I’m going to start off with only the first episode (although there is much more out there) since this does serve as a solid start for the show. It established who Frieren is and how she views the world around her. I think the jumps forward in time helped us really align with Frieren’s perspective. It’s just a quick little jump in time and suddenly she’s visiting her elderly companions! And I think it’s a good thing that she’s an enjoyable protagonist. She is level-headed as you’d expect from an Elf that’s been alive for a long time. She’s not emotionless, but she’s able to keep control of herself in most cases.
I do feel for her though. She knew on a literal level that humans don’t live very long. But there’s just a difference between knowing and experiencing. They finished their adventure and she went off to gather spells as was her focus. She didn’t completely forget about her friends, but she just didn’t feel any need to go visit until both the meteor shower and needing a material led her to go back. She didn’t completely flip out over seeing her friend as an old man. But I do think it started to hit her how much time had passed for him.
Nothing could really prepare though for realizing that Himmel’s days were numbered. People were of course jerks about her not breaking down during the funeral. But people react to grief differently. And different things can set a person off. The finality of seeing Himmel’s casket get buried under the dirt was what really hit home for her. She had the chance to learn more about Himmel. She could have spent more time around him before she did come back to visit. But she just didn’t think about the harshness of time and by the time she did…it was too late. She wasn’t completely losing it, but the pain did hit her. I hope those jerks were satisfied!
I must wonder if Himmel was just barely holding on due to a desire to see his friend once again? He knew that she’d come back by that 50-year mark, so if he could just hold out then he’d see her one more time. That he only really lasted through that last adventure (and probably a short while after that) makes me think that’s the case. I don’t think going on a walk was what finished him off. Or at least I sure hope not! I’d rather think he was just hanging in there for the sake of his friends and once things were set then he could finally let go.
The shipper in me does wonder how Himmel felt about Frieren. Was there anything special there or was it just good friendship? The anime could have cut things out, but I didn’t see any direct family there during Himmel’s funeral. Did he remain alone that whole time? I guess that’s not too strange since (within that first episode) no family of any of the Hero Party members were shown off. Maybe the kind of people that would travel to save the world weren’t the type to settle down and build a family. But something between them just makes me think Frieren was a bit more special to him than just that.
The concept of this show is just a good one. This is what you can get in a fantasy series. It’s been touched on of course in many stories across the years. But there’s something to be said in touching on that difficult point. What does a being like Frieren do when she’s going to outlive almost everyone she meets? Yes, people can die on adventures, but the passage of time is unstoppable. At this point she can’t stop it from happening.
I really like her approach in the first episode. Instead of backing off she instead pushed forward. Frieren tried to learn all she could about the people she met on her journeys. There is no stopping people from dying, but at least she could avoid the regret of not getting to know them properly. So far that seems to be working out ok for her.
I’m curious where things will go with Heiter and the girl he’s trying to get her to teach (Fern). I do understand her reluctance to take on a pupil. Her life isn’t an easy one or a safe one. The last thing she’d want is to take on a student after a precious friend asked her to…and then to get them killed. She’d never be able to stand such a thing. But at the same time…someone has to teach the girl. And while Heiter is a priest that is capable enough to be in a Hero’s Party at one point…he’s not a mage. There’s only so much he can do.
What has me curious is the book he asked her to decipher. There’s a few possibilities there. He could legitimately be afraid of dying and want a way to stay around for a while longer. Though it’ll take Frieren years to decipher it and who knows if he’ll live that long. No shame in fearing death. He’s only human after all. But the resurrection part of that book makes me wonder if he’s thinking about Himmel? I’m not sure if he’s trying to get his friend resurrected, but that’d be something. The main goal may honestly be to hold up Frieren for a few years so that she will effectively make Fern her pupil. After a few years of teaching she should be capable enough to handle herself or earn Frieren’s trust and travel with her.
Glad to have the Fall season here at last. I know there are more episodes out there and that this could have been a much bulkier post. But this is the first new episode review of the Fall season. I wanted to keep it focused on just this first part and then we’ll see after that. Not sure I’ll pick this one up. But no question that I’ll be watching it. This was a strong start.
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