Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Aura The Guillotine
March 27, 2024 10:53 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Finding shelter and aid, Granat recounts to his young saviors about how Aura used her signature spell - Auserlese - to create her army of the dead. But at the moment, the bigger threat is Lügner and Linie - and they plan to deal with the young mage and warrior personally...

Welcome to the fireworks factory, everyone! Hope you brought popcorn.

The start of the episode is relatively slow - Granat recounts how Aura earned her epithet, by using Auserlese to dominate the warriors who fought her...and then dealing with the threat of them winning their freedom in a rather...brutally efficient manner. We also learn that Auserlese - the Scales of Obedience - does have a fatal flaw in that it works by comparing the mana of two people, giving control to the greater. (Gee, this sounds like setup, huh.)

Stark and Fern decide that their best chance against the demonic duo is to find Frieren, so they plan to do so...up till Lügner ambushes them, the two split up as we get to the first major fight of the series - Fern v. Lügner / Stark v. Linie. And it is one hell of a fight, as the demons find out the hard way that the apprentices of two of the Party of Heroes are not to be trifled with - or underestimated. And that underestimation winds up being the shovel the two demons dig their own graves with.
posted by NoxAeternum (3 comments total)
Yeah, there's a reason this is one of the episodes people talk about when they discuss this series, as we get our first real fight of the show. And it's one hell of a fight, showing why Frieren and Eisen have faith in their apprentices and their skill, while showing the main weakness of demons - overconfidence. Draht walked into Frieren's cell with no awareness that he was walking into the lioness' cage - and promptly got torn to shreds. Linie's ability to duplicate the techniques of warriors fails to also duplicate their training, and so she gets felled by the supreme technique of Eisen and Stark - one that requires both mastery of body and skill to use. And Lügner, well...his underestimation of Fern results in him learning why she's the apprentice of a great mage - and a noted demon slayer. And that giving her one second is one second too much.

Of note is we get to see Fern and Stark fight while their leitmotifs - "Zoltraak" and "Way of Warriors" respectively - play, making their battles even more epic. The animation is also well done, especially when we see Fern demonstrate the power of liberal application of Zoltraak. Also, it's worth noting that there are two forms of Zoltraak - Qual's original black form, and the white form developed by Frieren - a version designed to be anathema to demons.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:08 AM on March 27


Seriously, this show shared a season with Jujutsu "all gas no brakes" Kaisen S2 and this fight scene was a contender for one of the best action sequences of Fall 2023.

I want to talk about the Fern vs Lügner fight because the show makes a lot of cool non-traditional choices here.

1. The fight is almost entirely from Lügner's point of view. The internal monologue during the battle is all his, and funnily enough it's very similar to a shounen protagonist's usual train of thought as they battle an overwhelming opponent. Unfortunately for Lügner, he's not a shounen protagonist and therefore has no access to a last-minute level up or the power of friendship, he gets distracted for a second and that's all the opening that Fern needs to kill him.

2. The storyboarding of this fight, my goodness. Love that very excellent first shot from Fern's POV when she takes Lügner's surprise attack and gets pinned to the wall. Then there's that ground-level shot where Fern does the catwalk strut dodge that is so memorable because it's just so extra. My favorite little detail might be right at the beginning of the 360 pan around Fern, she just casually does a backhand no-look counter on one of the blood tendrils. In contrast to a usual battle shounen fight, Fern is never on the back foot once she unpins herself from the wall. It's the first time the show demonstrates to us how powerful Fern really is, she's not even fighting here she's SERVING.

The one-two punch of this episode and the next one were the ones that really pushed Frieren in my evaluation from being a solid seasonal anime to being an exceptionally good show. It'll be episode 14 that pushes it into being one of my favorites, and the resolution of the exam arc in 26-28 that puts this show into the pantheon of all-time greats.
posted by C^3 at 8:35 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Is this "a show about an elf who is sad"? I don't know. Didn't Frieren smile a little during her confrontation with Aura? She was exactly where she needed to be. To Frieren, it almost made it worth getting up in the morning.
posted by SPrintF at 8:42 PM on March 27

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