Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: The World Of Magic
April 20, 2024 2:46 AM - Season 1, Episode 21 - Subscribe

As the First Test nears its conclusion, Frieren and Denken finally clash in a battle of experienced mages. But it turns out that the elf has a trick up her sleeve - a trick that will get the attention of Serie herself...

With this episode, we get the conclusion of the First Test, and with it the setup of the people involved for the Second, as well as finally getting the last of the fights set up in prior episodes.

We start with a shot of the barrier repelling the rain, before switching to a flashback - this time of Flamme presenting Frieren to Serie officially, which then fades into the present, with Serie still on her throne, alone - setting up for things to come.

Returning back to our fight, we have Denken and Frieren face off, while Richter takes Kanne and Lawine up with his creation of a mesa within the barrier, showing off his geomancy. Now alone with the elf, Denken notes that to him, "the privilege" is nonsense, as the joy of magic is in its pursuit - something that Frieren can agree with as we go back to Frieren's introduction to Serie, and when she was offered that very privilege - and her blunt rejection of it, which clearly stung the elder mage, decreeing that Frieren lacks the fire she expected. But in turn Flamme defens her apprentice, noting that it's her very nature that will let her defeat the Demon King - that mages steeped in war and chaos like Flamme and Serie cannot beget the peaceful future. And with that, Frieren praises Denken for his response, as a gust of icy wind reveals that the fight above has started.

Lawine had tried to freeze Richter, but with the barrier limiting the amount of water in the air within her and Kanne's spells are limited in power, lacking the resources to truly pack a punch. Unfortunately, with his greater mana pool and ready access to his base material, Richter clearly has the advantage in the fight, though the two do put up a solid fight, taking into account their issues - Kanne defending them both as the lack of water restrains her offensive abilities, while Lawine attacks. Lawine notes that with the way he's spending mana, he'll be depeted quickly, to which he then explains the magical arms race of the past half century - with defensive magic becoming capable of countering Zoltraak, mages then returned to elemental manipulation, because such spells are capable of overwhelming defensive barriers through sheer force of impact - which is Richter's preferred method of combat. To this Lawine notes the composition of the human body, but Richter counters with a speech best titled "Why Bloodbending Does Not Work In The Frierenverse" - because magic is built on visualization, to even try to manipulate the water in a person's body would require a deep understanding of how it's distributed in the human body - and that's not getting into the fact that a mage has an internal mana pool that protects them from such attacks. Though Lawine does note that he does see Kanne as a threat, though one limited by the lack of water.

Returning to the main battle, we have aerial combat as the two fly through the air sniping at each other, though Denken wisely realizes this is a battle of attrition he cannot win. And so he lands to deliver a powerful elemental strike, starting by surrounding Frieren in a whirlwind, then infusing it with flame, creating a raging firestorm surrounding the elf - quite the sight to all observing the battle, and demonstrating Denken's martial prowess. The proctors point out that the barrier, however, is quite capable of taking the blow - it was the work of Serie, after all. Though Sense has been noticing someone analyzing the barrier, to which Genau dismisses it, as after all, who could top Serie's power?

(Those who have read ahead in the manga will know how wrong this thought is regarding barriers.)

Denken looks at the flames, before something catches his eye, shocking the man - that sight being one shielded and rather irritated elf. He then tries a barrage attack of bolts of light - only to get a directed strike of Zoltraak his way for his troubles. Caught off guard, he realizes that he picked a fight with the wrong legendary mage as Frieren ends things with a point blank Zoltraak, knocking Denken out of the fight. The old mage notes that this felt like a match between a master and their apprentice (and if you've read the manga, you know how much meaning that particular statement contains.) Frieren demands he surrender Laufen, but Denken makes it clear that he's not going to give her up - to which she responds not with a spell, but with a kick as she calls out to Laufen, telling her she'll kill the old mage if she doesn't surrender, to which Denken points out it's a bluff. Still, Laufen cannot resist trying to save him - the problem is that now that Frieren knows her trick, Jilder isn't going to work here - and with that Frieren has both the stille back and the two mages bound in mana chains to a tree. While bound up, Laufen asks Denken why he wants to be a first class mage, and he makes it simple - his hometown is in the Northern Plateau, and in order to see his late wife's grave, he needs to be a first class mage to have the right to go there. (There's more to this story - a lot more - but, that's for Season 2.)

Denken points out to Frieren that she should go help her teammates, as with him now defeated, this means that Richter has likely tossed aside restraint and is now aiming to kill the two. However, Frieren has been making...other plans, as she points out that she's just finished her analysis of Serie's barrier, while the battle atop the mesa grows in intensity as Richter now begins striking to kill, using overwheming strikes. But the sage elf demonstrates the skill she won in her adventures, her leitmotif rising as she begins to crack the barrier, while Genau notes that she'll never break the barrier - to which Sense only responds "then never is here" - as the barrier shatters into shards above them. His only response is to ask about the elf mage, to which Sense responds that her name is Frieren, and she possessed a "holy emblem" (which we just found out more about in the manga) - the two noting that the last great mage is among the candidates. And then we cut to Serie, rather perturbed that this is the hello she gets after a thousand years - but as she notes, this is why she can't fade into the past - because in the world of magic, creation can be flipped upside down.

And so, with the barrier gone, the rain begins to fall...and with that, the abilities of the two young mages - most notably Kanne - are no longer shackled. Frieren notes that she did it because she felt sorry for Kanne, and that she should have access to her magic - as she notes, she couldn't imagine being able to defeat a water mage in the rain - and it's likely that Richter can't either. Flipping back to the three, Richter notes the rain, and it's clear that his confidence is replaced with desperation - with water readily available, the two have become much greater threats. With that, he tries to cast a spell - only to have his hand frozen in place by Lawine, as Kanne tells her to restrain him as she prepares her signature attack, Reamstroha - a absolutely massive ball of water that she slams down on the geomancer, who looks up at it with an expression of "this is going to really, really suck" as the mass of water easily overwhelms his barrier and washes him away in a torrent. Flying up to her teammates, Frieren praises them for their work, patting the two on their heads - Kanne taking it with a happy laugh, while Lawine trying to dismiss it and salve her pride.

Back on the ground, we see that Denken has caught Richter with his legs, but with the two men out of mana, getting out of the bindings could prove tricky - though Laufen does have enough to cut the tree down, freeing them. Richter points out that with the test soon over and with their mana run dry, there's little to be done - to which Denken points out that an imperial mage struggles to the very end, looking for a way to victory. And thus he leads them on, to see if they can find another stille to take.

Returning to Fern and Party IV, holed up in a cave now to get out of the rain, a perturbed Ubel notes that it was her master that broke the barrier and drenched them, asking her to have a curt word with Frieren, to which Fern responds that she already had that on her to-do list. Responding to Ubel noting that Fern only uses Zoltraak, Fern says that she's only restrained in combat spells, leading to a question of what spells she knows. Fern brings up the spell to peer through someone's clothing, to which Ubel sits far away, leading to an outburst from an annoyed Fern that she's not going to use that spell on her. With that, Land stops the discussion, noting that they could very well be enemies in the next test, and so revealing their hands now is unwise.

Returning back to Party XIII, Denken notes that they found the party that fled earlier, the two huddling for shelter, cradling a cage with a stille - a cage that is meaningless, as they had passed the corpse of their third member prior. Asking them for the bird is out of the question, as they are clearly in the grip of emotion - and thus Denken decides that the only option is to cast his fallback spell of Catch These Hands and take the stille by physical force. And with that we get a montage of the parties that successfully complete the First Test - either waiting out the storm, or finally capturing their birds. In the end, out of an initial pool of of 57 candidates, only 18 - six teams - finish the First Test successfully.

Meanwhile, Stark is enjoying his freedom with a late night (non-alcoholic) drink, with the bartender commiserating with him. Enjoy it while you can, buddy.
posted by NoxAeternum (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So many great moments packed in to an episode again, Richter implacably getting dunked, Denken's uppercut, Frieren hopping out of the way of the water leaving them tied to the tree. The styling of Frieren's spell and the barrier shattering were amazing. If you frame by frame through that, there's a single flash of Serie smirking.

By the way, the full OST has just released online. Oddly I don't remember the "main theme" actually being used in the show.
posted by lucidium at 10:24 AM on April 20

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