realism of the world building behind their planning, but I liked how even after such a terrible experience, Onna continued to question and think and try to come up with better plans of attack. So not only is the series giving me the hoped for internally consistent world (i.e., realism), it's also giving me interesting and developing characters. So far, so good!

Well, at least now we know the event that fixated Goblin Slayer's attention on goblins. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 3

I hoped for realism and character development. I got both in the scene where Goblin Slayer and Onna prepared to assault the goblin stronghold (14:28). I thought the episode's direction was grimly effective as Goblin Slayer recalled seeing his village destroyed and his sister brutalized and killed at the same time we saw Onna preparing arrow after arrow wrapped in flammable material and igniting them. Soon, she and Goblin Slayer were surrounded by flames. He went on to talk about how he refined his skills and learned even from his failures (15:37). Then he launched his attack on the goblins using the flaming arrows Onna had prepared.  His monologue went on to talk about his any goblin that escaped grew stronger, and how new adventurers who underestimated them did so at their own peril. And that was just the beginning of their assault! It might be a tad cliche to give Goblin Slayer a back story that was almost mundane for this world. But what interests me is how he reacted to that motivation. It's typical to see revenge emerge as the dominate feeling. Yet, he acts far too calm and collected for that to be his drive. I'm not sure what it is yet, but it looks like he has simply calculated that the goblins constitute a clear and present danger, and he's determined to eliminate them. Not for revenge; but just because he thinks it needs to be done.

Thoughts

This show has done a good job of hammering home how dangerous this world is. Do you know what the first thing I thought when we saw the adult Ushikai in bed? I hoped that either she was powerful enough to protect herself, or that she had someone close to her who could protect her. That's something: Candidly, because I'm a guy, I usually take a moment to reflect how attractive a new female character is! But not this time.

Even after watching the whole, I'm still worried about her, to be honest!

I love how the guild represented brightens when she sees Goblin Slayer. There's something wholesome about it, and that stands in sharp contrast of the rest of the show.

The Guild representative always looks so happy to see Goblin Slayer. It's almost like a breath of fresh air amid the gloom! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Did you read the comments from my first episode review? If you haven't, do yourself a favor and check out Dawnstorm's discussion of the goblin race (among other things!). I'm still working through all of the ideas in that comment. I'm spoiled by the number of great comments visitors leave on this blog!

It's always been hard for me to root for characters who are motivated solely by revenge. It's ultimately self-destructive, and though I don't deny that revenge is a major contributor to literature, it usually leaves me dissatisfied.

That's why I'm glad that Goblin Slayer doesn't seem to be motivated by revenge. 

But you might (reasonably!) ask how his motivation is any different, since the end result -- the death of all goblins -- is the same. Maybe it's just my world view, but I think the difference is huge. Revenge is an emotional reaction. We know that it really doesn't help the bearer feel any better; just the opposite, in fact. As emotions go, as I said earlier, it isn't very interesting to me.

Goblin Slayer spoke of the need for weaponized imagination. That's not an emotional tool; it's an intellectual one. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

What I like about his character is that I think the trauma destroyed his heart and left him only with a will and an intellect. So, to protect anyone from going through the same thing he did, he's made it his mission to destroy goblins. It's not an emotional need. It's an intellectual decision and an act of will.

If I'm honest with myself, I think his shattered emotions and his reliance on the strength of his intellect is why I like him. I can seriously relate to that way of looking at life! 

What did you think of this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts of Interest

  • Dawnstorm says:

    I haven’t really changed my mind about the show. The main draw is still the Goblin Slayer. Thought experiment: what’s he going to do if, by chance, the succeed and elimimate all goblins?

    What struck me the most this episode is that he doesn’t take off his helmet to eat. He must clean the thing from time to time, or it would look a lot different (he gets blood on it quite a bit, as far as I remember). If he’s not the world’s first armoured contortionist, he must take the helmet off to clean it, no? But not to eat? Does he sleep in that thing? Probably.

    I’m not sure how far I’ll get with this show. Maybe all the way through; we’ll see. One more episode, for sure, because I’m curious how Goblin Slayer will work with a party (I’m assuming the trio in the after-credits scene is trying to hire him – it would be hilarious though if they’re out for revenge because he killed their goblin friend – the one good goblin in the world they were talking about).

    • tcrow says:

      “Thought experiment: what’s he going to do if, by chance, the succeed and elimimate all goblins?”

      You know, that’s a good question — and it’s part of why I’m coming to like him more and more. It seems clear to me that his backstory shows that his emotions are severely damaged. To compensate, he’s become more intellectual and more mission-oriented. Killing goblins is his coping skill, so your question strikes to the heart of the matter.

      What _would_ happen if he lost his reason for living?

      He’s have to deal with the trauma. I’m not clear what he’d do, and that intrigues me!

      “One more episode, for sure, because I’m curious how Goblin Slayer will work with a party (I’m assuming the trio in the after-credits scene is trying to hire him”

      I’m really curious, too. The elf(?) had the stern look of someone who knows how to right, and the rest of her party looked serious, too.

      “It would be hilarious though if they’re out for revenge because he killed their goblin friend – the one good goblin in the world they were talking about).”

      Wouldn’t it though? Might ruin the mood (at least, that kind of reveal so soon), but it’d still be entertaining to watch unfold!

    • GoblinSlayer-San says:

      A major part of this story is Goblin Slayer developing relationships with other characters and helping him heal both emotionally and socially as a person.

      There is an answer as to what he would do if he did succeed in his mission. But the answer is a spoiler.

  • Highway says:

    I really enjoyed this episode. It was a very effective way to set up an origin story, and to tie the characters together, both their pasts and their present. And the way that they left out the key portion of the story made it seem like it was just Cow Girl’s story, until that last link shows up and we learn that it’s not just that, but it’s also Goblin Slayer’s story, and why she cares for Goblin Slayer, even if her uncle doesn’t care for him. Good presentation from a different viewpoint to tell the story, rather than just laying it out in the normal expositional manner.

    And I really liked that dynamic between Priest Girl and Goblin Slayer, that she’s not just complaining out of being softhearted towards goblins. She’s pretty much anything but: she chooses to go goblin murdering every day with him, because she deems it an important thing for the people she cares about more. She’s not just tagging along, she believes in the cause. I really liked the portrayal of her conflict at using the “miracle” she’s been granted by god… to trap a lot of goblins in a burning building. She questions whether that’s what she should be doing with it, and examines her motivations and the motivations of god.

    And I also liked the additional information they threw in about how new adventurers think goblins are weak, because “they chase off or kill a straggler or a scout at their village and think that they’re easy to deal with.” But that’s after we’ve had it explained to us that the goblins always scout out their targets first, and that vigilance against their scouting prevents the full attack.

    • tcrow says:

      “until that last link shows up and we learn that it’s not just that, but it’s also Goblin Slayer’s story, and why she cares for Goblin Slayer, even if her uncle doesn’t care for him.”

      I thought was really well done, too! By the time she said she still cared for him, we completely understood why, so it was a touching moment. Yes, I said it — a touching moment, in Goblin Slayer!

      “And I really liked that dynamic between Priest Girl and Goblin Slayer,”

      I loved how she pushed back on his ideas, then listened to his explanations. I got a real sense a) that she’s working with these ideas, trying to learn how to stay alive and keep her party healthy and b) he’s a patient teacher. Given his single-mindedness and fighting prowess, I thought this was a nice touch.

      “But that’s after we’ve had it explained to us that the goblins always scout out their targets first, and that vigilance against their scouting prevents the full attack.”

      Another example of the realism I’m enjoying in this series! Details like that make the world more and more immersive — and in this case, dangerous! I hope they keep it up!

  • GoblinSlayer-San says:

    One thing to take out of this episode, the Goblin Slayer grimly states that to the Goblins, he is a “goblin” to them.

    Basically, Goblin Slayer is very aware of the fact that as cruel and malevolent as the goblins are as a species, he is basically to goblins what goblins are to humans.

    I just thought it was interesting despite being this sort of dark hero, that as a character he’s able to actually have some self-reflection about what he does. It makes him more than just a one-dimensional character.

    • tcrow says:

      “I just thought it was interesting despite being this sort of dark hero, that as a character he’s able to actually have some self-reflection about what he does. It makes him more than just a one-dimensional character.”

      I like that, too. He’s self aware — and he’s honest about it!

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