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Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End






Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

For the human Himmel the Hero, taking a decade to slay the Demon King and ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity defined his life.

For elven mage Frieren, it was a drop in the bucket.

Sure, she had fun with Himmel. Eisen the dwarven warrior and Heiter the human priest were certainly helpful party members to have, too. But when you’re over 1,000 years old, a decade is barely any time at all. To be precise, it’s only one percent of it.

The still-youthful elf can’t quite place what it is she’s feeling when she returns to the capital city 50 years later to reunite with those adventuring companions. Frieren looks exactly the same. Meanwhile, Himmel greets her near the end of his life. Heiter’s hair is graying and his face is starting to wrinkle, too. Even the dwarf Eisen is beginning to complain about aches.


In fact, it’s not until Himmel dies during Frieren’s visit that she begins to contemplate. Himmel’s gone, and her other adventuring friends will pass away long before death even thinks about coming for her. Frieren will continue to exist as even the trees around her wither, perish and grow again. Frieren has and will live longer than many empires. And Frieren begins to cry.

Ah, so that’s what she’s feeling: Regret. When she watches Himmel be buried in his grave, she realizes that she’s wasted precious time she could have spent getting to know him. Because while she was wasting away the decades, all-but oblivious to the passage of time that everyone around her was experiencing, she was wasting the short timeframe in which she could have gotten to know him better, too.

In the end, what the girl who barely bats an eye when 50 years pass by longs for most is more time.

Not more time because she fears death.

No. Frieren wishes she could have had more time to connect with people like Himmel. To connect with people who arrive like spring and fade like fall—people for whom every day is, or should be, a treasure.

The Wounds of Time

Perhaps what is most compelling about Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is that Himmel didn’t die in battle or through some valiant sacrifice. By all accounts, Himmel got his happy ending: he slew the Demon King, received praise and adoration by all in the land and passed away at a good old age surrounded by his closest friends.

The good guys won. They succeeded in their quest. And yet, life goes on—especially for Frieren, whose centuries of life have made her somewhat oblivious to the passage of time. For Frieren, offering to meet up 50 years after their quest was just a dot in her calendar. For Himmel, it meant waiting the rest of his life.

Ultimately, it also means that Frieren, the show,is about connection and regret. Frieren starts to realize that humans are born, grow up and die before she even has to worry about gray hair. And while her millennium of experiences has previously made her seem closed-off and cold to humans (after all, she’s got all the time in the world), Frieren begins to discover that a human’s short lifespan is cause to cherish every moment she can have with them.

Now, if you need to pause reading this review so you can hug your dog, hurry back. Because the content issues are much less sentimental.

As the title “Demon King” may have implied, demons exist in Frieren, and they’re heartless, evil creatures who often appear in the form of humans. Frieren’s had plenty of experience slicing off their hands and heads as they plead for mercy and beg for their mothers (though, mind you, not because they can actually be redeemed. They just know that they can exploit human empathy through such phrases in order to survive). With demons, magical spells and more present, spiritual concerns should be at the forefront for a prospective viewer.

In terms of other content, viewers should likewise be mindful of blood and death as humans and demons alike are slain, and limbs go flying. In one instance, a demon is even magically compelled to commit suicide. What’s more, a few sexual quips make their way into the show, usually as passing jokes. Swear words, though very sparse, are present.

So as Frieren struggles with being more intentional with how she spends her time, you’ll likewise want to weigh those concerns and decide if you want to devote time to Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End.

Episode Reviews

Sept. 29, 2023 – S1, E1: “The Journey’s End”

Frieren and party slay the Demon King, ushering the land into an age of peace and prosperity. But as her companions grow old and begin to pass away, Frieren begins to ponder all those moments her long life has missed.

Heiter is described as a “corrupt priest” due to his alcohol addiction. He’s later called a bishop of “the holy city.” When asked about the afterlife, Heiter says that he’d “like to think our seats in heaven have long been reserved” due to slaying the Demon King. Frieren is a mage, and she collects spells and required materials in order to cast the spells. One item, a horn of the Demon King, exudes a menacing black “evil aura.” Other casters likewise can be seen with aura flowing from them, which the show explains is their magical “mana.” We hear a reference to a “goddess.” A grimoire is said to contain spells lost to time, such as resurrection and immortality.

Heiter frequently references alcohol. He’s seen with rosy cheeks as he imbibes on a bottle, and we’re told of another time where he suffered from “bottleache.” Much later, Heiter admits that he’d finally given the vice up.

Frieren and Eisen fight a giant demonic dog, smacking it with a stick and blasting it with a spell before the thing dissolves away. Frieren is seen stuck in a mimic trap (a sentient monster with teeth that disguises itself as a treasure chest).

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”

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