Some annoying characters and its future direction aren't enough to weaken this first volume of Kumo Kagyu's debut work.
Title: Goblin Slayer
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: SB Creative Corp (JP), Yen On (US)
Creator: Kumo Kagyu
Illustrator: Noboru Kannatuki
Translator: Kevin Steinbach
Original Release Date: December 20, 2016
In a world based on standard RPGs and Dungeons and Dragons, mythical creatures and gods rue the spotlight. Adventurers, no name except for their class names, venture to win fame, fortune, and anything else that comes along. This story could be focused on something large scale and worth people’s time.
Instead, the focus is on Goblin slaying. And in particular, the Goblin Slayer.
Kumo Kagyu said he got the idea for Goblin Slayer when he asked what would a fantasy world be like if it were home to an adventurer who only hunted goblins. So far, the answer is a mostly compelling read in its first volume. What instantly sets it apart is its personal scale. Compared to everything else happening in the world, Goblin Slayer’s goblin killing agenda is super small, but nothing matters to him than ensuring the goblins — mostly weak, mostly dumb — and any creatures who will do any evil (whether it’d be torture or using humans as “meat shields”), are dead. Why? Because growing up, he experienced their terror first hand.
The big problem for him is he’s the only one who perceives them as a massive threat, but this changes when he encounters Priestess. The female protagonist’s first adventure ended horribly as goblins ravaged her party, with her being the only survivor thanks to Goblin Slayer. This encounter eventually leads to him being asked on a quest by other formidable adventurers in order to rid goblins from an area.
With one really well developed arc and that personal scale, Goblin Slayer is a good, rewarding read. It does note just how devoted Goblin Slayer is to killing his enemy, but also how devoted everyone else is to knowing how bad goblins are compared to everyone else in this world. It also shows when it comes to dealing with goblins, how dumb and overpowered he really is.
The general issue with Goblin Slayer is that it’s there’s just Goblin Slayer and his slaying. This volume did plant some seeds of interest — there are gods bored with things and don’t care about much else, except noting one adventurer doing too much — but that’s it. The characters introduced are your typical archetypes (the cocky dwarf, tsundere elf, etc), and some are really annoying. I do imagine there’s going to be something more to them, but for now, they’re pretty bare-bones.
The most obvious thing that stands out in this light novel is the violence. From torture to death, it’s descriptive. So in essence, this is exactly how a dark fantasy world would be, with RPG classes, weapons, names, etc. It doesn’t seem like that will slow down as the series goes on. The only issue is whether or not it can continue to be interesting in future volumes. At least for Volume 1, this is a solid, quick read.