Blu-Ray Review: Goblin Slayer – Season 1

Manga Entertainment UK brings the goblin slaying action of Goblin Slayer to home video but does the series live up to the hype it generated during its simulcast and more importantly what can one expect from the Blu-Ray release? Let’s take a look and find out.

Synopsis:

A young priestess has formed her first adventuring party, but almost immediately they find themselves in distress. It’s the Goblin Slayer who comes to their rescue–a man who’s dedicated his life to the extermination of all goblins, by any means necessary. And when rumors of his feats begin to circulate, there’s no telling who might come calling next.

Our View:

Adapted from the Japanese light novel series by Kumo Kagyu, which originally started life is an online Yaruo Thread novel, and animated by White Fox, the studio known for animating Steins;Gate, comes Goblin Slayer; a dark fantasy series that focuses on one man’s obsession with the eradication of goblins in a medieval world that relies on adventurers to partake in quests to protect their hometowns. It’s a dark story filled with an interesting mixture of traditional animation and CGI to deliver an entertaining series that leaves you wanting more.

Goblin Slayer may seem dark and brutal, of which it is in some episodes, but behind the mask is a deeper storyline that focuses on the strength of bonds and becoming more human. This dark story begins with the introduction of Priestess, a 15-year-old girl, who joins the adventurers guild in hopes of aiding people in need; however upon entering the guild she find herself recruited into a party on a quest to hunt goblins. This dramatic, violent and intense first episode sparks the tone of what ‘could’ be expected from Goblin Slayer, as it sees the young party of adventurers brutally killed, or raped, in battle as a result of being ill-prepared for the challenge that awaited them.

Fortunately for the Priestess, of which had received minor injuries, her saviour appears in the form of a mysterious armoured man known as Goblin Slayer; and from here the focus of this series shifts to him. Goblin Slayer acts as a tutor to the Priestess and it sees her join Goblin Slayers quest in slaying Goblins through the multiple goblin slaying quests that appear within the guild. This quest to slay the Goblins continues throughout the rest of the series and with each passing episode we begin to learn more about Goblin Slayer and his reasoning’s for wanting the Goblins dead. Additionally this quest to defeat the Goblins sees Goblin Slayer form relationships with other, more unique adventurers, in the form of Lizardmen, Dwalves and High-Elfs; a feat which is rarely see within the human realms.

The introduction of these new characters not only brings fresh blood to the screen but also a bit of diversity due to the personalities of each characters. The Lizardman for instance is a priest that is calm and collective but enjoys food, especially cheese, while the High Elf, a seasoned archer, is often belittled by the Dwalf, who likes to drink alcohol, about her childlike stature. The personality of these characters, who attempt to interact with Goblin Slayer and Priestess, adds that much needed human personality and gives the series a bit of atmosphere; especially when things become difficult.

Surprisingly all of this character building, if you can call it at as we never actually learn the real names of these adventurers, and random breakaways to other adventurers within the town is an attempt at developing the story to its final episodes of the series.  This scenario being a huge Goblin invasion on a farm that Goblin Slayer resides within, and the possibility of Goblins invading the town, and  sees Goblin Slayer make a request to the adventurers for their help in surviving this Goblin onslaught. In writing this doesn’t sound like much, but in actuality it is a big deal – as Goblin Slayer is considered a “lone wolf” and does not interact with other adventurers, additionally Goblins are considered easy pretty and not worth killing; despite the dangers they present.

As a progressive story this first season of Goblin Slayer is shrouded in mystery and robotic responses, especially from Goblin Slayer of which annoys the Priestess; but what it does offer it excels at. That being a story which sees a new adventurer become skilled, a famous loner develop friendships and a town working together to learn the true dangers of Goblins. Disregarding the developing plot points Goblin Slayer still makes to succeed by delivering a likeable cast of characters with well animated fight sequences that each offer a unique style to them. This isn’t simply swords clashing and explosions; its tactical warfare from a skilled Goblin Slayer and it’s superb.

Extras:

As with recent Manga Entertainment UK releases the UK distributor have opted to use discs masters originally authored by FUNimation Entertainment and as such we receive the same type of supplementary content in the form of textless songs and cast interviews; all of which can be found on the second Blu-Ray disc.

Those looking to dive deeper into the world of Goblin Slayer, through the eyes of the English voice cast, will be able to do so with the Goblin Slayer: Table Talk and Episode 11 Cast Commentary; with the former providing a little more entertainment and insight then one would expect. In this scenario voice actors and ADR director discuss their opinions of the series as well as dissect some potential meanings, such as the dice rolling visuals and sounds seen later on, as well as character origins. Some of it is speculation; but it is still an interesting segment.

The English Cast commentary meanwhile provides the standard commentary you would expect and, if you enjoyed the English dub, is worth checking out. The final selection of bonus content is, of course, the textless opening and ending songs; both of which I didn’t exactly enjoy but had some nice visual flair.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:33:18 (Disc 1), 1:11:06 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

From one perspective Goblin Slayer can be considered the Berserk of this generation, and I am referring to the original series rather than the trilogy of films and its TV continuation, as it sees one man’s quest for vengeance by using all of the skills at his disposable. Unlike Berserk however it’s not a torturous story filled with death and this is instead one of salvation and developing friendships; from my perspective at least. Goblin Slayer starts off dark and mysterious, especially with the notorious first episode which sees male adventurers killed and females raped at the hands of Goblins, but as each episode progresses we begin to learn more about his back-story and desire for killing the goblins.

Goblin Slayer himself isn’t just the focus of this series either as the story also shines some light on the Priestess and her natural progression within the guild, as we see her grow from a scared newbie to a seasoned magic wielder. Alongside this progressive story of Goblin Slayer and Priestess we also learn more about the world they reside within, the characters within it, and the dangers that await. Each episode is just as entertaining as the next, and moves at a consistent pace; with the only disappointment being that it ends all too quickly.

This Blu-Ray release of Goblin Slayer meanwhile presents the series to the best of its capability with consistent visual and audio qualities and English Dub produced by Crunchyroll/FUNimation being presented in 5.1 Surround Sound. From a cinematic perspective the surround sound audio delivers more impact, especially during the fight sequences, but everywhere else it definitively lacks in impact. The English Dub as well is uninventive and seems simplistic and stale at times, which is quite a contrast to the varied Japanese audio track. Naturally audio options are personal preference; but for Goblin Slayer I found the Japanese audio track – albeit presented in Stereo – to be the most natural and entertaining audio option.

Overall Goblin Slayer may be the title of the series, and slaying goblins may be the goal, but this series offers more than that and it’s great to watch from start to finish. Visually sharp, dramatically appealing and simplistic story that doesn’t shy away from the hard truths. If you’ve enjoyed Berserk, or other violent anime series with a straight-forward-story, then Goblin Slayer is worth checking out; but I definitely recommend watching it.

Score: review-stars-5

Goblin Slayer – Season 1 is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Collector’s Edition Combo Pack within the UK via Manga Entertainment.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: