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Spoilers for Goblin Slayer
I know I said I’d do series reviews, but I couldn’t help myself with this topic. While I was on vacation for the winter holidays, I had a lot of time for reading light novels. With that extra time, I ended up reading the Goblin Slayer light novel up to the point where the anime ends. While it’s still uncertain whether we’re getting a second season, I did notice that the order of events in the light novel noticeably differed from what we saw in the anime. Obviously, this post will have spoilers about those events.
The anime ended with the dramatic fight against goblin lord attacking Goblin Slayer’s home village. However, the light novel has this entire encounter in the first volume, before the group goes to the Water City and meets the Sword Maiden. This has an interesting consequence. As you may recall, there’s a specific scene in the Water City arc in which Priestess and Goblin Slayer wake up together in the same bed. At the time, I remember questioning why Priestess doesn’t bring up the fact that Goblin Slayer is not wearing his helmet, as it’s the first time we’ve seen that in the anime.
In the light novel, this behavior makes sense, since Goblin Slayer reveals his face to her as a reward for defeating the goblin lord. So, Priestess has already seen his face by the time they sleep together. But that’s really just a minor gripe, as the anime explains this away by having Priestess say she didn’t see Goblin Slayer’s face clearly at the time.
What’s more interesting is that the anime chooses to end on that fight in the first place. As opposed to the events of the Water City arc, the attack on the farm is personal, and it’s a battle Goblin Slayer acknowledges is impossible to win alone. As a result, the stakes for the fight become a lot higher, since it’s not just Goblin Slayer’s survival that’s in question. What better way to end a series?
Additionally, the fight forces him to call upon the aid of every adventurer he has met up to that point despite his reputation as a largely unsociable guy. That means the fight is building upon the interactions we’ve seen throughout the entire series, making it a fitting conclusion. Sure, it’s probably just a result of the adaptation benefiting from hindsight. The fight serves pretty much the same purpose as the finale for the light novel, but it’s missing the time aspect, time to show how other adventurers see Goblin Slayer.
I think the events work either way, but I personally think it’s fun to see how the anime takes advantage of its season constraints to construct a slightly different, but ultimately appropriate, story experience. I’ve always been really bad at seeing the specific ways an anime adaptation builds upon its source material, and I think this might be a clear example to help me out. It’s something to think about, right?