How would you define a real adventure? Perhaps it is a wild ride that you can talk about even when you are old. An exciting journey with ups and downs. Something breathtaking and emotional at the same time. And the most important part would be the friends, that accompany you through situations as hard as they can be.
It has been some time since we saw Goblin Slayer the last time on screen. When the anime first aired in October 2018 it did not take long to become viral. A dark fantasy premise with a first episode that made the broadcaster issue warnings to the viewer. The ideal mixture to draw fans from various genres, especially Shounen.
Although the hype about the dark premise disappeared fast, the show continued to deliver an unique fantasy experience in the world of anime. A main character that stands out with an eccentric personality and a tactical genius. The woman at his side inexperienced at first but with an impressive character development. A team that could not be more different but works together like a well tuned clockwork.
A well balanced fantasy that I find has become rare since “Isekai”-anime with overpowered main characters pop out like bad weeds.
So after almost two years the story continues with the movie Goblin’s Crown. And the preview already showed that it plays in an icy mountain area. Quite the contrast to the previous middle age or countryside landscape.
The first twenty minutes are a recap of the previous show. But the cuts are surprisingly well composed and it feels more refreshing and nostalgic than boring. We are then introduced to new characters although only one of them really matters for the later part. A nice flashy battle scene underscores the appeal of the new landscape.
But snowy mountains are not just beautiful and sparkle in broad daylight. As we will learn quickly it also can be a slow and silent killer. Especially when you fight goblins that seem different than usual. Soon our main character notices that there is something new about the enemy. The goblins actually seem to learn. A hint that foreshadows a fight that surpasses everything we have seen so far.
Goblin’s Crown actually manages to bring back the feeling of the first anime episode. The dark back story of our new heroine Noble Fencer shows how dangerous and cruel goblins still are. A fact that might have been forgotten in the meantime. At this point the movie also shows what it focuses on. To overcome past fear and regrets through friends. And the importance of carefully observing your enemies.
The overall story of Goblin’s Crown can probably be explained in a matter of seconds. A new smarter type of goblins, paired with an even more dangerous landscape. On top a powerful Goblin Paladin as leader with a whole castle full of underlings to defeat. And then there is our team with their genius tactician leader that does never disappoint.
Still Goblin’s Crown manages to create a wild ride through the snowy and restricting surroundings. The infiltration of the goblin castle really makes you feel how dangerous mistakes could be. Paired with Nobles’ sudden anxiety attacks there are always moments when you know that now is the time to run. As soon as they manage to clear a situation, new dangers appear. Until the whole movie develops into a breathtaking chase.
This is where Goblin Slayer – the main character – shows us the difference between this show and other “Isekai”-anime. Carefully observing the enemies with a calm mind, he is able to help the group withstand the endless flood of goblin waves. Even small items like a vial are useful to him to make goblins fall. The way he navigates through a new area reminds me of a professional soldier rather than an adventurer. An amazing sense of tactical warfare that is enjoyable to watch, especially in this dark and cold setting.
But it is not only his tactical genius that I find amazing. For me it was especially impressive how Goblin Slayer fights the physically stronger Goblin Paladin on close range. And even though this one turns out to be smarter than the enemies before, our main character catches him off guard. Not giving in to the heat of the battle, he disarms the Goblin Paladin by letting him thrust through his shield. The cockiness of the stronger enemy turns out to be his own downfall.
And yet it is not only Goblin Slayer that makes this movie so enjoyable. Every character plays their own important role. Their different professions are perfectly balanced. A team spirit that recovers Noble Fencer’s trust towards the group so that she is able to overcome her trauma. Forgetting the horrible scene at the beginning. Laying down her fear of the goblins, whose cruel deeds we see in multiple flashbacks. She even turns out to be the ideal addition in this large scale fight because of her powerful lightning magic.
Soon after the climax there is relief. Even though there is a shocking moment when Goblin Slayer disappears in an avalanche. The concerns do not last long because the group is full of trust towards their leader. And so he returns with Nobles’ saber. In a final verdict Noble realizes that “[…] this was an adventure” and the dark scenery changes into the sparkling ice landscape again, that we saw at the beginning.
Finally I can only say that Goblin’s Crown is a successful continuation of the anime series. It manages to create a diverting ride through new scenery. Old elements are reused and combined with a new exciting premise. It stays loyal to its prequel and is supplemented with lovely details. In between the action scenes we always have small scenes to calm down and learn more about the characters.
It comes to an end with the usual fantastic guild celebration. And yet Goblin Slayer and the priestess have their own comfortable party outside. In front of the snowy valley they camp and make their plans for the next year. A scene that warms my heart and lets me hope for a quick comeback. After all Goblin’s Crown narrates the 5th of the currently 12 light novels. Let’s see what will await us in the new year. One thing is certain, the hunt for goblins will continue!
Also take a look at my comment on Akihiko Kayaba from Sword Art Online.