First Impressions: Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

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Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End has been one of the standouts in the Fall 2023 season for its captivating story, amazing visuals and charming characters. In fact, dare I say that it’s in contention for not only Anime of the Season, but Anime of the Year as well! I’ve been enjoying watching it immensely, so much so that I’ve been itching for the next episode to release every week!

The story looks to be long and complicated due to it being a 2 cour series, but I can summarise it like this: Frieren and her three friends – Himmel, Heiter and Eisen have defeated the demon king and all go along their separate lives afterwards. However, due to Frieren being an elf, she’s resigned to seeing her friends slowly die one by one. As a result, she begins a new adventure with her new disciples – Fern and Stark, as she tries to revisit the places that she and her comrades have travelled. Along the way, she begins to realise what it means to have feelings for people since she lacks having them as an elf.

In addition, even though the plot looks simple, it’s thought provoking as it teaches us the importance of companionship. After all, no man is an island. Despite being an elf who’s lived her whole life independently, Frieren slowly changes as she’s being surrounded by people, be it her deceased friends or her new disciples, and learns that being around them eases the loneliness in her heart. This is especially true when she recounts one of her memories where Himmel says that he’s creating statues of himself and the Hero Party not only because he’s vain, but also since he doesn’t want Frieren to be lonely after they pass away.

One of the remarkable aspects of Frieren is its animation. To that I have to say studio Madhouse has done an extraordinary job with it. It looks magnificent and exceptionally detailed, especially with the visuals of the scenery. The character animation is also very vivid and colourful, with each character having a specific colour set to them. For example, Frieren has white hair and wears a white jacket with a matching skirt. Fern on the other hand, has purple hair with purple eyes. It’s these minute details that makes Frieren an aesthetically gratifying series to watch!

Onto the music. Of course it had to be Yoasobi singing the opening of Frieren! I’m not going to lie, I felt it wasn’t as good compared to Idol(which was Oshi no Ko’s opening), but after listening to it a few times, it’s warming up to me. It’s extremely catchy and it fits the atmosphere of Frieren perfectly! Whereas the background music is peaceful, most of the time anyways, and when the situation is tense, it matches the tense feeling.

Frieren’s characters are nothing short of spectacular, especially Frieren and Fern. While she appears to be cold and uncaring, Frieren does help the villages and cities when called upon, and even in the latest arc, she does relent and eventually helps out the city when it’s about to be attacked by demons. She also shows care and concern for her disciple Fern, and even bought her a present for her birthday. Ironically enough, Fern seems to be a motherly figure to Freiren even though she’s much younger and that’s due to Frieren’s lazy and sloppy nature. From helping to do Frieren’s hair, to getting groceries and even waking Frieren up, Fern is the perfect disciple who goes far and beyond what she’s needed to do in order to help Frieren.
Not to forget Stark, who joins Frieren and Fern in their adventure after meeting them in a village. Despite his cowardly actions initially, he defeated a dragon and even helped Frieren battle the demons in the latest arc. As such, I hope we’ll get to see more character development for Stark as the series progresses.

To conclude, Frieren is nothing short of exceptional thus far and I can see why it’s so popular. The impressive story, coupled with the breathtaking visuals, remarkable music and wonderful characters have been a joy to watch! I can only hope that the quality of the anime continues to be consistent as the series progresses, but from what I’ve seen, it will only get better from here!

Preliminary rating: 9.5/10

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