I feel like a broken record for saying “it’s time for another fantasy / isekai anime review”, but here we are.
It’s time for another fantasy / isekai anime review.
Our protagonist, Will, is a man who is reborn into a fantasy world, but not in the usual circumstances – in this case, he’s raised by an odd trio in a remote location, faraway from civilization. Specifically, in a temple, which overlooks the ruins of an abandoned city. His caretakers are all undead – a mummy (zombie), a skeleton, and a ghost.
The three undead are all skilled in different areas of life and combat, and under them, Will grows and becomes very powerful. However, things quickly change at Will’s coming-of-age ceremony, which force him onto a journey of his own.
A Strong Foundation
I think one of the best points of Saihate no Paladin is the beginning. Much time is spent developing Will, his guardians, and the world itself (magic, history, et cetera). Most stories just kick off the “call to action” of the story fairly early, shoving the protagonist into the thick of things within the first episode or two. Saihate no Paladin stuck out to me as an anime that didn’t do this.
Personally, I appreciated how much was put into the beginnings of Will’s story. I understand that to some it may almost feel like a waste of time, as we can’t quite “move forward” until the journey actually begins. But what we get is a great picture of Will’s childhood and upbringing, which gives us a good background and understanding of him for later on in the story.
While I won’t spoil when the call to action happens, as you get closer to it, it becomes fairly clear as there’s buildup and many hints that make it obvious something is going to happen, basically.
Almost every one of these fantasy / isekai stories tries to put it’s own twist on things, and Saihate is included in that.
First off, Will is raised somewhere far away from other humans, and raised by non-humans. This essentially leads to us getting a powerful human boy who is ignorant of societal norms and such, something that we also see in Wise Man’s Grandchild. I feel like the reasons for making our protagonist ‘naive’ in Saihate are different though.
The feeling that I got from this story is that Will’s naivety basically allows him to accomplish things that others couldn’t by almost bypassing societal standards and expectations. By treading in areas where others wouldn’t go, saying things others wouldn’t say, and so on, Will is able to work his way into a position where he can better accomplish his goals.
The next interesting point about Saihate is that Will is raised by undead.
The anime begins with a bit of mystery surrounding the trio that look after him, with us learning more as we continue through Will’s childhood. We end up seeing quite a bit of these three, and I feel like the anime did a great job with showing us the bonds that Will ends up sharing with his caretakers. But to be fair, a good amount of time is spent on this.
Finally, I’d say the last point of interest for me was the world design, specifically the role of gods in the world. I won’t really go into much here, and to be honest it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before on occasion, but I just liked how they play a part in society, and Will’s personal interaction with all of this.
As with Wise Man’s Grandchild, I once again question whether the isekai elements of this are really necessary. Given his unique upbringing, I feel like Will’s power is more than justified to the point where he doesn’t really need the “adult in a growing child’s body” element tacked on.
That said, I guess one of the reasons some of these “isekai” stories are being used is so that the protagonist can essentially narrate their own upbringing as it happens, because they’re technically an adult in a child’s body. Which is fair enough I suppose.
My primary criticism would just be that despite being an adult who has lived through a second childhood, especially later on, Will doesn’t seem very much like a matured adult. Which to me makes it feel like it’d have made more sense to just not include the whole isekai thing. But hey, that’s what everyone’s doing these days, so it is what it is I suppose.
While I praised the introduction of Saihate, I’ll first mention that I thought the rest of the story was pretty good. Naturally it’s not as long as some other stories, but it was still satisfying, although I will say that as the anime goes on it begins to fall in line a bit with other anime in terms of fantasy / isekai stories.
I’m going to give Saihate no Paladin / The Faraway Paladin an 8 / 10.
I thought this was a real solid entry in the genre. It has a more serious tone to it, especially in regards to combat, people’s lives, and things like this. While I’m not sure the isekai aspect was really necessary, Saihate still delivers a nice story from start to finish.
And one that, unlike many others, actually manages to deliver on feeling different from the masses of fantasy / isekai titles out there.
Which was nice to experience. While I love the genre and many of said ‘masses’, I also enjoy when an anime tries to change things up.
Once again that’s a review done with, and is all for this post!
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.