Welcome, welcome. And welcome back to Otaku Thursday! You know, November is going by extremely fast, and Star and I have been trying to catch up on about four weeks of anime–we’re nearly there but can we finish before more episodes come out? Probably not. This season has been overall good so far, and we’ve only dropped a few anime. Now, one anime I had expected to drop was Faraway Paladin–something I thought would be a typical fantasy. Spoiler alert: I have not dropped it, and it’s actually really darn good.
Alright so getting started. When I first saw this anime I was like–okay. This is going to be your typical, fantasy esque anime that will probably be an isekai of some kind. Whoopy freaking doo. But, the description sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a go. After all, instead of mentioning any kind of isekai or other world, it simply spoke of a boy named Will who was raised by the undead. At that description I was like–okay this could be cute, or at least unaverage. I am a sucker for family anime. And a sucker for people named after the notorious pirate (and good man) Will. So Star and I gave it a whirl. As promised, the story begins with Will who is being raised by Mary–a mummy, Blood–a skeleton, and Gus–a ghost. The three undead creatures find him as a baby and decide to raise him–teaching him fighting, magic, religion, the works. As I watched the first episodes, I enjoyed that we got to literally see bits of Will at all ages, growing up and learning things. It felt strangely wholesome, but the more I watched, the more I wondered where this anime was going. Was this truly going to be some slice-of-life of these undead raising a human boy? No, I didn’t believe that. And I was right not to. As we started getting a few episodes in, we start to realize a few things. One, is that William refers to ‘another life’. So–score one for the isekai reader. He implies and then outright states that this is not his firs life, and he occasionally uses terms that one would associate with our world and not the fantasy one he resides in. I personally enjoy the fact that while they make it apparent Will has been isekai’d, that is but a footnote in the overall plot.
As for the actual plot…boy I still don’t know where we’re going but I am living for it. We learn in about episode three or four that Blood, Mary, and Gus are training Will so that he can survive in this world, since he’ll one day have to leave their abode and go off on his own. Fair enough. We may ask why, but that’s not super important–he just has to do it. We then learn, and spoiler alert, that there is a lot more going on for why Will was raised by these three undead in rather complete isolation. The revelations come just when we are truly wondering the same questions, so they are entirely welcome as backstory. Now, I will admit the backstory, though I’m not privvey to spoil it in it’s entirety, is both well thought out and a little…well. I don’t know–almost over the top in my opinion? Maybe I’m wrong to say it but once backstory is revealed, it is a lot of information all at once. While it all adds up, it also feels so out of the blue that it’s kind of hard to take it as serious emotional blows. Though I will admit, the happenings of episode 5-6 did make me feel something.
Of course though, by episode six we’ve only just met our first side character aside from the three undead who raised William–and the way that our friend half elf comes into the picture is…questionable. I mean, maybe this is just Star and I being stupid but when he officially joined forces with Will we were like–ah yes. Solving modern problems with modern solutions (money). And also I was like–okay so there’s a fine line between slave owner, pimp, and mercenary–there’s a little grey area in between and that’s where William clearly operates. Still, now that he has his beautiful androgynous half-elf companion, we are sure in for a good story.
So, aside from my first impressions of the episodes and story thus far, I also really like the characters. William, though he is sure to be OP in the future, is actually really likeable. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen him grow up and seen him actually gain these skills that would make him overpowered that made me like Will more. But also, the three undead who raised him? Mary, Blood, and Gus? Goddess they are like the absolute best. I really like them as characters. And even the half-elf guy Meneldo is absolutely great.
Music and animation–I almost don’t want to mention these because so far the animation is only okay and then the music has been so-so. Like I wouldn’t say they’re amazing but also they fit the show. I do think the OST might be better than I think, but I would have to listen to it by itself to actually be able to make a judgement call on it.
Overall, I have really enjoyed Saihate no Paladin. I’m not usually a huge fan of isekai or fantasy stories in anime. I don’t know why–especially because I love fantasy novels and am happy reading them in manga form. But I never really got into fantasy or high fantasy anime for the most part. But Saihate no Paladin is special to me. It’s not epic, it’s not grand. It’s so slice-of-life like at first you could mistake it for one. But maybe that’s why I like it. It’s just good storytelling with a not obnoxious main character. Will they try to inflate Will’s story into a bigger thing? Probably. But right now, I’m SO good with just following the life of William G. Maryblood. Also 10/10 for his name.