So far one of the things I’ve consistently praised about Saihate no Paladin is the deliberate choice not to rush through set-up or events just for the sake of quick thrills. Instead this story has taken its time to build up the character and the world and that means my emotional investment is significantly greater than it usually is for this kind of hack and slash fantasy. Which makes me wonder why episode 12 feels so incredibly rushed as our main character gets over his sudden round of self-doubt, rallies the troops and defeats the immediate villain before finding out he’s pretty much in charge of the region in the space of twenty minutes.
The only justification I can see for the sudden haste is that overcoming this creature and somewhat resolving the issue in the southern woods does at least provide a sensible resting point for the story for the season to end on.
Saihate no Paladin’s final episode for season one feels all too hasty.
Unfortunately, by rushing it, Saihate no Paladin has undermined that sense of deliberate pacing that has permeated the entire story so far. While there’s nothing wrong with episode 12 -indeed when compared to the ending some something like Banished From The Hero’s Party, the final episode of Saihate no Paladin comes out significantly stronger – and yet it loses something of its own tone in the process.
Will has been a character we’ve watched grow up and find his feet. Two episodes ago he finally became an actually recognised Paladin. One episode ago he experienced his first real taste of failure since saying goodbye to Mary and Blood. And in this episode he more or less has a little bit of a sulk about it, has Menel come along and beat him up a bit, and instantly he’s just fine. Even tells everyone else that it’s all good.
This is the first time it has felt like Saihate no Paladin has trivialised a pivotal character growth moment and the episode suffers because of it.
Though points for Menel for knowing when it was time to beat his friend senseless.
Regardless of how satisfying it is to see Will, Menel and the others get back on their feet and plan to defeat the demon beasts, and then do just that, the episode is marred by this absolute abrupt turn around from the end of last episode where Will resolves to go it alone because he’s almost immediately reversed position and it feels far too trite.
Then, we also need to look at the battle. It was definitely satisfying and overcoming the chimera that took down Menel last week needed to happen for the season to come to some kind of a close, and yet Saihate no Paladin blurs through preparations with a few stills and a quick narration and then the fight begins. And all too quickly Menel and Will are separated from all the extras for their own fight against the chimera so it just makes you wonder why they bothered dragging them all along.
Despite all those complaints, ultimately this final episode leaves us in a good position to end the season as it brings one phase of Will’s journey to an end. Now we just have to hope a season two actually comes out because while it has been announced details are few and far between. I have thoroughly enjoyed Will’s story up until this point and really do want to find out what is next for these characters and this world so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for more details of Saihate no Paladin season 2.
You can read the full season review here.
Images from: Saihate no Paladin. Dir. Y. Nobuta. Children’s Playground Entertainment. 2021
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