Goblin Slayer’s Goblin Slayer: The Hero’s Hero.

Goblin Slayer has been a surprise hit among anime fans, harking back to the days of Berserk style shows where the gore, violence and settings don’t have an Isekai in sight. It was no doubt that a show like Goblin Slayer would be popular, but the level of enjoyment people got from this show was rather surprising, as was the “controversy”

But we aren’t here to talk about that, instead I want to talk about the titular lead of the show and what makes him so unique in the era of anime leads. Join me after the cut as I take a Character Dive into the main character of Goblin Slayer: The Goblin Slayer

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Did someone say Goblins?

((For the sake of avoiding confusion, I’ll be referring to the lead of the show just as Slayer from now on)))

Slayer is an interesting character, very much how the show itself stands out in this era of anime. In a time where every show is about a hero trying to save the world from a great evil, Goblin Slayer takes a inward view a fantasy world, opting to focus on a smaller problem instead of the world ending one. That is no more clear in the character of Slayer himself. He is not a hero chosen by fate, he is not some NEET shut in warped to another world, and he is not a bystander thrown into events beyond his imagining. Slayer is a man, a normal everyday man like you or me. Yet he is also a man who has become warped by the events of his past. The horrors and trauma inflicted by the goblins up on him and his family forever changed this life, and this every day human, this average Joe became solely focused on killing every goblin he could get his hands on. That itself is pretty much the entire focus of the twelve episodes of Goblin Slayer.

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Every other story would have focused on these people, but Goblin Slayer decides to focus on the little guy, the one doing the ‘grunt work’ while the “heroes’ go get glory.

What makes it work though, like High School DxD does with it’s main lead, is that it shows how much of an effect Slayer has on the people around him. While everyone else in the world is focused on glory or riches, Slayer is only focused on his job of killing goblins, creatures that are believed to be no greater than rats, pests that need to be exterminated, a job that no one wants to do. Yet Slayer remains the one who keeps doing it, and throughout the series run we see how that brings him both allies and admirers. Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman and Lizard-man all become extremely loyal to him through his actions and expertise in goblin slaying, and Priestess, who is saved from being rape and near certain death, becomes enamored with Slayer as helps her realize that being a “hero’ isn’t the romantic fantasy she (and the viewers) were led to believe. By the time the stories ends, and Slayer has to ask the guild to help him defend his home from a goblin army, the entire guild, adventures who should be off slaying dragons and saving princesses step up to help him, claiming that they can’t let their “favorite weirdo” down in his moment of need.

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Priestess is very much the lens in which we watch the show. Shedding light on a side of adventuring that has long been neglected in anime.

However this is most evident with the character of Sword Maiden, a person like the heroes shown above, is famous and well loved among the world for slaying the Demon Lord so long ago. Yet while Sword Maiden has the power, prestige and respect that so many chase after, she herself suffers from the horrific trauma of being raped and tortured by goblins, creatures that no one of any real power pays any attention to. She herself can’t go kill them (though she easily has the power to) because she is terrified of them. It is only through the actions of Slayer himself that she is able to find a measure of peace. Yet when that task is done and Sword Maiden seeks comfort from him, begging for him to “save her and become her ‘hero’. He refuses, instead promising to simply come and slay all the goblins she wants, even the ones in her dreams.

This scene and the relationship between Sword Maiden and Slayer is, in my view, the entire crux of the story of Goblin Slayer: in that sometimes the hero of a story isn’t the person running off to defeat the 10th iteration of Sauron, or the man or woman chosen by fate. It is instead the person willing to get down in the mud and the muck and do the shitty jobs everyone else turns their noses at. The person who acknowledges that the ‘little problems’ that people ignore can be ‘big problems’ for certain people. To Sword Maiden, whom everyone views as a hero who saved the world, her own hero isn’t another person like herself that people (and viewers) would expect, but the man who was willing to take the time to acknowledge her trauma and do what he could to save it. It is those actions and the bluntness in which Slayer just says ‘I’m not interested in being your savior, I just want to kill goblins” that makes Sword Maiden fall so deeply in love with him, because he alone among the entire world “gets it” when she is talking about her deepest fear.

I bring all of this up, because in this anime era, where everything is so dominated by the Isekai boom, and the overpowered hero who can defeat the big bad, Goblin Slayer remained, (and still remains) a lone outlier that decides not follow that path. With Isekai showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, and the Shonen genre chugging along just merrily, there is going to be no shortage of the standard typical hero for viewers to read and enjoy. Yet it is also important I think to have heroes like The Goblin Slayer, who shows us that sometimes being a Hero of One, is more important than being a Hero of All.

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Sword Maiden’s Nipples remain best character though #nipsfordays

 

 

6 thoughts on “Goblin Slayer’s Goblin Slayer: The Hero’s Hero.

  1. So close. You almost made it all the way though a post about Goblin Slayer without mentioning the Sword Maiden’s nipples… we’ll call it progress…

    Haha! Nice write up though. It’s definitely one the aspects that enjoyed, how he’s doing the job that no one wants or cares about. Also how he effected everyone around him, inspiring them to not only help him, but listen to his advice during the battle.

    Like

  2. Loved Goblin Slayer, and this is a great character dive!
    Denying those nipples was the ultimate test of resolve, beyond any test I’ve ever seen in anime. Goblin Slayer truly is a hero of heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

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