Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End usually takes us on this slow-paced adventure and is not heavy on the action, but when it all goes down like in episode 9, studio Madhouse doesn’t back down from delivering. Frieren episode 9 showcased two amazing confrontations from Fern and Stark versus Lügner and Linie. While the two were busy accompanying the demons, Frieren took the chance to meet an old foe and it’s safe to say that things got pretty intense for one of them.
An Old Foe
With the episode titled “Aura the Guillotine,” the series finally makes Aura’s debut and it’s also the first time we hear Ayana Taketatsu’s voice bringing the character to life. However, as funny as it may seem, Aura isn’t exactly the main reason why this episode was fantastic. She has her moments and I like the way her complacent demeanor is in contrast to Frieren’s unperturbed actions. Despite Frieren’s hatred towards demons, she didn’t quickly dispose of Aura’s undead army. She’s mindful that these creatures were once the town’s guards and even though they are technically dead and they can’t feel anything, Frieren didn’t unleash all her might. Frieren’s actions towards this may have been because of Himmel. These little things add up to how impactful the hero’s party was to Frieren and how special Himmel was because even after all these years, she still thinks about them. After being provoked by Aura, Frieren vows to show no mercy to her alone. But of course, before that happens we have to see first how the new party takes out Aura’s subordinates.
Fern and Stark VS Lügner and Linie
Studio Madhouse was already serving up a visual masterpiece of Frieren’s travels. Following the brisk fights in previous episodes, I also expected to have short but remarkable ones moving forward. Although to my surprise, half of Frieren episode 9 was dedicated to the intense showdown between Frieren’s new party and Aura’s executioners.
After Fern suspects the mana is coming from the blood that stained their clothes, the battle quickly begins with Lügner having a surprise attack on Fern. Despite his attempt to eliminate the young mage on the spot, Fern remains unfazed and composed, much like Frieren in the midst of battle. It’s telling how Frieren honed Fern as her apprentice and turned her into a demon-killing machine.
The battle was nothing short of impressive, with dynamic camera movements and perspectives closely following the spell after being cast, creating a sense of constant motion in the fight sequences. The shots of Fern amidst the debris and mayhem she caused in the background were astonishing, underscoring the beauty and destructive power of her magic.
While she was casting nonstop as if she had unlimited mana, she proved how powerful she was despite being still young. While both she and Lügner dedicated their lives to magic and Lügner was significantly older than Fern, clearly he had the upper hand. However, this wasn’t the case here. It goes to show that in this fantasy world, time doesn’t necessarily translate to strength but rather, technique and type of magic also matter.
Moving on to Stark’s showdown with Linie, it was also spectacular, and the animators truly outdid themselves. In this battle, there was an element of physics involved in the animation. Every step and each slight movement conveyed a sense of weight, reflecting the use of heavy weaponry and the physical impact of the fight. It was fascinating to observe how Linie’s weight shifted as she changed her weapons. Linie’s versatility as she adapted her movements to match her weapon of choice showcased how exceptional the fight was. It was clear that she faced more challenges when wielding an axe compared to when she used a sword or spear. At one point, Stark stumbled due to the weight of his axe as well, adding a realistic touch to the combat.
Despite Linie’s attempt to imitate Eisen’s techniques in her battle against Stark, she lacked the teachings and the warrior’s spirit that Eisen had instilled in the young boy. This difference in their fighting approach ultimately turned the tide of the battle. Stark endured multiple beatdowns and seemed on the brink of defeat, but his unwavering will to get up and fight is what led to his victory in the end.
An Incredible and Passionate Team
Frieren episode 9 served as an immaculate display of the deep passion and commitment of the production team for this series. They could have chosen to simply stick to a faithful adaptation of the source material, and portray it the way it was in the manga but they consistently go the extra mile to do justice to this incredible story. As fantastic as episode 9 and the previous episodes have been, I think that we’re only scratching the surface of the dedication and passion of the team behind this anime.
Screenshots via Muse Asia
© Yamada Kanehito, Abe Tsukasa /Shogakukan / “Sousou no Frieren” Production Committee