English Dub Review: Goblin Slayer “There and Back Again”

They’re taking the goblins to Isengard…? Look, it’s the holidays, no one’s at their sharpest right now.

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

The party observes the giant mirror, finding out it’s actually a massive portal to the goblins’ homeland, meaning someone has been deliberately allowing them to come through and summoned the Giant Eyeball for extra protection. But before they can properly dispose of it, they must first kill the remaining goblins still in the sewers. This is far from an easy task, especially with supplies and energy being low on top of the return of a recovered Goblin Champion. However, with Lizardman’s strength, Priestess’ Holy Light, Elf’s archery, Dwarf’s magecraft, and Goblin Slayer’s planning, every goblin is crushed beneath the collapsing ceiling. The party emerges from the cave virtually unharmed.

When they return to town and report to Sword Maiden, GS asks her if she knew about the mirror. She admits to knowing, though it turns out GS would have asked everyone who could’ve known, so she may have given up too easily. The white alligator they encountered is her familiar, and she’s been connecting the recent killings to goblins in order to sustain the people’s fear of them, even when the people aren’t actually killed by goblins. This was to lure GS to her so he could destroy the portal, an ancient and lost relic of the former Demon Lord. She does this because, due to being attacked and nearly blinded by goblins, she became dreadfully afraid of them, even though she was amongst the group that vanquished far worse enemies in the past. And yet is because of these accomplishments that she could not bring herself to ask for help fighting mere goblins.

She asks what GS will do now and, besides sealing the mirror in concrete and dropping it back in the water, he won’t do anything. She only wanted people to understand her fear, as threats like the goblins are often underestimated until it’s too late. GS knows that threat just as much, if not more than her, yet despite her pleas, he hasn’t come up with a long-term solution. However, he will slay any goblin she points him to, even the ones in her dreams.

The party heads home with a hefty reward and a new snack to try: Ice Cream.

OUR TAKE

The second major arc of the season comes to an end, and we are again reminded of the multi-layered significance of our titular Goblin Slayer’s job of slaying goblins. It’s a threat that impacts everyone, even more frequently than something like the infamous Demon Lord being vanquished in the story’s background, but is allowed to fester and grow because of how seemingly easy it is to vanquish. But for victims of their wrath and malice, like GS and the Sword-Maiden, they the fear that lurks in every shadow that could kill you the moment you let your guard down. This episode, we see how two products of the horrors goblins can bring have been coping with those mental and physical scars.

Sword Maiden, who was previously part of a legendary band of adventurers that once vanquished the previous Demon Lord, is cripplingly ashamed of her fear, but is so desperate for help in conquering it that she would redirect blame of a killing in the town she protects towards goblins (it’s explained elsewhere that those murders were actually part of a cult’s sacrificial killings, not murders she committed as some have misunderstood). For Goblin Slayer, the only logical thing for him to do is become a weapon against all goblins, which he sees as the ultimate enemy above all others, even those who abuse their power for selfish reasons like Sword Maiden did by forcing focus on her town’s goblin infestation. It is through this last major scene that we see Goblin Slayer’s rather odd view of the world and how it may just save it.

With that all said, the final battle in the first half seemed a bit too similar to previous fights within this arc to end on a high note. After meeting and beating the Goblin Champion two episodes ago, it was going to be hard to top that unless they gave him a transformation or something. Even fighting the Giant Eyeball wouldn’t really work as a proper final boss, and having to fight the Sword-Maiden, while an interesting route, would be needlessly grim, even for this show. So, in the end, this arc seems to just peter out in terms of action, albeit with a pretty poignant epilogue. Can’t say I didn’t enjoy it for what it was, though. It further dives into the important points of this world’s tone and themes through the further slaughtering of little green imps, showed our party growing closer together, and threw in a ton of neat little Tolkien references for people like me to geek out to.

Score
7/10

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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