In the world of fantasy stories, you have two kinds:
1. A fantasy world that explores magic and adventure, is fairly light-hearted with maybe some darkness from time to time to spice things up.
2. A fantasy world that is extremely realistic in that despite all the magic and adventure, shit can go horribly, and fatally, wrong, and monsters have bad habits.
(Spoilers for Episode 1 past this point.)
Goblin Slayer, after watching the very first episode, is the second type. The episode revolves around a group of novice adventurers going into a cave to slay goblins and rescue kidnapped girls. Naturally, being novices, they make a lot of rookie mistakes, and it goes horribly, horribly, wrong. The spellcaster gets stabbed in the stomach with a poisoned blade, the swordsman brought a sword that was too big for a small cave and ends up getting stabbed and ripped to shreds by the goblins, the monk gets thrown around like a toy by a hobgoblin, is stripped, and... well you see where that was going. And that’s where this episode, at the very least, gets the most brutal and uncomfortable. It almost happens a second time, but gets averted just in the nick of time because the titular Goblin Slayer shows up and wrecks the goblins shit, but even twenty minutes after I finished the episode, I still find myself shaking and feeling very sick.
The gore doesn’t bother me at all because that’s standard fare. In fact, it’s pretty tame. The only really gritty part is the sounds that accompany it all. The pained gurgles and screams of the dying adventurers, the stabbing and clawing, the crying, and when you match that all to the visuals it’s a gut-wrenching experience that is very rare in anime these days, but whenever I come across something so brutal and vivid in its depiction, it always makes me feel sick and terrified. And yet, it’s what I want to see because it’s so rare, and because it’s so brutal and vivid. I’ll be coming back next week to watch more Goblin Slayer, and since I haven’t read the manga it can go one of two ways: It can get even more brutal and unnerving, or it starts to lighten up as more of the cast gathers and softens that cold heart of the Goblin Slayer. I’m kind of hoping it’s not the latter.