「獣の森の射手」 (Kemono no Mori no Ite)
“Archer of Beast Woods”
Will’s solitary journey begins and the slow pace of the scenes together with the absence of musical score did a good job to illustrate the passage of time and actual feeling of what it would be like to simply wander through unknown lands. Days, maybe weeks, go by and we’re still having desolation for dinner, that’s when Meneldor makes his entrance–what a Tolkien-ish name, right?! As most Elves, Menel is an archer and he can use fae magik to his advantage. He also finds William’s piousness quite unusual, which after watching the episode I found to be a relevant piece of reaction considering he’s been living amongst humans, it tells us a lot about the current ‘spiritual’ state of civilization.
It seems people are disconnected from their faith and Gracefeel wants William to become the beacon who guides people back to the path of divine connection, meaning and true fulfillment, thus reinstalling balance after so much darkness, destruction, loss and disillusionment. Our reality aside, in the world of Saihate no Paladin, praying to the gods can have a direct impact in reality (I mean they can make freaking bread, have prophetic visions, create instagrammable moments) so if people have lost touch with the gods, it only makes sense to have someone [Will] become a bridge between earthly life and the divine. A Paladin also fits into the role quite perfectly seeing as not only in fantasy lore but also historically speaking, religiousness or holiness has always been attributed as a main characteristic of this fictional knight class.
It also appears that a lack of faith is not the only pressing issue, villages that are isolated from the capital(s) have a scarcity of resources and protection against demons roaming their lands–vestiges from the High King’s calamity. Menel’s introduction not only serves as a gateway into the current situation, but also as an opportunity for Will to showcase his negotiation skills and ancient language proficiency (Gus is proud), earning him some highly nutritious pounds of meat–listen up peeps, eating only carbs is terrible for your health, balance is key (if you’re in our Discord channel you might’ve seen me rant about protein before).
In a classic “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” type of situation, Will gets in the way of Menel’s orchestrated raid; and thanks to Gracefeel’s guidance and grandpa Gus’ gold he avoids some unnecessary bloodshed and gets Menel to become his bratty Elf sidekick for hire.
After skimming through the manga chapters and checking out some of the conceptual art on the author’s twitter, it really seems like the anime won’t be up to par with the original content in terms of its animation style. I don’t mean to be super negative, but it really seems like Children’s Playground Entertainment bit off more than they could chew. The series is still enjoyable and follows the story along nicely, but some creative decisions really left me scratching my head.
Full-length images: 36.