We’ve seen it in hundreds of anime before. The protagonist gets into a fight they cannot possibly win and then (usually accompanied by a montage, flashback, or visualisation of their internal thoughts) they suddenly get a power-up and win the fight. Saihate no Paladin pulls something similar this week but due to some solid ground work in world-building and foreshadowing, it doesn’t feel like it has come from nowhere.
Also, as it doesn’t necessarily resolve the conflict or guarantee the victory it doesn’t feel half so cheap as some stories would make this sequence. Just another reason why Saihate no Paladin’s deliberate pace in setting up this story is going to pay-off in the longer run.
Saihate no Paladin may be taking its time but it isn’t wasting that time.
Let’s back up to the start of the episode.
Saihate no Paladin episode four picks up immediately from where episode three ended which is with Gus deciding to protect Mary and Blood from Stagnate by launching an attack upon a god. Whatever other flaws Gus may have as a character you have to applaud him for this move. It’s gutsy and also kind of insane and yet momentarily at least more effective than anyone in their right mind might have assumed it would be.
Certainly Mary and Blood aren’t making moves to defend themselves having more or less resigned themselves to the situation.
Of course, that could also be part of their characters given Mary is very religious and tends to hold oaths in extremely high regard and Blood is a warrior and far more straightforward. Gus on the other hand is pretty fine with being deceitful, underhanded and largely doing whatever it takes to succeed. It makes sense that of the three Gus would be the one to rebel against paying the debt they owe to Stagnate.
But, if Gus’ plan had succeeded their wouldn’t be much left for this episode and so despite putting up a tremendously good fight he does lose.
Then Stagnate does that typical gloaty villain thing of giving everyone a day before he returns. It was probably the one moment in this episode of Saihate no Paladin that I really wondered about because honestly Stagnate would have been better off taking Blood and Mary while Gus was already defeated and Will was still trembling in fear because giving them all a day… Well, we know that bad guys who give good guys time to rally almost always regret it.
So the following day Will is resolved to at least try to protect his family and he marches out to confront Stagnate.
I did have a question for Saihate no Paladin here and that was how Will knew where to meet Stagnate. I mean, the guy literally appeared out of nowhere the first time so why did he assume that Stagnate was going to appear in the field again. It seemed a little off but we’ll just go with it because it did make an awesome setting for Stagnate to do his thing and cause the skeletons of dead warriors to rise from the earth and do battle.
To Will’s credit he put a lot of effort into his attack and managed to damage a god before being brought down. It was a great attempt but when you think about it, Will had three teachers and in this fight he was clearly using Blood and Gus’ techniques. What about Mary?
This is where the solid build-up over three episodes of Saihate no Paladin comes in to play. We knew that Will had to make an oath to one of the gods on the solstice as part of the whole becoming an adult thing. We know he’s been praying with Mary every single day since the day he snuck into the temple and was burned. We also knew he was reincarnated and had resolved to live a better life so he had to reject Stagnate and what he was offering.
So yes, Will makes his oath mid-battle (I’m assuming that’s not the norm) and get’s quite the power jump.
Is it enough?
Probably not, but it was really one of those amazing anime moments where you just want to cheer for the hero and then give him a hug.
This was a great episode of Saihate no Paladin and I’m loving how this story continues to build. We’ll hopefully find out next week how this current crisis resolves and then hopefully find out what is next for Will.
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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