Goblin Slayer resolves this week with him angrily approaching the Goblin Lord, a hulking brute with both experience and strength. While it lacks the spellcasting potential of a Goblin Shaman and is also not as powerful as a Goblin Champion, its years of experience and leadership make it a far larger threat. Goblin Slayer recognizes this from the very start of this operation and decides to face off against the Lord himself, quite literally cutting the head off the snake. Although at this point, the rest of the snake is pretty much dead already.
The duel between the two starts off pretty tame, with the Lord wrecking Goblin Slayer’s shield, while Goblin Slayer only manages a scratch on the Lord’s armor. As expected of the Goblin Lord, he isn’t half naked like most of his underlings, but is instead armored well and brandishes a massive axe. The anime adaptation left out a large portion of the Goblin Lord’s backstory, which really emphasizes his resourcefulness and cunning, while also touching upon the origins of that axe, but considering everything they stuffed into this episode, I’m alright with that.
The episode cuts back to the battlefield with the veteran adventurers facing off against the Goblin Champions and Hobgoblins. I complained last week about the lack of sakuga and/or cool fight choreography from the episode, but this section of episode twelve completely pushes that complaint away. We get to see Heavy Swordsman and Spearman go absolutely ham against these goblins, pulling off some of the most badass stunts we’ve seen all show. I mean, Heavy Swordsman literally slices a Goblin Champion in half, while Spearman stands completely still as a massive chain barely misses his face. It was gorgeous and extremely satisfying to see some of the most powerful adventurer’s on the frontier face off against the enemies we’ve seen Goblin Slayer face before.
The triumph of the veteran adventurer’s however, is cut short as we return to Goblin Slayer facing off against the Lord. Things aren’t looking too good, with Goblin Slayer taking some intense injuries. The years of experience and the power of the Goblin Lord is quite clearly putting him at an advantage, along with the fact that Goblin Slayer is not used to fighting on an open field. Goblin Slayer actually gets screwed, if not for Priestess coming in clutch with the double protection spell. It’s a wonderfully poetic cycle we’ve gone through from episode one to now. The Priestess from episode one was a green adventurer fearful for her life in the face of goblins, yet here we are perfectly calm and subduing a Goblin Lord. She’s not the one being saved here, but is rather the one saving Goblin Slayer himself. Development!
The Goblin Lord surprised me with its ability to speak the human tongue as well as the goblin tongue. It begs for mercy using a tried and true line that it would live peacefully, but Priestess can smell the bullshit from a thousand miles away at this point. But if the Goblin Lord can do such things, I wonder if we’ll ever meet a Goblin King. What could a goblin of that level be able to do?
The episode ends on a cozy note, with all the character relaxing back at the guild hall. They’re drinking and partying, we see all the side characters we’ve been introduced to just relaxing about. It’s a relaxing end to quiet the thrilling episode that summarizes all the characters that we’ve met in these past twelve episodes. But perhaps the most touching moment is Goblin Slayer removing his helmet at the Priestess’ request. It attracts the attention of the entire Guild Hall, and reassures Goblin Slayer himself that it wasn’t just luck that helped save his farm. It’s because everyone actually likes him, and I think that’s awesome.
Final Impressions: Goblin Slayer has been quite the wild ride. The controversy of episode one sent tremors through the anime community, and for better or worse affected its popularity. The source material is a great piece of work with some interesting quirks, and I believe this adaptation has satisfied it. While it was not an above and beyond show that blew us all away, it was a solid show that I enjoyed watching every week.
The characters were enjoyable to watch, and some of their banter was top notch. It’s surprising how much I enjoyed the presence of Spearman, Witch, Guild Girl, and the like because at first glance they’re just cutouts of tropes. Somehow the world of Goblin Slayer is so incredibly lively because we’ve spent so much time just observing how they go about their lives.
The world itself being a giant Dungeons and Dragons game also puts things into quite the interesting perspective, and the final monologue of episode twelve touches upon how Goblin Slayer will never rely on the dice gods to bless him, instead choosing to carve out his own way. I’m am very satisfied with this ending, and the hinting at season two leaves me very excited. I hope we get to see more of Goblin Slayer and his party adventuring, and making more friends along the way.
The complaints I have about this adaptation are quite simple. The animation was mediocre the majority of the time, occasionally dipping below mediocrity, and rarely going above it. It was great to see however, that the final episode pulled no punches in looking good.
However, regardless of how it looked. Goblin Slayer was never a story to be told with One Punch Man level fight scenes. It’s a story carried by its characters, and I think this anime excels at that.