Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: A Powerful Mage
March 29, 2024 11:30 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Frieren has earned many epithets throughout her many years, but the first of those was apprentice to the great mage Flamme, she who brought the flame of magic to humanity - and waged a war against the monsters who preyed from the shadows. And it is that war that her elven apprentice has carried on, and which leads her to a confrontation with The Guillotine herself...

And we now reach the climax of the current arc, with Frieren confronting Aura. Technically, the faceoff started in the prior episode, but that was mainly Frieren taking down her corpse army - it's now that we have the two finally interact. But first, we get the denoument of Fern and Lügner's fight, as the latter boasts that Aura will defeat Frieren head on - to which Fern responds that her master is far too cunning to attack directly, and will use subterfuge. This is the point at which Lügner has his "2+2 = Fucked" realization:

1. The reason he's on the ground dying is because he vastly underestimated Fern.
2. He vastly underestimated Fern because he misread her mana.
3. He misread her mana because she intentionally surpresses it, to a level that demons cannot comprehend.
4. If Fern does this, so does Frieren.
5. Which means that Aura, so prideful of her mana that she uses the Scales of Obedience brazenly, is walking into a trap purposefully designed to ensnare her.
6. A trap laid by a person who cuts down demons as if they are rabid animals, and as coldly as her name suggests.

Needless to say, he does not take this realization well, and calls the two disgraces to the field of magic - to which Fern responds that her master is all too well aware, before finishing what she started with a point blank Zoltraak.

The majority of the episode is devoted to flashbacks of the elf and her master - starting with their meeting after Frieren killed the demon general who slaughtered her village, almost dying in the process. When demons attempt to order Flamme to surrender the elf, she...promptly blows them up, demonstrating her true power. We then get to Flamme teaching the elf how to suppress her mana, and teaching her why demons cannot comprehend this - for them, mana is status, and this suppression of this sort would be akin to tossing their rank away. Finally, we get a scene with Flamme imparting a valuable lesson in the joy of magic, leading Frieren to seek out the silly and mundane.

And at the end, we get the moment we've all been waiting for - Aura casting Auserlese, and in doing so signing her own death warrant. We get to see her gloat that she's going to personally take the head of the legendary Slayer, then start to show nervousness as the Scales start tipping in Frieren's favor, to a flat out breakdown when Frieren decides - in an utter "fuck you in particular" moment - to release her surpression to show the demon how badly she played things as the Scales slam down - enslaving Aura to Frieren's will. And with that, we get one of the most epic scenes in the series - Frieren casually turning her back to Aura, casually, coldly giving the demon her first - and last - order: "Aura, kill yourself." An order she obeys with terror in her eyes as she cuts her own head off, with the disturbing discretion shot of the result through her eyes.
posted by NoxAeternum (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's funny, in a way, that Lügner's last words to Fern were, basically, "you cheated!" And Frieren's response to Aura was, "you were never in the game."
posted by SPrintF at 11:46 AM on March 29

It's funny, in a way, that Lügner's last words to Fern were, basically, "you cheated!"

Which, of course, is rich coming from someone literally named Liar, who happily trades in deceit when it advantages him. As Flamme told Frieren, "as demons decieve humanity with their words, so shall you decieve them with your mana."

It's always the assholes who bend and break the rules who whine the loudest when others pay evil unto evil.

(Fun note on Fern's suppression - while technically she learned it because of Frieren, the actual route is a bit more roundabout - it was Heiter who started her on suppressing her mana, based on a discussion he had with Frieren when they were adventuring. So she's basically been suppressing her mana since she was about 5 or so, which is why even Frieren has trouble tracking her, and why her control is even superior to her master's.)

And Frieren's response to Aura was, "you were never in the game."

She actually points out that had Aura pressed the attack with her corpse army, she would have been genuinely threatened - but she knew Aura's ego would never allow that.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:50 PM on March 29

I’m very much enjoying these summaries, thanks for writing them up. I renewed my Crunchyroll subscription so I’ve finally caught up with this series.

That last shot of the episode from Aura’s POV was *chef’s kiss*.
posted by WedgedPiano at 11:26 PM on March 29

Just seeing these thanks to the isekai thread. Thanks for posting them, Nox!

I can’t remember which reviewer pointed it out first (Gigguk?) but I can’t help but echo the irony that the two biggest memes in Fall 2023 anime were Vinland’s “I have no enemies,” and Frieren’s “Aura, kill yourself.”
posted by Ryvar at 5:05 PM on March 30

This episode impressed me for a couple of different reasons.

The first thing that struck me was how it successfully subverted expectations from the last episode. With how bombastic the Fern fight was, most watchers were expecting something even bigger and flashier for this Frieren vs Aura fight. Instead, this episode turns out to be mostly a flashback with the actual conflict between the two mages take up a minority of this episode's runtime. That being said, the ending of the episode is no less bombastic despite having almost no action, with Frieren's final line being one of the most iconic moments from this series.

The other thing that I found very impressive about this episode is that despite the fact that the ending is completely telegraphed, it doesn't make the climax and resolution any less satisfying. By the time it hits the third flashback or so, I think most viewers understand how Frieren and Aura's battle is going to play out. Still, the way Evan Call's track crescendos into Frieren's reveal of her true power level was just so immensely satisfying. The choice of having the final shot being the beheading from Aura's point of view while Frieren does the "cool guys don't look at explosions" walk away was also a way to show how brutal the victory was without making it explicitly graphic.
posted by C^3 at 3:40 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]

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