I have been enjoying Goblin Slayer. It’s a fun D and D inspired dark fantasy romp. Goblin Slayer is a nice diversion from the usual fantasy anime schlock of recent years. Unfortunately, there’s a giant rapey hobgoblin in the room that needs to be addressed. The first episode is frankly, not very good. I get that the series is trying to set up how this isn’t going to be your typical fantasy anime. The problem lies in the ham-fisted way it handles the dark subject matter. Many viewers may be turned off by the series from how it handles sexual assault. I’m sure many of you reading this are already aware of the controversy, with Crunchyroll placing a content warning at the start of the episode.
Goblin Slayer begins by introducing us to the Priestess, a rookie adventure trying to find her way in the new city. She forms a party with other inexperienced adventurers. They decide to take on a quest to eliminate goblins. This is where shit gets real. The fledgling adventurers were woefully unprepared. If I can complement the first episode, it did a good job of foreshadowing the horrible events to come, by showing the swordsman clanging his sword against the cave ceiling. They find several goblins and kill them. Everything seems okay so far. Shit goes bad immediately after. The swordsman is ripped apart by a group of goblins and the mage is stabbed and poisoned. The fighter flings into a fit of rage but is stopped by a hobgoblin. She is then brutally raped by a horde of goblins. The priestess can only watch in horror. One of my gripes with how the first episode frames the intended tragic events. No context of who these characters are is given to the audience. We know nothing about these characters and yet we are supposed to be frightened for them. No one watching has any reason to care about what happens to these characters.
Now let’s get into the controversy, the rape scene. I feel this was completely unnecessary to show. If the intention was to display how brutal goblins are, it was total overkill. The brutality of the goblins was already showcased when the swordsman was ripped limb from limb. That already did the job. Showing sexual assault at that point was just gratuitous. Another problem with this scene is the angles shown to the audience. From most angles we can get a good gander are her titties and booty, almost like this was a hentai. Trust me, I’ve watched a lot of hentai. If this scene was cut out the horror of goblins would not have been diminished. Sexual assault had nothing to do with the plot of the episode and felt as if it was in there for the sake of shock value. If you felt that the rape was necessary, there were better plays show it. Leaving more to the imagination would have added to the horror. She could have been forcefully dragged away by the goblins and we later see her naked, with a dead look in her eyes and her body covered by shadows.
Do not take this as an attack on people who didn’t have a problem with the rape scene. I continued to watch the series despite a first episode I didn’t like. The episodes following have been much more enjoyable. It’s a shame that a good series is being overshadowed by an avoidable controversy. You must understand that there are people who aren’t comfortable watching any kind of rape in media, especially rape victims. Don’t look down on people who choose not to watch because of this. If you don’t mind the way rape was handled in Goblin Slayer, good on you, but don’t expect everyone to react the same way. In the meantime, I will continue to follow Goblin Slayer.