It was always going to be hard for Saihate no Paladin to follow up after the emotional turmoil of episode 5. Five episodes of building toward that mid-season climax means we’re now left with having to transition into a new arc with the only character who is continuing on being Will. I don’t doubt that this anime can pull it off but to say that episode 6 was a little more subdued would be an understatement.
On the bright side, at least Will doesn’t leave his home for the first time ever and discover there was a human village literally a day’s walk away the whole time. That would have absolutely cheapened the entire point of his being raised in isolation with only Mary, Blood and Gus.
Instead, Saihate no Paladin has Will setting out on a genuine journey crossing plains and through forests and finding other ruined and abandoned cities long before he has a chance encounter with a half-elf who is hunting in the forest.
Saihate no Paladin is willing to let things take the time they take rather than rush to the next story beat.
Meneldor, the half-elf in question, doesn’t make the greatest first impression here. Not because of his personality, but rather because his personality seems to be bouncing all over the place. Part of that may be because he’s forcing himself to act contrary to his own nature, but the overall impression he leaves is of a character who is still finding his own footing.
Will on the other-hand is most definitely over-powered after the upbringing he has had, taking down boars and demons alike with little effort as he wanders along following a river in hopes of finding people. But, I feel they’ve balanced that nicely with his lack of knowledge about the world as well as his somewhat awkward and hesitant personality. Will is going to struggle to make his way in the world and I don’t doubt at some point someone is going to seriously swindle him. It provides a bit of balance to a character who may otherwise feel untouchable.
And while Saihate no Paladin isn’t rushing into the next story beat, it is setting it up nicely. After Will’s encounter with Meneldor he receives a divine revelation of a village under-attack and he rushes to its rescue only to find one of the attackers is Meneldor. He then intervenes in their sentencing, offering to pay compensation for their release.
All of this sets up the fact that somewhere there’s a village that has been overrun by demons and Will is on course now to go kill the demons. I love that his plan, when asked by Meneldor who has been pressed into being a guide, is more or less go to the village and kill the demons. It’s so simple and straightforward and so totally Will.
Visually this episode was very impressive with lovely landscape scenes as Will made his way across the wilderness, more subdued but equally lovely scenes of souls beings guided home through Will’s prayers, and even fairies (depicted as fairy lights rather than actual fairies), so all and all it was just a great episode to watch.
Where Saihate no Paladin still kind of falls short is in the action itself. Whether it was fighting the boar or taking out Meneldor, this anime is big on keeping the action pretty simple. The end result in the case of the boar scene being that for a moment the boar seems to be suspended in mid-air held up by the spear but neither moving forward or back, before Will then throws it backward. It doesn’t quite look right.
Anyway, we have the promise of some demon fighting coming up in Saihate no Paladin so I’m pretty keen to see the next episode.
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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