Goblin Slayer has been a cause of triggered outrage while TenSura (That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime) is innocent anime fun. How will these two fresh anime based off mangas based off light novels fair against one another?
I’ll preface this comparison with a disclaimer that the full anime series has not been released as of yet. I will be basing judgment off the episodes 1-3. I have read most of the Goblin Slayer manga and only the first couple chapters of TenSura. The mangas will also fair a bit into the comparisons but not that much. Without further ado let’s go!
Goblin Slayer is set in a dark fantasy, RPG-esque world. There are quiet towns, villages and bustling cities. There’s also an Adventurer’s Guild. Adventurers can have classes, skills, spells, and ranks. There are designated classes so a warrior can’t necessarily use spells while a cleric can’t necessarily fight. There are demon kings or lords that are the overall goal for top-ranked adventurers to vanquish. As the ranks move downward so do the quests. The most basic and “entry level” quests are to slay goblins.
However, they are absolutely evil. They rape, pillage, torture, and bludgeon their enemies to death. Their depravity is overly exaggerated to drive home that, “There are no good goblins. If there were, they’d stay in their hole”. The goblins are cunning; they can adapt and learn from past mistakes or events. If a goblin survives an attack, it will figure out how to get back at its attacker. Thus, Goblin Slayer, our protag (protagonist), must be just as cunning and devilish as they are resorting to dark medieval fantasy-based tactics such as smoking them out or killing their babies.
This key point of Goblin Slayer irked me. These goblins are so damned evil and terrible yet the “common occurrences” of goblin killings and rape are somehow not known to new adventurers. The newbies are barely warned about them. I made a joke once about how “Goblin Awareness” boards are needed in the town but alas, no “Beware Goblin Rape!” posters in sight!
TenSura is more “game-ified” and far lighter than Goblin Slayer. The fantasy, RPG-esque world has more “video game” rules and so far not a single human has been raped or bludgeoned to death! Only the protag in another world was stabbed and died so that doesn’t count. The world is brighter and more colorful with strange creatures all over the place. It’s more exploratory than Goblin Slayer so far i.e. our character is traversing and finding new people and locations as he goes. The monsters you’d think were completely evil aren’t either, at least those who can converse. Goblins in this world are far friendlier and maybe slightly more pathetic (except from episode 3 that is) than Goblin Slayer’s counterparts.
Both worlds are shallow at best. They are the pretty much the stereotypical representations we’ve seen in just about any “Isekai” show. Goblin Slayer ticks the following tropes: adventurer’s guild, party of different classed people, classes typical to any basic RPG, naive entry level adventurers taking on an area they can’t handle, a dwarf hating an elf hating a dwarf. TenSura ticks: game elements in a fantasy world (for some reason), an overpowered main character, the main character not aware how the “game mechanics” work but having a decent understanding of games he can just about fake it till he makes it. Both tick: generic forested areas and caves (so far). Although to Goblin Slayer’s credit the goblin nests are tricksy little places that aren’t usually represented in fantasy.
In TenSura our protag, Satoru, was a working salaryman before he died in a random stabbing incident. As he is being reincarnated, his feelings and thoughts are inferred by some “game engine” and given to his new form (which also inferred) as skills or resistances. Thus, he appears in a fantasy (yet heavily game influenced) world as a lowly yet OP (overpowered) slime. As a slime (with OP skills) he learns new skills and abilities to allow him to become even stronger. A predator skill allows him to consume/store just about anything and then also analyze thing he just ate. He makes friends and is renamed Rimuru by a dragon.
Rimuru is a funny guy and brings common sense and human feelings (in a slime body) to the table. He wants to find out about another otherworld human besides himself. He is interested in this new world and tries to be friendly and helpful. His ignorance of the world leads him to funny misunderstandings or situations he didn’t expect. A fairly decent character with a smidge of pizazz.
In Goblin Slayer, our protag is Goblin Slayer (name pending). He has a dark backstory where goblins raped and killed pretty much everyone in his village. He wants to kill every goblin he can and so he has trained and equipped himself for only killing goblins. He is a silver ranked adventurer – the third highest rank. He saves a porcelain (noob) priestess after her first quest with an overconfident party goes to absolute crap. Goblins annihilate the party, poisoning the mage, bludgeoning the warrior and raping the martial artist. Much to the internets’ dismay.
Rimuru is a light-hearted guy and the monsters he meets are fluffy balls of fluff – there’s not much substance but it’s a kind-hearted, slightly risque, show. Goblin Slayer is an altogether different kind of risque. His toughened heart leads him to be short with everyone; only the bare minimum is said. He is methodical and lacks social etiquitte. He is polite to the receptionist and kind to his childhood friend. A opposite to the talkative, inquisitive Rimuru.
The side characters of both shows are pretty boring. TenSura is simple and funny so there’s not much depth needed there. Goblin Slayer doesn’t even have names for them! They are based on their classes for now: Dwarf, Elf, Priestess and, Lizardman. Oh and the childhood friend sounds incredibly dumb, like the most annoying dimwitted voice and dialogue ever. Worst character of the show in my opinion. Read the manga!
Goblin Slayer himself is a straightforward guy, he kills goblins and is independent. He learns to trust his party members but also wants to protect them if possible (the melting ice-guy trope – cold initially but warming up over time to f-f-friends). Rimuru is just a funny man learning to live in a slime body learning to live in a new world.
Oh boy. The biggest upset in Goblin Slayer is not the rape but the animation. CGI makes its return as Goblin Slayer switches dimensions from 2D to 3D often in episodes. His character model is so special it’s the only one made into CGI while his party members walk behind him in stupid 2D fashion. Goblins are also interdimensional beings. It’s super cheap.
TenSura by comparison, has some very well animated scenes, especially in its opening sequence. There are some pretty 3D filters and effects that are used quite effectively. Also, unlike the cheesy filters used in Goblin Slayer to make it edgy, TenSura uses its filters very appropriately. Above-average I’d say.
Oh boy. The second biggest upset in Goblin Slayer should be the sound design. The music wavers from really fitting to really edgelord and then really boring. Some tracks are actually good. Some are really, really bad. The goblin sound effects are really dumb! Goblins have this dumb screechy heavily distorted speech and they used pig squeals for the goblin babies. It’s a shame – the rest of the sounds are fine but the goblins suck to hear.
TenSura has good sound effects and has some really cool retro-video game 16-bit music. However the rest of the soundtrack is forgettable – generic, samey music, nothing really stood out.
TenSura eeks out a win over Goblin Slayer. It’s animation, sound and direction are better than Goblin Slayer. Goblin Slayer relies on shock-factor and violence to create interest which is not a bad thing if animated properly. Goblin Slayer is just too full of corny edge that while present in the manga in fairly tolerable amounts reaches new heights in animation form. Ametuar video filters, animation, and bad sound design took a fairly well-illustrated manga and turned it into a hot mess. Feelings range from enjoyment to annoyance as the quality fluctuates from scene to scene. My advice: read the Goblin Slayer manga and watch TenSura. This Goblin Slayer is no match for a well-endowed slimeball!