Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Phantoms Of The Dead
March 18, 2024 5:31 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Stories of villagers being lured by phantoms of lost loved ones have Frieren and Fern dealing with a very real threat in the mountains, one that attacks through subterfuge. And when Frieren spies an interesting grimoire in a dragon's nest, her desire results in her seeking out a new ally...

So, this episode has two stories (for the most part, the anime moves at a rate of two manga chapters per anime episode), and the first half is a self-contained story that helps illustrate why Frieren talked about why young mages don't have a high survival rate, and that the creatures that prey on humans are serious threats (something that we're going to get back to when we start dealing with demons.)

But the important part of this episode is in the back half, because we finally get to meet our newest protagonist and member of Team Frieren: Eisen's apprentice, successor, and adopted son, the warrior Stark, whose name fittingly means "strong". And the first impression of him seems...bad, as he comes across as cowardly and overwhelmed - but it's clear that there's more to it - and to Stark - than that first impression. The final scene of Fern seeking out Stark to find that he has been diligently training (and altering the local terrain in the process) hits a bit harder if you've seen or read more - it's very much the mage realizing she's found her knight.
posted by NoxAeternum (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, our duo is now a trio, and the addition of Stark adds some welcome dynamics for both Frieren and especially Fern. In combat (as we'll see) having a frontliner gives the mages the breathing room to do what they do best, but he also serves to give a different view on things. More importantly, he gives Fern someone to vent to regarding their elven mentor and ostensible "parent", a partner in crime when they act together, and, doesn't take long at all for romantic tensions to rear their head, which of course serves as a counterpoint of the interactions of a certain elf and blue-haired hero 80 years prior.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:26 AM on March 19

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