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On Goblin Slayer, and why I’m cheering for an entire race to be wiped out.

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Ignoring the implications of that terrible first line, I LOVE Goblin Slayer. I wish I could emphasize just how excited I am for the show, but that’d end in a rant that derails this entire post. Instead, I want to highlight one aspect of fantasy GS pulls off perfectly despite the controversy surrounding the show. Setting its tone through depravity, desperation, and the reward given to the unprepared: death.

The life of glorified killers-for-hire, and the risks that come with it.

Spoilers for Episode 1 of Goblin Slayer Ahead

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Its been the talk of the month. The controversy revolving around that scene; where everything goes wrong and we see just how far the show is willing to dive into the taboo. And honestly? It made me uncomfortable.

But that’s the point.

Rape is not an uncommon element in media. The unfortunate truth is it’s not uncommon in the real world either. The outrage surrounding the first episode somehow fails to account for how well the scene was done. I happened to be watching the episode on my university campus at the time, and managed to gather a group of bored students silently watching over my shoulder when the scene came around. It was graphic, raw, and by the end of it, everyone was awkwardly shuffling between watching my screen or looking away.

But they were hooked.

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After the episode, I had some of the students ask what show I was watching. None of them watched anime regularly, but the serious nature of the show piqued their interest. What happened in that scene wasn’t meant to be fanservice for some niche crowd. It wasn’t sexy, nor was it there for the sake of being controversial. It made us turn away in disgust, made us uncomfortable, and ultimately made us cry bloody murder against all goblin-kind. And I think that’s the kind of show people who don’t regularly watch anime can respect. It no longer becomes something seemingly childish, nor is it something perverse, rather it’s a narrative akin to more mainstream titles like “Game of Thrones.”

But really, watching GS do his thing by the climax of the episode was revenge served on a warm platter. And we loved every moment of it.

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Fantasy is a genre for the escapist–living a new life in a world far more interesting than our daily grind allows sometimes. The rising trend of dark fantasy poses far more interesting situations than your traditional fantasy story. How will you handle equipment maintenance? Is the quest reward worth the risk? And if it’s this difficult to fight a goblin, how the hell do you go about fighting a dragon?

They’re heavily-armored flying lizards for god’s sake!

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Though I heard the manga was particularly brutal, I have complete faith in Studio White Fox to handle the balance between having a grimdark world, and an emotional narrative. Not planning to read the manga or light novels yet, but I might pick them up after the the season ends. I’m also in love with the all-too familiar fantasy designs of the characters. Definitely have high hopes for this show, though I also admit I hope scenes like the ones above aren’t going to be a norm.

Because goddamnit, I need all these cute anime girls to be happy and safe. My heart can’t handle it otherwise.

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