Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

3 October 2023: Sousou no Frieren is off to a great start

I bet Frieren has a spell to stifle allergies.

The first four episodes of Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, alternatively, Frieren at the Funeral) released simultaneously. These sorts of drops (and extended-length first episodes) seem more common recently, but the first four Frieren episodes break at natural points in the story, so they should be digestible for busy viewers trying to find time to watch them all. I suppose that's appropriate, as Frieren is very much about how people use the time they have, after all.

That's nice luggage, but it's less convenient than a rucksack.

As an elf, Frieren measures time on an entirely different scale than her human companions. For her, the 10-year adventure her party completes at the start of the story disappeared in a flash, as did the subsequent decades. I've been enjoying the ongoing manga's portrayal of how Frieren forces herself to value moments that she would normally regard as ephemeral. Through four episodes, the anime captures this mood perfectly. It's also beautifully animated. Naturally, I'm looking forward to the rest of its planned two-cours (not even split cours!) run. Don't get a lot of those anymore.

Fern and Frieren
Do your homework, Fern.

Fans of the Frieren manga have a lot to enjoy here, but what about newcomers unfamiliar with the source material? What can they expect? Aside from its different perspective on the otherwise familiar "defeat a demon lord" story, I also like its portrayal of magic as a discipline to be studied, taught, and improved upon from academic and engineering standpoints. At the same time, Frieren's hobby of collecting quirky (occasionally useless) spells is also endearing.

They fly now.

There's a recurring question in the series concerning the enjoyment of magic for its own sake. I appreciate that Sousou no Frieren includes this aspect alongside its depiction of magic as a vehicle for work, and as a weapon. Honestly, there's a lot to like in this series. I can't claim there's something for everyone, and perhaps not all viewers will enjoy it as much as I do, but I do recommend spending time with it.

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