Goblin Slayer Episode 8: A Very Pleasant Resurrection and Beauty is in the Eyes of The…

November 27, 2018

Quick Summary

In Goblin Slayer episode 8, "Whispers and Prayers and Chants," Onna Shinkan and Sword Maiden go to great lengths to resurrect Goblin Slayer -- which stresses even his stoicism. As Kouhito Doushi, Tokage Souryo, and Yousei Yunde scout their next targets, Goblin Slayer and the priestess get their gear repaired and take a moment to learn about ice cream. Finally, the party reassembles and descends into the sewers, where they come face to eye with a terrible monster that's not a goblin. How will our hero react?

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

If Goblin Slayer were completely unaware of the feelings of others, he would just have rolled out of bed and left her uncovered. Instead, he gently covered her with the sheet. She was completely helpless, and he looked out for her. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Moment 1

I think it's pretty clear Goblin Slayer is living with some kind of chronic mental illness. One of the symptoms is that he's pretty much cut off from his emotions, and understanding the emotions of others is very difficult for him. At the same time, he's not completely unaware -- he just responds in a non-typical way. I won't go into why this is so interesting to me! But take his reaction to waking up next to a naked Onna. How would a typical anime protagonist react? Nose bleed? Groping? What does Goblin Slayer do? He wakes up in a strange room. He's groggy. When he tries to roll out of bed, he finds Onna's arms entangled with his. This is where he shows the true calibre of his character. He gently pulls the covers up to her shoulders (4:16). Only then does he begin to ponder what happened to him. His consideration for the priestess was touching -- and exemplary. 

Goblin Slayer was amazed -- and more than a little touched -- that no one had eaten until he recovered. Watching this team come together is a treat! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Moment 2

Goblin Slayer is learning how great it can be to have comrades in arms. Just as he and Onna finished dressing, the Dwarf, Lizardman, and Elf burst happily into the room. Did you see how Yousei just plunked herself onto the bed? After some small talk, Kouhito said it was time to get something to eat, and Goblin Slayer was amazed to find that none of them had eaten because they were waiting to eat with him (8:41). You could hear the amazement in his voice! Onna reminded him that they all promised each other that after they got out of the sewers, they share a meal together -- and the concept seemed both wonderful and perplexing to him. Seeing them almost joyously sharing a meal (9:05) was a welcome contrast to the darkness from the last episode. 

I can see that somebody wants ice cream! How precious was she in this scene? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Moment 3

There's a reason my third favorite moment is a charming scene in which Onna doesn't know how to tell Goblin Slayer she wants to try ice cream (12:14). You might be thinking, "Dude, you said you're watching this show for the heightened sense of danger to the characters! How's this fit in?" Thanks for asking! Endearing the characters to us is an important step in making the danger real. The more I care about a character, the more I understand them, the more likely I am to feel for them. Onna almost reverting to little kid status as she dashed up to the ice cream stand was almost painfully pure. Not only that, but Goblin Slayer reasoned the treat must be sweet because he saw so many kids lining up for it! And just to go that extra mile, Goblin Slayer asked the vendor how a frozen desert was possible -- and added to his arsenal of knowledge in the process. Asking questions incessantly is one of his super powers! We got closer to Onna and Goblin Slayer in this scene. 

Thoughts


Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons? If you have (and no, I won't tell you stories about me playing D&D in the late 1970s -- at least not right now), you likely recognized big-eyed monster they faced at the end of the episode. Its names is the answer to the question "How do you end the phrase 'Beauty is in the eye of the...?'" I wondered why the show didn't just come out and name it, until I read a post by Reddit user Crap4Brainz. That user shared a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) that talked about some of the names creative types can use for their monsters. Turns out Wizards of the Coast owns the copyright to that monster's name, and the Goblin Slayer team likely didn't want to be sued. It's also probable that the monster in this episode didn't have a mouth for the same reason. 

Maybe if Onna had gone into Law instead of the priesthood, she could have cast a Protection from Lawsuit spell...

Sword Maiden is a complex, tragic character. I'm not sure this episode did her justice. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

This sometimes confounds me. As you can tell from the fervor surrounding the discussion about the first and seventh episodes, the show has touched a nerve. I've argued that dramatically speaking, the show's approach has worked. Yet, as you can see if you're following the comments associated with my Goblin Slayer reviews, I'm uneasy. 

The scene after the OP didn't help (4:22).

Sword Maiden tells Goblin Slayer that she and Onna slept beside him to bring him back from the brink of death -- an action he correctly identified as "the miracle of Resurrection." The magical requirement was that he had "share a bed with a virgin." Sword Maiden laments that she can no longer be considered pure because of the goblins, and Goblin Slayer says she doesn't need to tell him more. He's well aware of what goblins do to the females they defeat. 

On one hand, Goblin Slayer's almost comforting bluntness helped her share her feelings about the goblins by relieving her of the need to explain.

On the other hand, the camera's insistence on showing her protruding nipples and bare upper thighs sent a disturbing message. That's far too close to the salacious line for me. The scene was supposedly about how she still felt traumatized and was reaching out to Goblin Slaying for comfort, not giving the audience a chance to leer at her.

This scene should have been about Sword Maiden reaching out to Goblin Slayer. In a sense, it was, and it worked. But it did more than it needed to... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

If I may invoke a third hand, the same scene shows her leaning against Goblin Slayer for emotional support. She clearly trusts him and feels like she can open up to him -- presumably more so than anyone else in her world. Of all the people in the world, Goblin Slayer is the one most likely to take her fear of goblins seriously. She even suggests that she'd be open to a more personal relationship with him. 

I immediately remembered the shot from the first episode where a wagon took several women survivors to a convent, because the experience with the goblins broken their spirits. I guess I should be glad that Sword Maiden is on a different trajectory. But it's hard to ignore the camera lingering on her figure as she spoke of her experiences.

This episode saw some interesting character development, especially for Goblin Slayer. I also enjoyed the emotional closeness Sword Maiden seemed to share with him. So I'm going to interpret the excess sexualization as tone deafness rather than an intentional exploit. 

But dang it, this is serious stuff. They need to be aware of that! I sure hope the series doesn't make me look any more like an idiot than I already do!

What did you think of Onna's encounter with ice cream? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts of Interest

  • Dawnstorm says:

    I chuckled at the beholder and how they made a big deal about the “nameless” thing. I immediately thought that has to be a copyright joke.

    The sleeping-next-to-a-virgin thing… I know I said they present priestess as the pure girl, but not even I expected them to go that far.

    The treatment of sword maiden in that scene? Well, I’ve been arguing it’s that sort of show, so I’m not too surprised. In fact, I felt the scene could have been a lot worse. My favourite moment in the scene was Sword Maiden covering her eyes again. That’s… interesting considering the context of the scene. It’s the equivalent of dressing. Her blindness seems to be the vulnarability she cares about. Not sure what to do with it, but it felt right. There’s something going on here beyond a harem-typical crush: we still don’t know what she meant when she said “Goblin Slayer won’t always be there.”

    Also, that girls get shipped off to a convent for trauma treatment is probably the truth, but it’s also probably not the whole story. These people know how goblins reproduce? They would by now. So if any of them were to carry… And if the purity myth the show peddles is to be taken seriously, there’s the full possibility that they’re all now considered unfit for marriage (a common anime joke) and will either have to live off their parents’ fortune (which is easiest if they’re farmers), find some employment, or – well – join a convent. They pushed the purity values hard this episode – and Sword Maiden even regretted that could not be of much use. This is a tightrope walk too difficult for this show, I fear.

    • tcrow says:

      “The treatment of sword maiden in that scene? Well, I’ve been arguing it’s that sort of show, so I’m not too surprised.”

      Yep, you called it!

      “My favourite moment in the scene was Sword Maiden covering her eyes again. That’s… interesting considering the context of the scene. It’s the equivalent of dressing. Her blindness seems to be the vulnarability she cares about.”

      Little details like that reined in my initial criticism. I don’t like how that scene played out, but there was undeniably a sweetness there — it was really touching how she acted so comfortable and safe with him.

      “This is a tightrope walk too difficult for this show, I fear.”

      It’s been a struggle so far, that’s for sure!

  • Highway says:

    I think that the criticisms of the show of the tone and sexualization during serious topics are valid and important to make, but sometimes they kind of come from a place where they assume that the creators of the show (and the original material it’s adapted from) are making intentional and conscious choices to hit this tone while knowing that there would be a way that would be approved by some critics more. I think it’s possible that that’s just not a consideration, or it’s a consideration that is subsumed by other considerations, like staying more faithful to the imagery in the source, or having been prescribed by the creator for the adaptation.

    So I think there’s good reason to make the criticisms, but it should be recognized that it’s more ambiguous (until there is maybe more information, which there might be that I just don’t know about, because I don’t really spend any effort looking) as to whose choices or ‘fault’ it is that the show is like this.

    It’s definitely true that there’s a feeling that the show does one thing with the dialogue and themes and handling of characterization, and then somewhat randomly does a different thing with imagery. And I think it’s obviously hard for us to impart meaning to either part, because of the contradictions / inconsistencies.

    I personally liked the storyline with the Sword Maiden. In keeping with the world that the show is presenting, where there’s no such thing as the all-conquering hero. Whether she was undone by hubris (“I can handle some goblins, shouldn’t be a problem”) or expectations (“Everyone thinks I should be able to do this”) or even just thoughtlessness about it, it was an interesting twist, I thought.

    • tcrow says:

      “So I think there’s good reason to make the criticisms, but it should be recognized that it’s more ambiguous (until there is maybe more information, which there might be that I just don’t know about, because I don’t really spend any effort looking) as to whose choices or ‘fault’ it is that the show is like this.”

      I hope I made it clear I understood this to be a consideration. The show’s dealing with some fraught imagery, and in many ways, I find it’s effective. Yet, there are cultural differences that I’m not sure I completely understand.

      “It’s definitely true that there’s a feeling that the show does one thing with the dialogue and themes and handling of characterization, and then somewhat randomly does a different thing with imagery.”

      Is that cultural? I think any interpretation (i.e., writing and drawing) has to be done through the cultural lens of the artists creating the work and through the lens of the viewers consuming the work. So are the “contradictions/inconsistencies” consistent across cultures, or are they themselves rooted in culture? Or a combination?

      “I personally liked the storyline with the Sword Maiden. In keeping with the world that the show is presenting, where there’s no such thing as the all-conquering hero.”

      I think in the end, that’s the conclusion I came to. I could feel the story affecting me even as my intellect raised objections. It might seem odd that I segment myself so, but I’m most comfortable there! At the end of the day, I liked how Sword Maiden felt she could open up to Goblin Slayer because she recognized not only that she was safe with him, but that he understood where she was coming from in a way that others either couldn’t or hadn’t.

      I like how this show generates so many interesting conversations!

      • Highway says:

        I actually worked hard in my comment to not make it about Japanese culture, because I think that that’s less important than the mindset of the individual author, and also because I think it’s focusing on the wrong thing to say “Oh, well, of course it’s going to be sexist / objectifying because it comes from a sexist culture that objectifies.” I think that doesn’t hold the creators to task enough, and I feel that it’s better to put the responsibility for creating works that might be “tone deaf” (such as the adding of visible nipples to the sword maiden while she’s talking about having been violated by goblins) on the person or group who made the decision, and leave it as something that should be answered for. Saying “Well, that’s just the culture” is not only pointing to an empty chair that can’t really be held accountable, but also indicting many people who would agree that something might be not the right way to do it, and it makes it harder to encourage people to change, because now it brings a more tribal aspect into it: “Well, why should we change, that’s the way our culture is!”

        So I think it can be acknowledged that maybe a culture overall is more permissive of that kind of depiction, but that it still should be discussed as to whether that is something that is good or appropriate.

        Honestly, I could make a lot of guesses why the scene was depicted that way, but that’s all they’d be. It would be playing at getting into someone else’s mind, when I don’t even know who the person might be. Therefore, I think it’s better to just say what the critique is, without trying to divine meaning or provenance.

        • tcrow says:

          “because I think it’s focusing on the wrong thing to say “Oh, well, of course it’s going to be sexist / objectifying because it comes from a sexist culture that objectifies.”

          I didn’t mean to imply that when I asked, “Is that cultural? I think any interpretation (i.e., writing and drawing) has to be done through the cultural lens of the artists creating the work and through the lens of the viewers consuming the work.” I was looking for cultural clues that writers within a given culture would pick up.

          I think you’re right that there are some traits/tendencies that are objectively improper. At the same time, there are others that are neutral or simply provide insight. For example, torture is objectively wrong. But attitudes about nudity are very much subjective.

          “So I think it can be acknowledged that maybe a culture overall is more permissive of that kind of depiction, but that it still should be discussed as to whether that is something that is good or appropriate.”

          That’s what I was trying to do (apparently with little success!). I didn’t have enough data to draw a conclusion, and I tried to disclose that when I said “So I’m going to interpret the excess sexualization as tone deafness rather than an intentional exploit.”

          At a meta level, it’s interesting to me how even talking about talking about the themes in Goblin Slayer is difficult! (Yep, I said “talking about” twice!). The topics are a minefield of assumptions and perspectives and thoughts and experiences. So I really appreciate you continuing to work through the discussion!

  • Goblin Slayer is a weird show. Sometimes there are brutal assaults and other times we get delicious ice cream. Goblin Slayer must not have many emotions if he wasn’t tempted by a cute blonde in bed. Guess there’s no danger of Priestess losing the ability to cast resurrection when her partner never makes a move.

    • tcrow says:

      “Sometimes there are brutal assaults and other times we get delicious ice cream.”

      I’ve noticed that, too! Sometimes, it gives me the same feeling I’ve gotten when I watch the news from a war zone, and I see people still trying to cook or wash clothes or do anything else that’s not related to running for their lives. I’m inclined to think this is just part of the human experience: people try to make the best life they can, and if they can eat ice cream while living in a city over goblin-infested sewers, then more power to them!

      “Guess there’s no danger of Priestess losing the ability to cast resurrection when her partner never makes a move.”

      It’s a good idea to keep your options open! Plus, as you observed, Goblin Slayer’s emotions don’t flow easily, so it might well be he wasn’t tempted.

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