Date: 2023 September 29 15:05
Posted by Joe
Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is now available on streaming giant Crunchyroll. We were lucky enough to get access to an official preview screening to review ahead of time. Is the show any good? Is it worth watching? Well read our review and find out.
Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is the latest streaming offering from Crunchyroll. It's based on the hugely popular manga, written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe. This series has been highly anticipated by fans. We were lucky enough to catch the first 4 episodes ahead of its streaming release.
The story follows Frieren, an elf mage in your fairly standard medieval fantasy world. Our adventure starts at the end of the quest. The evil demons are defeated and the hero's party celebrates then disbands. While the rest of the adventurers are keen to settle down and enjoy life after ten years of fighting evil, Frieren has a significantly longer lifespan than your average human so 50 or even 100 years isn't really a long time to her. The anime then follows our elf hero adjusting to the idea of human life being so short.
What flips the series around is that it's the end of a big adventure not the start. The main threat has been eliminated and now things are calm and peaceful. It's an inventive twist on the familiar heroes journey type fantasy stories. What happens happily ever after?!
We're then treated to Frieren's story. Her adventures are mainly sweet slice of life twists with a little sprinkling of mage magic. The pacing of the show is perfect; it builds the foundations of the world, and Frieren's character over the 4 episodes. There are nice doses of comic relief too, along with subtle call backs. The magic system presented feels like it has depth and can be explored more, it's nicely revealed too us and not rushed, a welcoming change from some shows that go overboard explaining complex rules of magic.
Animation wise the first episode is a high budget affair, we've got lots of elaborate scenes with celebratory confetti, nice detailed sets and so. Then the next episodes are more subdued, but they are well animated to a high standard with lots of detailed sets as you'd expect from Madhouse. It's a real visual treat. Lots of care and attention has gone into this show.
Like many I've read a fair bit of the Frieren manga and the anime version has the same tone and feel of the original. It does the original manga justice.
When I first heard that they were making a Frieren anime I was concerned it could be over hyped. However in all honesty from what I've seen so far it's worth calling it the anime of the autumn season. It's a pleasantly enjoyable show, with a great balance of slice of life, action comedy and fantasy nostalgia. I just want to watch more of it now and see where the journey takes her.