‘Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End’ details heartwarming adventure

The new anime “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End” has officially closed its first season, and now it’s time to agonizingly wait for more. The story was beautiful, capturing the journey of the elf mage Frieren, her human student Fern and the cowardly warrior Stark as they walk north to Aureole, their version of Heaven, in order to reunite with the legendary hero and Frieren’s old friend Himmel.

The plot of the show works as a mirror for Frieren, as it switches between Frieren’s journey 80 years prior with Himmel the hero, Heiter the corrupt priest and Eisen the powerful dwarf warrior, and her current journey. What this does is exhibit her emotional growth as her previous journey taught her the value of life, something she underestimated due to her extensive lifespan as an elf.

One of the many aspects of the show that made my heart flutter was seeing how much Himmel cared for others, but especially Frieren. Even though she repeatedly downgraded their mission, stating that a measly 10 years will be nothing to her, Himmel gave her reasons to care.

My favorite scene with the two involves Himmel giving her a ring with a lotus flower engraved on it. The lotus flower symbolizes eternal love, pretty much inadvertently telling us he was in love with her during their journey. This makes the heartache of Frieren crying at his funeral at the beginning of the show, which is also the first time she ever cried in her life, even stronger.

The season is made up of 28 episodes, a pretty common length when it comes to anime. “Frieren” did a fantastic job with the pacing, as it never felt like any storylines were dragging along or were wedged into the plot despite not fitting.

Near the end of the season, Frieren and Fern participate in the first-class mage exam in order to receive the proper classification to pass further north, as there are many demons ahead. There are many other mages taking part in the exam as well, creating an entertaining story arc as we watch the two leading mages interact with others and face interpersonal conflicts.

This is where one flaw resides. In the last two episodes, we finally get to see who passed the exam. I was expecting one or two people to pass, namely Fern and Denken, so it was odd to see six people pass the exam. Especially since some of the reasons these people passed seem rushed or unexplained, like Methode, a side character who we only meet for maybe a collective 20 minutes.

Aside from this one thing, the show was absolutely mind-blowing and I am not the only one who feels this way. Apparently, as Frieren and her party have been journeying, their travels have become quite popular in Japan.

As the show premiered, the “Frieren” manga added 7 million copies to circulation, bringing it to a total of over 17 million. The anime also premiered with a two-hour special in the “Kinyō Roadshow,” a programming block typically reserved for feature films.

In addition to this, “Frieren” has found a place in modern Japanese culture with “Himmel logic.” Whenever considering whether or not to do an action, people have started to ask “what would Himmel the hero do?” One parent used this idea to encourage their child to finish their homework, mentioning that Himmel would.

However, my favorite part of “Frieren’s” new popularity is the advertisements. One advertising campaign for the Beyblade game franchise involves Frieren, who is trying to learn more about humans, discovering Beyblades. One drawing of her that I love shows her getting ready to let a Beyblade rip with a smug grin on her face.

The animation was stunning as well, with clean line work and beautiful vibrant colors. The movement during fight scenes was incredibly smooth, further emphasizing just how wicked Frieren’s magical skills can be.

Overall, it has easily climbed to one of my top three animes of all time. Now, I think it’s time to start reading the manga, in order to fill the lack of “Frieren” episodes until the new season is completed. Until then, whenever you are unsure if what you are doing is right or honorable, just ask yourself what Himmel would do.


5/5 stars




Featured photo courtesy of @crunchyroll, Instagram