Episode 12 of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End might seem to be a filler episode, but actually, it goes beyond your average filler as it adds more layers of depth to Himmel and Stark’s characters. While we got to witness and learn more about their past, we also had a bit of Frieren and Fern on the side too. Once again, the series excelled in the storytelling of their history.
Himmel the Fake Hero
The episode begins with the new party continuing their journey up north. On their way to heaven, Frieren and her party make a stop at the village of the sword — the one that’s protecting the hero’s sword. This legendary sword is said to be a gift from the Goddess and can only be pulled out by the hero destined to vanquish the calamity threatening the world. Himmel and his party were the ones to defeat the demon king so it would only make sense that he pulled the sword already. Right? But that’s not the case here. Despite driving away the calamity, Himmel didn’t pull out the sword or at least move an inch of it, and instead, it is still near the village even years after his death.
Even though he didn’t pull the sword out, Himmel’s resolve didn’t waver in one bit. Whether considered a fake hero or a real one, such labels don’t concern him. All that matters is defeating the demon king in the end. And this got me thinking about how one defines a “real hero” in the world of Frieren.
Perhaps, a real hero doesn’t necessarily rely on a prophesied weapon or assembling the mightiest party members across the land but instead, one that possesses an unbreakable will and spirit. Just like how Eisen defines warriors as those who work hard enough; it doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to know how to fight in combat.
If you really think about the hero’s party, they’re neither perfect nor the best in their field. You have the fake hero wielding a replica of the hero’s sword which he got from a merchant, and yet he still ended up saving the world with his own blade. Then there’s the warrior visibly shaken in the face of fear yet courageously fought to protect comrades, showcasing strength when it comes dire. The priest who is deemed corrupt indulges in selfish deeds but ultimately prioritizes selfless acts, especially healing the wounded and honoring the goddess until the end. Lastly, the mage embodies thousands of years of magic and wisdom, concealing her mana to deceive and defeat demons in a cunning manner, but fails to understand social cues and human emotions. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, and all of these reflect their personalities.
I guess the takeaway here is that your origins or weaknesses don’t determine your potential. It’s your will that propels you to achieve beyond your limits. Ultimately, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Even the new party is already possessing this type of attitude, particularly Stark.
In Frieren episode 12, Stark’s past was revealed. Coming from a village of warriors, his seemingly timid and meek nature stems from the comparisons to his exceptional older brother by their father. Luckily, his older brother Stoltz is kind enough to care for Stark, training him to become strong while not boasting about himself to his little brother. Stoltz serves as an inspiration to Stark despite underestimating himself a lot and comparing himself to other strong heroes, such as Himmel.
Even with his brother gone, he still has a family that cares for him, one he doesn’t want to run away from and leave behind. He now has the will to do so and the courage to protect those in need. While he maintains his humorous side, the episode highlights that his role extends beyond a comic relief type of character, establishing a foundation for his growth and development that can form a greater character in the end.
Frieren Episode 12 Is Another Consistent Episode
Frieren episode 12 might not quite reach the standard set by its previous episodes, but it still maintained the high quality the series has established. There are even memes born from this episode too despite it being not as hype as the other episodes. I know I may have emphasized this a lot already but I can’t stress enough how the natural flow of the narrative is outstanding—there are no forced comedic interruptions or overly dramatic tensions that leave no room for other lighthearted moments. The show’s consistency remains a strong suit, seamlessly blending moments of humor and drama. Everything feels natural about Frieren’s pacing and storyboarding, and this is why it deserves all the praise it can get.
Images via Muse Asia
© Yamada Kanehito, Abe Tsukasa /Shogakukan / “Sousou no Frieren” Production Committee