This episode marks the close of the Goblin Slaying Squad’s adventure in Water Town. So far the small arc has been filled with more intrigue and plot than the rest of the series put together. Mysterious villains in the shadows, a town unaware and far too many goblins – will our squad get to the bottom of this? Let’s find out in this week’s episode review.
Episode Nine Violence Levels – Medium
Japanese Original Episode Title: 往きて、還りし
After destroying the eyeball demon in last week’s episode, the Goblin Slaying Squad are faced with a new task – what to do with this giant mirror? Upon further inspection, the mirror is revealed to be a gateway to a goblin homeland. Someone has been using the mirror to bring the goblins to the Water Town, and the remaining goblins aren’t too happy that the squad is messing with their ticket home. The squad faces another big clash with the sewer goblins.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Mirrors have often been used as gateways to other worlds and dimensions in literature. In this episode, Goblin Slayer makes good use of the mirror’s abilities, again, showing that an adventurer is only limited by their imagination!
Dinosaurs: As Lizard Priest prays to a dinosaur to lend him strength, it brings up some very interesting questions about his culture. In the first episode we saw him, he explained he was trying to achieve enlightenment to become a dragon, and now dinosaurs are thrown into the mix! But also, why pray to a dinosaur, have they achieved god status in the Goblin Slayer universe?
Some Explanation Needed: Looking online, it seemed quite a few viewers were confused by the scene between Sword Maiden and Goblin Slayer. I ended up re-watching it a few times as it wasn’t phrased in the best way. This is my take on it – a few episodes ago a heroine killed a creepy skeleton-looking guy; that guy had planted the goblins in Water Town as part of an attack on Sword Maiden (after all she did kill the Demon Lord so she’s not in the demon horde’s good books). Now, Sword Maiden would have been fine handling the skeleton dude, but when it comes to goblins, her trauma is too great, and she needs someone else to step in for her. But who would believe the great Sword Maiden needs help for some vermin goblins? So instead she hid the goblins existence, and used the alligator to contain the goblins as best she could. She also used this to bid her time as she decided what to do as she knew if she started shouting ‘goblins below the city!’ no one would particularly care – she needed something to show how brutal they are…
Now here’s where it gets a bit fishy and I’ve seen various interpretations online. Some people have said she orchestrated the killings of the women to have some evidence of how brutal the goblins are. I can’t imagine a woman who has dedicated her life to defeating evil killing innocent people, so I wonder if the women were killed by the sect that was after Sword Maiden, or even there’s just another random threat in the city and Sword Maiden took that opportunity. Either way, instead of addressing that separate threat, Sword Maiden pinned the blame on the goblins, and called for Goblin Slayer to help.
Themes & Trivia
There And Back Again: Another reference to The Lord of the Rings universe. It is the name of the book Bilbo Baggins announces he is writing in Lord of the Rings about his adventures seen in The Hobbit. ‘There and Back Again’ is also the subtitle to the actual The Hobbit book.
This week’s episode was strictly divided into two parts, so let’s talk about each individually. The first half was focused on retrieving the gateway mirror and destroying the remainder of the goblin nest. As always, there were some pretty incredible fight scenes, and I love seeing the squad work together. I also enjoy seeing how they work under limitations, High Elf Archer makes the comment that the group is lucky to have three spell casters, but I think the opposite. Each individual is constrained to only perform a certain number of spells per day and while Dwarf and Lizard Priest can fight without spells, Priestess is pretty vulnerable without them. It’s great to see how Goblin Slayer uses their spell limitations in a way that best suits the group and the overall plan.
It focused the second half of the episode on the confrontation between Goblin Slayer and Shield Maiden. As I’ve said above, many viewers, including myself, found this scene to be quite confusing. I always say I prefer a ‘show don’t tell’ take on shows, but sometimes, if it’s a big twist or plot point it’s better to go ‘1+1=2’, than leaving audiences guessing. While this is probably the last time we see Sword Maiden in the series, I’ve really enjoyed her character and hope she pops up, even for a little cameo so we know she’s doing okay at the end.
To end this discussion, I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite. In my Episode 1 review I complained that the series was pretty much a shot by shot adaptation of the manga. I wanted the anime to do something new with the material and present scenes from different perspectives. But in this episode I would have loved a shot by shot do! There were some really fantastic scenes that were so well done in the manga that just came out awkwardly in the anime. Most notably the talk between Sword Maiden and Goblin Slayer – it was just the camera angle shifting from left to right. It was just a disappointing presentation of what should have been a powerful scene.
Where to From Here?
With just three episodes to go, it’ll be interesting to see what Goblin Slayer does with its remaining time. I thoroughly enjoyed the Water Town arc, and hope that the series doesn’t lose its momentum with another filler episode. But, while I am hopeful that this time will be dedicated to the skipped arc, the series does not have a good track record with keeping pace
That’s it for this week’s Goblin Slayer review, while you wait for the next one, make sure to check out the rest of the MANGA.TOKYO team’s Fall 2018 reviews.
NEXT TIME: Dozing
Fall 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast