Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode 5 has already premiered and it is consistent and seamless like the 4 episodes from the special premiere that aired last week. From engaging music to breathtaking visuals and well-paced direction, is as immersive as ever. Even during the first half, where Frieren and Fern venture through the mountain pass, the attention to background details engrosses you in the world. It’s still breathtaking as before and not a single bit of episode 5 had gone lower in quality.
Frieren also keeps showing us how those 10 years with the hero’s party really left a mark on the titular character. While I previously discussed in the special premiere review that time is fleeting for Frieren, and how her journey with the hero’s party unfolded in the blink of an eye, it was a blink she’ll never forget.
“That one one-hundredth changed you.” This one line from Eisen summarizes the series thus far and it’s surreal to think that the way this line was delivered. Frieren parting ways with Eisen was a bittersweet moment as the two of them are the only ones left from the hero’s party and they could’ve been an unstoppable duo. But then again, Eisan has his reasons to retire while Frieren is consistently thirsting for magic.
Phantoms of the Dead
Frieren and Fern encounter one of the phantoms of the dead, and while the latter struggled a bit to confront her past, the former, having faced a similar phantom before, handled it with ease. At the episode’s start, we were given flashbacks illustrating how Heiter would haunt Fern, irrespective of whether she’d be good or bad. This scene helps us understand Fern’s predicament and why she felt confused at that moment even though the young apprentice was determined to get the job done immediately. The whole scene with Heiter may have been just Fern’s dream at the start, but it was already foreshadowing the impact that it will have for her. Time may have passed, but that deep longing for her master’s words never truly fades for Fern.
While Frieren disintegrates the phantom swiftly, something is a bit different this time: it isn’t her master’s illusion that was shown, but rather Himmel’s. It underscores just how significant her time with the hero’s party was in her whi-knows-how-long life. I also appreciate that neither of them had to shout the name of their spells or magic, a subtle touch that adds to the series’ immersion and it was refreshing.
Frieren Episode 5 Introduces Stark
Fortunately, the special episode comprised four episodes, sparing us a month’s wait to meet Stark, and his introduction to the series is both cool and comical. One thing Frieren nails is the way it effortlessly blends drama and humor. There’s no clunky transition, and the funny bits and goofy animations feel totally natural.
Stark as a character stands in “stark” contrast to Darkness from Konosuba. He’s a skilled fighter but a complete coward whereas the latter isn’t afraid of anything but can’t hit anyone with her sword. Some might already dislike him as he is somewhat of a wimp and crybaby, but I think it adds more to his personality. He’s human after all, and who wouldn’t be scared of facing a dragon in the first place? And with Eisen’s teachings and newfound guidance from Frieren, he may become the perfect fit as the vanguard for Frieren and Fern. Next week, we’ll surely see more of his untapped potential.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End topped the first Fall 2023 weekly ranking, and you can vote for the anime in week 2.
Screenshots via Muse Asia
© Yamada Kanehito, Abe Tsukasa /Shogakukan / “Sousou no Frieren” Production Committee