Updated February 26, 2019: Added an analysis based on Blu-Ray/DVD box set sales.
Goblin Slayer Season 2 is probably up there with Re:Zero Season 2 on the list of most wanted anime sequels. Both anime adaptations happen to be created by Japanese animation studio White Fox, which has become well-known for creating great isekai anime.
While Western reviews did not criticize Goblin Slayer to the extent seen with The Rising Of The Shield Hero anime, Goblin Slayer was probably hurt by some negative reviews early on since a prominent portion of the plot involves vicious goblins raping human women. Fortunately for the anime, any such criticism subsided quickly since rape was only used as an early plot device. Once the setting was established Goblin Slayer largely became a dark fantasy story with a cynical tinge. And any controversy doesn’t seem to have harmed the sales number.
Released on February 20, 2019, the Goblin Slayer 1 Blu-Ray box sets sold 3,361 copies and the DVD box sets sold 804 copies. To put those financial figures in perspective, Attack On Titan Season 3 (see our article on Attack On Titan Season 4) sold 4,435 copies. My Hero Academia Season 3 actually did worse, selling only 2,612 Blu-Ray copies. Both of those anime are being renewed for a new season, although you have odd ducks like Overlord Season 3 selling 7,222 copies and yet Overlord Season 4 is keeping audiences waiting.
Over time the anime industry has shifted away from disc sales being the overriding factor in determining whether to produce a second season for an anime. Instead, revenue from international streaming and merchandise sales (figurines, etc.) have become the largest factor and international demand is having a huge influence on production decisions. Therefore, it’s quite significant that Goblin Slayer was quite popular worldwide on Crunchyroll when it initially aired.
Thankfully, the producers already seem to be willing to roll the dice for the second season of the Goblin Slayer anime since the first season ended with the message that the “Goblin Slayer will return.” No context was provided so it’s possible that a Goblin Slayer movie could adapt the next major story arc, which provides a fearsome new foe called the Goblin Paladin (see spoilers below for more details).
Goblin Slayer light novel series was inspired by Dungeons & Dragons but represents a revival of dark fantasy
Currently, the anime industry seems to be favoring only certain types of light-hearted isekai, with How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord, Saga Of Tanya The Evil (Youjo Senki), and Overlord representing some of the better examples of the genre. Konosuba and Re:Zero went even further outside the isekai box, with the former skewering isekai tropes and the latter dumping audiences into a dark emotional abyss.
But for every good isekai anime, you have a middling Death March To The Parallel World Rhapsody or the poorly executed In Another World With My Smartphone. These isekai anime are typified by an overpowered yet banal Potato-kun character rummaging around in an alternate world for the sake of stereotypical rom-com harem tropes.
More Berserk than standard isekai, the Goblin Slayer anime eschews the harem tropes in favor of ultraviolence. The tonal differences in the new anime series represent the revival of dark fantasy as a genre. However, its isekai roots are apparent in story details like the tier ranks being derived from MMO video games.
The story for the anime is based on the Goblin Slayer light novel series by author Kagyu Kumo and illustrator Noboru Kannatsuki. Started in 2016, the creator has published eight volumes as of October 2018. The release date for Goblin Slayer Volume 9 has not yet been announced, although based on the publishing history it will likely come out in early 2019.
The official English translation by Yen Press is already up to Volume 5 and is quickly catching up to the Japanese releases. Volume 6 is scheduled to release on January 22, 2019.
In the first half of 2018, the Goblin Slayer light novel series was in the top 25 most popular light novels in Japan and the premiere of the anime will probably skyrocket it to higher heights. Goblin Slayer Volume 8 was in the top 4 for sales during the first two weeks of its release in October 2018.
The main series has spawned multiple side stories in book format. The first, Goblin Slayer: Year One, told the story of how the titular character started as an adventurer. The Year One spin-off is also being adapted into manga with an upcoming English translation (Volume 1 on December 11, 2018).
It’s worth reading since the story was skipped by the anime and the English translation is already published. Set five years before the main story, the prequel details Goblin Slayer’s first solo raid of a goblin nest, a confrontation with a goblin shaman, face-melting blobs, and other feats that he accomplished while still a novice adventurer. Needless to say, he learned the hard way just how devious goblins can be in killing humans.
A second spin-off called Goblin Slayer: Daikatana of Singing Death was published online in Gangan GA magazine. The novel focuses on adventurers taking on the infamous “Dungeon of the Dead.”
Only planned to be nine chapters long, this spin-off hasn’t yet been released in tankobon format and no official English translation is available. Starting in early 2019 the gaiden story started to be adapted into a manga.
The main Goblin Slayer manga series by Kosuke Kurose adapts the light novels’ story. Published since 2016, 27 chapters have been collected into five volumes as of September 25, 2018. The official English translation of the manga by Yen Press is already up to Volume 4 as of November 13, 2018. (Be aware that the manga adaptation contains explicit nudity Goblin Slayer’s rape/torture scenes whereas the anime was more circumspect.)
A manga-only spinoff called Goblin Slayer: Brand New Day focuses on the adventures of side characters in the Frontier. Yen Press is also publishing online the English translation of Brand New Day, but a tankobon-format volume hasn’t been released yet.
Story creator Kumo says he discusses story ideas with friends and when he came up with the idea for Goblin Slayer a friend suggested that he turn it into a full-fledged novel. Overall, the story revolves around Orcbolg’s relationships with the many people that surround and help turn him towards a positive light.
“It’s about a somewhat odd adventurer who meets different party members on his journey through a fantasy world,” Kumo said. “And little by little learns to be more positive thinking, or so I’d like to think.”
In a nutshell, the story is about Goblin Slayer recovering his lost humanity while playing the role of a mid-tier hero. Kumo has stated in an interview that he was influenced by “a lot of American works.” The “motif” came from “American comics like Batman, The Punisher, and more recently movies like Kick-Ass.” Instead of saving the entire world like Superman, “Goblin Slayer is like this small-time hero that isn’t all that powerful who defeats the local criminals and thugs.”
“If I write the entire story from the perspective of the Goblin Slayer, then the entire world would just be him and nothing else,” Kumo said in explaining why he wrote the light novels from a third person perspective. “So I wanted to write it as if a Superman already exists, and on the side there is the Goblin Slayer doing his own thing.”
Besides comics, Kumo says he was largely influenced by Dungeons & Dragons.
“Since I love tabletop gaming, I decided to take that and turn it into a story,” he explained. “I took what I loved and made it the subject of my writing. So to see the novel I’ve written from my love of those works being enjoyed by people in America is really an honor.”
Despite coming up with a list of names for the characters, Kumo even purposefully did not give the characters any names since he “thought it would be better to give each reader the space to fill in the blanks with their own names for the characters.” He figured that if the goblin slayer is Goblin Slayer then “I guess we can leave the priestess as The Priestess, too!”
When it comes other light novels, the biggest influence was Furuhashi Hideyuki’s Black Rod, which won the Dengeki Novel Prize in 1996. Kumo does enjoy dark fantasies but he reads anything that catches his interest.
The author also touched on how his story is different from “most modern fantasy light novels,” which “deal with reincarnation into another world or some kind of video game themed world.” Compared to straight isekai stories, Kumo feels that readers will be “able to feel and enjoy a completely different style overall.”
Regarding the rise of the isekai genre, Kumo believes that there was a “boom or trend” toward dark fantasy stories that started with Record of Lodoss War, which turned transcripts from a D&D campaign into a game and then eventually an anime. That series, in turn, influenced Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and the Slayers series (which has seen a recent manga revival). Despite having darker themes, those stories were written in a light-hearted fashion and “from there it somehow turned into the reincarnation/video game genre that is trending today.”
The author believes he is trying to “revive” the older trend in his own way. Kumo says he likes the isekai stories, but he wrote Goblin Slayer the way it is largely because he reads “rather older books that you would find in libraries” and he felt “more of a connection with the older light novels compared to the more modern series.”
Kumo was already in discussions for turning the idea into a manga before the first light novel was published. It wasn’t until later that plans for the anime adaptation started.
“It felt like I was going to wake up in the hospital one day and find it was all a dream,” he said before offering thanks to his American fans.
Goblin Slayer manga/light novels compared to the anime
A good anime adaptation is often known by finding a good stopping point in the story in which the narrative drives toward closure without whipping the audience around too quickly. A good example would be the Overlord anime series, although Overlord Season 4 may have trouble accomplishing that goal (read the article for more details).
Warning: Minor spoilers in the next paragraph!
The light novel series provides more backstory and worldbuilding in comparison to the anime/manga. There are also small changes like changing Goblin Slayer’s hair color from black to grey, but the biggest difference was the ordering of events. In the light novels/manga, the Sword Maiden/Water Town story arc took place after the farm invasion by the Goblin Lord, which was originally the ending of the first light novel.
Studio White Fox probably switched the story arcs up because the farm invasion made for a more epic conclusion to the first season. This stopping point also provided more resolution to the story by showcasing Goblin Slayer’s character development.
To put the pacing of the Goblin Slayer anime adaptation into perspective, by Episode 3 the anime’s story had adapted up through manga chapter 6. The ending of Episode 4 matched up with manga chapter 9 and also finished up most of the first light novel volume.
Episodes 5 and 6 lifted their titles from the first two chapters of Volume 2. The latter half of the anime’s first season introduced the Sword Maiden character’s story arc. Sword Maiden is a gold-ranked adventurer who suffered horribly at the hands of goblins yet managed to defeat a Demon Lord. These events culminated in the horrific fight against a Goblin Champion.
All in all, the anime adapted two books and 29 manga chapters. As previously mentioned, Goblin Slayer Episode 12 finished off with the ending of the first light novel. The anime also adapted some stories from the Brand New Day gaiden book.
The good news is that the light novel series leaves plenty of room for Goblin Slayer Season 2. Better yet, English-only readers can jump straight in and read ahead of the anime. The bad news is that the manga adaptation is only slightly ahead of the events of the anime.
For those who have already watched the anime, it’s still worth going back to read the manga or the light novels. The books provide additional details that the anime is forced to skip or skim over due to lack of time (for example, the gruesome deaths of the all-female adventurer party). The manga even has added humor lacking from the anime.
Goblin Slayer Season 2 release date
As of the last update, White Fox or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Goblin Slayer Season 2 release date. The first season claimed that “Goblin Slayer will return” but did not directly confirm the production of a sequel.
Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Goblin Slayer Season 2 premiere date will occur in the future.
The Goblin Slayer anime is topping the popularity charts on Crunchyroll and other polls. It’s even being Google searched more than Sword Art Online: Alicization (check out our article on how Unital Ring will become Sword Art Online Season 4). Heck, even Alex Jones of Info Wars is talking about the anime (it’s probably a spoof video).
Although streaming revenue is a major factor in the anime industry, the financial success is often judged by Blu-Ray/DVD sales. Here is the release schedule for the three disc volumes.
- Volume 1: February 20, 2019
- Volume 2: March 20, 2019
- Volume 3: April 17, 2019
If we were to use the Re:Zero anime as a baseline, then it’s very likely that Goblin Slayer Season 2 will take years to come to TV screens.
Goblin Slayer Season 2 spoilers
In the future, Goblin Slayer-san aka Orcbolg will be killing more goblins except with more positive thinking. The end.
Seriously, though, the second season will open on a mostly positive note since everyone wants to celebrate. Goblins are nowhere to be found and it’s time for the Harvest Festival. While Priestess is busy with her duties at the temple, High Elf Archer, Dwarf Shaman and Lizard Priest help with festival preparations.
Guild Girl sees these events as an opportunity to win a date with Goblin Slayer, but where does that leave childhood friend Cow Girl? The biggest shock is not that Cow Girl asks Goblin Slayer on a date to the festival, it’s the fact that Goblin Slayer actually agrees!
As might be expected, Goblin Slayer’s mind is elsewhere. The dwindling requests to exterminate goblins may have some people happy, but Goblin Slayer suspects a lurking threat.
After all, Volume 3 opens with Goblin Slayer and Priestess going on a mission to rescue kidnapped maidens from goblins lurking in a mine. They discover the villains are using equipment and not just simple tools. More surprisingly, the rescued women are untouched! What does this all mean?
It turns out that a villain named Dark Elf was the culprit behind the goblin incursion in Water Town. An apostle of the gods of chaos, Dark Elf had schemed to overthrow Sword Maiden by using her fear of goblins against her. Dark Elf had been arming the goblins and setting the stage for the Water Town coup until Goblin Slayer intervened.
The festival turns into a battle when Dark Elf leads a goblin attack. He plans on using a cursed artifact to a summon a fearsome giant called Hecatoncheir, but Goblin Slayer’s party stands in the way of the evil elf’s plans.
With a Demon Lord defeated by the Hero and the goblin threat abated, many of the characters decide to go on vacation. Ecchi fans will be pleased with these turn of events since Guild Girl, High Elf Archer, Cow Girl, and Priestess all find themselves shopping for some very skimpy clothing among other activities. High Elf Archer also reminisces about old adventures during a lazy day.
Goblin Slayer isn’t one to take vacations, but he does take a vacation from killing goblins. Instead, he finds himself teaming up with the Guts-like Heavy Warrior and Spearman to take on demons in the Temple of Doom for the ending of Volume 4.
Hopefully, Goblin Slayer Season 2 will be a two-cour season. While the battles against necromancers and demons are certainly interesting, the action heats up even further with the next major story arc.
It all starts simply enough when Goblin Slayer accepts a quest to rescue a missing young swordswoman who is a noble. The party travels to the cold north and discover that an ancient dwarven fortress has become a nest for goblins.
The goblins in this area have organized themselves way beyond any nest that Goblin Slayer has destroyed before. Not only is there an evil cult called the Green Crescent Moon, but the goblins have also anointed a powerful leader called the Goblin Paladin.
The Goblin Paladin has learned to combat humans beyond any of his kin and the goblins are holding a coronation for their hero. Goblin Slayer and Goblin Paladin will clash repeatedly in multiple encounters in Goblin Slayer Season 2.
Noble Fencer was the lone survivor of her party. Held captive by the goblins she was tortured like every woman and she has felt the emotional impact of being a survivor. She’s on the cusp of going down the same route as Goblin Slayer whose coping mechanisms have distanced him from his own humanity.
Noble Fencer’s interaction with Priestess drives the character development of the story. Priestess may have survived her first disastrous adventure physically unscathed but not all wounds leave physical marks. The emotional scarring continues to gnaw at her and working with Noble Fencer helps her work through those feelings. In return, Priestess is able to bring Noble Fencer back from the brink before she dives down into darkness by showing her compassion and understanding.
Assuming the second season of the anime reaches Volume 6, it would be best if Goblin Slayer Season 2 adapts Volumes 5 and 6 out of order. Similar to how the farm invasion offered the best stopping point, the battle against the Goblin Paladin in Volume 5 is a superior ending although it could be argued that Volume 6 is more insightful because of its emotional development of the characters.
Volume 6 has Guild Girl being annoyed by a haughty Wizard Boy who ran away from school to become an adventurer and only wants to hunt goblins. Similar to the main protagonist, wizard boy wants to become a goblin killer to avenge the death of his older sister, who was derided by others for being killed by “weak” monsters.
Goblin Slayer is only slightly annoyed by this young upstart taking the goblin quests, but what sets Goblin Slayer off is Wizard Boy’s motivations for his actions. Hearing the descriptions of the past, Goblin Slayer recognizes himself in the younger boy and these memories trigger a PTSD attack that causes Goblin Slayer to literally flee in panic.
Goblin Slayer’s emotional trauma is only compounded when they learn that a new adventure training ground is being built on the exact spot where Goblin Slayer and Cow Girl’s village used to be located. Plus, Wizard Boy is fairly mean to Priestess, making the situation even more difficult.
These events bring up past emotions but there’s still plenty of action. Goblin Slayer’s party finds themselves teaming up with the Wizard Boy on a quest to a goblin-infested tomb. Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned.
Anime audiences will just have to wait until the Goblin Slayer Season 2 release date to find out how Orcsbolg resolves these confrontations. Let’s just hope the wait isn’t too long. Stay tuned!
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