The Story of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a manga and anime series that follows the life of an elven mage named Frieren, who travels the world to see her former companions and learn more about humanity. The series is set in a fantasy world where elves have a long lifespan and humans have a short one. The series explores themes such as friendship, mortality, regret, and growth.

The Background of the Series

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is based on a manga series written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe. It has been serialized in Shogakukan’s shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday since April 2020, with its chapters collected in eleven tankōbon volumes as of September 20231. The series is licensed for English release in North America by Viz Media2.

An anime television series adaptation produced by Madhouse premiered in September 20233. The anime is directed by Keiichirō Saitō, written by Tomohiro Suzuki, and features music by Evan Call4. The anime is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Prime Video.

By December 2023, the manga had over 17 million copies in circulation. In 2021, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End won the 14th Manga Taishō and the New Creator Prize of the 25th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.

The Plot of the Series

The story follows Frieren, a former member of the party of adventurers who defeated the Demon King and restored harmony to the world after a ten-year quest. In the past, the heroic group included Frieren, human hero Himmel, dwarven warrior Eisen and human priest Heiter. Before they part, they observe the Era Meteors together, a meteor shower that occurs once in fifty years. Frieren agrees to see them again and offers them a better view the next time the celestial event occurs. Frieren then departs and travels the world in pursuit of magical knowledge.

Frieren returns to the capital fifty years later; however, humanity has changed, and her former companions have distinctly aged. After one last adventure to see the meteor shower, Himmel dies of old age. During the funeral, Frieren expressed guilt for not attempting to learn more about him. Frieren then pays a visit to her other former comrades. She accepts an offer to teach and care for Fern, an orphaned child adopted by Heiter. She also receives an invitation to travel far north, to the resting place of souls, and see Himmel again to bid the hero a fitting farewell and express her feelings. To fulfill those requests, Frieren embarks on a journey together with Fern while still pursuing her passion for learning magic.

Frieren’s elven nature grants her an extremely long lifespan, causing her to view periods of years or decades as ephemeral (this perception of time makes her consider the ten-year adventure with Himmel’s party a fleeting experience). As she travels, she encounters various people and places that remind her of her past and challenge her to grow as a person. She also learns more about the history and culture of humans, as well as the secrets and mysteries of magic. Along the way, she forms new bonds and friendships, while also cherishing the memories of her old ones.

The Characters of the Series

The main characters of the series are:

  • Frieren: The protagonist of the series. She is an elven mage who has lived for over a thousand years. She is calm, composed, and curious, but also aloof, detached, and indifferent. She has a passion for learning new spells and collecting rare books. She was a member of the hero’s party that defeated the Demon King, but she did not form a close relationship with her comrades. She regrets not knowing more about Himmel, and decides to see him again in the afterlife. She also becomes a mentor and guardian to Fern, a young human girl who admires her.
  • Himmel: The deuteragonist of the series. He was a human hero who led the party that defeated the Demon King. He was brave, cheerful, and optimistic, but also reckless, naive, and impulsive. He had a crush on Frieren, but he never confessed his feelings to her. He died of old age after seeing the Era Meteors with Frieren for the second time. He left behind a letter for Frieren, inviting her to meet him again in the resting place of souls.
  • Fern: The tritagonist of the series. She is a human girl who was orphaned by a bandit attack. She was adopted by Heiter, who taught her how to use healing magic. She idolizes Frieren, and wants to become a great mage like her. She is lively, innocent, and enthusiastic, but also stubborn, impulsive, and emotional. She joins Frieren on her journey to the north, and becomes her apprentice and companion. She learns a lot from Frieren, and also helps her open up to others.
  • Eisen: A former member of the hero’s party. He is a dwarven warrior who specializes in using a hammer and a shield. He is loyal, reliable, and courageous, but also stubborn, prideful, and hot-headed. He has a strong sense of duty and honor, and values his clan and his friends. He is the leader of the Iron Hammer Clan, one of the most influential clans in the dwarven kingdom. He is married to a human woman named Lina, and has a son named Rolf. He meets Frieren again when she visits his clan, and joins her on her journey to the north for a while.
  • Heiter: A former member of the hero’s party. He is a human priest who uses healing and support magic. He is kind, gentle, and compassionate, but also timid, indecisive, and insecure. He has a low self-esteem and often doubts his abilities. He is the head of the Church of Light, the largest and most influential religious organization in the human kingdom. He is married to a human woman named Sara, and has adopted several orphaned children, including Fern. He meets Frieren again when she visits his church, and entrusts Fern to her care.
  • Schnee: A new character introduced in the series. She is an elven archer who has lived for over two thousand years. She is Frieren’s childhood friend and rival, and the only person who can match her in magic. She is arrogant, confident, and competitive, but also loyal, honest, and adventurous. She has a passion for exploring new lands and discovering new secrets. She is the leader of the Silver Arrow Clan, one of the most powerful clans in the elven kingdom. She meets Frieren again when she follows her to the human kingdom, and challenges her to a duel. She then joins her on her journey to the north, and becomes her friend and ally.

The Reception of the Series

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End has received critical acclaim for its story, characters, art, and themes. The series has been praised for its unique and refreshing take on the fantasy genre, as well as its emotional and philosophical exploration of life, death, and time. The series has also been lauded for its beautiful and detailed illustrations, its captivating and immersive world-building, and its humorous and heartwarming moments. The series has been compared to other popular and acclaimed fantasy works, such as The Lord of the Rings, Fullmetal Alchemist, and One Piece.

The series has also received a lot of positive feedback from fans and readers, who have expressed their admiration and appreciation for the series. The series has been ranked among the top manga and anime series of the year by various media outlets and websites, such as Anime News Network, Crunchyroll, and MyAnimeList. The series has also won several awards and nominations, such as the Manga Taishō, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, and the Kodansha Manga Award.

The series has also been influential and inspirational for many people, who have related to the series and its characters. The series has been praised for its representation and diversity of different races, cultures, and genders, as well as its portrayal of various social and environmental issues, such as war, poverty, and pollution. The series has also been commended for its positive and uplifting messages, such as the importance of friendship, family, and love, the value of learning and curiosity, and the beauty and wonder of life and nature.

The Conclusion of the Series

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a series that has touched the hearts and minds of many people, and has left a lasting impression on the world of manga and anime. The series is a masterpiece of storytelling, art, and philosophy, and a testament to the power and potential of the medium. The series is a journey that is worth taking, and a journey that will never end. The series is a story of Frieren, beyond journey’s end.

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