Well, after most of a year with crap anime, relieved only by Fate/Z.. I mean Steins;Gate 0, we’ve finally hit the jackpot with a surprising slate of the good stuff. It’s good enough to get me to break my silence, anyway. And then I started running into technical difficulties in taking screenshots. So I started this post, and then sat on it for over a month. And now, because I’ve got some dead time at Thanksgorging, I decided to complete it, though not with the originally intended screencaps.
I’ve watched about five different animes, for at least one episode, if not two or three. I’m behind on all of them, which indicates that Conan Exiles is still taking most of my leisure time. Well, the fact that it IS taking most of my leisure time is probably the best indicator… Well, anyway, below the fold are the two of the series that have made the biggest impression so far – whether positive or negative.
Let’s start with Goblin Slayer, a story in which characters don’t have names, just titles. I’m fairly sure it started as a LN, but I ran into it as a manga adaptation. The scanlators weren’t steady, as it was picked up and dropped several times, so I lost interest. It’s not a story for the squeamish. People die rather badly – if they’re lucky. Priestess is a naïve new cleric, an adult at 15. (I’m fairly sure I wasn’t an adult at 15, being more interested in keeping the teachers off my back and finding cute girls to … ah, I digress.) So Priestess is of Porcelain rank (the lowest of ten). Registering at the adventurer’s guild, she’s approached by a similar group of newbies with a charismatic fighter, a somewhat conceited mage, and a gregarious monk. The fighter is the only guy – all the others are girls. Harem hijinks ensue?
No. After a bit of camaraderie, they take a mission exterminating goblins – small, weak, easily frightened, but often numerous small green men that like to raid farms, kidnap human women, and then rape and kill them. (Apparently, since they do breed with female goblins, they just like spreading the love.) Unfortunately, our band of newbies finds out the hard way, goblins are also extremely cunning and tricky. Fighter dies to the plague… of daggers. Mage dies to poison. Monk wishes she died. And Priestess, peeing herself in fright, is about to meet the same fate, when the titular character shows up, the Goblin Slayer.
A Silver-rank adventurer, he kills their big guard, and proceeds deeper into the cavern, with her in tow. Pointing out the errors made by the newbies, he coaches her through the best use of her spells, applying tactics to wipe out their shaman and the rest of the nest. Including the goblin children an babies, much to Priestess’s shock and horror. Monk is rescued but ends up in a convent, her mind shattered from the horror of being raped by disgusting little green men half her size. The first episode ends with Priestess joining the Goblin Slayer to form a two person party.
The concept of Goblin Slayer (the person) is that he only takes goblin slaying quests. He’s kind of the shame of silver-ranks, as such jobs pay poorly. He goes by no other name, just Goblin Slayer. He never removes his armor; even eating in it (special adaptation to the helmet, it seems). Never shown whether he sleeps in it. Nor whether he takes it off to go to the bathroom. Seeing as he’s allowed to enter town and associate with people, I assume so. We learn of his origins in the second episode, which introduces his childhood friend Cow Girl. Yes, wrap your mind around that name.
He lives with her and her uncle. The three of them are survivors from a village wiped out by goblins, after which he devoted himself to the single-minded and handed extermination of all goblins. How do we know this is fantasy? Cow Girl is a babe, and isn’t married, nor subject to suitors lined up at the door. It’s obvious that she’s fixated on him, if not in love, but doesn’t know how to tell him. This naïve little priestess following him like a puppy-dog is a threat she doesn’t know how to deal with, though.
The second episode highlights the clash of Priestess’s idealism with Goblin Slayer’s ruthless pragmatism. The Slayer narrates part of the episode, speaking to the Priestess philosophically about how each goblin that escapes becomes a wanderer, gaining experience until settling in with another band as its strong-man and defender. And that is what he is, the Slayer points out – the human version of a goblin survivor / defender. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that, but it gives a bit of unexpected depth to chat about in any after-show bull session.
The end of the second episode introduces three new characters; Dwarf Mage, Dragon-man Shaman, and Elf Ranger. These will join the first two for the long term plot, which involves (what else?) a demon invasion.
Finally there’s A Certain Magical Index III, which I’m sad to say, is collapsing under the weight of it’s four predecessor series. There’s very little exposition to explain what’s going on to the new viewer. If you haven’t watched all of them – if fact, if you haven’t refreshed your memory with at least Index II, you’re going to be totally lost, as it picks up shortly after the September 30th incident. Worse, this is where I think the story itself starts to collapse under the weight of an ever-complicating plot. The central conflict of the story has developed between the Roman Orthodox Church, and the forces of science, represented by Academy City.
The English Puritan Church and Amasuka Church (led by our favorite one-pants-legged swordswoman) are more or less against the Roman Church, it’s hard to know the players without a scorecard. Changes to the roster don’t help. Touma (excuse me, Toma) meets Railgun (now called Zapper??? ExcusemeWTFCrunchy?), Tschuimidodo (ok that one’s mine), some girl from the Amasuka Church*, a violent classmate trying to keep the guys in line, the loli teacher, another teacher, and a new character, another one of the God’s Right Seat from the Roman Church or whatever. He’s…. well, frankly, DC Comics called; they want the Joker back. The breakneck pace needed to give each of the oversized cast their moment in the sun is only exacerbated by the confusing plot. The adult teacher is knitting gloves for her mother, who happens to run into (and feed) Index, and then gets a mysterious call. Sending Index back home, ka-san kidnaps Toma to a park where she starts talking about his Imagine Breaker and reveals that she’s actually one of the Directors of Academy City. She is then shot by Tschuchiboochi, who shanghaies Toma to Avingon, France on a supersonic transport. Stupidly, Toma is being affected by g-forces, while Tchupicabra is not. (Once it reaches top speed, why would EITHER of them be affected? Science fails.) Then they parachute into Avignon, in broad daylight. Unnoticed, except for the aforementioned Amasuka church girl.
*Beliefs apparently include a mix of Catholicism, Buddhism, and kicking ass with melee weapons such as spears and swords.
Anyway, while it’s nice to see them all again, the insanely convoluted plot involving a magic document being used to gin up protests in France against Academy City (which will accomplish what, exactly?) and shoehorning in so many characters (only Accelerator and Last Order didn’t appear, and they show up around episode three), the bizarre and illogical twists, more crazy magical-powered enemies – it’s like Toma’s power is a McGuffin, never to be explained, and all the rest of the wackiness is just an excuse for the story.
Oh, shoot. I gave the secret away.
Alright, I’m already well over 1000 words and haven’t even started on Zombieland Saga, Bunny Girl Sempai, and Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc. Hopefully it won’t take a month to get to them.