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Reality Ensues / Goblin Slayer

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This series is considered as one of the grittiest light novel series to come out in The New '10s. In addition to the rape and gore, heavier application of realism compared to other works plays the big part in this.

  • This series 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 the nest might be, or seeing if the goblins are in the nest or out raiding... and likely to return. The Greenhorn Team demonstrates this the hard way:
    • Wizard uses Firebolt, a single-target spell with a long cast time against goblins, who typically use Zerg Rush tactics in battle to attack. Like Priestess, she can only use a few spells a day before having none to use. She doesn't arm herself with a backup weapon should this fail either. Because of the cast time and the single-target nature of her spell, which is abjectly unsuited for fighting goblins, she only manages to kill one goblin before getting swarmed, and never gets off a second spell before being overwhelmed. Once a single goblin grabs her, she has no way to escape or fight back and not only loses her staff, but is left wide open for a vicious stab in the stomach with a goblin dagger.
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    • 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 stalactite with enough force to knock it right out of his hand, leaving him wide open for a Zerg Rush and a Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • Fighter tries to Hold the Line as well, but while normal, tiny Goblins are squishy and easy to kill with strength alone, she is caught off-guard when a much larger Hobgoblin, the first one we see all series and the first demonstration that goblins can get a lot bigger and a lot stronger, easily blocks her kick in a variation of a Punch Catch. With no extra weapons of any kind, she's unable to free herself or fight back, and gets slammed against the cave walls, pinned to the ground, has the living crap beaten out of her, and ends up brutally raped.
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    • Priestess, being a beginning party healer, tries to use a healing spell to fix the deep stab wound dealt by the goblin's attack on Wizard. 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 the weapon was coated with, which doesn't help anything, and 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 in this series, especially when fighting against poorly armed assailants.
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  • A major reason many porcelain ranks think clearing a goblin nest is easy is the low rewards. The small amount paid is because relatively poor villagers are the ones who have to shell out the reward, and they don't have enough to actually compensate the immense difficulty. This also ties into why there are so many goblins: higher ranked adventurers avoid the clearing missions because the reward is not worth the trouble, especially those who have actually faced goblins before.
  • Goblin Slayer brings up that just because you are doing something important, doesn't mean everything else stops. His initial reason for turning down a mission to save the world is that goblins won't stop destroying lives and reproducing while he's away stopping another threat. He only agrees to join when informed his help will include killing many goblins, just with a major goal in mind.
    • Tying into the above, it is pointed out destroying the world would take a lot of time, while a goblin raid can be a relative blink of the eye. Because he is the only one making any sort of dent in the goblin problem, Goblin Slayer points out that a great many villages can be destroyed while he's away on the world-saving quest.
    • Ironically enough, as the novel goes on the Chosen Heroine and her party actually steamroll through the world-saving quest, while the extermination of Goblins is nowhere in sight. However, that's beyond his control nor knowledge, so he can't be blamed here. It is later revealed that the Demon King that the Heroine defeats is only the latest in a long line created by the God's games, meaning that it is irrelevant how thoroughly the heroes defeat the demons, or if the demons even defeat the heroes, the cycle will start all over again, whereas the problem with the Goblins is starting to see a small solution in the form of Goblin Slayer, whom the Gods cannot control, vindicating the importance of Goblin Slayer's mission.
  • 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 avoids direct confrontation as much as possible. To make this happen, he's deceptively smart, extremely creative in coming up 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 up. They're camping in a cave? Flood it to drown them, trigger a cave-in to bury them alive, or toss in a gas grenade to drive them out one by one and then kill them while 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 odds of an Always Chaotic Evil race allowing such a thing are astronomical. 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 continuously defies the notion that Armor Is Useless. In fact, armor is vital to the success of an adventurer. The Warrior's lack of it leaves him vulnerable to the counterattack of a goblin he impaled, leaving him with a serious leg injury. The all-female party is wiped out because their scout lacked armor, and thus ended up 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. As a matter of fact, several times in the series, it's made clear that the only reason Goblin Slayer or his party survives an intense encounter is because they had armor on, meaning that while they still get badly hurt, they survive thanks to that extra protection. A prime example occurs with the fight against the Goblin Champion where both Priestess and Goblin Slayer are given near-death injuries, but survive long enough to be healed because the armor they had on protected them enough, with Priestess' in particular being the only reason she survives at all.
  • The series doesn't shy away from pointing out the realistic effects magic would have when applied to combat, mostly by using defensive spells as weapons or using a spell in a way that's Not the Intended Use. Goblin Slayer frequently has his allies use their magic in strange but lethally effective ways that their casters wouldn't think to use because his Combat Pragmatist mindset means anything is on the table.
    • The Protection spell creates a barrier. So creating one right in front of someone and then another right behind them will trap them in between two walls. If created close enough, the walls will start to crush the person. You can also funnel the enemy into a single space, use Protection to block that way out, and use something like fire or water to finish them off.
    • The Purify Liquid spell means that if cast on a living target, the caster could cause them to essentially be poisoned from all the water in their body being "purified". Priestess gets a dream visit from her patron goddess for killing someone this way, who gives her a What the Hell, Hero? speech followed by a warning that if she doesn't knock it off with the creatively violent misapplication of her benevolent gifts, Priestess will lose access to her miracles entirely. Like many Clerics or Paladins in Dungeons & Dragons can attest to, your patron deity might be somewhat flexible with their tenants or oaths, but if you abuse those loopholes, they will eventually punish you for doing so.
  • 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.
  • Goblin Slayer gets a Heroic Second Wind during the fight with the Goblin Champion, and gets up and proceeds to cripplingly injure the Goblin Champion. However, he is barely able to stand while doing so, only kills a single Goblin during his charge thanks to it being surprised he was alive, nearly dies as a result of his injuries, and it takes all his willpower to even stand and injure the Champion, not kill it. After, Goblin Slayer manages to heal, but alongside Priestess, is forced to sit out for a day or two, and the others all give him crap for getting back into the fight despite being still injured. Just because Goblin Slayer did manage to get back up and fight doesn't mean he magically kills the Champion; it only gave them a chance to survive and fight another day.
  • When Goblin Slayer goes to the guild to ask for help stopping the Goblin army that is going to attack Cow Girl's farm, none of the adventurers save his close friends agree to help. Morally, it would be right to help. But putting their lives on the line for a single person is asking much when they would get no compensation for damages or injury. It's only after a reward is finally offered that people accept, though many of the people there admit they would have helped anyway; the promise of a reward simply gave those unsure an incentive to do so. They are essentially mercenaries, after all, to which Goblin Slayer begrudgingly concedes the point.
  • 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 that person's habits. As Guild Girl points out to Rhea Scout, even without a priestess of the Supreme God acting as a magical lie detector, it was documented that Rhea Scout had stolen from his allies before; no lying can save you from that. Due to this, when he applied for a Promotion and this evidence was discovered, he was expelled. In an environment where people put their lives on the line for pay, Ninja Looting is unacceptable behavior and damages the goodwill many have, alongside making the perception of Rheas as only obsessed with loot even worse.
  • 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 that she failed to consider that 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 be easy pickings for the goblins.
  • A Played for Laughs example with the High Elf Archer's Improbable Aiming Skills. As a High Elf, she can hit targets by guiding the arrow with her mind, allowing her to not need to worry about aiming like most people do since she just needs to make sure to guide it mentally. When she does a friendly festival game, she can't hit the target because she isn't used to having to aim for her ranged attacks.
  • In Volume 4/Brand New Day manga, the Rookie Duo fears that after losing Rookie Warrior's sword during a quest, they are facing bankruptcy. Yes, in a setting like this, weapons really are expensive, and doubly so ones like swords. There is a reason why the sword is considered a symbol of royalty that requires years of training for proper usage, rather than a universal arm. Rookie Warrior later gets a club at Goblin Slayer's suggestion, and finds that despite the weapon not being "cool", it works far better than his sword did due to a combination of being cheap to buy and being reliable, and even manages to retrieve the sword thanks to it.
  • Related to the above entry, Goblin Slayer explains why he buys and uses cheap equipment over more flashy and perhaps stronger equipment: if you have to retreat from a horde of Goblins, anything you leave behind will become weapons or armor that they will use. A flashy and cool sword you had to leave behind to survive? Now it is in the hands of a Goblin who is very eager to test it in battle against the next person they see. Basically, use cheap equipment because cheap equipment in your hands will be the same for the enemies' hands. The Goblin Lord, for example, took an adventurer's battleaxe and used it to nearly kill Goblin Slayer during their fight. However, on the other side of the spectrum, goblins are mentioned as being only as smart as children, thus Goblin Slayer acquires a weapon based off the Kpinga, with the Master Blacksmith admitting that goblins wouldn't be able to use it to its fullest.
    • As well, it's shown in the second chapter that edged weapons will dull quickly from use on flesh and bone, or be covered in viscera that reduces their usefulness. Goblin Slayer leaves behind the short sword he showed up with initially, taking a spear instead, midway through the cave. A more expensive blade is both unnecessary for dealing with most goblins and less efficient as a disposable item.
  • Despite only ever taking low-paying goblin extermination quests for several years, Goblin Slayer is actually quite wealthy and has no issues with purchasing power. Once again this ties to his dirt-cheap equipment - yes, while he would have to make more frequent repairs or replacements, what he brings is still functional enough to always complete missions with a greater return on investment. Other adventurers may require several jobs before they can pay off their premium equipment.
  • A particularly gruesome example: A woman impregnated by goblins will give birth to multiple within a few days. It is even said that a single woman can populate an entire nest! Subsequently, the strain of babies that grow to term in days and the generally terrible conditions the women are kept in ensure they expire in about two weeks.
  • Outside of bathing, sleeping, and repairs (and even then it's noted he has copies of the same armor as a precaution); Goblin Slayer is never without his armor and thus is noted to having a pale complexion from lack of sunlight.
  • Volume 4 of the light novel goes into detail as to why adventurers are preferred for dealing with monsters and evil mages and the like, over sending in the military. Aside from the constant threat of war with larger threats like necromancer armies or the Demon King's servants, mobilizing an army would draw soldiers from the common people, which not only costs a lot of money to feed, supply, and arm, but also causes unrest when deployed for very long - a serious issue in any feudal society. Also, most monster lairs, ruins, and towers are cramped environments with lots of chokepoints, making it hard to use the numerical advantage that an army might have. It's far better to rely on small units of elite mercenaries who are well-equipped, experienced, and highly motivated to fight monsters, rather that the mass levies of lightly-armed and inexperienced militia who would make up the majority of an army.
  • The structure of the Adventurer's Guild as a whole is an unusually realistic twist on such organizations. Rather than directly command adventurers, the Guild functions as a way to organize and keep track of them, and provide a purpose for adventurers who would otherwise be roving groups of heavily-armed mercenaries wandering around looking for work. By providing a place for adventurers to gather, rest, eat, and sleep, the Guilds pay for themselves while also keeping a dangerous element in check, direct them at threats, and provide useful intelligence to the government regarding monsters and dangers on the frontier.
  • Goblin Slayer's Leave No Survivors policy and his insistent paranoia about goblins learning from his techniques is shown to be completely justified in the fifth light novel, when he uses a poisoned arrowhead that breaks off of the shaft to try to deliver a disease back to their nest. Due to an error on his part - not expecting the other goblins to treat the injured one and remove the arrow from the wound - the goblins immediately start using the exact same tactic against his party. High Elf Archer gets a very nasty wound in the leg that severely hampers her mobility and requires some painful impromptu surgery to remove it. This also gets flipped on the goblins, as they assume that if an adventurer was using the technique then it has to be better. It turns out that the weakened arrowheads are actually worse in general combat against an armored opponent and are only dangerous if used against someone with no armor at all.

Danmachi: Memoria Freese

  • During the crossover campaign Dungeon & Goblins, Bell Cranel, the DanMachi protagonist, alongside several characters he was with before being warped to Goblin Slayer's world, discover that killing the goblins of said world will neither make their bodies disappear nor would they leave behind a crystal. Goblin Slayer also points out to Bell that the same goblins will not emerge from the walls as the ones in the Orario dungeon would.

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