The Faraway Paladin
Episode 7

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 7 of
The Faraway Paladin ?

The Faraway Paladin continues to go down a path I did not expect. We are still largely on the road well-trodden by standard fantasy RPGs, at least on the surface. Going to dangerous environments and fighting lizard dudes, casting web spells on manticores – it's all the usual stuff one would expect from adventuring parties dealing with Dungeons and/or Dragons.

But there's a little bit more going on here than meets the eye. The ruminations on piety, belief, and authenticity are particularly interesting to me. Menel is trying to come to terms with just who exactly Will is and wrestling with his own misconceptions about Will's position in life. Will actually views his mission as one of empathy and taking care of others, giving dignity to the living and the dead, and protecting people first and foremost. Will is almost the stereotypical example of the lawful good paladin; he is selfless, brave and humble, which Menel quite rightfully suspected to be either all an act or merely a result of his good fortune. But, no, it looks like Will is actually just *gasp* a decent person!

I can't say I blame him for being surprised.

It is nice though to see the show wrestle with faith in terms of life, death, and caring for others. Having been in more than a few RPG parties where the group's paladin was little more than a fighter that did holy/radiant damage, it's nice that the idea of faith as service is being explored more fully here. Particularly the fact that it is this almost unnatural kindness that convinces Menel that Will is the real deal. It is also a much slower-paced episode in terms of the stakes and exploration of Menel's background with Maple, returning to the focus on family connections for character depth that made those early episodes so distinctive. It's a far cry from what I expected from an isekai story, to be quite frank. There's also yet more dialogue that screams SUB-TEXT at the top of its lungs, if that's what you're here for.

My major complaint at this stage is the visuals. The show just looks… fine. It's fine. There's nothing egregious here, but at the same time, it all looks a little flat, which is a shame given the surprising depth of the writing. But given that the show's production has been taking place amid an ongoing global pandemic, the fact that we are getting anything new these days is a miracle. Despite this minor quibble, I'm genuinely looking forward to what the show has in store in future episodes.

Rating:

Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

The Faraway Paladin is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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