After parting ways with Sein in the last episode, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode 18 shows how the party has reached the magical city of Äußerst where the first class mage exams will take place. However, what really piqued my interest in this episode wasn’t the new cast or anything about the exams. Instead, it’s that one scene with Frieren lying on Fern’s lap. While this might be perceived by many as a running gag, emphasizing the contrast between Frieren and Fern’s body types, there’s actually more significance to it than meets the eye.
The Best Scene of Frieren Episode 18
The moment I saw the first part of the episode, I knew from the start that this was going to be a meme and certain “artists” were going to have a field day on this one. It’s worth noting that this was also from the manga, but the anime adaptation surely buffed Fern’s “portrayal.” However, all of this was not to highlight Fern being busty or anything about her body. Rather, it serves to highlight a crucial detail — Frieren’s left eye gets covered during this interaction.
When Frieren got up and said, “I can only see half the sky,” she wasn’t saying this out of jealousy. Rather, it was just a literal statement because Fern’s body was physically obstructing Frieren’s vision when the elf lay down on Fern’s lap. To further emphasize this scenario, the anime had to improve Fern from the manga. So why does Frieren make this literal statement and why do I believe that it is not fueled by jealousy?
First off, Frieren isn’t overly conscious of her own body. She’s likely more concerned about others labeling her as an old hag. Second, Frieren recognizes the potential threat from enemies appearing in the sky, drawing from past experiences such as the party’s encounter with a giant bird monster that ensnared their carriage in episode 14. To further my point, this happens later in this episode as well, when Kanne is caught by a bird monster.
The fact that a seemingly “fanservice” scene in the episode actually carries an important detail, is fascinating. It underscores the idea that every small moment in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End can hold significance, making us keep our eyes peeled for such details when watching each scene. I mean, with the animation and everything, who wouldn’t want to keep paying attention to each moment of the anime? The subtleties and parallels are also consistently present as we go further into the second cour. That said, Frieren’s party members likely mirror her current team members as well.
Kanne and Lawine
Frieren can’t seem to catch a break at babysitting. After not being teamed up with Fern at the first exam and Stark obviously not participating in the overall exams, Frieren now finds herself overseeing two more teenagers named Lawine and Kanne. Despite being in their teenage years like Fern and Stark, they’re seemingly more childish as they tend to always fight a lot. These kids who are constantly bickering, however, resemble that of a sibling rivalry.
Although they casually fight about who is better or superior, they actually have a great synergy together. Kanne’s water manipulation and Lawine’s control over ice magic are a powerful combination that allows them to freeze enemies effectively. Their lack of experience and strategic approach are apparent though. Fortunately, Frieren is there to guide and assist them.
A Good Start With the Exams
Episode 18 of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End delivered a good and actual start to the arc enriched with interesting details, as well as the introduction of new characters who are set to play significant roles in the upcoming arc. Even Kraft made a cameo in this episode as well. Amidst the significant scene of Fern and Frieren and the commencement of the First Class Mage Exams, my favorite part of this episode was also the training sequence with Fern and Frieren. While it was a brief montage, it was wholesome to see the close bond shared between these two mages. One thing I’m worried about for this arc though is that we might see less of Stark from now, especially since the focus now shifts towards the mages participating in the exams.
Screenshots via Muse Asia
© Yamada Kanehito, Abe Tsukasa /Shogakukan / “Sousou no Frieren” Production Committee