Greetings, friends! It is I, NegativePrimes, your resident isekai aficionado! Always on the lookout for an X-in-another-world story that stands head and shoulders above the pack. And in The Faraway Paladin, we have one that indeed stands out.
How so, you ask? First, it doesn’t have a title like “That Time I Was Reincarnated in Another World and Learned Magic From a Ghost” or “My Mommy’s a Mummy??!!” So it’s already heading into new territory. Second, without sinking into leaden exposition, it sets up a detailed account of religion and mythology that is relevant to the plot—all within the first ten minutes. Of which more anon.
Our protagonist, a human boy named Will, apparently lived previously in Japan—but that’s all we know about his former life so far. In this world, as a baby, he was found by skeleton warrior, ironically named “Blood” (the details of Will’s discovery are, again, yet to be revealed). Blood brings him to the home where he lives with Gus, a magic-wielding ghost with a pirate hat and a monocle, and Mary, the most beautiful mummy you’ve ever seen. Together, the three of them set out to raise Will and pass on to him their wisdom and skill.
If there’s a show I’m going to watch this season, next to my beloved Restaurant to Another World, it’s going to be this one. There are several things going for it, not the least of which is the theme of gratitude for life and how to live without taking it for granted. There is also a feeling of historical depth to everything in the show: from the characters to the world-building to the religion, everything feels like there’s a history to it. There is thus a certain texture of reality to the entire presentation.
The mythology and religion depicted, while obviously fictitious, feel plausible. There is a creator god, who appears to have preceded the other gods (and may be greater than them, though it wasn’t made clear). These include also the “dark gods”, who send agents of evil into the world; and among the dark gods is the god of the undead, who has power over—you guessed it—skeletons, mummies, and ghosts. Yet Will’s undead foster parents are anything but evil themselves. Their condition resembles that of Purgatory: a state after death in which imperfections are cleansed from good people.
Other details reminiscent of Christianity abound. Each day, Mary feeds Will a mysterious and divine bread which recalls the manna the Bible or communion. (She even obtains it from a temple!) As in Genesis, there is a scene involving a garden and a mysterious prohibition: the taboo gets broken, and consequences ensue.
I’ll not spoil any more, so that you can enjoy the story for yourself legally on Crunchyroll!