William is the lone human in a city of the dead. Born with vague memories of a past life in contemporary Japan where he failed to do anything useful, he is determined not to make the same mistake again, and that this time, his life will be lived. But what does that really mean? Raised by a group of the undead, William must discover what circumstances brought him to this city and these people as well as what it means to not just exist, but to live a full life.
Amidst all the crappy imouto fetish light novels involving writing those crappy imouto fetish light novels, all the trashy Isekai harem light novels about an all powerful yet completely beta as fuck male protagonist who makes every single virgin as wet as a drowned rat only with a single glance, who in the end may or may not *canonically* or *not so canonically* load several years worth of man yoghurt into shallow heroines, amidst all of those utter degeneracies in this darkest of all timelines which we have been destined to live in for whatever crimes we have committed, it sometimes comes a work of
literature that ever so slightly restores your belief in the light novel industry. The Faraway Paladin is one of those works.
In terms of story it starts off as every other Isekai but with a dark twist. The main protagonist Will is not run over by truck-kun, he kills himself (or perhaps starves to death, this part is left very vague). The official synopsis tells the rest much better than I ever could :
In a city of the dead, long since ruined and far from human civilization, lives a single human child. His name is Will, and he’s being raised by three undead: the hearty skeletal warrior, Blood; the graceful mummified priestess, Mary; and the crotchety spectral sorcerer, Gus. The three pour love into the boy, and teach him all they know. But one day, Will starts to wonder: “Who am I?” Will must unravel the mysteries of this faraway dead man’s land, and unearth the secret pasts of the undead. He must learn the love and mercy of the good gods, and the bigotry and madness of the bad. And when he knows it all, the boy will take his first step on the path to becoming a Paladin. “I promised you. It’s gonna take a while, but I’ll tell you everything. This is the story of the deaths of many heroes. It’s the story of how we died, and it’s the reason you grew up here.”
Mythology, good and evil, right and wrong, familiar love, friendship, sense of responsibility. Themes you barely see mentioned in other Isekai novels are the core parts of this story. The author avoids the usual Isekai tropes as a plague. Although sometimes that does give off the feeling that the author is trying too hard, most of the times it is done in a masterful way.
Volumes 1 and 3B are especially good as they both have interesting conflicts and resolutions. Volumes 2 and 3A are however a bit worse in quality. 3A is mostly setting up the conflict for volume 3B so it shouldn't really be regarded as a full story. The problem with volume 2 however was the fact that there wasn't a real conflict and felt a bit boring to read. There were a lot of interesting characters introduced in this volume.
Volume 4 consisted of a set of short stories penned by the Paladin himself. Stories are all interesting and some are very unique. There is one about bride kidnapping, something I never expected to see in a light novel. I also have some minor problems with the story. It really feels like the author doesn't know where to take the story from here. I hope I am wrong about that.
The art in this LN is my favourite LN art ever. It has some of the best illustrations I have seen. They are nothing like other LN illustrations. My only problem is that there isn't more of it.
The characters are all lovable and very unique. They all have their reasons for what they are doing and it really feels justified.
This is the LOTR of the light novels written in Japanese translated so well that it feels as if it was originally written in English. I really enjoy reading it and strongly recommend it.
Honestly, out of all of the mangas, manhuas, webtoons, and light novels I've read, as well as all of the animes I've watched, this is the first and debatably only one that has ever pushed me to write a review about it. For almost every situation or emotional scenario depicted in Saihate, I've had to sit and digest it in my head because of how eloquently it is written. It almost takes away from the experience (all jokes) because of how it accidentally becomes a debate of morals and ethics in my head. This well written, emotionally impacting, and intriguing story
that has very satisfying conclusions to most large conflicts that ensue in the novel has pushed me to leave such high marks on this masterpiece. Unlike other novels that may leave every single conflict unresolved, or purposefully show the 'bad guy' escaping to 'maybe sorta kinda' bring back in the future as a 'witty' followup is probably one of the easiest ways for a writer to make me hate them. I have big hopes for Saihate, as I still have a ways to go while reading, however if this quality truly does persist for the series than it might be the best read I've ever had.
- Great story about family bonding in these 14 chapters.
- The art is beautiful and breathtaking that leave you in awe and emotional throughout each chapter of the manga.
- Characters development is great, each character has left a mark in the reader when you learn about them. All the sacrifice, courage and love,...
- make sure to have tissues when you read TT.TT
100/10 would read again!
*sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob
sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob sob*
While the opening was a clear 10/10 when compared to most isekai, the later development in my eyes took a huge dump on the foundation laid out in the first arc.
I read up to mid-way trough the second volume and I might pick it up again in the future to see if it somehow raises back up from it's ashes.
The first arc, that is the childhood arc has a wonderful and emotional buildup that also clearly sets the main character on his path. It has great character development, making the unavoidable sacrifices all the more sad. Besides that, I also liked how it tackled the
question of "immortality vs experiencing life", ending with MCs conclusion that stagnation (immortality) will remove the feelings people come to enjoy troughout their life spans - to put it shortly.
After the character sets out on his journey however, I felt that the story took a turn for much worse. From great and in-depth character developments when the cast was limited, it changed into a story of a much more mainstream OP MC that everyone praises, and just him shining his light of awesomeness was enough to make him do cool sh*t. He basically starts getting rid of all the problems with his already earned powers and doesn't get much development in that regard. There are some attempts at character building, but they end up feeling worthless (the "I can do everything alone!" "No u can't" "Oh okay" part). William's first contact with another person ends up being his longest, as the half-elf he meets becomes pretty much his closest companion. Besides that, on the same day he arrives in the city and after hearing a story of his guardian's past deeds (namely killing a Wyvern as an adventuring trio), he just straight up kills a wyvern himself. Soon after he's given a title of Paladin because of how awesome he is in pretty much anything anyone can be when it comes to fighting and is granted a territory. Which btw, at least in my understanding, is almost neighboring the area he grew up at, so he basically didn't journey far. The rest of what I read can be summed up with pretty much "he kills stuff, people say he's cool, dwarves think he's especially cool, there's some quickly inserted companion powerup, and some tease for when he would get a sh*t load of money just because he'd say "Augustus" to some half-elf old lady".
Once again, awesome opening, terrible later execution. Sorry if it came out a bit ranty, but I just remembered all this when I was removing it from my long not visited favorites lol.
This review might change after I read further into the series, but honestly the first 1.5volumes already turned me off, and I'm not the kind of person to go with "after 2 shit seasons it's pretty good, so give it a try".