Saihate no Paladin continues its languid pace. Even where there are fights to be had and enemies to vanquish, Will continues to move deliberately through his own story allowing things to happen as they do. It is such a change for this kind of series to not have a harem of girls showing up at every turn, not have some gag comedy moments just to break the tension, and to really just let the story and the world speak for themselves.
Admittedly, whether you like this or not will entirely depend on how you feel about those things being missing. For me, Saihate no Paladin has really created the sense of a world that is slowly dying. It feel empty and devoid of hope which really helps Will to shine as a character who has vowed to bring light into the darkness. That doesn’t make it particularly cheery viewing but it does make the tone feel consistent and each step of the journey feel somewhat meaningful.
Saihate no Paladin lays the groundwork for a beautiful friendship.
This episode has Will and Meneldor continue their journey back to Menel’s village with Meneldor as the guide as agreed last episode. Along the way they take out some demons and Will lay’s souls to rest.
It is an emotional journey for Meneldor who has a long-lived half-elf has struggled to find a place in the world, and the place he had found is more or less gone now. The person who saved him and took him in passing on after conveying her final messages.
While I try, most of the time, not to compare one story against another as frequently they are trying to create something entirely different, I couldn’t help but appreciate how much stronger the foundation is in Saihate no Paladin for Meneldor to join Will on his journey when compared to the characters who jumped on board the trip in Sakugan. And again, I get these are very different stories but where Sakugan has me wondering just why these characters are even in the story, here we’ve had two episodes to really give Meneldor a reason to want to follow Will on his journey.
I also really love that even though these last two episodes have focused on bringing Meneldor into the story, Will isn’t just left on the side-line. As much as Meneldor is being changed through his encounters and the trip back to his village with Will, Will is also changing as Meneldor is really the first person he’s interacted with over a period of time outside of Blood, Mary and Gus who raised him.
Both characters are also bringing strengths into the mix with Meneldor knowing far more about the world and having his ability to work with fairies and Will being pretty ignorant of the current state of the world but stupidly strong and earnest. It will be really great watching these characters help each other to grow from this point forward.
Of course, it isn’t all beer and friendships. Saihate no Paladin has built a world that is pretty unforgiving and even though Meneldor hopes that they will find someone alive in their village the end result is that they only encounter the dead and undead. Confronting this kind of loss of life in a world that is already feeling a little empty really adds to the overall feeling of isolation and loneliness in this episode.
As Will and Meneldor stare off into the sunset you can’t help but wonder if these two characters are entirely alone (not really true given they just left the gathering of the surviving villagers who came to bury the dead).
I kind of want this season of Saihate no Paladin to draw to a close, largely because I really want to binge watch this series in a single setting. I feel the languid pace would really work in a continuous viewing period rather than having the weekly interruptions. There’s a lot to love about this story but it really doesn’t quite suite the episodic approach.
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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