Saihate no Paladin, also known as The Faraway Paladin, by Children’s Playground Entertainment, is an anime adaptation of the light novel by the same title, written by Kanata Yanaigno, with twelve episodes of 23 minutes each. The series was originally published as a web novel and has since been published by Overlap with an expanded storyline featuring illustrations by Kususaga Rin, with four volumes (five books) released as of September 21, 2017.
From the very beginning, Saihate no Paladin has been a little different from other isekai anime while at the same time it embraces a number of the usual genre tropes. This is no light-hearted fantasy romp with RPG style leveling up and self-aware characters making jokes or smugly showing others how superior they are. Nor is it a grim-dark venture glorifying misery. I’d personally describe it as inspiring!
A key difference, that sets this series apart from other isekai anime, is that the main character does not set off on an impossible quest and runs into an epic battle by episode two or three in order to keep its viewers from getting bored. Instead, the anime spends a couple of episodes really establishing the main character’s upbringing and just how important the characters involved in his upbringing are to him.
The narrative sees the main character, Will, leave the safety of where he grew up and journey out into the world. As he had been raised closed off from the world by beings who only knew the “old ways”, Will soon realizes that while the lessons his three “parents” taught him are important and helpful at the core there is much he needs to learn and catch up on in terms of how the world has progressed. Luckily for Will, as these stories usually go, he meets friends and acquaintances along his journey who prove to be reliable during his struggles.
For the first season Saihate no Paladin has laid down a powerful foundation. The narrative automatically shows character growth as they took the time to show how Will grew up and managed this in a way that doesn’t leave you wanting to “skip the fillers”, the writer is consistent with moving the story forward and showing growth as can be seen through Will’s first friend Meneldor and how he changes after facing adversity and coming to know Will which in turn also pushes Will to “grow-up” a bit. As the main character, Will is well-rounded, pure, innocent, and likable. He just wants to help other people selflessly. He’s also different in terms of falling somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between an “ugly” character and a “fan service” character which was refreshing. The narrative plays out in such a way that you end up feeling everything you’d expect the main character to feel. I am hopeful for a second season and look forward to it.