Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: The Hero of the Village
March 19, 2024 10:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Frieren and Fern enlist Stark's help to fight the solar dragon - but is he up to the task?

We learn a bit more about our new friend Stark... and his master Eisen... and, perhaps, a bit about why Frieren makes time for ridiculous and fun spells like the one she retrieves from the dragon's hoard.

But the checkpoint to the northern lands is closed and they might have to wait two years to get through. Frieren is fine with this. Fern is not, and enlists Stark's help to find a way around it. But once the higher-ups of the border town find out who Frieren is, they let the party through with no questions asked.
posted by valrus (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The story breaks between this episode and the previous one are a little odd, mainly because the way the chapters fall forced Stark's introduction to be split across two episodes due to the bracketing chapters being important in their own right. So the first half of this episode is the conclusion of the story of Stark and the dragon, where we find out the truth - he's not a coward (and this will come up when we learn about his backstory in a bit), but that smart warriors hone their sense of fear into a tool to help them fight. And as it turns out, he did keep the village safe, as the dragon realized that if it forced a fight with Stark, it wasn't sure it was coming out of that fight alive - and responded by leaving the village alone.

The result here is we get one of the first (if short - Stark tells Frieren that he can only guarantee 30 seconds for them to prepare, and that's exactly how much fight we get) proper fights in the show, with Stark's battle with the dragon being lovingly animated with lots of delicious sakuga. Even better is Stark's rant at Frieren for not attacking, only to find out there's no point - the dragon's quite thoroughly dead, thanks to his decisive Lightning Strike. And we also get to see a quite happy elf gleefully looting the hoard (with Fern setting some limits on her.)

(The scene of Fern testing the spell, and her withering comment to Stark more or less sets up their dynamic as well.)

The second half of the episode is a much slower affair after the dragon fight, but is just as important as we get to see Fern and Stark interact and work together - it becomes clear that the two have a comfortable chemistry as well as an awkwardness as neither really grew up with peers of the opposite sex, so neither are sure how to interact. And it's through that hesitating interaction that we learn Stark's motivation for the journey - growing up he heard all sorts of stories about Eisen's journey, and so he wants to repay his adoptive father with stories of his own - the more ridiculous the better.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:07 AM on March 20

Between Stark in this series and Barakamon, which I only watched recently, I've decided that my second least favorite anime trope is, "Yelling makes it funny."
posted by ob1quixote at 9:22 PM on March 20

Yeah I'm of two minds about what I've come to think of as the "anime moments" in this show, melodramatic moments like Stark's freakout in the previous episode or his response to Fern's comment in this one (and the comment itself). I think they're funnier than when similar things happen in other anime I've seen, because the overall tone is so much more understated that they're more unexpected. But that same dissonance also means they're very jarring. On balance I think I'm OK with them because they're pretty infrequent.
posted by valrus at 6:35 PM on March 21

I appreciate the moments of humor because overall I find the anime to be melancholic in tone.

So far I've watched up to E27 and as it goes on episodes with Frieren remembering Himmel leave me feeling sad.
posted by needled at 11:12 AM on March 22

One of the things that I think the show does very well is that while the tone can be melancholy, it gets mixed with almost an equal part of hope and optimism towards the future.

Frieren's journey with Himmel and the party are for sure her "good old days" that's she's only come to realize after way after the fact. Lots of stuff left unsaid that she wanted to say, which is the foundation of the overarching plot. The beautiful thing about her current adventure is Frieren is realizing that her journey with Fern and Stark will also be her "good old days," and this time she's aware of this while she's still in them.

In that way Frieren really feels like an anime for a slightly older audience. There's this focus on how life changes as people come and go, but it's not always a change for the worse even if you miss some of the people who are gone very much. There's also how even after you've achieved major life goals and milestones there is still a lot of life to live and wonderful experiences that you can have as long as you are open to them. I'd like to think this hope that is also embedded in the series is why it's resonated as strongly as it has with the community.
posted by C^3 at 10:55 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]

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