Following last week’s beautiful episode, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End once again delivers a fantastic one this week, albeit episode 15 has a different focus. This time, it’s not beautiful in terms of the nuances and parallelism that the last one gave, rather, it gave us a showing of how much the studio and staff really love this title by momentarily shifting our attention to the two male members of the new party.
Sein in Action
In Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode 15, we got to see Sein in action while highlighting the crucial role that priests play in a party. Typically, in fantasy RPG series, priests or healers don’t usually take the spotlight since watching a supporting character can be boring. However, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End successfully positions Sein as the savior of the party. It was also explained that curses in this series involve magic unknown to humans. Priests, protected by the goddess, can withstand these curses and despite Sein being possibly the weakest in power and combat skills, he becomes the one that enables the group to defeat the cursed monster. Without him, Frieren wouldn’t have been able to defeat the monster on her own, despite her being too powerful.
At the same time, Sein exhibits his maturity by logically assessing how Frieren can handle the situation with only a 5-second window for a counterattack. He questions whether Frieren can execute an attack quickly and control it without harming the nearby village or destroying the forest. Despite his initial doubts about Frieren and being new to the party, Sein handles the situation pretty well. While understanding Frieren’s thought process is challenging due to her unique perception of time, it doesn’t make her untrustworthy. She may deceive demons by limiting her mana, but it’s crucial to remember that demons are the only race she despises as they were responsible for her family’s death. We, the viewers, already know Frieren’s capabilities, we know she can be trusted to deliver on her promises. And now, Sein also belongs to one of those who believe in Frieren the Slayer.
Once again, this episode shines a spotlight on the two male members of the new party, with the second half specifically diving more into Stark’s character. While this half may initially appear lighthearted or merely serve as an opportunity for Madhouse to showcase its prowess in animating this series (which I’ll talk about in a bit), it holds more significance than meets the eye. We were previously introduced to Stark’s past in episode 12, where he hails from a village of warriors and is overshadowed by his prodigious brother. In this episode, he gets a chance to prove how much he changed from a wimp to a strong and mature warrior.
Stepping into the role of the count’s eldest child, Stark somewhat got into what felt like the shoes of his late brother and unsurprisingly he played his role very well. His growth as a character can be attributed to the influence of Eisen’s teachings and his journey with Frieren, which have collectively shaped his character and his past doesn’t define him anymore. He has now acknowledged his weaknesses and played with his strengths. Moreover, he gains a deeper understanding of the challenges fathers face, drawing parallels to his youth.
Its developments and parallels like this are what truly make Frieren Beyond Journey’s End an amazing show to watch. Beyond character arcs, what also stands out is the extraordinary effort invested by the staff to ensure that this adaptation ranks among the best to date.
Madhouse Is on Another Level
While Sein’s contribution in the first half is noteworthy, there’s no denying that the standout moment of this episode is undeniably the dance between Fern and Stark. What makes me say that this was the highlight is that this entire dance sequence serves as a testament to the studio and staff’s unwavering passion for this title. In the manga, the dance was literally just two panels, with no depiction of Fern and Stark dancing together. However, the anime takes it a step further, dedicating an entire scene to this enchanting dance, as if it’s like a Disney movie.
Madhouse asked a dance school to provide choreography and references for the scene which already shows how much they care about this scene a lot. Evan Call, the music composer for the anime, also went above and beyond once again by creating an entirely new score exclusively for this scene. The animation staff also meticulously timed their cuts to harmonize with the flow of the music. Evan even revealed that the string players were animated accurately, aligning with captured during the recording of the waltz. And the fact that none of these were CGI just shows the sheer dedication and effort invested in bringing this anime to life is just too amazing. Truly, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is pushing the boundaries of what this medium can achieve and the ceiling of how adaptations should be made.
Screenshots via Muse Asia
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© Yamada Kanehito, Abe Tsukasa /Shogakukan / “Sousou no Frieren” Production Committee