Goblin Slayer Episode 5 Review: An Insightful Interlude and the Benefits of Clubbing

November 6, 2018

Quick Summary

In Goblin Slayer episode 5, "Adventures and Daily Life," a two-person team whose warrior just lost his sword begs with Goblin Slayer for help. Will they accept his unorthodox advice? And if they do, will they survive trying to put it into practice? Later, Uketsuke-jou, the Guild Representative, asks Goblin Slayer to be an official adventurer observer at a promotion test. She has to practically beg him because are no goblins to kill, but he eventually agrees. It seems the scout seeking promotion has something to hide -- can they figure out what before it's too late? Meanwhile, Onna Shinkan earns a promotion, in part because of her ogre defense in the previous episode, and she sets off to inform Mother Superior. Shortly after she leaves, Goblin Slayer receives a personalized request for assistance from a decidedly VIP. What kind of strings are attached?

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

Doesn't Yousei's smile just make you feel good about life? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 1

I'm glad I've made no secret that I really like Yousei Yunde, the elf archer/scout. I think she's a great combination of skilled campaign warrior (and now goblin slaying warrior!), youthful exuberant (despite being over 2,000 years old), and strong character. Remember how she kept herself together in the last episode? And now we can confirm another adorable trait: she's tsundere! After Tokage Souryo's almost shy request for another cheese wheel, Yousei seems nearly as shy when she starts to ask Goblin Slayer (in a very round about and halting way) if he'll join them in another mission (5:36). She reminded me of a school girl asking a boyfriend on a date! When he said he'd think about it, she got all playfully condescending, inferring that he'd better consider it, when she was clearly delighted. What clinches it (as if we don't have enough evidence for a tsundere conviction already) is her hostile reaction to Kouhito Doushi, the dwarf shaman, when he suggested she could just come out and ask him. She actually throws a rock at his head! Have I mentioned how happy I am that she's part of the cast now?

Can't get a sword? Use a club! With a club, you can "Throw, stab, break, and shatter!" What could be better? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 2

I still haven't recovered from the first episode, so I was in a state of constant dread while the two novice adventurers who were having trouble killing giant rats were on screen! It was poetic justice that Uketsuke-jou, the Guild Representative, suggested they ask Goblin Slayer for advice. They hesitated, because they'd ridiculed him before, but they need not have worried. They weren't goblins or members of his party, so their insults meant literally nothing to him. My favorite part of this moment was how he answered their questions. Best way to fight enemies if you've lost your sword? Take a sword from a goblin (11:27). Their response that they weren't fighting goblins seemed to perplex Goblin Slayer until he asked if the novice adventurer had used any other kind of weapon. At his answer of "no" and the apprentice mage's assertion that they had no money, Goblin Slayer came up with a pragmatic and effective solution: Use a club! I laughed at the young adventurer's near dismissal of it as a weapon until Goblin Slayer ticked off the uses on his right hand: "Throw, stab, break, and shatter" (11:43). The funniest part? The young adventurer asked how the club would work against bugs and rats, and Goblin Slayer answered, "I couldn't say. I'm sure if you swung one around and it hit them, it'd at least hurt" (11:55). I think that pragmatism is a huge plus in his line of work!

Would you want to be on the receiving end of this gaze? I know I wouldn't! Heck, I was glad we got to view it from the side! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 3

Did you know Uketsuke-jou had a strict side? One that bordered on downright scary? I didn't! I guess I've mostly seen her interact with Goblin Slayer, and she's so sweet on him that it makes her act happy and buoyant! But in this episode, during the promotion exam for the scout, she showed a much more stern side. She began cheerfully questioning how the scout had managed to acquire such excellent new and expensive gear while going on the same quests that were available to everyone else. He tried to lie, but her companion was a priestess who could see through lies. He tried to apologize, but she pointed out that his behavior made it hard for adventurers to trust other scouts or members of his race. Her solution? Demote him back to porcelain and forbid him from adventuring in this town again. This is where things got interesting. He protested, suggesting that he "just" stole from his own party. That's when our Guild Representative tossed aside politeness and explained, very clearly and in a disdainful voice that I'd never want to trigger, that being willing to betray trust means he doesn't deserve to be an adventurer (15:28). There's something terrifying about a cheerful woman's righteous wrath...

Thoughts

We got some interesting insight into how the adventurers interact. When the novice adventurer who had lost his sword went around asking to borrow a spare, I got the sense that the other more experienced adventurers want to help (6:26), but that their weaponry was too heavy or too advanced. The more experienced adventurers weren't being mean; just practical. 

It's not that the more experienced adventurers don't want to help the younger adventurers. It's that the more advanced weaponry is dangerous in untrained or less strong hands. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Remember how I started watching this show in the hopes I'd get realistic depictions of combat? Something I didn't know I also wanted was the realistic depiction of the aftermath of combat -- equipment repairs (7:38). Goblin Slayer had to take some of his equipment in to be fixed. Equipment breaks. Blades get dull and notched. Armor degrades. I just love little details like that. 

I've seen some reviewers and even casual viewers wonder why goblin slaying in this world is treated with such disdain. Some folks have even questioned if that attitude is even realistic -- a damaging accusation if true for a series that relies on realism! After thinking about it for awhile, I think I have an answer.

Interested in hearing it?

I've going to give an answer that's blends my last three jobs -- so this is not a depiction of anyone who knows me. I don't want to call anyone out! But the core ideas are valid based on my experience.

Someone has to do the boring, foundational jobs -- and celebrate them, too, I hope! Else, the whole system could come crashing down. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

If you write application code, your focus is on delivering cool new features to whoever's using your product. That means you want to spend every minute you have in your Integrated Development Environment (IDE) writing application code. That'd be like fighting ogres or demon lords. That's where the visibility is. That's where the glory is. 

But there's an aspect of writing code that few developers embrace. What do I mean? I mean watching your vendors for security bulletins. Write application code that runs under PHP? You need to watch CVE Details to look for PHP vulnerabilities. The reason's simple: You can deliver the most amazing functionality ever, but if bad folks can waltz in and steal your data -- or your customer's data! -- who's going to want to use your product? 

Watching security bulletins is the same as killing goblins. It's grunt work. It's not glamorous. You won't get the praise that the folks focusing on killing demon lords enjoy. But it's no less important. We see it playing out in real life all the time! We don't have many Goblin Slayers in our developer ranks, so we see breaches like the one Equifax and its customers "enjoyed." And we see them over and over.

And over.

That's why Goblin Slayer's world rings true to me. I see a bunch of adventurers (developers) who pursue glory, and I see some (Goblin Slayer) who try to do the grunt work. The ones pursuing glory look down on the ones doing the grunt work. But without the grunt work, the villages would be overrun.

The world of Goblin Slayer looks just like our world in that respect!

What do you think? Have you seen similar examples? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts of Interest

  • Dawnstorm says:

    I find your argument plausible enough; I just don’t much care about the question, because to me Goblin Slayer‘s not a realistic anime. The real issue is that I can’t get a coherent picture of the world. A villager asks the guild lady if it’s true that goblins abduct and rape women? That’s something I’d expect the guild to learn from villagers, not the other way round. (Note: that’s not a clear flaw: it could be that there’s such a thing as goblin migration, and they’re fairly new to this area, but adventurers in different parts of the world have more experience, and the guild has a working information exchange, with the central administration being in… I’ll stop here: see how many details we just don’t have? It’s not hard to drop hints into conversations, but GS is a show that doesn’t even use proper names, so that makes things a little harder on that front.)

    Goblins are a problem, but villagers don’t know about them? Goblins are considered weak, but Goblin Champions are platinum-rank adventurer threat level? It’s not that these contradictions can’t work out; but there are too many little ones, and too few answers. My overall take is rather than take not of them, ignore them and just take what you get. The world building in GS is only moderately interesting. I do have questions that keep me occupied, but they’re not on the level of realism. They’re more about what the show is thematically interested in.

    • tcrow says:

      “I’ll stop here: see how many details we just don’t have?”

      Good point! In shows that I enjoy, I find that I auto-fill some of those details with my own imagination, and that’s hardly a universal trait! It also blinds me to issues like the one you’ve raised about inadequate world building. I’d likely only notice that if the show got so bad I couldn’t ignore the problems anymore.

      “I do have questions that keep me occupied, but they’re not on the level of realism. They’re more about what the show is thematically interested in.”

      I still like combat details like Goblin Slayer’s advice to the young adventurer (I’d prefer they have names, too!) to use a club. The poor guy hadn’t considered that, because his head was full of ideas of glory and fame — and those needed a sword!

      But see what I did there? I filled in blanks with data that can only be inferred. I think I just proved your points!

      • Dawnstorm says:

        Actually, the auto-fill is a universal trait (there’s articles on the cognition of fiction about that). The difference is how much you fill in, and what sort of details you fill in. For example, there’s a heist movie or tv show, where the building plans don’t include toilets. Once you notice that it’s hilarious, but chances are nobody will even look at the plans close enough and just assume everything’s there. Fiction tends to work like that; you fill in what you need.

        The difference is what you expect from realism. The weapon thing seems more like geekery to me. For example, I wouldn’t call Shokugeki no Soma a realist anime just because you can cook every single dish like that (I think you can, but I don’t actually know).

        And then there’s world view. The adventurers looking down on GS makes no sense? Well, just like real life then.

        • tcrow says:

          “Actually, the auto-fill is a universal trait (there’s articles on the cognition of fiction about that). ”

          You clearly hang around more creative people than I do! Though some branches of technology support aren’t known for their creativity…

          “The adventurers looking down on GS makes no sense? Well, just like real life then.”

          Now, see, that’s something that _does_ match my experience! I work in the security field, and there are days it seems a planet full of people look down on us!

          Until they need advice on using a club, and then we’re geniuses…

          • Dawnstorm says:

            About the auto-fill thing: It’s not actually about creativity. It’s about expectations: a tagline in one of the articles I read was “What is the colour of Superman’s banana.” And the thought experiment was that Clark Kent told us he went out to buy a banana, but we never see the thing. Chances are most people will just assume that the banana was yellow, even though we weren’t explicitly told that bananas in Metropolis are yellow, just like the real world. How much we fill in and what we fill in differs, but without filling in something we couldn’t have the experience of a coherent story.

            The adventurers looking down on GS makes sense to me, too. The idea is that world-views differ: do things in real life always make sense? No. So why expect them to make sense in fiction? (Some people would answer “yes” to the question.)

            The two points relate: depending what you fill in, different things make sense. And the same goes for real life, except since things really happen you can’t dismiss them as “bad writing”.

            For me, since I have a background in sociology, people looking down on GS is simply typical treatment of deviance. Group identity and those who don’t take to it.

            And someone else mightn’t take to your argument, because what’s implausible to them is that “slaying goblins” is grunt work to begin with. (That’s plausible to me, too.)

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