Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Winter In The Northern Lands
March 31, 2024 4:19 AM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

With Aura and her subordinates now dead, the people of Graf Granat's realm can finally relax and begin recovering from the wounds The Guillotine left. And with that, Frieren and her party now have a new goal - one that will lead to a chance encounter with another of her kind...

And so we get another "split" episode, denoted by us getting the title card for the episode at the midpoint.

The first half of the episode is the denoument of the Aura the Guillotine arc, as with the titular demon and her lackeys dead and her army now just a field of corpses, the people of Graf Granat's realm can begin putting the pieces of their lives shattered by Aura back together. We have our trio of heroes discussing the events that transpired, with Fern and Stark being praised by their elven mentor for their work in dealing with the two demons. At the same time, we see Granat and his men cataloging the dead - and the Graf reduced to tears as he finds his son's body, intact (thanks to Himmel's chastising of Frieren many years before) and able to be put to rest properly. As such, a grateful Granat happily surrenders the (of course fake) tome of Flamme the demons were seeking, while acknowledging it was a MacGuffin, as Flamme was much too shrewd to pass the secret of the barrier down in a tome. We also get an amusing moment as Frieren recounts how Himmel's impertance to the king almost got him beheaded, which leaves Stark terrified as the Graf had chastised him for the same - though Granat acknowledges that was purely to get him to leave him behind, and that he's actually grateful for their work (not that the admission helps the young warrior's nerves, resulting in his unceremoniously being magically hauled around by Fern.)

We then get a short montage of the three enjoying a short respite, as the town is more than happy to let its saviors have a break to rest and recover. Of note is that we see Aura's victims - including the Graf's son - properly put to rest in a formal ceremony, with our heroes in attendance paying respects. But finally, the trio must be on their way to continue their journey to Ende - but unfortunately Granat throws a wrench into their plans. With demonic activity on the rise in the northern plateau, travel is restricted and requires parties to be under the auspices of a certified first class mage of the Continental Magic Association. Fern is a certified third class mage, and Frieren is, well...Frieren - but either they hire a first class mage, or get certified as one. And so a detour is set, to Äußerst - the center of the Continental Magic Association's authority in the Northern Lands - to gain the needed certification to continue. With new destination in mind, the trio sets out as snow begins to fall - and Frieren notes that - much as it has been in our own world - the real killer in war isn't the enemy, but the brutal winters.

...which becomes all too real for the team as they get caught in a brutal blizzard - worse, Stark succumbs to hypothermia, necessitating locating shelter to warm him. Luckily, they happen upon a cabin...occupied by a half-dressed elf exercising to keep warm, unable to start a fire. However, this is serendipitous for all involved - the two mages are more than able to start a fire, and the elf monk - Kraft, his name fittingly meaning "virtue" or "strength" - is able to use his body warmth to safely warm the half-frozen Stark (though the latter is a bit surprised to wake in the embrace of a half naked elven man, understandably.) With the brutal cold of the weather making travel suicide and Kraft's supplies more than enough for the four, the group settles in to endure the winter, getting to know each other and enjoying their company (even if Frieren is a blanket hog, giving new meaning to her name.) Near the end, the two elves discuss belief in the Goddess, and Kraft recounts how few know of his heroic exploits, and so he believes in the hope of recognition - to which Frieren notes she's had all the recognition she needs - and that the one person whose recognition she truly wants is gone.

In the end, with spring upon them, Kraft bids them farewell, as their paths lead them separate paths - but he fully expects this won't be their last meeting.
posted by NoxAeternum (2 comments total)
The insert song is so good. I haven't read the manga so I don't know how much to attribute to the anime story boarding or how much to plain good writing, but I think the split structure used in most episodes is really effective. Without being heavy handed here, you have a through line of praise, doing things for the sake of memory, and farewells.
posted by lucidium at 3:00 PM on March 31

I haven't read the manga so I don't know how much to attribute to the anime story boarding or how much to plain good writing, but I think the split structure used in most episodes is really effective.

It's an artifact of the manga's excellent pacing and Madhouse taking a "don't fix what ain't broke" approach. For the most part, half an episode covers one manga chapter (and overall they cover 60 chapters in 28 episodes,) and the pacing is such that each chapter has about 12-15 minutes of content, so nothing really feels rushed or compressed. In comparison, Studio Trigger has taken a more proactive approach with the pacing in Delicious in Dungeon, but they have a good sense for when the story needs to be adjusted for the medium.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:26 PM on March 31

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