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"I won't save the world. I just kill goblins."
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In a Standard Fantasy Setting world, a fifteen-year-old priestess, fresh out of the convent, is drafted by a party of rookie, Porcelain-ranked adventurers who've taken a mission to eradicate a nest of goblins, creatures with the size and strength of a small child. While dangerous in large numbers, they're nothing that a group of low-level adventurers can't handle... right?

Wrong.

Having not taken the most basic precautions (like buying healing potions and antidotes), the party are soon ambushed, with the goblins killing or raping them one by one, until only the priestess is left. Wounded and surrounded, the priestess faces certain doom... until a man in battle-scarred armor walks in, and proceeds to brutally slaughter the entire goblin nest, children included.

He is Goblin Slayer, and he does not let anyone roll the dice.

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Goblin Slayer is a Japanese Dark Heroic Fantasy Light Novel series written by Kumo Kagyu and illustrated by Noboru Kannatsuki. Its story follows the Priestess and other adventurers as they accompany the Goblin Slayer on his life's mission to kill every last goblin he can find. As a (partial) Deconstruction of standard fantasy works, the series emphasizes the power of Boring, but Practical equipment and tactics, how Anyone Can Die if not careful, the dangers of epic heroes not bothering with "low level" quests, and just how warped a Dark and Troubled Past can make someone. In equal measure, it also emphasizes how True Companions can pull each other through the darkest of situations through teamwork, smarts, and plain old tenacity, fighting for what they believe in.

Heavily inspired by tabletop role-playing games, the whole story spawned from the author, Kumo Kagyu, asking himself "What would a fantasy world be like if it were home to an adventurer who only hunted goblins?" Then he went on to post an outline of the story on an image board, 2ch (Futaba), to gauge fan interest before it became an official work. Curiously enough, he posted the story with character images coming from Dragon Quest and other known series in Japan as placeholders for his characters in the original thread - Goblin Slayer in particular was portrayed by the Infernal Armor monster in the aforementioned famous series, of which the official Goblin Slayer design is very reminiscent of.

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Yen Press has published and translated the Light Novels into English; meanwhile, the series has three Manga releases, also published by Yen Press and released simultaneously in English when chapters are released in Japan:

  • Goblin Slayer, written by Kousuke Kurose, a direct adaptation of the current Light Novels.
  • Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One, authored by Kento Eida, serving as a Prequel five years before the Light Novels when Goblin Slayer begins his crusade.
  • Goblin Slayer: Brand New Day, by Masahiro Ikeno, which expands on side characters and their adventures throughout the Frontier.

White Fox received the rights to adapt a 12-Episode Anime (later expanded with a recap episode before the final arc) in October 2018, with Crunchyroll simulcasting. The anime also has an English dub from Funimation.

Unrelated with either Ninja Slayer or Ogre Slayer, or the Doom Slayer.


Goblin Slayer does not let anyone, even tropers, roll the dice:

  • Action Prologue: The Year One Light Novel opens with a prince and his army readying to fight against an army of undead advancing towards them.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Inverted. Instead of the heroes being on the receiving end of this treatment, it's the villagers. Scores of high-ranking adventurers often refuse to take up goblin-hunting quests largely because they are issued by villagers who just cannot fork over enough reward money to make it worth the risk, unlike, say, a wealthy merchant who will gladly pay a fortune simply to have an already-mostly-safe trading route cleared of a solitary group of bandits, often leaving such quests to be taken up by over-eager newbies who grossly underestimate the goblin threat, often at their own risk — or by Goblin Slayer, who has pretty much singlehandedly kept the goblins in check for years. But recently the number of goblin quests have sharply increased. Guild Girl, thinking about this, admits to herself just how grim things are getting, and that if things don't change, then the future looks pretty bleak.
    • Another way it's subverted is the apparent absence of any overarching militia or military. Undoubtedly the goblin raids reduce farming productivity. While its easy to blame capitalism for not providing the farms with enough funds to post attractive extermination quests, this actually risks widespread famine and increased food prices.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The story of the all-female party that invaded a goblin-infested elven fort was cut short in the anime. While their corpses can still be found in the goblin nest that Goblin Slayer and Priestess eventually invaded, how they ended up there was not shown.
    • The farm battle had to condense Goblin Lord's backstory, possibly because it wouldn't be acceptable enough to air on television.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • Based on the manga and anime, you'd be forgiven for thinking all the goblins do is Rape, Pillage, and Burn villages and their inhabitants all the time as if they're an unstoppable force, while in the light novels it's clearer that this is an escalating process starting with petty theft and usually nipped in the bud. Though things are getting worse when the story begins because of events in the wider world.
    • Likewise it's clearer in the books that the story is usually set in the frontier regions, far from the more densely populated and developed areas, going some way to explain the wild and dangerous Adventure-Friendly World's continued existence.
    • It's also clearer in the books that veteran adventurers not only pass on goblin quests due to low pay but also because they are none too eager to face goblins again, as in their early days. They also look down on Goblin Slayer not so much for going "easy mode", but as a weirdo crazy enough to keep fighting goblins.
    • The anime had to skip the explanation for the Goblin Lord's fancy axe. It was a prize he took when he killed a barbarian and a hostage which was to illustrate Goblin Slayer's justification on why he only uses low quality weapons.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The manga adds a bit where an adventurer is felled due to not wearing a helmet, leading to her whole party being wiped out, to contrast with Goblin Slayer shrugging off a similar blow due to his. The lesson is kind of weakened when everyone else doesn't wear head protection, though it's acknowledged that Helmets Are Hardly Heroic because as adventurers, they want to be recognized, and to some degree they depend on friendly spell-casters to buff their defense. The light novel just ascribes the total party kill to pure dumb luck (a bad dice roll, in other words) when they set off a trap/alarm (or rather failed to disarm it due to fatigue), and the anime skips over their deaths, showing only the aftermath.
    • The anime rearranges the order of events of the story so that the Water Town arc occurs before the Farm Siege arc, instead of the other way around as it originally was. Thus, a number of discrepancies crop up, such as:
      • As originally written, the Heroine defeated the Demon Lord before the other arc began, which was the reason why the evil cult was conducting human sacrifices in Water Town to try to resurrect him. While Sword Maiden speculates they were just looking for revenge against her for her role in the Demon Lord's defeat 10 years ago, that doesn't explain why the human sacrifices were happening. Downplayed as it's an evil cult doing evil things anyway.
      • Upon returning from Water Town, Goblin Slayer takes his armor in for repairs even though his armor didn't get damaged that much during the last fight at the Gate mirror. This is because originally, he was having his armor repaired due to being slammed against a pillar by the Ogre in the elven ruins.
      • Goblin Slayer is perfectly comfortable walking around in casual clothes back at the Guild hall, when earlier in Water Town he kept his helmet on when requesting repairs at the blacksmith there. In the original story,he was out of all his armor as it was all being repaired, including his helmet. The anime kept his helmet on earlier to avoid having to do an early reaction from Priestess at his face reveal.
      • In Episode 9, Priestess says she only has one spell left to use during the Gate mirror siege, even though in Episode 8 she only used one Protection spell against the Giant Eyeball and so she should still have another spell remaining. This is because the anime cut out a much longer battle sequence against the eyeball where Priestess attempted to use Protection deeper in the room but the eyeball used Dispel to undo it.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: The Frontier is an untamed landscape extending far beyond governing influences and teeming with ancient ruins, artifacts, and monsters. Adventurers traversing it naturally flourish as there's seemingly no end to the quests coming into the Guild.
  • Alien Fair Folk: According to one folk story (known to the audience through a story from Goblin Slayer's late sister), the Goblins come from one of the two moons. It's unknown if there's any truth to it, or if it's just a rumor.
  • Alien Sky: The night sky has two moons. One of them is green and, according to Goblin Slayer's sister, was where goblins came from.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: All over the place, and not necessarily just because Goblin Slayer himself is too obsessed with goblins to ever consider romantic relationships.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The goblins lack morals or logic when it comes to dealing with humans, kidnapping and raiding civilians. In Year One, Guild Girl mentions that goblins, despite their weakness, have a sense of superiority over all living things and feel free to indulge their worst inclinations against them.
  • Analogy Backfire: When Goblin Slayer explains his place in the Cycle of Revenge as basically "Goblins kill humans and I hunt them. To them, I am the goblin." the female receptionist chews him out for inadvertently implying that she, as the one giving him missions, is some sort of God of Evil.
  • Anti-Hero: While Goblin Slayer is perhaps the world's best hope against the goblin threat, his obsession with hunting down every last goblin leads him to such excesses as finding creative, gruesome ways to kill them, and even exterminating goblin children. He is so utterly terrifying that it's extremely easy to initially confuse him with a villain. His menacing, faceless armor, brutality, sparse dialogue and red eye-trails make him look like a monster. The reason why he's a hero to an extent is because Goblins are very cruel and violent by nature, who pillage, rape, torture and kill just to survive, and also just because they can, which makes him somewhat understandable in his motivations, and beyond his monomania he's shown to be genuinely kind and devoted to his friends.
  • Anthropic Principle: The series is set in an Adventure-Friendly World (likened to a giant tabletop game the gods are playing) and mostly focuses on a seemingly limitless frontier dotted with ruins, farms, villages and towns far from the heart of the humans' kingdom, not to mention those of different races. There's no shortage of rookie adventurers mostly coming from those areas despite the high mortality rate of beginners' quests, which include slaying not only goblins but also giant rats and roaches. Goblins themselves cannot reproduce on their own but need to breed with other creatures, usually human captives, and thus must be also dependent on the population in those areas (who they typically raid instead of destroy utterly, unless directed by darker powers or particularly cunning and ambitious goblin leaders once their numbers are strong enough). But any logistical issues are handwaved by the vaguely defined amount of settlements out there (not even the characters know), particularly in the light novel, and since it's a giant game it needs new players and constant enemies to keep going.
  • Arc Villain: The series doesn't have an overarching singular Big Bad yet. Goblins as a whole are a constant threat and there is a Demon Lord, but goblins are just Mooks in the grand scheme of things, and the Demon Lord is treated more as a Greater-Scope Villain and Villain of Another Story. However, we are given at least one of these villains per arc/volume. Listing them off:
    • Volume 1:
      • Introduction arc: Ogre
      • Raid on the Farm arc: Goblin Lord
    • Volume 2 (Water Town arc): The Water Town Goblin Champion
    • Volume 3 (Harvest Festival arc): Dark Elf
    • Volume 4 (Brand New Day): Evil Wizard
    • Volume 5 (Snowy Mountains arc): Goblin Paladin
    • Volume 8: Goblin Priest
    • Year One:
      • Volume 1: Rock Eater
  • Armor Is Useless: Continuously averted. Armor proves indispensable over and over again.
    • In the fourth chapter of the manga, a female adventurer is knocked out and captured by goblins when she's struck in the head by a rock. Goblin Slayer later is also hit in the head with a rock, but his helmet protects him from the impact and he's hardly fazed at all.
    • Good armor is the only thing that saves Goblin Slayer's life when he goes against far bigger enemies who carry massive weapons and manage to get a good shot in during the first two volumes.
    • This trope is turned against Goblin Slayer in chapter 14 of the manga when Goblin Slayer pins the Goblin Lord, only for him to turn out to be wearing a breastplate under his cloak - much to Goblin Slayer's consternation, as he was still injured from fighting Ogre and his best shot at winning was a Single-Stroke Battle.
    • It does get played straight in one nightmarish instance though, the Goblin Champion in chapter 22 is able to bite through Priestess’ chainmail as easily as her flesh when he takes a chunk out of her shoulder. Averted as well, since it was the reason the bite wound wasn't deep enough to be fatal, even the Lizardman mentions after healing her that if the wound were any deeper he would have been unable to save her
    • The Greenhorn Warrior in the beginning does well against the goblins at first, but his lack of armor left him vulnerable to a retaliatory stab in the leg from a goblin he impaled on his sword. This serious injury makes him more careless, sealing his fate when his longsword gets caught on the ceiling and flies out of his hand.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The art style in all versions is similar to that of shonen RPG series anime and manga, particularly the anime with its somewhat "cutified" faces, but the events depicted wouldn't be out of place in a seinen Dark Fantasy series like Berserk.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The rookie Warrior's sword was too long to use properly in the confines of a cave. It got caught on a wall as a result, leaving him open to a Zerg Rush. Goblin Slayer made the same mistake when he started out, but the rest of his gear ensured that it wouldn't be a fatal one in his case.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Viciously averted when a goblin champion attacks the Priestess and bites a massive chunk out of her shoulder and arm. She's quickly reduced to a bloody, snot-dribbling mess sobbing in agony, and it's only because of the Goblin Slayer's medical assistance that she doesn't die from shock and blood loss.
    • When it comes to women captured by goblins, it's Depending on the Artist and the adaptation. The light novel completely averts this by describing in brutal detail on how badly maimed these women have become. Although this vary in the manga adaptations. In some cases, the injuries are appropriately brutal, like with the Elf Scout in chapter 6 and the human meat shields in chapter 12. In other cases, the injuries are greatly downplayed compare to the light novel. For example, Noble Knight goes from being mutilated beyond recognition in the light novel, to looking like she is in an Angst Coma in the manga. In another example, Spearwoman goes from being covered in scrapes and having some of her scalp rip off in the light novel, to only having minor scratches and a fast healing cut on her head in the manga.
    • Surprisingly, given its Bloodier and Gorier setup, this is played straight for most of the captured women in the Year One manga. The three sisters in the first chapter have very little injuries on them while they were gang-raped by a horde of goblins. Possibly the most outstanding example was the woman Goblin Slayer saved on his very first mission as an adventurer in Chapter 4-6. The poor woman spent a week in the goblins' nest and it's heavily implied she gave birth to the goblin children that Goblin Slayer finds. Despite all this and being in an Angst Coma, she surprisingly doesn't have any blood, or even a scratch, on her.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Somehow, a line from High Elf Archer about flooding goblin lairs becomes about waterboarding in the Crunchyroll subtitles for the anime. Worth noting for coming some time after the light novel and manga versions of the scene were already translated correctly.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: In volume 3, Female Knight asks Goblin Slayer — a man with No Social Skills who is more or less Oblivious to Love — for advice on how to romance her partner Heavy Warrior. Even Goblin Slayer realizes how silly it is for someone to ask him for relationship advice. Though the advice he gives her actually works.
  • Blood Knight: For Lizardmen, battle is the greatest joy they know.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The manga version of Year One is far more gory than the actual series itself, with the opening chapter showing us blood spraying everywhere as goblins murder villagers, with the dismembered corpses presented fully to the reader afterwards.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Goblin Slayer's equipment looks pretty shabby and worn even compared to those of most rookies, but it gets the job done. His fellow Silver adventurers look down on him partly because his equipment isn't as fancy as theirs. The thing is, it doesn't need to, since he's only hunting goblins and it's also cheap and easily replaceable, though he prefers to get it repaired.
    • Goblin Slayer doesn't even clean his armor and weapons beyond wiping off any excess blood and viscera, since goblins have a very sharp sense of smell. They smell clean metal, they think warriors are coming; they smell blood and guts, they think business as usual, and that's where Goblin Slayer gets the jump on them.
    • An apprentice blacksmith asks his master why Goblin Slayer doesn't invest in enchanted weapons, and is told that such armaments would be overkill against the typical horde, and that the magical aura and flashy aftereffects of most enchantments would just give Goblin Slayer away to the goblins and utterly undermine his stealth-intensive tactics.
    • Another reason why the Goblin Slayer uses average-quality gear is to avoid the goblins getting their hands on good gear in case they kill him. No one enjoys facing little buggers wearing high-quality gear looted from their last victim.
    • In Brand New Day, he indirectly advises Rookie Warrior about using clubs as a replacement weapon, reasoning that clubs are easy to use and do not have the risk of chipping, unlike swords. Rookie Warrior acknowledges when using a club in the sewers later that it's effective as a weapon, although not very flashy.
  • Break the Cutie: Plenty. Priestess and Fighter, the only survivors of their all-rookie party, suffer from this—the latter witnessed two of her companions die and got gang-raped by goblins, and is highly unlikely to return to the field again; the former, meanwhile, learned how cruel and dangerous adventuring is, and is still having flashbacks and nightmares even six months later. That's just the tip of the iceberg, mind you.
  • Breakable Weapons: Done to the point of exaggeration in Year One, where a rookie Goblin Slayer learns his sword is only good for five kills against goblins before it's damaged to the point of becoming increasingly less effective. So that particular adventure kept a kill count, and every sixth kill had his sword grow increasingly shorter. In real-life, a decent sword can handle far more abuse than that - part of the point of steel replacing iron and bronze was that it could take more abuse. Justified as Goblin Slayer deliberately uses poor quality weapons so that in the event of his death, the goblins won't have better equipment.
  • Breeding Slave: The fate of any fertile female captured alive by goblins is to be imprisoned in a pen and used to make more goblins.
  • Brick Joke: The first time Goblin Slayer demonstrates how he camouflages against the goblins' keen sense of smell (pressing cloth against goblin liver and giving it a squeeze, then slathering its juices all over the recipient), it absolutely disgusts Priestess. This makes a darkly comical return when High Elf Archer is introduced to the same, complete with Priestess sporting a Thousand-Yard Stare, followed by the Priestess telling the High Elf Archer to "get used to it."
  • Bring My Brown Pants: In the first chapter, Priestess wets herself in fear after being cornered by goblins. In the second chapter, Goblin Slayer points out that because of this, the goblins will notice her coming with their keen sense of smell, and has her mask the smell with the goblins' own blood and guts.
    • Happens again during the fight in the catacombs against the goblin champion.
  • Byronic Hero: Goblin Slayer lives and breathes this trope. Dark and brooding? Cynical with a dark and troubled past? Passionate about his personal beliefs? Possesses a strong determination and drive towards pursuing his goal? Unrelenting in his pursuit of his goal, in this case revenge? Couldn't define him better.
  • Bystander Syndrome:
    • Part of the issue pertaining goblin raids is that most veterans outside of Goblin Slayer's circle have no interest in what basically amounts to pest control. Most goblins are easy enough to kill that younger adventurers can do so, and the higher-ranked adventures need greater rewards to compensate for their gear and hazard pay (veterans also know damn well how terrifying goblin swarms can get). The problem is just how many of the damn things are out there, and adventurers can only take so many quests, making goblin-slaying a low priority. All these factors contribute to making goblin nests ticking time bombs that would someday overrun hapless villages.
    • In Vol. 2, the perspective shifts to the King of the Capital as he delegates his orders. One of the messages he receives is from Sword Maiden requesting assistance for a goblin infestation under Water Town. His response? Express annoyance that this isn't the first time she sent him one, that he can't send out soldiers to every monster problem in the country, that there are bigger issues such as the ongoing war with the Demon Lord, and that, as a former Gold-ranked adventurer, Sword Maiden should be able to handle it herself. Which is also downright insensitive on his part knowing Sword Maiden was captured and traumatized by goblins in the past.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Chainmail Bikini: This kind of armor does exist, in a setting where not wearing enough armor could be fatal. Justified, as those armors are not for battle but rather to...erm, appeal to guys. The only woman that wears this into battle is Amazon, and that only because she has the fighting prowess to make up for her lack of protection.
  • Chick Magnet: Despite being a cynical hunter, Goblin Slayer has little trouble attracting women. Priestess, Guild Girl, Cow Girl, High Elf Archer, and Sword Maiden all seem to be attracted to him.
  • Child by Rape: This is the reason why the girls and women that goblins kill are considered the lucky ones; if captured, the women spend the rest of their lives chained in a pen, naked, pushing out little monsters as often as possible until they die.
  • Clothing Damage: The first thing a goblin does to a captive woman is tear off all of her clothes. Rape and torture come once the victim is naked.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Goblin Slayer will always use the most efficient methods to kill as many goblins as possible, such as setting up traps and looting and using the goblins' own weapons against them. In addition, he wouldn't hesitate to kill goblin babies to ensure that they won't eventually grow up to be a threat in the future. He even acknowledges Priestess's plea that there may be "good" goblins out there, but he's not interested in taking the risk.
    • When a goblin nest starts forming in an old elven tree-fortress, he just sets the whole tree on fire and barricades the main entrance. Yes, there might be survivors from a party which attempted to save the women who were kidnapped therein, but it's unlikely, and he's not going to risk his life and waste time and resources saving people who are probably dead already. He actually does this a lot, telling Priestess that one can never go into a nest unless one has the time or patience to make sure every last one is dead. He'll smoke them out, blow them up, or drown them first and pick off the survivors afterwards to make sure there are none who can learn from it.
    • The goblins themselves engage in this too: they sometimes coat their weapons in a poison made from their own urine, feces, and poison herbs, are not above attacking their opponent's legs if an opening is available, and have no problem ganging up and dog-piling on individual targets if said target isn't a melee-fighter. They'll even play dead in an attempt to get the drop on adventurers.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: A minor version played for Black Comedy: after High Elf Archer kills a couple of goblin guards, Goblin Slayer does his usual thing (stabs them a few times to make sure they're really dead, smears their blood on his armor). He then offers the blood to the rest of the party, saying they should do the same. The Elf is horrified at this, but the Priestess, with Empty Eyes and a Broken Smile, says to her "You just get used to it."
    • The entire questing system appears to be setup like this. Its no mystery what happens if a team gets wiped out, but there’s no cavalry interested in rescuing them either.
  • Conspicuous CG: Several shots of the goblins, Goblin Slayer and Priestess's staff in the Anime.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Sure, things are pretty great if you happen to be a high-level adventurer, but if you're a regular villager or a beginner adventurer, it's a whole different story. Villagers are constantly preyed upon by low-level monsters like goblins (who at best steal supplies, at worst women, at the very worst come down to rampage). Most veteran adventurers don't bother dealing with them due to the low pay and high risk, often leaving such jobs into the hands of overeager greenhorns who more often than not bite off more than they can chew. According to Guild Girl, a rookie party's chance of success against a goblin nest is somewhere between 33%-50% (that is, at worst two out of three rookie parties won't come back from goblin hunts on average), and she has seen so many amateur adventurers never returning, as well as skyrocketing goblin hunt requests, she admits that unless something is done about the situation, the world could be kept in a Medieval Stasis forever.
    • In chapter 1 of the Brand New Day manga, the Rookie Duo finds the corpse of an adventurer that died while hunting giant rats, which is stated to be the easiest mission, even beneath goblin slaying, an adventurer can get in this world. Goes to show that people still brutally die on a mission that is the equivalent of a Video Game Tutorial level. In fairness, the light novel goes into detail about how the dead girl they found had no martial equipment at all, wearing only a peasant dress and wielding only a small knife, leading them to believe she was an impoverished villager throwing herself into adventuring as a final recourse over begging or prostitution, but the fact there are people that desperate in this world and they are allowed to just throw their lives away like that shows a very deep level of crap-sackness.
    • Heavy Warrior muses that lack of preparation is the main thing doing rookies in, as the mindful ones will usually pull through none the worse for wear, but not all are as sensible, and plain bad luck still can't be discounted as things can go south even for veterans, leading to a ruthless learning curve (though he and a few other veterans do what they can, taking some rookies under their wing). Priestess' first party demonstrates this problem clearly as why everything fell apart was ultimately because the party didn't adequately prepare for entering a goblin nest.
  • Crocodile Tears: The goblin lord learned that crying made him seem pitiful enough that female adventurers were likely to overlook them. Over the years he used that to trick and kill several. Priestess however fails to fall for this.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The rookie party (sans Priestess) each suffer a horrible death and/or worse thanks to the goblins:
    • Warrior leaves himself open to a Zerg Rush of goblins who tear him limb from limb (it didn't help that his sword is too long to swing efficiently inside a cave).
    • Fighter is beaten down by a hobgoblin, stripped, and gang-raped. She's rescued eventually, but it's implied she'll never fully recover from the mental trauma.
    • Wizard is stabbed in the gut with a poisoned dagger. Though Priestess manages to close the wound with a minor healing spell, it does nothing to cure the poison already inside her body, causing her to deteriorate further. Worse, shortly before dying, she's having a goblin force himself upon her. When Goblin Slayer reaches her, she asks him to Mercy Kill her. He does.
    • The all-female Steel-ranked party in Chapter 4 doesn't fare much better. The Rhea Archer is stripped, tied to a tree, and shot to death with her own bow for target practice. The Elf Mage is burnt alive at the stake. The Monk has her comrade's entrails stuffed in her mouth after trying to bite off her own tongue. Their leader is gang-raped to death by the goblins.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • While there's a fair amount of Curb-Stomp Cushion in effect during chapter one, the rookie party of adventurers manage to take out about half a dozen to a dozen goblins in total. Sadly, there were a lot more than that in the nest, including a hobgoblin and a goblin mage.
    • Individually or in very small numbers, typical goblins are weak and mere villagers can drive them off. Unfortunately this leads to the misconception among these villagers that goblins are always weak, and the hapless rookie swordsman in the beginning was one such boy who got such notions, only to be slaughtered by a nest of them on their home turf. The more experienced adventurers have no such illusions.
    • Two goblins against Goblin Slayer, an adventurer who achieved Silver Rank through slaughtering countless goblins? It's less a fight and more a brutal execution.
    • Goblin Slayer himself gets demolished by an Ogre because he is experienced in fighting goblins, but one side minimally needs to send an army to defeat Ogres. He is forced to use a magic scroll he has been saving, just so the party can survive the encounter.
    • An army of a hundred goblins encounters the Adventurer's Guild over Cow Girl's farm. Only three adventurers were lost while every single goblin was slaughtered.
  • Cycle of Revenge: When asked why the goblins do what they do, Goblin Slayer gives a description first of his origin story and how that led him on the path of goblin extermination. Then, he describes how the survivor of one such extermination escapes and starts its own nest, and once it matures and has sufficient numbers backing it up, starts taking revenge on human settlements. Ultimately, what the Goblin Slayer describes is a vicious cycle that he is simply a small part of, and due to the nature of goblins, cannot end until either the goblins are wiped out completely... or the goblins wipe out everyone else.
  • Damsel in Distress: The series has no shortage of this due to the Mars Needs Women nature of goblins. However, the experience is treated as much more traumatizing than most examples, and unfortunately not every damsel is saved.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • In the Water Town arc when the party encounter a Goblin Champion. Goblin Slayer is out of commission after a single, devastating hit from the Goblin Champion, High Elf Archer being swarmed by Goblins with Dwarf Shaman desperately trying to reach her, Lizard Priest holding his own but is slowly being overwhelmed by the numerous Goblins, and the Priestess being in the grasp of the Goblin Champion who have also taken a bite out of her shoulder and is being overwhelmed by both fear and pain. All seems lost ... Until a red, blazing eye flares back up.
    • When Goblin Slayer finds lots of tracks near Cow Girl's farm, he tells her to run. She refuses, because she doesn't want to lose everything again, including him. However, he doesn't think he could fight off over a hundred goblins out in the open, particularly if they're led by a Goblin Lord. He is then forced to ask for help to defend the farm, though at first the Adventurers are reluctant to do so. Fortunately for him, once his request is reworded as a quest with a reward, backed up by the Guild adding their own incentive, then he gets quite a few people to help him protect the farm.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played with. While Goblin Slayer's armor is pretty black, he's not entirely evil. But his nigh psychotic single-minded pursuit of wiping out goblinkind is not exactly peachy clean either.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In chapter 3, Goblin Slayer reveals that he hates goblins so much because goblins attacked his village when he was a child, and he was forced to watch all his loved ones die at the hands of the goblins. In particular, he was forced to watch his older sister get raped to death. Afterwards, Goblin Slayer has dedicated his life to exterminating goblins.
  • Dark Fantasy: The comic has aspects of Low Fantasy since its a personal tale about a Black Knight engaged in his one-man crusade to rid the world of an entire race devoid of any sympathetic characteristics, but when you observe the bigger picture, the bleaker it gets. Goblins are merely one of the weakest pests next to the bigger threats in this setting, and our protagonist suffers Crippling Overspecialization when dealing with anything that isn't goblins. Adventuring parties have a bad track record at surviving, the villagers are just plain cattle to monsters and the setting's deities (who seem to be warring Dungeon Masters) are Jerkass Gods at best.
  • Deadly Gas: In their second explorations of Water Town's sewers, Goblin Slayer and his group are trapped in a room that the goblins fill with poison gas. Goblin Slayer's preparation in buying a canary to detect poison gas and equipment to help survive the trap saves them.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The series starts as a Deconstruction of the Heroic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Verse as a Crapsaccharine World where clueless, headstrong glory-seeking young adventurers come to die. Goblin Slayer is then introduced as a Grimdark Low Fantasy lead, an almost inhuman lone wolf in his stoic, single-minded dedication to goblin slaying. But the world still runs on standard RPG mechanics and conventions to contrast with Goblin Slayer refusing to play "by the rules". And then Goblin Slayer acquires a party who he goes on quests with, and slowly becomes (or is more widely recognized as) a more typical hero, slowly regaining his humanity in the process. So yes, medieval adventuring would be a grim, dirty, and ugly affair. Yes, an actual medieval fantasy world would be a sad world of endless horror; but all this pain and darkness makes love, friendship, honor and hope all the more precious, and they are ideals most certainly still worth fighting for.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Warrior, Fighter, and Wizard all get a page or two dedicated to their backstories showing their hopes and dreams, right before, respectively, being brutally slaughtered, gang-raped, and poisoned by goblins. The anime leaves the flashbacks out, but keeps the slaughter.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The "Nagas" that Lizard Priest worships are stated to be his ancestors wiped out in a global freeze millions of years ago, have names like Brontosaurus and Velociraptor when he calls on them for spells, and he agrees when others identify his goal to become one of their number as a wish to become a dragon (or naga, in the light novel), though that might just be him not being familiar with human terminology. In volume 6 the goblin army menacing the elves' forest have managed to capture and train a hydra/lesser dragon, whose physical appearance is that of a purple-scaled sauropod with blazing eyes.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Hoo boy, where to begin? The rookie party in Chapter One ignores the advice of the Guild Girl to leave the goblin slaying to another adventurer, ropes in the Priestess who has literally just registered and therefore has no experience whatsoever onto their quest, refuses to consider making any emergency preparations such as buying healing potions or antidotes, and outright admits they have no real plan besides "run in and kill all the goblins." What Could Possibly Go Wrong? doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A villainous example. A party of steel ranked adventurers (While not epic level, they're still very experienced, well equipped, and work together well as a unit, and would normally be considered well above the degree of skill needed to take on a goblin nest) take on a group of goblins hiding out in an old elven fortress. The goblins wipe out the entire party with relatively few losses, due to their skill with traps, and the fact that they had a sniper with a sling to pick off the helmet-less warrior of the party.
    • Likewise, Goblin Slayer versus Ogre, one of the generals of the Demon Lord. After getting badly injured, Goblin Slayer uses a simple portal scroll to one-shot the Ogre. How? He had the other end of the portal connected to the bottom of the ocean, turning the scroll into a high pressure water cutter.
  • Dirty Coward: At their core, goblins are quite cowardly, and justifiably so, given that they're small, weak, low in intelligence, and extremely primitive. For these very reasons, they rely on ambush tactics, swarm tactics, and poisoned weapons to help bridge the gap. If they didn't have something going for them, then they'd have been completely wiped out by adventurers long ago.
    • Occasionally the story shifts to the perspective of goblins, and it becomes very apparent that they don't even care much for their fallen brethren, only becoming more aggressive as fellow goblins die because they are consumed by a hateful and petty desire for vengeance.
    • A Goblin Lord, despite being one of, if not the, strongest of his horde and capable of giving Goblin Slayer a hard time in combat, immediately turns tail and run the moment he realizes his assault on Cow Girl's farm was being repelled.
    • A Goblin Champion runs after having an eye torn out and seeing there's a chance the Goblin Slayer's party could still fight back. No matter how big they are, a goblin is just a goblin.
    • The Goblin Paladin averting this is what makes him so dangerous, in addition to his divine power, strength, and intellect. Even worse, the devotion he inspires in other goblins causes them to overcome their cowardice, to the point that one willingly takes an arrow for him.
  • Discard and Draw: In the second chapter Goblin Slayer abandons his short sword after it becomes caked with blood and fat and uses the goblins' own weapons against them. He openly states that you should just take the enemy's weapon when dealing with goblins because this happens so often.
  • Divine Conflict: The current state of the world is due in large part to a conflict between the gods, and the monsters (including goblins) are born either as an unintentional consequence, or as a means of depriving the gods on one side or the other of worshipers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the Anime, when Goblin Slayer is about to cover High Elf Archer in goblin blood to cover her scent, the part where he is slowly creeping on her from behind as she is freaking out make it look like something more sinister is about to happen.
  • Dream Team: In a sense. An elf, a dwarf and a lizardman join the story proper at chapter 5. They are actually top adventurers of their respective races and they recruit Goblin Slayer, the one who is most experienced and competent at hunting goblins as their human representative to take down a goblin-infested fortress. And then the Priestess tags along to Goblin Slayer.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Goblin Slayer is looked down upon by other adventurers as a weirdo who solely focuses on killing goblins, regardless of all the good his deeds have done. Fortunately, Goblin Slayer doesn't really care what others think of him.
    • Ironically, the more experienced adventurers are on the receiving end of this from the guild staff. While most adventurers have little to no respect for Goblin Slayer, the clerks at the Guild, who see so many low-level adventurers go out and never come back, and have to deal with the fact that goblin-related requests far exceed the number of experienced adventurers willing to take them, have nothing but the utmost respect for Goblin Slayer. Meanwhile, it is heavily implied that the clerks actually hold many of the silver-ranked adventurers, who think themselves "above" such work and are Only in It for the Money, in nothing short of absolute contempt.
    • And the commonfolk on the frontier love Goblin Slayer because he's doing something about it.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The first entry establishes very clearly that this series is not pulling its punches when the party of adventurers reaches the goblin cave. In the span of a few minutes, Wizard gets fatally wounded with a poisoned knife stab to the stomach, a warrior gets ripped to pieces by a horde, and a female fighter is gang-raped by goblins.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: An elf, a dwarf and a lizardman join the story proper in chapter 5 of the manga. True enough, the elf and dwarf always bicker afterward.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The narration, the characters, and even the monsters only ever refer to each other by title or occupation.
  • Evil Evolves: Goblins, being Explosive Breeders, follow what is known as a Type III Survivorship Curve. Younger specimens of goblins are the most numerous and stupidest of the horde, and naturally are killed in droves. However, any survivors that manage to run will nurse grudges and learn, becoming stronger, and intelligent with age. They mature into self-sufficient "Wanderers" with the leadership capacities to lead new hordes, starting the cycle all over, and are consequently much, much harder to kill. Lords, Champions, Riders, Shamans, and Hobgoblins are in this category, and they are all capable of squaring off against even experienced adventurers. Hence, why Goblin Slayer is so keen on nipping the problem in the bud.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Best showcased in volume 9, where a new Ogre shows up, who is recruited by the Evil Sect to kill Goblin Slayer to avenge the death of Dark Elf in volume 3 as well as his brother from volume 1, while also being tasked with backing up Ice Witch and her Yetis, who before that exposition had not been hinted to be connected to either the former two parties, while waiting for him to show. If not every monster and villain directly serves the Demon Lord or Chaos Gods, then the ones that don't are operating on at most One Degree of Separation, and even if some villains express suspicion of their lackey's loyalty, open conflict between evil factions has yet to be seen.
  • Exact Words: In Volume 4, Goblin Slayer goes on an adventure up a tower against a wizard who declares "I cannot be killed by those who have words!" and Goblin Slayer's response was not only that the wizard could die, but gravity does not have words, and the party has a collective laugh as they defenestrated the wizard ("Gravity had no words, yet it dragged him down, and soon he had met the same fate as the earlier adventurers").
  • Excited Show Title!: The English byline on the Japanese version of the title adds an exclamation point. Judging by the tone of the story, it's more evoking the classic "horror surprise" title (It Came from The Deep!) than positive excitement.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Goblin Slayer, one of the main characters if not the main character, is already a silver-ranked adventurer when he is introduced.
    • Though it should be noted that he gained that rank through the sheer amount of quests he had taken to kill goblins. Leading the guild to give him that rank as a "specialist", something that irritates other adventures who believe that he doesn't deserve the rank.
  • Explosive Breeder:
    • Goblins breed and mature very quickly, which is one of the reasons Goblin Slayer doesn't hesitate to kill goblin children.
    • Also explains how the goblins are slowly taking over the rural areas despite Goblin Slayer killing dozens, if not hundreds of goblins a week, every week, for several years.
  • Expy:
    • Subtle at first but apparent after chapter 10 in the manga because of his shirt pattern, Goblin Slayer is this for Archer, aka Counter Guardian EMIYA. They are jaded warriors with Dark and Troubled Pasts who have abandoned their ideals but still fight.
    • Goblin Slayer's Lancer for Fate/stay night's Lancer. His face, his spiky hairstyle, his demeanor, and his weapon of choice are all lifted straight out of Lancer Cú Chulainn, especially in the manga. And while he hasn't shown any Born Unlucky tendencies just yet, his poor luck with ladies seems to to be a nod to this characteristic. They also have Vitriolic Best Buds and rivalry tendencies with people mentioned sub-point above.
    • Heavy Warrior looks a bit like a younger Guts from Berserk, with a BFS to boot.
    • Goblin Slayer as a whole is full of Expies design-wise, stemming from the original web-novel's decision to use characters from other works as placeholders. The artist for the light novel took this idea and ran with it, and the manga adaption followed suit. Characters from series ranging from Dragon's Crown to Hunter × Hunter to The Idolmaster can be found if one knows where to look.
    • The Goblin Lord is now a fan of An Axe to Grind because he took it from an adventurer that looks a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger during his days as Conan the Barbarian.
    • Let's see... Witnessed the violent death of his immediate family as a child, causing him to commit to a lifelong crusade against those responsible, despite them being small fries in a world where his contemporaries take on much larger threats. Said event emotionally stunting him for the rest of his life and making it hard for him to form emotional connections, despite having a number of close friends and allies. Deeply analytical and pragmatic, always well-prepared with numerous fallback plans. Wait, are we talking about Batman or the titular Goblin Slayer?
  • Failed a Spot Check: The rookie adventurers completely miss a side tunnel as they're exploring the caves which allows goblins to flank and ambush them. In fairness to them, this is because the goblins have put up totems to distract any potential intruders from those tunnels.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • There are a lot of cute and attractive women who end up naked... because they are either broken rape victims or corpses stripped of both their clothes and their dignity.
    • Then there's the Rock Eater incident in the Gaiden manga. Something grabs the female elven party member, drags her up into the darkness, and then a Panty Shot is seen - before revealing a giant man-eating worm that ate most of her face in mere seconds. Even worse, the only reason anyone thought to look up in the first place is because the gore of her gnawed head dripped down onto the party.
  • Fanservice: There are also also a lot of women who wear revealing fantasy outfits in general, like the Sorceress; chapter 3 opens with several pages dedicated to the Cowgirl waking up, and incidentally she sleeps in the nude.
  • Fantastic Rank System: The Adventurer's Guild has 10 ranks. Porcelain to Steel are the rookies, and after that they're veterans. Silver class are the highest level of adventurer that take to the regular field, Gold and Platinum are reserved for adventurers so great that they deal with national emergencies (with Platinum being restricted to a handful in history).
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted slightly when the party causally mention how the dwarven armies use cannons in a discussion during volume 5.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Instead of being killed like Warrior and Wizard, Fighter is captured and gang-raped by the goblins along with the rest of the captured village girls. She's rescued later by Goblin Slayer and Priestess, but the damage has already been done.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Being a fantasy story expect plenty of this. Some example include:
    • The Silver-Ranked Trio: Lizard Priest, Dwarf Shaman, and High Elf Archer, respectively.
    • Heavy Warrior, Spearman, and Goblin Slayer,respectively, during their team-up in volume 4.
    • The Trainee Team: Half-Elf Warrior, Druid Girl, and Scout Boy.
    • The Ragged Party: Axe Warrior and Middle-Aged Monk share the position of fighter, Half-Elf Wizard is the mage, and Rhea Scout is the thief.
    • The Female Party: Noble Knight is the fighter, Elf Wizard and Human Monk share the position of mage, and Rhea Ranger is the thief.
  • Five Races: Being that the series takes place in a Standard Fantasy Setting, naturally, this trope applies to the benevolent races.
    • Stout: The Dwarf race are characterized by their physical strength and resilience.
    • Fairy: The Lizardman race are the most exotic of all the races, a race of humanoid reptiles normally portrayed as enemy mooks in most versions of this setting.
    • Mundane: The Human race is, of course, the "standard" race of the setting.
    • Cute: This role is shared between Rhea; a race of small, child-like humanoids, and the Padfoot; a race of partially animal humanoids.
    • High Men: The Elf race are characterized by their affinity for magic.
  • Food Porn: A simple one when the party camped before raiding a goblin nest. Showing off their racial cuisines, the Lizard Priest shared meat from 'a swamp creature', the Dwarf Shaman shared his Fire Wine, the Elf Archer shared her elven rations not unlike Lembas, and Goblin Slayer shared his cheese, which the Lizard Shaman really take a liking to.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When the rookie party's leader speaks about the mission in question, he mentions that the goblins stole a village's food supplies that were intended for the winter. Then, they stole all of the village's livestock. And then, they abducted several women. To any reader who plays Dungeons & Dragons, this will set off warning bells, as goblins in just about any fantasy setting will only get this greedy and aggressive if there's a very large number of them, on top of having a powerful leader to direct them.
    • Anime-only example: Inside the cave, Warrior tries to show off his skills to Priestess by swinging his sword, but it eventually hits a rock and causes him to stumble. This accident happens again when he fights the goblins, which results in his death.
    • Likewise, while the party is exploring the goblin nest, they come across some sort of a totem, and then, a while afterwards, they encounter a second one. They're used to distract adventures from other cave openings that the goblins use to slip behind intruders.
    • The leader of the party in chapter one mentions that just by clearing one or two goblin nests, a party that is porcelain ranked can be bumped up to the next level. The reason for this is because clearing out goblin nests is ridiculously dangerous, and tends to kill the overwhelming majority of rookie parties that attempt it. If a party is porcelain ranked, but capable of clearing goblin nests, they are most definitely punching above their weight class - it would be like a flyweight KO-ing Mike Tyson.
    • A bard earns his living performing on the street for audiences who stop to hear his entire song. The one we see/hear is about Goblin Slayer, and depicts him as a Folk Hero who rescues the princess from the goblins, but refuses to marry her afterward because he has to continue on his goblin-killing quests. Later, Goblin Slayer does indeed complete Sword Maiden's quest to clear the goblins from beneath Water Town, but when she propositions him, he rejects her advances and leaves, promising only to come back if the goblins return in order to kill them for her.
    • While the Steel-ranked adventure party in Chapter 17 is awaiting an interview for a promotion, Guild Girl is explaining to Goblin Slayer that it's not enough to be strong to be promoted, you need to be trustworthy, and for example those who abuse women or start fights all the time may spend their entire career as a mere Porcelain. Cue the Rhea scout, whose first thought upon seeing Guild Girl is "She looks so pretty and innocent... I'd love to spank her until she cries!", who gets caught stealing treasure from his own party, immediately tries to start a fight, and gets demoted to Porcelain.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Ogre, being one of the Demon King's generals, is no slouch. Not only is he a towering, muscular brute with acute mental capacity, he also possess great magical powers.
  • Genre Blind: It's apparently a common occurrence for newbie adventurers to accept jobs clearing out goblin nests, thinking it will be easy due to the low pay, only to be slaughtered because of being ill-prepared.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • When it becomes clear that no one in the party can cause it substantial injury, Goblin Slayer is forced to use his weaponized Gate scroll against Ogre to survive the battle even as he insists that it is somehow a less fearsome opponent than goblins.
    • When he discovers a goblin army marching in the open aimed straight at Cow Girl’s farm, Goblin Slayer feels so out of his depth that he begs the entire rest of the Guild to help him fight them off.
    • In volume 8, the King sends no less than five Gold-ranked adventurers into the Labyrinth of the End to secure and extract Goblin Slayer’s party and his abducted sister.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: When Goblin Slayer first asks for help in defeating a potentially large horde of goblins he believes will attack Cow Girl's farm, nobody really wants to help since goblin slaying is seen as low ranking work. However, once Spear Man rephrases Goblin Slayer's request as a quest, and the latter offers everything he has as a reward, more people start to sign up. When Guild Girl then says the Guild is offering one gold coin for every goblin they kill, then practically everyone in the guild hall signs up. While some simply joined in for the coin, some others join him as thanks for his work, such as Heavy Warrior whose village was saved because Goblin Slayer went and killed them all.
  • Great Offscreen War: Every ten years a Demon Lord arises, amassing armies of evil creatures to take over the civilized world. The nations of elves, dwarves, humans, rheas (halflings) and other friendly creatures like lizardmen have been forced to work together against this threat. However, the story focuses on the frontier, where these distant events are old news at best. But it's implied that the rising amounts of goblin activity is the Demon Lord's doing, and the leaders are too preoccupied with the Demon Lord to do anything more concrete against the goblins other than send adventurers to handle them.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The wizard gives one to the Goblin Slayer as she dies.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Downplayed. Goblin Slayer noted that his quest is driven by revenge, and he leaves no survivor lest they raise a nest and take revenge on the human settlements, perpetuating the vicious cycle of revenge where the only outcome is either goblins or humans being wiped out. He himself has no issue with this, but the downplayed part comes when the others, especially Priestess, object to killing goblin children.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Subverted. Goblin Slayer wears his 24/7, and as an adventurer in chapter 4 learns the hard way, not having one can be the kiss of death if the goblins have a sling or a bow and a clear shot at your head.
    • Blacksmith in Year One notes a reason why adventurers often don't wear helmets is so people recognize their faces, and recognizes the danger of not wearing headgear.
  • Gorn: Neither monsters nor adventurers die pleasantly, and every quest Goblin Slayer takes becomes a gory, blood-soaked affair. No exceptions.
  • Heroic Fantasy: Goblin Slayer himself may described as a dark or low fantasy character in a high fantasy world, with the day-to-day activities of the adventurers falling under heroic fantasy, based on quests they take up involving dungeon crawls, slaying monsters and other evil creatures and with their feats based on martial prowess. In contrast, Goblin Slayer mainly relies on his wits first during his exploits, avoiding head-on combat as much as possible and "cheating" by using the environment and his arsenal.
  • Hero of Another Story: Played with, interestingly. The first light novel contains an interlude detailing an after-battle report made by a female rookie adventurer. Said adventurer had slain hordes of goblins by her lonesome, entered ancient ruins, pulled a sword out of a pedestal, and defeated one of the 16 Demon Generals with it... all in her very first quest. No more than a chapter later, narration reveals she goes on to defeat the Demon Lord and becomes the 16th Platinum-ranked adventurer in history. It's practically stated that she's the Legendary Hero of Goblin Slayer's universe, following a much, much more typical fantasy RPG story, and yet it's treated as little more than an aside. If anything, it only solidifies Goblin Slayer's status as a Small Steps Hero and The Unchosen One.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Goblin Slayer explains goblin motivations by contrasting goblin raids on human settlements with adventurers attacking goblin nests. By the end, the receptionist he's speaking with is confused if he's describing a goblin raid, adventurer retaliation, or his own history. It's all three.
    • In an interesting case, this isn't some deep realization by the part of the Slayer, by the time our story starts he has long become aware that he is as bad as the Goblins are from their perspective. A monster who comes into their homes and slaughters them, with any survivors gaining an undying hatred for his kind. He just doesn't seem to have a problem with being a monster because, well, he is a monster to the goblins.
  • High Fantasy: On a wider level, the world operates with the trappings of this genre with multiple good races fighting evil races led by a Demon Lord.
  • Hobbits: Given that the setting is a Japanese-standard D&D/generic RPG world, it of course has a halfling race with Serial Numbers Filed Off; here they are apparently named "Rheas" and are frequently stereotyped as rogue-types and thieves. One particular specimen is a Grimdark Captain Ersatz of Bilbo Baggins, replete with being known as "Burglar" and having a magic ring that makes him invisible. He is the one who nurses the child Goblin Slayer back to health and subjects him to Training from Hell for five years, and he wears the skin of a goblin's face as a mask.
  • Homage:
    • Chapter 3 of the manga has a panel that seems to imitate the famous intense shading and rendering of Berserk. Goblin Slayer, who is depicted in it, even sports a corruption of his normal helmet that draws comparison to the wolfish helm of Guts' Berserker Armor.
    • Vol. 2 has Goblin Slayer experience a Flashback that pays tribute to a certain game of riddles in The Hobbit. In the past, he undergoes a harsh training session where he is forced to answer riddles as fast as possible while his rhea teacher harasses him with snowballs laden with pebbles, taunts, and falling icicles. The rhea refers to himself as "Burglar", and has a spell that turns him invisible. As if to remove all pretenses, the last question Burglar asks Goblin Slayer is to guess the contents of his pocket.
    • In the 5th Light Novel volume there’s an inside extra illustration with Goblin Slayer drawn with chibi proportions, making the exact same pose as the Infernal Armor monster from Dragon Quest, referencing the original Futaba thread that spawned the series, in which Kagyu used placeholder images for his ideas, Goblin Slayer was portrayed by an Infernal Armor image.
  • Home Field Advantage: A large number of goblins would be challenging enough for a newbie party even if they weren't fighting them in their own lair complete with secret passages that make it easy for goblins to ambush intruders.
  • Human Shield: As it turns out, goblins can and will use this tactics. With the women they captured as the shields.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Ogre ended up with one. After proving to be an incredibly dangerous foe capable of taking on the entire party single-handedly, Goblin Slayer cleaved him in two with an improvised water jet cutter. He was outraged that Goblin Slayer would reserve that kind of power just to massacre goblins, basically equating him to mere goblins. In his final moments, he could only scream and curse Goblin Slayer for considering him beneath notice, as the latter stabbed him repeatedly with a simple sword to finish him off.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Goblin Slayer almost exclusively takes on missions that pit him against goblins. Him being a Silver Ranked adventurer means he's killed a lot of goblins.
  • Ignored Expert: The Guild receptionist lady suggests that the newbie priestess gain some experience by fighting giant rats or something. When she hears that the rookie party is accepting a mission to deal with goblin raiders, she immediately advises them to let another adventurer take the job. Sadly, her advice goes unheeded, and by the time she can send the Goblin Slayer to help them, all but two are dead.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: In Goblin Slayer's own words, "I won't save the world. I just kill goblins." He doesn't even consider himself a real adventurer (at first).
  • Improvised Weapon: Goblin Slayer's skills of improvisation sometimes reach into this territory. In a moment of need, he took a dead adventurer's hair and used it as a garrote on the Water Town Goblin Champion. He had to let the Goblin Champion go due to being wounded and weakened, but not before taking something else from it.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The goblin lord attempted this by pleading to the priestess that he saw the errors in his way and would repent. He had done this in the past with other female adventurers and used their mercy to kill each one. Unfortunately this time it was an adventurer who knew not to trust goblins, accompanied by another who has absolutely no mercy for any goblin.
  • It Can Think:
    • Goblins are not fools, and treating them as if they were easily killable pests is a fatal mistake. Goblin Slayer hates them, but he's also one of the few people who acknowledges their intelligence and dangerousness because of it.
    • In chapter 4, we see a surprisingly effective alarm set up by the goblins, using a corpse, some string, and a sack full of metal junk.
  • The Joys of Torturing Mooks: Non-video game example. While Goblin Slayer prefers to kill his prey with quick and effective methods, the story can get creative in the many ways goblins can be maimed, beaten, burned, choked, shot, stabbed, etc.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Many goblins seem to get a kick out of this. When Wizard, captured and at the mercy of a swarm, demands the return of her staff, a treasured heirloom, the goblin holding it gives an evil smile and breaks it. When she starts to struggle and hit it back for that, the goblin in question stabs her in the gut with a poisoned dagger in retaliation. Although, given what goblins normally do to any woman they capture, even a slow and painful death by a stomach wound might be preferable.
    • When the goblins catch up to Priestess and the dying Wizard, the first thing one of them does is tear off Wizard's blouse to molest her.
    • When the all-female, steel-rank adventurer party is captured, it doesn't end well for them. The Rhea ranger is tied up and used for target practice, the elven mage is burned alive at the stake, the human monk has her comrade's entrails stuffed down her throat, and the party leader is raped and tortured for three straight days before finally dying.
    • The party that Goblin Slayer and Priestess is recruited into discovers a room designated as the goblins' waste heap. Inside is a naked elf chained to the wall, with precisely half her entire body covered in bloody gashes and swollen bruises, still alive.
  • Kill It with Fire: Goblin Slayer uses gasoline to turn goblin corpses into fiery deathtraps in chapter 2. In chapter 4, he uses fire arrows to set the old Elven fortress (a giant tree) the goblins are using as a hideout on fire.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Deconstructed. Rushing into your enemy's lair without any planning and preparations will end very badly for you, in short order.
  • Lighter and Softer: Well, as light as a piece featuring goblin brutality and rape can be.
    • After the introductory arc, the story remains focused on Goblin Slayer's unhinged vendetta against goblins and their horrors, Gorn included, but also shines a hopeful light on his developing relationship with his True Companions, starting with Priestess.
    • Vol. 3 is very easygoing and almost cozy in comparison to the other two volumes, the subject being the Harvest Festival taking place in town. It carries more focus on Goblin Slayer's interactions with other characters outside of a combat situation, and even the antagonist only introduces himself proper near the end and is less challenging to defeat than previous bosses.
  • Living Lie Detector: One of Guild Girl's co-workers can function as this through a blessing.
  • Low Fantasy: The setting veers into this slightly; magic is in scarce supply and requires intense strategizing to make full use of, non-human races mostly stay in their own lands, even the very weakest of evil creatures can be fool's errands to fight against and are grotesquely barbaric, and the protagonist is a psychologically-broken Hunter of Monsters launching a one-man campaign of monster-genocide. As one example; the "Resurrection" miracle can't actually bring people back from the dead.
  • Magic Focus Object: Nearly all magic casters in this world need to use a channel for their magic, usually a staff but it can also be a piece of jewelry. Shamans and other Elemental Powers users go one step further in needing material components as a medium and magnet for the fairies and spirits they appeal to to strengthen their spells (e.g. A lump of clay for Gnomes to work their earth magic, any kind of liquid for Undines, etc.)
  • Magikarp Power: Goblins have the potential to become very strong and smart, with some even learning magic. Since goblins are pretty easy to kill, this doesn't happen very often.
  • Mars Needs Women: Why goblins abduct women. Shown rather graphically in the first chapter when the fighter girl is overpowered by the hobgoblin. This would have happened to the healer too if Goblin Slayer hadn't shown up.
  • Medieval Stasis:
    • Invoked. According to the girl at the guild counter, the goblins are the primary reason why all scientific and cultural progress has ground to a halt, and until something is done about them, the country won't be able to progress any further.
    • The society has managed to reach a level where they can produce gasoline, amongst other materials that might not be common for this era (Gasoline was invented in the late 19th century, well after the medieval period on Earth), but things like the automobile or locomotive cannot be invented or maintained in a society where monster attacks are so common that the infrastructure needed to support them cannot be built.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Gruesomely averted. Though the Wizard and Fighter from the greenhorn party aren't immediately ripped to pieces like the Warrior is, it would have been preferable to what did happen, and the Goblin Slayer quickly puts the Wizard down. The all-female party that shows up a few chapters later fares no better. In this world, it's explicitly stated that the women adventurers who do get killed right away are the lucky ones.
  • Mercy Kill: In the second chapter Goblin Slayer stabs the poisoned Wizard in the throat, since it's a far quicker and less painful way to die than slowly dying by goblin poison.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lot of scenes crosses among serious, violent and comedic theme right after another. Some chapters also drastically changes the mood like when a light-hearted chapter is just after a chapter filled with violence and rape.
  • Mook Horror Show: Goblin Slayer, natch. He is absolutely merciless with his work, and chases down any would-be escapees with deadly precision and brutality until none are left alive.
  • Nameless Narrative: No one in this series has a known proper name. If someone is being referred to, it is usually by their occupation or class.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: In Episode 6, the main cast run from a giant one after it ate a group of goblins.
  • Not So Different: The first novel briefly shows the perspective of a Goblin Lord, who survived an attack from adventurers as an infant and grew to have a single-minded hatred of them, learning their methods and mimicking them to better kill them. Sound familiar?
    • Despite his hatred of them, Goblin Slayer seems to understand mentality of his prey and even relates it to his own experience. Imagine if strangers came into the only home you've ever known and slaughtered your kin and friends in front of you. If you are lucky enough to survive, or were spared by one of the naive strangers, you would want nothing more than to get even with them. You would learn how to use weapons, grow stronger, learn magic. You would learn about your enemy. Eventually you would track them down and kill them, and do so again and again and again. When you lost, you would gain more experience, learn about your enemy and start to experiment with your methods. You would get smarter over time as you became a better killer. Sooner or latter, you inevitably would come to enjoy it...
      Goblin Slayer: In short, from their perspective, I am the Goblin.
    • Downplayed in the Light Novel, which shows that goblins really are Always Chaotic Evil, feeling nothing but contempt, spite and envy for all beings other than themselves.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Goblins are about the size of a small child, with about the same strength (although hobgoblins and goblin mages are stronger and/or sturdier). It is indicated that alone or in small numbers, they're relatively easy to defeat. Emphasis, however, goes on alone or in small numbers, because goblins tend not to be found in small numbers, since they're fully aware of their shortcomings, and aren't afraid to use swarm tactics against their opponents to compensate for their weaker stature. Emphasis also needs to be put on the word relatively as well, since while they may be fodder for skilled adventurers, they can be a nightmare for an unprepared rookie. Goblins are savage little creatures who are not afraid of fighting dirty and backstabbing their enemies while they're busy fighting others of their number, so even a single goblin can be a threat, especially if you happen to be of a class that has no real offensive skills. While not quite on the level of the renowned Tucker's Kobolds, goblins are not to be taken lightly in this setting. Goblin Slayer is all too aware of how dangerous a large group of goblins can be, which is why he dedicates his adventuring career to killing as many of them as possible. Priestess later learns that it's actually not too unusual for rookie adventurers to fatally underestimate goblins; what happened to her first adventuring party is an all too common tale.
    • The light novel puts it this way: Goblins are only as intelligent, clever, and strong as children. Conversely, they are just as intelligent, clever, and strong as children.
  • Not the Intended Use: As a series where Combat Pragmatists are the ones who survive, this is used quite a bit. Goblin Slayer himself says as much by noting "The imagination is a weapon. Those who fail to use it, die first."
    • Priestess knows Holy Light, a basic spell taught to all beginner Priests that shines a bright light, but doesn't deal any damage. Nonetheless, its utility for blinding people makes it quite useful.
    • Priestess eventually learns Barrier, which she uses two of to trap her target and crush them, rendering it a rather effective combat spell.
    • In chapter 4, Goblin Slayer uses the Priestess' protection spell to prevent a bunch of goblins from escaping the massive fire Goblin Slayer started. The Priestess herself is disturbed by the tactic.
    • He also uses a Gate Scroll as a weapon, by making the location of the Gate the bottom of the ocean, effectively turning it into a very large water knife.
    • In Vol. 2, rather than escaping a goblin horde by using a newly-discovered teleportation mirror leading to goodness-knows-where, he has his team lift it up like an umbrella while he collapses the ceiling. The rubble is absorbed by the mirror and buries everything else, leaving them the only survivors.
  • No Woman's Land: The setting is already a Crapsack World, but if you happen to be female, it is now infinitely much worse. This is a world where the lowest tier monsters will force a Fate Worse than Death to any woman they capture. If you are a male in this world, the monsters will likely kill you and then eat your remains. If you are a female, the monsters will likely keep you alive for days to be their "plaything", force you to give birth to more monsters (usually goblins), and then eat you.
  • Oh, Crap!: Priestess begins to have a prolonged one as her party gets taken apart with almost surgical precision by what should be the weakest of monsters. And each of the poor party gets one as their various fates are about to befall them.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Most adventurers, particularly the silver-ranked ones that aren't Goblin Slayer. To be fair, they do work hard to keep the people safe from monsters, but at the end of the day, what they do for a living is, in fact, killing monsters, and if the money offered isn't sufficient to meet their needs, they won't take the job. Since the jobs are contracts paid for by the client, if the client doesn't have enough to pay what the job is worth, then of course, the experienced adventurers will pass on it. Unfortunately, this means that goblin populations are skyrocketing, while the number of rookie adventuring parties steadily decreases.
    • Goblin Slayer, however, is himself an aversion of this. He is able to make enough to be able to make a comfortable living. Although he lives at the farm of a childhood friend, the money he gives her is sufficient to be able to stay at a high quality hotel. He can also outfit himself with all the gear he needs to do his job, primarily because he's working ten times harder than the average adventurer. However, he's not in it for the money; he's in it to kill as many goblins as he can.
    • When an elf, a dwarf, and a lizardman ask him to join them in their quest to stop a newly-freed demon king from destroying the world, he refuses, saying that ending the world will take a very long time; meanwhile, villages will burn and people will die if he's not here to kill the goblins doing the burning and killing. When they change their request and ask him to take care of an absolutely massive nest of goblins serving the demon king, he immediately accepts, not even mentioning a reward, saying that he'll accept whatever they can pay him.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Subverted! Goblins in the setting are, in many ways, surprisingly generic, with many of the characteristics common in fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons-type settings. They're as small as a human child, with the strength to match, and while dangerous in large numbers, an experienced adventurer can usually make short work of them. Chapters one and two of the manga show, in horrific detail, what goblins do to inexperienced and woefully under-prepared adventurers who foolishly try and raid their lairs, intent on exterminating them and rescuing the maidens that the goblins had kidnapped for breeding purposes. If there's one thing that's different about the goblins in this setting, it is the fact that there is almost nothing funny about them: they are absolutely terrifying.
    • That being said, as the series goes on and lore on them gets more detailed, they start to differentiate themselves by combining a number of more niche or obscure facets from other works together into one background; being a One-Gender Race who must reproduce with females of other species is a distinct departure from most mainstream depictions (though still a relatively common monster trait in certain hardcore Seinen works and particularly edgy Hentai), them being capable of Evolution Power-Up is fairly unique outside of some video games, and the fact that they are probably literal alien invaders to the setting is novel outside of the Warhammer Fantasy setting.
  • Out with a Bang: Played for Drama. Any women captured by goblins and aren't saved in time will likely die in this manner. The two most notable example thus far is Noble Knight who died from mutilation (exhaustion in the manga version) after being gang-raped non-stop by a horde of goblin for 3 days and 3 nights, and Goblin Slayer's sister, while her poor little brother was Forced to Watch.
  • Parental Abandonment: Priestess is an orphan. The Temple acts as a school of Priesthood and orphanage to orphans like her. Goblin Slayer and Cow Girl lost their respective family after goblins raided their village.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Every goblin will get their due, if Goblin Slayer has anything to say about it.
    • The goblins inhabiting the abandoned elven fortress in Chapter 4 are exterminated by this, with a dash of Laser-Guided Karma and Irony for good measure. Beforehand, they had a Steel-ranked adventurer used for target practice, another burned at the stake, and one more choked to death with her own entrails. Cue Goblin Slayer, who shoots several goblins down with flaming arrows. The flames consume the bodies and spread to the rest of the fortress, immolating many more. Finally, the only means of escape is walled off with Priestess' Protection spell, so the remaining survivors can only struggle against the wall and suffocate in the smoke. The last sight they see is Goblin Slayer standing before them as they perish, staring.
  • Plucky Girl: Despite the traumatizing events of her ill-fated first adventure, the Priestess is still determined to help people as an adventurer by the end of the second chapter.
  • Pokémon Speak: In the light novel translation at least, monsters who speak their own language instead of Common Tongue have their speech rendered as garbled strings of syllables of their species name.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The manga is largely faithful to the original Light Novel. Rather than removing things, it merges scenes that were originally separate, saving time while keeping events roughly how they should be.
    • The anime is a hybrid adaptation of the light novel Volumes 1 & 2 and the manga, as it has some scenes that are LN exclusive and other scenes that are manga exclusive. It also mixes in some parts of LN Volume 4 (which also has a separate manga adaptation called Brand New Day) in Episode 5 for world-building and showcasing side characters while the main cast get a breather from their latest quests.
    • The anime also moves the Farm Battle arc which took place relatively early in the LN/manga to its final episodes, increasing the lead-up and climactic effect substantially. This includes the detail of Goblin Champions, as they are now introduced singly then reappear as a duo instead of the reverse.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: When she is cornered, wounded, and helpless at the claws of goblins in the first chapter, the Priestess quietly utters what she thinks may be her last prayer to the Earth Mother. Cue Goblin Slayer.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Delivered to Ogre, by Goblin Slayer. "Goblins are stronger than you."
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Lizardmen are known to be this.
  • Punch Catch: The rookie Fighter has her kick easily caught by a HUGE hobgoblin who then gives her a pair of slams into a wall. This introduces that there are large, powerhouse goblins out there.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The rookie party takes a mission to deal with goblins who did this to a nearby village. The goblins took food stores, all of the livestock, and even some women.
  • Rape as Drama: Goblins kidnapping and violating women is a very real, ever-present threat that looms over villagers and adventurers alike, and the creatures are not hesitant to commit sexual assault even in the heat of battle. Priestess so far is the only victim Goblin Slayer rescued in-story without suffering anything worse than impending molestation; most prisoners are considered fortunate to even be discovered alive, much less untouched.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: There are plenty of evil monsters out there, but for those in the know - goblins are pretty much treated as one of the evilest if not the most evil in the series because of their constant violent rapes as well as their torture/mutilation of victims just for the sake of it.
  • Rat Stomp: Killing giant sewer rats is considered a perfect quest for rookie adventurers to go on. Most choose to go after goblins instead... and learn, usually too late, that the rats are the safer option.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • As stated above, this manga pulls no punches, and gives the reader a good look at what happens when an inexperienced adventuring party goes into a monster's den without having taken the necessary precautions beforehand, such as buying antidotes against poison (especially when the only healer in the group is completely inexperienced and has only 3 casts per day total of light and minor healing only), determining how large the number of goblins in nest might be, or seeing if the goblins are in the nest or out raiding... and likely to return.
    • Likewise, when the party lands in trouble, Warrior heroically takes the goblins on by himself... which turns out to be the worst thing he could have done. He doesn't try to work together with the party's other melee fighter, a Fighter, and indeed his swings are so wild that she can't get near him anyway, leaving him isolated and easily flanked. His moves are hampered by the small tunnel area, letting the agile goblins slip in attacks of their own, which, since he isn't wearing much armor, turn out to be devastating. Plus, his long sword is ill-suited for such a narrow space; it ends up getting caught on a rock, leaving him wide open for a Zerg Rush.
    • The party healer, being a beginner, tries to use a healing spell to fix a deep stab wound in the party magic-user's belly. The spell, being the weakest possible, only closes the wound, and does nothing to fix the damage to everything beneath the skin including the poison in which the weapon was coated, which doesn't help anything, and the Wizard's condition steadily, and realistically, worsens due to the damage done by a rusty, fouled and poisoned goblin shiv.
    • On the bright side, those same rusty shivs are also less than effective against someone who wears armor and chainmail such as Goblin Slayer. When a goblin tries to stab Goblin Slayer between the chink in his armor, the shiv gets stopped by the chainmail, leaving him unharmed. Armor is not useless, especially when fighting against poorly armed assailants.
    • The Goblin Slayer might possess an indomitable will, but the reason he's so good at killing goblins isn't because he's an invincible One-Man Army, it's because he's deceptively smart, extremely creative in coming with ways to kill goblins that they haven't prepared for, and always fights dirty. Goblins holed up in an old tree fort? Trap them inside so no one can escape and then burn the building down. Fortress occupied by a group of goblins that vastly outnumbers your party? Find a way to put them all to sleep and then kill them one by one before they wake. They're camping in a cave? Flood it to drown them, trigger a cave-in to bury them alive, or toss a gas grenade in to drive them out one by one and then kill them as they're disoriented. In fact, part of the reason he's survived so long isn't because he's the best fighter, it's because he avoids direct combat at all costs if he can figure out a simpler and more direct way of taking his enemies out without a fight.
    • Goblin Slayer invokes this as to why he kills the Goblin children he encounters. Some Goblins could very well grow up and maybe even become a Token Heroic Orc to their species, but the chances of a Always Chaotic Evil race allowing such a thing is illogical. The children, if spared, are just as capable of killing an unsuspecting adventurer who takes pity on them, and can still escape to become a threat themselves. Worse yet, if spared, they can become determined to get revenge and thus are at risk of becoming leaders to their race, with a heart filled with vengeance towards the people they were spared by. Sparing children might seem humane, but for a race of pure evil creatures, you need to cut them out at the root.
    • Additionally, although he's an extremely strong fighter in his own right, the fact that he's spent so much of his life training to kill goblins and goblins alone means that the Goblin Slayer is lacking in some of the skills that his less single-minded colleagues have trained in. Several times when he engages in combat against anything stronger than a basic goblin, he gets knocked down immediately and one of his comrades has to step in until he gets his breath back. He's not a weak fighter by any means, but being so incredibly used to squashing not-particularly-tough goblins means he has to fight harder and think more strategically in order to win against anything else.
    • The series shows consistently armor is vital to the success of an adventurer. The all female party is wiped out because their scout lacked armor, and thus ended up be easily killed by a Goblin using a sling, leading to a downhill series of mistakes. After her first encounter with Goblin Slayer, Priestess even buys chain mail to wear under her attire in the event she gets hit again.
    • Water trapped at extremely high pressure (like, say the bottom of the ocean), and then released as a jet will not just harmlessly push enemies back, it can cut through stone, metal and bone like a paper, as any submarine crew on the planet will tell you and water jet cutters prove, and as the Ogre finds out.
    • On a more comical note, when the Elven Ranger jumps from the second story of a guild hall and lands in a Three-Point Landing, she's visibly pained afterwards, showing that landing like that really is hard on your knees.
    • The concept of Ninja Looting is given this as well. Stealing one's rewards after joining their group is not exactly a surefire way to get rich. Your former party will take note of your disappearance, and find it odd they either lost the reward or their loot, and most will put two and two together. Also, being a low-ranking adventurer but having gear well beyond your earnings will always be a huge red flag for anyone intelligent enough to keep track of the person's habits. As Guild Girl points out to a Rhea Thief, even without a magical lie detector, it was documented the thief had stolen from his allies before, no lying can save you from that.
    • Noble Fencer's plan to starve out the goblins was not a bad plan in itself, as Goblin Slayer comments on with his party. The problem was she failed to consider waiting them out would require plenty of supplies and time for her party to maintain themselves on an ice mountain. By the end of a couple weeks, her party is left in a poor state from hunger, thirst, and cold, and it was all for nothing since they were stalking out an auxiliary temple, not the actual goblin den, leaving her team to being easy pickings for the goblins.
  • Recap Episode: "Episode 10.5" of the anime which aired before the final arc. The anime was originally slated for twelve episodes, so its announcement after the tenth aired came as a surprise.
  • Reconstruction: Of Always Chaotic Evil. Where in most works a race of purely evil beings are very shallow in their motivations, Goblin Slayer takes great pains communicating how intrinsically evil all goblins really are to the audience. Much like the Uruk-Hai of The Lord of the Rings, the Trope Codifier of this trope in most modern media, goblins are filled with hatred for everything around them- the world, adventurers, and most of all, themselves. Goblins lead short and unfulfilling lives of misery and hate, with their only source of pleasure being the venting of these feelings by taking them out on anyone who gets in their way. Even still, goblins are as much a victim to the Cycle of Revenge that Goblin Slayer himself is, but both parties have committed acts too grave to ever stop until one or the other is completely eliminated. In a way, goblins are almost pitiable since they have experienced very little in the way of positive emotions throughout their short lives. Of course, their rampant invoking of Rape, Pillage, and Burn keeps them at being almost pitiable.
  • Red Baron:
    • "Goblin Slayer". When Priestess first hears it, she thinks of how under normal circumstances, hearing someone call themselves a Slayer of one of the weakest monsters would have been funny. After she just witnessed her party be gruesomely slaughtered and raped by goblins, a fate she just narrowly avoided thanks to Goblin Slayer, the name doesn't sound the least bit silly to her.
    • In Elvish he's nicknamed Orcbolg, which means the same thing, but sounds much more badass and based off a sword said to glow when near a goblin.
    • In the Dwarven tongue he's named "Beard Cutter". This name may be a reference to the "Slayer" part of his main nickname, as Dwarves regard their beards more important than their lives. A cutter of beards would be the same as an ender of lives to a Dwarf.
  • Redemption Quest: Played with in regards to Goblin Slayer and Priestess:
    • It is implied in his dourness and upbringing that Goblin Slayer isn't just angry at the past, but also blames himself for supposedly letting it happen in the first place. So, he devotes himself to the joyless and wearisome task of slaughtering goblins day after day, year after year, to prevent the repeat of yet another tragedy like his. If this pursuit comes at the expense of everything else life has to offer, then so be it.
    • A young girl like Priestess should have no reason to be following a genocidal Black Knight, forcing herself to confront monsters that would, in a best-case scenario, butcher her. But, because she recognizes Goblin Slayer's untapped value as a human being, she is determined to stand by his side and teach him to realize it too. Failing that, then at least alleviate his loneliness.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Whenever Goblin Slayer is feeling particularly murderous, a single red eye starts glowing ominously behind his visor.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Sewer Rats get big in the setting and can be found in most cities. The only one that doesn't seem to have any are in the City of Water. And that's because there's a giant Sewer Gator eating them.
  • Role-Playing Game Verse: The story's setting is very much like standard fantasy RPG complete with adventurers, monsters, guilds and quests. It is implied that the world is actually a tabletop RPG with the players as the gods who rolls the dice.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Nope. No hitpoints, magic points, or anything like that. And trying to operate as if you did live in one can have fatal consequences.
  • R-Rated Opening: More like X-rated, considering the later chapters are still nowhere remotely close to work-or-child-safe, but yes; the first chapter is a Whole Episode Flashback that goes into protracted detail on the systemic take-down of the hapless rookie party, with a lingering, graphic look at how Fighter got gang-raped by the goblins.
    • The Year One manga opened in a violent scene immediately, showing a man impaled through his mouth by a spear, three women stripped naked and raped, and all other nasty things happened when goblins attacked the young Goblin Slayer's village.
  • Schizo Tech: As detailed above in Medieval Stasis, society has reached a point where modern materials like gasoline have been invented, but with little technological advancements to make full use out of them due to the threat of monsters.
    • In Vol. 2, there is a vendor that sells the newly-marketed ice cream out on the streets to children. Ice cream wouldn't have been made available to the public until the 17th century. Furthermore, while the freezer-pot method he mentions dates well back in history, his portable icebox full of ice cream certainly isn't, and neither is the waffle bowls he served them in (an invention as late as the 1900's). Much less the fact that it was made by Alchemy, according to the vendor.
  • Schmuck Bait: In Year One Chapter 11, Goblin Slayer finishes his defenses on the perimeter of a village. On inspection of the fence he built, he kicks it apart, leaving a small opening. As the next chapter shows, he uses this opening to lure the invading goblins into a single entry point so he can kill them all.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Goblin slaying jobs usually don't pay very well, since the villagers who are being harassed by goblins are usually too poor to offer a decent reward. It's one of the reasons more experienced adventurers avoid such jobs, with inexperienced and unprepared rookies who think the difficulty is proportionate to the reward being the ones to take them, and paying dearly. Goblin Slayer doesn't care about the size of the reward since he's in the business to kill as many goblins as possible. It may be why his equipment doesn't look as nice as the gear of other silver-ranked adventurers. When his old childhood friend tries to find the silver lining in the rising number of goblin attacks by noting that this means he'll be able to earn more money from the jobs, he retorts that it would be better if there were no goblins at all.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The post-credit scene of the final episode of Season 1 gives this message: "Goblin Slayer will return".
    • Additionally, in the final episode of Season 1, we are shown a scene of the Hero and her party traveling toward the main characters' home town to both attend the upcoming festival and to hunt down a member of the evil sect ( Dark Elf). This is a pretty clear set up for the Volume 3 story-line/Harvest Festival arc considering they also already establish the existence of Rhea Scout.
    • Season 1 also hints at the possibility of Year One getting an adaptation with the scene described above alluding to a connection between Goblin Slayer and the Hero, and the inclusion of Newbie Swordman in the anime's version of the Raid on the Farm arc.
  • Serious Business: Apparently Goblin Slayer taking off his helmet and revealing his face to the bar patrons is serious enough to cause an uproar.
  • Sewer Gator: There's one living down in the sewers of Water Town. It's the Familiar of the Sword Maiden.
  • Shoot the Dog: Goblin Slayer is perfectly willing to kill goblin children so they don't grow up to be a threat.
  • Shoot the Mage First: It's worth noting that both times we see goblins overwhelm an all-or-majority female adventuring party, they only keep the melee fighters as breeding stock. Magic-users are either executed immediately upon returning to the base, or poisoned and left for dead as soon as they get their hands on them.
    • When Goblin Slayer realizes the first nest we see him clean is lead by a Goblin Shaman, he has Priestess blind them all with Holy Light and takes out the Shaman at the first opportunity by throwing a Goblin spear at his chest before he can use his magic. He latter finishes him of after killing the rest of the Goblins, knowing he was playing dead.
  • Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story: Anytime a group of rookies decides to try to save a woman kidnapped by goblins only to be overwhelmed themselves. Doubly so if said party is all-or-majority female and then significantly adds to the captive count.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The series as a whole is in many ways a love-letter to old-school Dungeons & Dragons. The adventurer registration form resembles a D&D character sheet; magic users are only able to cast a certain number of spells a day - Priestess can even cast 3 1st-level spells per day, just like a 1st level AD&D Cleric; the regenerating, spell-casting Ogre is an Ogre Mage; flaming oil used as a weapon is a staple for experienced players with low-level parties (hits harder than Magic Missile!); surprise is a more important factor in combat than your numbers, gear or levels; the secretary briefly describes some monsters as "those with blasphemous names and many eyes," accompanied in the manga by a silhouette of a beholder; Goblin Slayer handles the notorious 'orc baby problem' first posed in the adventure Keep on the Borderlands(no prize for guessing his answer). The author clearly loved classic AD&D.
    • The author is also an avid fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books, a particular favorite being the Sorcery! series; so much so that each Volume from 1-5 (barring 4) borrows a major setting/element from one of the gamebook's four titles.
    • Combined with a Take That!, to Dragon Quest games. The party in chapter one embarks, traveling in a straight line with Warrior in the front, Fighter second, Priestess third, and Wizard fourth, a common setup in many RPGs. Some of the characters have looks that wouldn't be out of place in the first trilogy, with the girls wearing what would be a standard Gendered Outfit for their class. However, this turns out to be a bad thing when the party gets ambushed, as that means the unarmored Wizard has nothing between her and the goblins that ambush the party from behind to give her time to cast her spells. Even the title can be seen as an inverted shout-out: whereas Dragon Quest implies a low-level person working their way up the ranks in an adventure to fight higher level beasts like the titular dragon, Goblin Slayer implies no adventure at all, but a (presumably) higher-leveled person fighting low-level beasts.
    • Probably one or two for Dark Souls too, considering that the magic mechanic runs somewhat on the Vancian Magic of the first two games, some spells requiring catalysts, and that most of the healing and defense-related spells are classified under "Miracles".
    • The series is filled with references to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, including Elven bread similar to Lembas, High Elf Archer's nickname for Goblin Slayer (Orcbolg) being a parallel to legendary swords like Orcrist, chapter titles, and certain battle sequences comparable to the films such as the cave troll Moria fight with a goblin champion standing in from the troll. Not to mention the Homage of the famous riddle sequence.
      • A more subtle reference comes after the farm battle when Female Knight is aghast that despite slaying a Goblin Champion, it's still only worth one gold coin. Guild Girl's response is identical in spirit to "That still only counts as one!"
      • In Chapter 30 of the manga, as Lizard Priest is eating roasted meatloaf with melted cheese topping, he says "If all had such fine food and a bed to sleep in, there would be no more wars," essentially paraphrasing one of Thorin Oakenshield's last lines in The Hobbit.
    • There's also a Fighting Fantasy reference in the Year One comics, a porcelain-ranked Goblin Slayer takes a goblin quest while a nearby adventurer takes a quest to kill "an evil sorcerer on Firetop Mountain". Guild Girl warns the adventurer to be careful as he lives in a labyrinth.
    • In the Farm Raid story arc, one of the veteran adventurers was a scantily clad amazon who's very muscular especially in the thighs and buttocks. She really went to town on the goblins with a long axe. She along with the Sorceress are shoutouts to Dragon's Crown
    • Some keen-eyed fans have also started drawing comparisons to Doom as well. Goblin Slayer is likened to the Doom Marine / Doom Slayer in both of them being the Combat Pragmatist with an obscenely genocidal tendency for the species of their ire, right down to being ready to tear their foes apart with their bare hands when especially enraged. Just as well, an illustration from volume seven of the light novel shows The Chosen One and her party fighting a horde of demons, with The Heroine almost one-to-one mimicking the Doom Marine's pose from the original game's cover art, while simultaneously a mountain-sized behemoth of a demon akin to the Titan in DOOM (2016) is vaguely visible in the background.
    • During the role-playing game session in the novel, High Elf Archer pulls out a model that she assumes is a Paladin, but clearly to the readers is actually a Space Marine.
    • The High Elf Archer quotes Arthur C. Clarke's third law almost verbatim (she just replaces the word "science" with "skill").
    • The "Set-Spear VS Charge Maneuver" that Spearman and his battalion utilized to destroy the wolf-riders attacking Cowgirl's farm is identical to the tactic William Wallace used to decimate the English Heavy Cavalry in Braveheart.
  • Show Within a Show: Guild Girl, High Elf Archer, Priestess, and Cow Girl all partake in a fantasy tabletop role-playing game that resulted in a Total Party Kill. The setting is established as a world where the gods play with mortal lives in exactly the same way.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Where goblins come from, surprisingly. One story (more of a cautionary tale) says that a goblin is born every time someone makes a mistake. The Lizard People believe goblins come from deep beneath the earth. Goblin Slayer says that they come from the world's green moon, and since that moon is barren of any other form of life, that emptiness is the source of the goblins' overwhelming greed and lust.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: How Goblin Slayer defeats Ogre: He uses a portal scroll keyed to open a gate to the bottom of the ocean. The gate opened released a water jet able to cut the beast in half, similar to how water pressure on a submarine in the deep sea can turn rivets into bullets, and the water released from a hull breach can cut a man in half.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Beastmen, also known as "Padfoots", apparently run a spectrum on the amount of canine features they possess, which apparently varies between tribes in a manner roughly analogous to ethnic features. The Waitress at the Guild's tavern in Volume 4 has only the ears and tail of a wolf and partly paw-like hands. Later that same volume, a flashback occurs that showcases a bar brawl High Elf Archer got into with a female padfoot soldier at Water Town who had a muzzle and full-body pelt.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: While this series makes no pretenses whatsoever at romanticizing the grim and ugly violence of what a fantasy adventure would really look like, it is surprisingly idealistic when it comes to the notion of love and friendship as forces of healing and redemption, as shown by the title-character's gradual recovery of his humanity with the help of his newfound friends.
  • Small Steps Hero: Goblin Slayer has no great ambition. He plans to do Exactly What It Says on the Tin until he dies.
  • Sneeze Cut:
    Witch: There's no denying that [the Goblin Slayer] helps to make the world a safer place, much more so than those of lesser skill who go after greater prey.
    Spearman: [sneezes]
  • Sociopathic Hero: Discussed. Goblin Slayer intellectually understands that from the goblins' point of view he's no different than how humans see goblin wanderers and leaders, as a child who survived an attack from the other race and grew up to be a dangerous warrior who preyed upon his former attackers. However, he still has no qualms beating goblin children to death with a club at the end of the first arc.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Guild Girl tells the Rhea scout that his habit of stealing from his own party doesn't help the perception of his race as untrustworthy thieves.
  • Stress Vomit: When Priestess sees what's left of the rookie Warrior in chapter 2 the gory sight proves to be the final straw of a particularly bad day and she throws up.
    • Chapter 13 of the manga has a young swordsman throw up upon seeing the crumpled, pulpy remains of an older adventurer who got spiked on the ground like a football by a Champion. For bonus irony, he's one of the rookies that tried to talk Priestess out of working with Goblin Slayer because of the disrepute of goblin-hunting.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Goblin Slayer is not adverse to using explosives, if the situation calls for it. Case in point: Filling the room housing a Beholder with flour to induce a dust explosion.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The rookie party in general died as from their own hubris as the goblins. The Warrior is especially guilty of this. He claims to have "killed plenty of goblins in his time" but it becomes rather clear he has never been in a goblin nest before, considering his lack of knowledge on goblin tactics and his poor choice of armor and weaponry. Goblin Slayer later comments he has met people out there who have driven off a solitary goblin or two and came out of the experience with a rather inflated view of themselves, thinking they should become an adventurer.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Experienced adventurers do not, as a general rule, accept goblin slaying assignments, primarily due to the low reward involved and high risk involved, as the reward is put up by the peasants being harassed by the goblins, who as a general rule are very poor. They'd much rather accept a job that involves, say, clearing out a group of bandits bothering a major trade route for the much fatter reward that a merchant would put up.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: The Light Novel switches perspective, going from Priestess' view in one chapter, to Guild Girl's the next and so on. It even shows the perspective of an ogre, and even a Goblin Lord. Humorously enough, despite being the character the series is named after, the first volume doesn't show things from Goblin Slayer's perspective until the end.
    • One chapter in Brand New Day is told from an envious goblin's perspective until the point Goblin Slayer killed him. Technically subverted in that, despite being the perspective character, that chapter in no way makes the goblin himself sympathetic.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: There are magic scrolls that allow its user to teleport. It's noted that these are typically used as a Escape Battle Technique, but Goblin Slayer gets creative with one such scroll linked to the bottom of the sea to used as an improvised water cutter. (his original intent was to use it to flood a goblin cave)
  • Terror Hero: Between his intimidating armor and his absolute lack of mercy when it comes to their kind, most goblins are terrified of Goblin Slayer for a good reason. The opening of the anime plays his intimidating appearance for all it's worth, showing Priestess cowering in fear as he slowly approaches, Killing Intent surging out of one of his eyes. He is actually coming to save her as she's cornered by goblins, but with his demeanor, chances are she was initially as afraid of him as she was of them.
  • There Are No Therapists: Zigzagged. After the rookie Fighter and other girls are freed, they're put on a wagon to be taken to a temple to be cared for - sometimes for the rest of their lives. But survivors of goblin attacks like Goblin Slayer and Sword Maiden deal with their issues on their own as best they can.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The Guild's receptionist has a worried expression on her face when the rookie party leaves for their mission, much to the healer's confusion. It's only later that Priestess realizes that it was because she knew they were getting in over their heads.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: No matter how badass and byronic you see Goblin Slayer as, he is treated like this in the mission in Chapter 5 of the manga. Problem 1: The goblins amassed in massive numbers near elven land, which needs to be suppressed by at least a small army. Problem 2: The elves can't move the army without making humans cautious. Solution: Send adventurers to suppress that nest instead. The human that has been chosen as representative is Goblin Slayer. Thing is, he just hunts goblins. Fortunately he is the best at this sort of thing.
  • Three-Point Landing: Subverted. Elven Ranger jumped from second story of guild hall but she is visibly pained afterward for short while. Of course many online readers at sites which provide "Tsukkomi" lampshade this by typing "Superhero Landing" on that page.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Played with. Goblin Slayer, who is used to hunting solo, often throws his weapons at a target and then just grabs a new one from a dead goblin. While it does work, Ranger points out that he's now unarmed, and it makes more sense to just let her shoot the goblins instead.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Gold-ranked adventurers live this trope; the instant an adventurer actually achieves this Rank, they are forced by the Guild and the government to bench themselves and take up posts as courtiers or officials, kept off the field until the King recognizes a monster threat as "nation threatening" and thus "warranting" a Gold-Rank response team. Technically speaking, more Gold adventurers have been introduced than any other rank, but only two have the freedom to actively pursue new quests, (Sword Saint and Sage, on account of being Chosen Heroine’s partners.)
  • Too Dumb to Live: Not bringing any antidotes into a monster lair that often uses poisoned weapons would be a bad idea for a rookie party, even in an RPG-Mechanics Verse series. In a series like this one, it's a fatal mistake. It's mentioned outright after all is said and done that most rookies don't know what they're getting into until its too late, like the fact that goblins had shamans or used poisons.
  • Total Party Kill: The group introduced in the first chapter were decimated due to overconfidence; another party that had more experience was annihilated by incredibly bad luck.
  • Treachery Cover Up: In volume 8 it turns out that a small group of evil noblemen were the ones equipping the goblins squatting in the Labyrinth of the End to kidnap the Princess and revive the Demon Lord. When King finds and personally executes them, he decides to not make public their plans or how close they came to succeeding.
  • True Companions: Though they started out seeking Goblin Slayer to help them save the world, High Archer Elf, Dwarf Shaman, and Lizard Priest have come to trust him and Priestess with their lives, and vice versa. And despite his difficulty in making emotional connections, Goblin Slayer has come to regard his party as this. Which only makes hurting any of them in any way an act of suicide.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Goblin Slayer wears his full plate armor and helmet even while eating breakfast with his childhood friend and her uncle at their home. This might be one of the reasons her uncle isn't particularly fond of him.
  • Underestimating Badassery: While goblins are considered more or less fodder for skilled adventurers, they're a definite threat to a rookie adventuring party. Sadly, the party in chapter one finds this out the hard way.
  • Urine Trouble: On Chapter 7 of the manga, one goblin rouses awake to pee (right next to other sleeping goblins in a horde). One cast of Stupor later, and the goblin passes out face-down into his own puddle.
  • Vancian Magic: Spellcasters can only cast a certain number of spells a day. In fact, only the most magically-inclined Platinum-ranked adventurers are capable of casting well into the double-digits. For this reason, spellcasters are more valued for their variety and potency, and keep careful count of their usage lest they run out. A Sorceress lampshades this when she conjures a light for her pipe in front of Priestess, joking how it was "a silly waste of a word of power."
    • Frame of reference: The female Wizard of the doomed first party was considered a prodigy by her teachers at the Wizarding School for being able to cast 2-3 times a day while still a student. The Priestess, not called a prodigy but shown to be capable of feats of incredibly powerful magic under duress, can cast two and later three times a day. The Lizardman, a Silver-Rank who's a low-key Paladin and The Big Guy of his original party, can cast at least four times a day but his stronger spells have a material component. The Dwarf, another silver-rank and a fully dedicated holy magic user, can cast at least "four or five" times a day, and context implies he had used some charges beforehand, so we can safely bet he can cast 6 or 7 on a good day. Magic scrolls, which can store spells and let anyone cast them, are one-time-use, incredibly rare and valuable, laborious to make and potentially a Lost Technology in the present-day of the setting, and cost Goblin Slayer weeks if not months of waiting and the occasional favor to the Witch for each new one he acquires. In this universe, each and every single spell is made to count.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Goblins are not above going on their knees and gibbering pathetically for all their worth, begging to be spared, promising to be good and peaceful for the rest of their days. It's all a big fat lie; the Goblin Lord killed his first adventurer this way as a child, beating her head with a rock the moment she let him go and turned her back.
  • Wave Motion Gun: An improvised one made from a Portal Scroll leading to the bottom of the sea, creating a water jet blast powerful enough to cleave an Ogre in one shot.
  • We Are as Mayflies: The Dwarf (a mature man whose hair has already gone grey, albeit how early Dwarves go grey is never specified) makes fun of the Elf for being a bored teenager out for adventure, but it turns out that she's "only" 2000 year old and he's just over 100. Then Lizard asks them to not bicker about their seniority in the company of those who don't measure their lives in centuries, meaning both humans - who don't live that long - and his own people, who are *much* older.
  • Well, This Is Not That Trope: Nonverbal example. After spending part of the opening chapter showcasing the rookie party in typical Dragon Quest Expy style, implying the title would be a humorous series about RPG-Mechanics Verse adventurers spending their days in the early levels, the story (and the goblins) beat them over the head with extremely Dark Fantasy tropes to set the tone.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: When you're a rookie adventurer party fighting a horde of goblins in their nest with no supplies or plan? Anything, really.
  • Wild Wilderness: The story takes place predominantly in the Frontier, where the only pockets of human civilization residing within are rural villages and Adventure Towns. Unfortunately this places them both well outside their country's military and well within the proximity of monsters, meaning the Adventurer's Guilds alone are available to provide suitable protection and services.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Priestess is horrified that Goblin Slayer has no problem killing goblin children to prevent them from growing up just like their parents.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: At one point, Goblin Slayer's party runs into what is clearly a Beholder. When asked what it is, Lizard Priest calls it one of those monsters which you do not name. While that works in story in the sense that the monster is that unspeakable, but it also serves as a commentary on how persistent Wizards of the Coast is with making sure nobody can use the term "Beholder" but themselves.
  • Wrong Context Magic: In volume 8 Goblin Slayer's party has to rescue the Princess of the realm from cultist goblins hiding out in the Labyrinth of Death. Said Labyrinth is explicitly stated to function on a completely different ruleset from the quasi-Dungeons & Dragons system of the outside world (most resembling Call of Cthulhu, what with the Sanity Meter mechanic everyone suddenly has to struggle with.)
  • Younger Than They Look: The age limit to becoming adventurers is fifteen years old. Some people can't wait and lie about their age to sign up with the Guild. Others rise up to the higher ranks in a relatively short amount of time due to talent, luck, and/or work ethic.
    • Goblin Slayer himself, a Silver rank adventurer and veteran of five years, is only twenty years old.
    • Female Knight, another Silver rank adventurer, might not have even grown out of her teens yet.
  • Zerg Rush: There's a reason why this technique is sometimes called "Goblin Tactics". Goblins are small and weak, but they can produce large numbers of themselves over a short period of time, and when they choose to fight, they attack en masse. When they reach populations of over fifty, they move from raiding small villages... to wiping them out completely. Even worse, these large groups are usually led by much smarter and stronger goblins.

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