Following the extremely well-executed confrontation in episode 9 of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, episode 10 continues the momentum in the ultimate clash between the hero’s party and Aura’s demon army. However, this episode opts for a slower pace than the previous episode’s quicker tempo as it delved more into Frieren’s past. Still, Frieren manages to provide another immersive experience. As Flamme takes Frieren under her wing as an apprentice and teaches her about magic, the episode also serves as a session for the audience on the nature of demons.
Flamme and Frieren
Adorned with serene shots and great dialogue exchanged between Flamme and Frieren throughout, the portrayal of Frieren’s past was amazing. Her life before encountering Himmel and his party beautifully unfolds through amazing direction and animation. The final scene between Frieren and Flamme packs an emotional punch and hits the feels. Despite instructing her apprentice in combat magic, spells for smiting foes, and mana control over the past 50 years, Flamme overlooked teaching Frieren the opposite—lighthearted magic that brings joy and convenience to others.
This explains why Frieren’s excitement toward learning seemingly useless and whimsical spells or mere party tricks. It serves as a reminder of her master, as these types of spells were among Flamme’s favorites and magic isn’t just a tool for skirmish but also an instrument to create meaningful and lasting memories. After Flamme’s death, a mirroring of the scenes of Frieren’s life in the forest and the development of a small village, to a town, and eventually a kingdom which to me is a neat way to show the passing of time.
Demons and Magic
Frieren episode 10 showed how magic serves as a symbol of one’s status as a demon. Just as humans of higher authority wear lavish garments to signify their status in society, demons leverage their mana to establish their rank. Mana is pretty significant to demons as their capacity to hold it can determine their position in society. This is why, demons, although egoistic inherently, refuse to conceal their power as it equates to a denial of their fundamental identity.
However, this display of mana among demons serves as a double-edged sword. Much like monsters deceive humans through communication, Flamme, Frieren, and Fern employ a similar tactic with demons — concealing their true power until they destroy them. Since magic is the ultimate determinant of hierarchy for demons, they always think that every mage around them does the same, so the three masquerading their actual mana is a cheap yet very effective trick to overcome the demons. While a few instances of this already happened with Flamme and Fern, Frieren’s unveiling of her immense power in this episode was presented in the most cinematic fashion the series has delivered thus far.
Frieren in its Finest Glory So Far
With 10 episodes down, Frieren has treated us to numerous cinematic moments (though the entire series is already deemed cinematic). Yet, Aura and Frieren’s final confrontation undoubtedly takes the cake for providing the most incredible cinematic atmosphere the series has delivered so far. Ayana Taketatsu was exquisite in portraying Aura’s overconfident voice, gradually crumbling as Frieren narrates how she lost the moment she cast her spell. Not to mention, Aura’s expressions harmoniously align with Ayana’s voice acting, transitioning from a smug and smirk look to an increasingly worried face. Evan Call’s splendid musical composition also contributes massively to the gradual buildup of the inevitable moment.
The moment Frieren uttered the words “Aura, you are standing off,” a resounding burst of mana echoed the scene with impactful sound effects, followed by a zoomed-out transition from Frieren’s close-up frame that ultimately set the stage for Aura’s final moments. A shot of her trembling, followed by a gradual pan out of both characters while Frieren unleashes her mana, all accompanied by an exceptional musical score was cinema at its peak. In Aura’s eyes, we not only see Frieren (her worst nightmare) but also how even the strongest demons can experience fear.
While we may root for Frieren, it was chilling to observe the extent of her power. To witness Frieren’s incredible mana was one thing; to defeat Aura without laying a finger on her was another. A true testament to the sheer power of the titular character, which was glorious to see. Even though the series falls under the shounen category, Frieren episode 10 didn’t rely on flashy and dimming animation styles to send shivers down the spine. Instead, it simply elevated every aspect of animation to its pinnacle, showcasing its finest glory.
Screenshots via Muse Asia
© Yamada Kanehito, Abe Tsukasa /Shogakukan / “Sousou no Frieren” Production Committee