Goblin Slayer Episode 3 Review: That’s Not What We Proposed and the Drunken Elf

October 23, 2018

Quick Summary

In Goblin Slayer episode 3, "Unexpected Visitors," Goblin Slayer and Onna Shinkan return from a successful mission to find an Elf, a Dwarf, and a Lizardman waiting for them. Well, not for them -- only for Goblin Slayer. Leading Onna to wonder just how seriously he takes her, Goblin Slayer excludes her and meets with Yousei Yunde, a 2,000 year old Elf archer who is paradoxically the least experienced of the three; Kouhito Doushi, a Dwarf shaman who mercilessly teases the Elf; and Tokage Souryo, a Lizardman shaman who seems like the most diplomatic of the three. They've come to ask Goblin Slayer for his help in a demon war that will likely determine the fate of the world. Will he be interested in fighting creatures other than goblins? Can he even fight on a team? And what will Onna have to say -- assuming he even asks her?

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

Well, I have to agree with the Elf. They certainly don't seem like goblins... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 1

I'm beginning to suspect that more than just having enduring emotional trauma, Goblin Slayer is actually on the autism spectrum. Look at how he processes information during his initial meeting with Yousei, Kouhito, and Tokage (the Elf, the Dwarf, and the Lizardman, respectively). The guild representative (who's still one of my favorite characters!) had just greeted the three when Goblin Slayer and Onna return (3:43). He had heard the tail end of the conversation, so he asked her where the goblins were. Gesturing to the three, the representative said he should ask them. What does he do? He turns to them and asks, "Are you goblins?" On the surface, it's an irrational question. Of course they're not goblins! But he's so fixated on the concept that it's hard for him to shake it. Or, maybe he's joking, and the joke only makes sense to him. That same scene has another clue: his tendency to take things literally. Yousei says that of course they're not goblins, but asks if he's the Goblin Slayer -- because he doesn't look like Orcbolg. He responds, "Why would I? I've never been called that" (4:16). Difficulty with emotion, single-mindedness, and taking things literally -- I think Goblin Slayer might actually be as positive a role model for those of us on the spectrum as Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy

The Elf seemed astonished that Goblin Slayer assumed they were asking him to take on the mission -- alone! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 2

The three adventurers met alone with Goblin Slayer (the latter having told Onna to sit the meeting out and rest). After a false start where Goblin Slayer thought Yousei was asking him to fight demons (of course, he had no interest!), they got down to business. Their team had been formed to attack the goblins that were going to impede the armies that were preparing to fight the demons. He asked the logical questions (yea realism!), like the goblins' location and strength and whether they had hobgoblins or shaman. After gathering all of their information, he stood up and said, "I'll leave immediately" (11:23). He added that they could decide how much to pay him. Before they could recover from their shock, he'd left the room. The stunned silence was hilarious! It never entered into his mind that they wanted to team up with him; it never entered their mind that he'd dash off on his own! Seriously, you have to admire the man's dedication to a quest! 

Poor Onna! She thought Goblin Slayer was giving her orders; he suspected that they were having a discussion! On one hand, I feel sorry for her having to learn a whole new emotional vocabulary; on the other, I admire her courage to stick with it! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 3

This episode made selecting three favorite moments very difficult. But for my third, I've chosen the discussion Onna didn't think she was having with Goblin Slayer (12:12). He'd finished his meeting with the three adventurers. Before he could leave, Onna said she'd get her things together. But he said no, he wanted her to stay and rest. She was crushed! Did she give up? No! When he'd been talking to the adventurers, she'd been talking to the witch Majo. Their conversation apparently helped Onna decide what she wanted to do. More importantly, it helped her understand why she wanted to do it! Onna told him that he wasn't being fair, and that he should have at least discussed his decision with her first (12:30). His response was simple: "I am now." He thought they were having a discussion! Her reaction was so endearing: "Oh, so this is a discussion?" When she said she was going to go with him because she didn't want to leave him alone, he said she could do what she liked. She's assertive when she has to be, and I like that! It's also a trait that'll likely keep her alive...

Thoughts

Since I'm beginning to see Goblin Slayer in the same light as Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, I find I'm really getting angry at the people who show a bias against him -- like the porcelain adventurers who say something was "off" about him, or Ushikai Musume's uncle saying that he was crazy. Goblin Slayer processes information differently than most folks; and he's profoundly effective at what he does. He deserves more respect!

Onna had to defend Goblin Slayer's reputation when the ignorant porcelain adventurer who tried to spread rumors about him. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

At least the three new adventurers simply said that he was hard to read and that they were looking forward to working with him. I guess it took an Elf, a Dwarf, and a Lizardman to demonstrate an enlightened attitude! Well, and Onna, the guild representative, and Ushikai, too!

I think Onna is beginning to understand Goblin Slayer. She also understanding her own motivations better. Her talk with the witch Majo might actually have clarified both for her! That was an interesting conversation...

I'd like to share with you how differently I view this show compared to other fantasies I've watched. In most fantasy anime series, if I see a witch like Mayo, my first thought is to wonder where the artist learned about breast physics (because it certainly wasn't in real life!). Then, I'd then settle back to enjoy the scene. Not in Goblin Slayer! My first thought was "Good heavens, where's her armor?" Then I mused that she must be extraordinarily powerful if she's been in the field dressed like that and is still alive. 

Usually, I'd be thinking, "Wow, she's distractingly attractive!" But this is Goblin Slayer, so I'm thinking, "Wow! How'd she survive this long dressed like that? Her magic must be amazing!" Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Or what about the scene near the end of this episode, when Kouhito the Dwarf shares his fire wine? In any ordinary series, the scene would have been merely humorous: the Dwarf taking a stiff drink with no apparent effect, the Elf nearly choking, and Goblin Slayer stoically taking a gulp. That's standard fare. So is the Elf getting drunk because she's such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol! All very humorous.

But here, I couldn't help but reflect on the dangers of getting drunk in that cruel world. You'd have to have tremendous trust in the people around you (well, the ones who didn't get drunk!), because any time you lessen your own combat capability, you're relying more heavily on your teammates. The comical drunk Elf is basically making a statement that she trusts the Lizardman and Onna to watch out for them in the case of surprise attack. It's not just humorous; it's a statement of trust.

In other words, this series has completely destroyed my concept of "frivolous." When even breast physics and drunk Elves remind you of how dangerous the world is, you know you have some effective world-building going on!

What did you think of this episode? Do you have a favorite character among the adventurers? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts of Interest

  • Dawnstorm says:

    I’m certainly not into the anime the way you are. Breast physics simply reminds me of what sort of show we’re in. It’s consistent with wide-eyed Priestess and booby childhood friend. These are simply harem tropes to me. I quite enjoyed this episode, but the return of the goblins near the end reminded me about how much I dislike the ugly-races-are-evil trope.

    On the other had, I did like the party dynamics. I think my favourite scene was the fireside when they were talking about why they became adventures. Goblin Slayer tries to cut in, and Elf girl cuts him short: yeah, we know. It’s hilarious, but you also have to wonder if he’d revealed something we didn’t know (or they didn’t know) had he not been cut short.

    The autism-angle never occured to me; it’s interesting. I’d seen him as someone with a stunted emotional development. The child version was a lot more temperamental; it feels as if he’s exhausted himself and also never really grew up. The fireside seen would have re-inforced that for me in the section where he was idolising his sister (who never makes mistakes). Under this interpretation killing goblins could be a controlled version of a tantrum?

    I’m torn about this show: I like Goblin Slayer’s characterisation. Some of the character moments are good, too (I liked Priestess’ conversation with Witch). But I really dislike the way the show uses violence, and given the rape angle the usual ecchi/moe designs annoy me a bit more than they normally would. (I’m not against those designs and sometimes like them; it’s contextual here.)

    I still think it’s interesting that this show airs in the same season as Slime: kill goblins vs. make friends with goblins. I’ll have to say Goblin Slayer is the more interesting show; but I like Slime tons more (for being goofy and likable fun).

    I also think teenage me would have appreciated Goblin Slayer a lot more.

    • tcrow says:

      “Breast physics simply reminds me of what sort of show we’re in.”

      Look, I’m not going to defend salacious shots in a show whose first episode contained such graphic content. At the very least, it’s disorienting. I’m not talking about Ushikai _per se_, because a specific body type is no more or less sexy than another. What I _am_ talking about is Majo’s presentation.

      It is, at the very least, inconsistent with this world’s tone as set in the first episode.

      So, what do I do? Do I rip it apart? I certainly could. There’s not a work of fiction that I couldn’t tear apart; fiction by its nature is imperfect.

      But over the years, I got tired of just tearing everything apart. Instead, I’ve decided I’m going to give this show the benefit of the doubt until it forcibly proves me wrong. So instead of seeing Majo as “inappropriate,” I ask myself how else she could be interpreted. The answer I came up with is that she represents a significant power that, despite her seeming lack of armor, allows her to thrive in this environment. I choose to interpret her bouncy presentation as enough power to flaunt danger.

      “Under this interpretation killing goblins could be a controlled version of a tantrum?”

      Goblin Slayer’s demeanor is too consistent over time. A tantrum is primarily an emotional reaction. His approach to me seems much more akin to an atypical mental processing of sensory inputs. That’s why it seems a lot like autism to me. High function, certainly, but atypical all the same.

      “and given the rape angle the usual ecchi/moe designs annoy me a bit more than they normally would.”

      I really can’t disagree. I would prefer to see at least a reduction of ecchi outside the context of a specific relationship, where its use might offer insights to the characters.

      “I’ll have to say Goblin Slayer is the more interesting show; but I like Slime tons more (for being goofy and likable fun).”

      You’ll note that I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Slime. I’m enjoying it, too, but for entirely different reasons than why I’m enjoying Goblin Slayer. The former is fun escapism. The latter delivers a stronger sense of peril, and I’ve missed that.

      “I also think teenage me would have appreciated Goblin Slayer a lot more.”

      To be honest, I’m too far removed from my teenage self to remember how I would have reacted. I’ve always enjoyed realistic depictions of worlds, and this show still evokes a sense of danger that’s missing from most other fantasy works, so it’s likely I would not have hated it.

      Even saying that, I’m cognizant of the point you’ve made before about the perils of ugly = evil as a motif. I agree it’s problematic. Despite that, I’m still enjoying this show, and I hope that on top of realistic peril and tactics, we get to see a lot more development from Onna, Goblin Slayer, and now the three new characters.

      If the show delivers solid character development in a consistently-presented, realistic, and dangerous world, I’ll consider it a success.

  • Highway says:

    I think you could definitely say that Goblin Slayer is not neurotypical, but I think it might be presumptuous to attribute that to autism rather than trauma. But if people would like to think of him as a character they can relate to, I think that’s still fine.

    I personally like that the show still presents Goblin Slayer as someone who rejects any air of heroism to what he does. It’s obvious that others think of him as either heroic (Guild woman, the three who showed up this episode) or cracked up (a lot of the other adventurers), but I like how Priest Girl is not really in either camp. She just thinks of him as someone who does what he sets out to do, and she can deal with that. I think that turns it into a good co-worker relationship, much different from what we usually see in shows where the male lead and female lead have to have some sort of romantic possibilities (even if it’s to say there’s no possibility, because that still leads to possibilities when one changes their mind).

    I had to think pretty long about what they were going for with the conversation with Majo (cause I don’t want to call her ‘witch’). And I’m still not sure what I think of the mannerisms they imbued her with in the show. But it seemed like she was less dispensing advice and more being that image in the mirror for Priest Girl who voices the concerns of her inner consciousness. I know it’ll sound like virtue signaling, but I was kind of annoyed with them trying to distract with boobs, which I felt was more of just something either in the way, or trying to hide the fact that she wasn’t really being as profound as maybe her words were perceived. But I’m also really over boobs in anime solely for the sake of boobs.

    • tcrow says:

      “I think you could definitely say that Goblin Slayer is not neurotypical, but I think it might be presumptuous to attribute that to autism rather than trauma.”

      Well, I didn’t intend to be presumptuous! Though I am not a clinician, I’ve had personal experience with autism, and I was trying to reflect on this show from that perspective.

      “But if people would like to think of him as a character they can relate to, I think that’s still fine.”

      That’s more what I was going for!

      “She just thinks of him as someone who does what he sets out to do, and she can deal with that. I think that turns it into a good co-worker relationship, much different from what we usually see in shows where the male lead and female lead have to have some sort of romantic possibilities”

      I’m with you on that! They’re a good, _functioning_ team! I’m enjoying her dedication to learning all he can teach, too.

      “And I’m still not sure what I think of the mannerisms they imbued her with in the show. ”

      I read in a comment somewhere (and I apologize I can’t remember where!) that she spoke so haltingly to avoid accidentally triggering a spell. As evidence, the poster offered her igniting her pipe with a single word. Someone with that kind of power would have to think long and hard before they spoke at all! Not sure it’s the explanation, but for now, I like it as a working hypothesis.

      “I know it’ll sound like virtue signaling, but I was kind of annoyed with them trying to distract with boobs…”

      It felt very out of place to me. Like I said in my review, the fact she was dressed in such a way was a statement about how powerful she was; the jiggling felt very out of place to me.

      I think Dawnstorm would also take issue with Onna’s design as distractingly moe, given the show’s context. I’m on the fence about that, but I can’t dismiss it.

      I have to wonder how differences in Japanese and my culture (US/Western) make some things jiggling in this context problematic.

      Glad you stopped by!

      • Dawnstorm says:

        I think Dawnstorm would also take issue with Onna’s design as distractingly moe, given the show’s context. I’m on the fence about that, but I can’t dismiss it.

        Not distractingly. The designs set the tone and expectations.

        Here’s the thing: breasts are certainly sexualised in anime, and they were sexualised on Majo, too. But that’s not the extent of it. The conversation has Onna Shinkan continously distracted by Majo’s breasts. In your avarage highschool anime, this would be a sign of breast envy: I’m too small, I’m envious. There may be a hint of that, here, too – but there’s also a deliberate contrast between the virgin and the mature woman, here. Onna Shinkan’s design is completely designed to display a certain optimism of youth (which all grown-ups look back on fondly, because the real world has made them lose that optimism). On the other hand, there’s a lot of the stereotypical caretaker in Majo’s desing (compare, for example, Lulu from Final Fantasy X – which is the closest thing I can come up with).

        Goblin Slayer is a show with telling designs. They come from the moe/ecchi tradition, but they’re way more subdued than, say, last season’s Demon Lord anime. The designs themselves tell a story. My immediate impression is that Onna Shinkan is (a) the audiences point-of-view character and (b) the innocent sould who’s mere presence will slowly heal Goblin Slayer (not sure yet what this means). From that, I predict she’s going be pretty safe from rape, as that would put too much emphasis on her person. If that were to happen, it would probably be confined to an arc, after which everything reverts to the status quo. It’s easily possible that the show will surprise me on that front, but that’s the expectation I have, simply from plot set-up and character designs.

        The sexualisation is a genre background radiation that’s very hard to get rid of. And that background radiation has produced rapey goblins (they’re mutant otaku – the dark side). That’s how I see the show. [Note that there’s a difference between in-world explanation and the meta-game: For example, in Sacred Blacksmith the female main wears a breast plate that outlines her breasts like a bra. It makes no sense, but there’s also no in-world explanation. You can only explain this stupidity by reference to the meta-game, and as souch it’s your avarage tongue-in-cheek fanservice. The rapey goblins do have an in-world explanation; but how much does the show do with this? If the only thing the show’s doing with this is align in-world sympathies with out-world sympathies, then the meta-game dominates the show here. That’s what I’m currently seeing, and it’s also consistent with how I feel the show uses character designs deliberately.]

        • tcrow says:

          “Not distractingly. The designs set the tone and expectations.

          Here’s the thing: breasts are certainly sexualised in anime, and they were sexualised on Majo, too. But that’s not the extent of it. The conversation has Onna Shinkan continously distracted by Majo’s breasts.”

          When I said “distractingly,” that’s the sense I was going for — but I think I asked the adverb to carry to much meaning!

          I don’t find anything to argue in your comment. In fact, I think it’s a solid analysis of design as it relates to Goblin Slayer!

          I asked Highway this before, and I’ll ask you now: Do you have your own blog? Because I’d love to see what kind of posts you’ve come up with!

          • Dawnstorm says:

            I don’t have a blog, and I’m not likely to make one. (I didn’t really start many threads on forums, either.)

          • tcrow says:

            Well, I’m glad you’ve shared your comments here! They give me a lot to think about!

  • GoblinSlayer-San says:

    During that conversation, Witch chides Priestess. She knows what Priestess is thinking about. “You think I’m some hot mature woman who has gotten busy with him?” That’s what she meant with “You’re thinking of something naughty aren’t you.”

    Keep in mind that Priestess, while she is a Priestess and servant of the Supreme Goddess, is still a teenager. 15 years old.

    The other rookie adventurers were trying to steer Priestess away from Goblin Slayer, accusing him of using Priestess as bait. Not true. Witch deliberately shielded Priestess from those rookies.

    Witch then basically outright states Priestess’ fears in traveling with Goblin Slayer, even though Priestess still wants to work with him. She says Priestess could even do good by working with the other two adventurers instead. But what she in actuality does is encourage Priestess to follow her heart. Deep down, Priestess knows that as awkward as Goblin Slayer is, the work he does is important and she wants to stay with him. Witch encourages her. “There are are many paths. There is no right answer.”

    I mean if you can’t see past her curvaceous figure and not actually pay attention to the story…that’s on you.

    • tcrow says:

      “I mean if you can’t see past her curvaceous figure and not actually pay attention to the story…that’s on you.”

      It’s not the figure I was having a hard time seeing beyond — it was the breast physics!

      But seriously, I really enjoyed that scene. I took the same message away from it that you explained. It sounds like you’ve read the other materials (manga or light novels?), so I appreciate you not spoiling anything! But I’m looking forward to learning more about her and several of the other characters!

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