The season finale for The Faraway Paladin splits itself into three major components: Will’s Struggle, The Climactic Battle, and What Comes Next. (These are my names for the components, not official ones.) While the finale would be lacking with any one of these components missing, and some elements do carry over from one part to another, the components do not come together to form a smooth, integrated whole. Even so, the episode makes for a passable climax and stopping point overall.
The first part – Will’s Struggle – feeds directly off of how episode 11 ended, with Will being plagued by doubt over expecting too much of people who clearly are not on his level. I like how Reystov later coins this “the illness of the strong,” because he’s absolutely correct that you have to be one of the strong ones to even have concerns like this. Will finds himself falling into depression, and thinking he has to do everything on his own, because he does not understand that everyone in a party has to be equally strong in order for the party to function effectively. Any veteran RPG gamer can affirm that lower-level characters can still ably support and work with higher-level characters in a fight, and thankfully Meneldor is tough enough and determined enough to shake Will out of that funk. Really, it’s just Menel returning the favor for Will giving Menel new direction when the latter was unsure of his path, but I liked how Menel stubbornly insisted that friendship was the true, pure motivating factor here. In general, this part works passably well, though it fell short of achieving the emotional impact it was aiming for.
The second part, the Climactic Battle, is arguably the weakest. It does show well how the overall battle force comes together to give the demon beasts a proper fight the second time around, and the action scene involving Will and Menel dueling with the chimera attains at least some thrill factor as Will methodically fights with Menel’s arrow and magic backing – in other words, exactly how their team-up should work. However, despite the most involved fight animation since the early episodes, the action never achieves a fully satisfying zing. It’s going on and it’s cool, but it does not have much impact, and Reystov further makes it anticlimactic. Not a bad fight overall, but not a memorable one, either.
The last and shortest part, What Comes After (which follows after he credits), was my favorite. Few anime protagonists have more completely but also cluelessly stumbled into the role of establishing themselves as a Lord than Will does here, and I very much liked how Menel laid that out to Will. That was clearly what Ethelbald thought Will’s intent was, and Will did, indeed, accomplish it without even realizing that he was doing it. But he does meet all of the criteria, and becoming the Lord of the Beast Forest would, indeed, position himself well for later objectives. Hence this part is a success.
And that’s it for now. A second season has been green-lit since last episode, one which will likely adapt the remaining 2.5 or so novels. No details yet on when that might happen, so for now, the series wraps as an overall decent fantasy isekai highlight by occasional stronger elements.
And with this, the episode review coverage for the Fall 2021 season wraps. Looks for episode reviews for the Winter 2022 season to begin during the third week of January.