Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Long-Lived Friends
April 10, 2024 12:57 AM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

The journey to Äußerst leads the party to meet with an old acquaintance of Frieren's - and with recounting past memories. And another stop results in Sein gaining insight on the path his childhood friend took - and in doing so forces the priest to make a choice...

As it's been pointed out, the overall feeling of Frieren is that of melancholy, of of wistful remembrance. And this episode is an excellent demonstration of that feeling - tissues are recommended.

We start with a flashback prologue for Sein, remembering the day that he and his best friend got their pictures taken - the very picture that rests in the locket he wears, as he reminds himself the reason he set out on his journey - to find his best friend. We then skip to the party walking on the road, as they discuss the person they're planning to meet - Old Man Voll, a dwarven warrior and friend of Frieren and Eisen. He's old even by dwarven standards at 400 years, and has stood guard over the village they're heading to for most of his life. As they head up to the village (and we get a cute "blink and you'll miss it" scene of Stark helping Fern off the log bridge) they soon come to Voll's village, the scene dominated by a giant willow as the warrior sits peacefully by the road. Stark dismisses the dwarven warrior on first glance - to which Voll teaches the young warrior a lesson for his impertinence, that of youth and vigor being trumped by old age and treachery. And with that, the party settles in for the week visit, Fern helping with harvesting (and those magically harvested veggies look mouthwatering) while Frieren and Stark keep Voll company, the warrior training under the dwarf's tutelage - to which one of the villagers notes that it's good to see Voll so happy, being that he's the village's protector. With that we get a montage of their time in the village (and how Voll makes sure to put Stark thoroughly through the wringer) - a very calm and enjoyable period of domesticity for the party. Finally, on their last night there, Frieren and Voll take a walk to converse alone. Voll notes that Stark has improved much under his short period of training - and then we learn the true reason for Frieren's visit, as she thanks Voll for teaching her to want to get to know others (even if it took ~80 years to seep through dense elf noggin.) We then get a flashback to when the Party of Heroes met Voll, and Himmel asking why he guards the village - to which he gets a simple, heartfelt answer - the village was the home of Voll's late wife, and so he protects it in order to protect her memory, and to remember her. Which gets to the tragic part of the story - Voll notes that now, he can't remember his wife beyond a fogged reminiscence, and his wishing Frieren luck on defeating the Demon King makes it clear that Voll's mind is being eroded by time and age. But as he wishes them well in the morning as they depart, we do get a happy note, as Voll tells Frieren that for the first time in a long while, he dreamt of his wife, and got to see her once more.

...okay, who chopped those onions? And why's there all this dust in the room?

We now move on to another village, and this time we have Sein talking to one of the villagers, showing him his locket - it's clear he's trying to get information on the whereabouts of his friend. As they walk, Sein reminds them that his goal - the reason he became an adventurer - is to track down his childhood friend. Though his response when asked about his friend's name does surprise them, as his response of "Gorilla Warrior" is a bit...unorthodox, to say the least. To this, he recounts how everyone called him this, as it was something he pushed on the villagers - and this has been helpful, as he has left an impression. Coming to a village at a branch in the road, Sein asks if they can stop so he can figure out the direction his friend took, to which Frieren agrees, noting that the village would make for a good rest stop. Unsurprisingly, Gorilla has made an impression - not only with his name, but with taking down a monster as well - and Sein is advised to talk to the village's resident stubborn old woman - who lives up to that (self-appointed) description when the party goes to talk to her. She's not in the habit of giving information for free, and as a result the party gets roped into a number of her chores - something that Frieren notes was a regular occurrence with Himmel, and had a habit of evolving into trouble for the Party of Heroes (cue image of the party fleeing from a dragon, Frieren slung over Himmel's shoulder like a sack of potatoes.) After a montage of completing the (surprisingly dangerous) chores (and noting that the party's collective social awkwardness is a hinderance), the woman has them complete one last task - to clean a statue of two heroes that has fallen into disrepair. She notes that nobody knows who they are, and in a flashback, we see that it's this statue that lead to Gorilla Warrior's unique appelation. But as the party looks at the elven warrior in the pair, they realize that he at least is not unfamiliar to them, as they had spent a winter with the man - as the statue is clearly of Kraft. Mulling this over while recounting the visit that the two made to this statue with Heiter - the trip where Gorilla Warrior adopted his name, Sein gets the information that he wanted. Sadly, it comes with a dilemma - she reports that Gorilla travelled to Tur, a large trading city in the east - and more importantly in the opposite direction from Äußerst, leaving Sein with a choice to make.
posted by NoxAeternum (1 comment total)
Perhaps Frieren is intended to capture the sense of mono no aware, the transience of life.
posted by SPrintF at 8:16 AM on April 10

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