• Frieren: Beyond Journey's End beautifully explores the theme of time, adding weight to each moment along the sprawling adventure.
  • Outstanding characters and near-perfect pacing make Frieren a must-watch fantasy series with memorable faces and impactful storytelling.
  • Triumph of animation in Frieren sets it apart, showcasing impressive action sequences and a consistent high quality across 28 episodes.

Show Title

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End


Keiichirou Saitou



Premiere Date


There's so much that's already been said about Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, some of which we at Game Rant have already contributed throughout its incredible 28-episode run over the last half year. Yet, it feels like there's still so much more that's unsaid about what made this experience so delightful, which the following appraisal may only attempt to grasp fully.

Based on the ongoing manga series by Kanehito Yamada, with art by Tsukasa Abe, this is a sprawling adventure about the titular Frieren, an elf whose lifespan makes her nigh-immortal. When the story begins, she has completed a decade-long journey to defeat the demon king, alongside the hero Himmel, the priest Heiter, and the warrior Eisen, after which they part ways. Years later, when her companions grow old and begin to pass away, she regrets not getting to know them better in the time she had with them, which, from her perspective, was so minuscule. Thus, a new journey begins in search of Ende, a land where the spirits of the dead roam free. Joining Frieren on her quest is her talented apprentice Fern, the adopted daughter of Heiter, and Stark, the apprentice of Eisen.

Making The Viewer Cherish Every Moment

Frieren's central theme is time. It's no mystery, nor is its root in every facet of the story particularly subtle, but whether art resonates with a viewer or not shouldn't be beholden to something buried beneath the surface. In the case of this series, it's quite the opposite; Frieren's story is beautiful because of how effortlessly it emphasizes time and its connection to all things. That consistency grants every beat along the journey so much more weight.

And don't mistake the previous point about subtlety - the central theme might be blatant, but the surrounding story is written with wonderfully patient maturity that respects the viewer's intellect. By extension, the artwork and animation go to great lengths to imbue the performances with an abundance of personality, which allows moments to speak volumes even with very little dialog. This story delights in pregnant pauses and thoughtful glances.

Outstanding Characters

This approach pays off wonderfully for the main party. Frieren's stoicism can be inspiring and terrifying alike, but her exterior can also crack to reveal a goofball beneath. As a result, Fern appears to be the responsible adult of the two. Stark is an all-around delight, and though he and Fern have some friction throughout, it develops believably into a budding relationship that will be a joy to see explored more in the second season.

As wonderful as the trio is, the supporting cast is almost more impressive for how much they linger in the viewer's memory, regardless of how briefly they appear in the grand scheme of things. By the end of the season, it might come as a surprise just how many memorable faces have dotted the path since the start. It brings a wave of nostalgia followed swiftly by an intense yearning to see them return in the future - the sign of a journey well worth it.

Near-Perfect Pacing

Frankly, calling the pacing "near-perfect" feels like it's not giving the storytelling enough credit. As patient as the writing is, it never bores thanks to an excellent sense of forward momentum fueled by a great many things, but especially the music. Evan Call has made a lot of great soundtracks, but Frieren is the pinnacle of his prowess and offers a score that is everything a fantasy epic should sound like and more.

Putting aside the music, it can't be understated how well Keiichirou Saitou directed this series. Months and even years can pass in the blink of an eye thanks to the use of montages, but as has been pointed out in previous features, this passing of time is never frightening. Through Frieren's eyes, the viewer is privileged to see the changing landscape of the world and its people across generations, not burdened by a fear of decay, but inspired by the sight of growth.

How Frieren Marries Worldbuilding with Theme

As early as the first four episodes, Frieren had baked its core themes into the power scaling to great effect. One of Frieren's old foes awakens from a deep slumber, but what leads to their defeat isn't some new strategy devised by Frieren, but the march of time. Humanity, who once never wielded magic, has grown adept at it, leading to exceedingly gifted generations of mages who have advanced the craft.

It's through this framework that the story finds avenues to deepen the characters - both their relationships with others and their place within this world, with its rich history and culture. Fern isn't just the spitting image of Frieren because she's her apprentice; she represents how humanity will eventually surpass even someone as powerful as Frieren. As such, action scenes become not only the application of a clever power system but also another vehicle to explore the themes.

Season 1's final arc is the culmination of the little tricks that grant the show this quality. The First-Class Mage Exam is a brilliant arc. It understands how to introduce a wide variety of characters, each with their own philosophies and styles of combat, and makes the audience care about them. It helps that the action, between its complexity, choreography, and delicious spectacle, ranks among the best in over a decade of TV anime.

A Triumph of Animation

As 2023 ended, Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 was largely considered to have some of the best animation of the year, even with the production problems that plagued it. Yet it is telling that, within just a few months since its conclusion, Frieren has completely overshadowed it. From the way magic dances across the screen in symphony with the sound design to the realistic weight conveyed in every swing of a blade, it only seemed to get better as the show continued.

Such consistency across a whopping 28 episodes is worthy of the highest commendation. If ever there was a dip in quality, Reiko Nagasawa's character designs certainly never showed it in their faces, nor did the background art fail to create scenes that were transportive. But the animation, above all, elevated this series tenfold. Frieren is a shining example of what this industry is still capable of, regardless of the industry trends that cast doubt on its longevity.

The Warmth at the Heart of This Story

In our review of Episode 11, we wrote about the episode's commentary on spirituality, stressing the warmth with which such concepts were explored. As was written back then, that "warmth" is precisely what permeates this series and makes it so special. It is at once the very model of an epic fantasy, while simultaneously demythologizing itself by layering its characters with such believable and natural flaws.

There is so much heart behind this series; so much love that it contains not only for its genre but also an idea of what it is to live well. Repeatedly, the show reminds viewers how fleeting some of the most beautiful parts of life are, but seldom does it ever wallow in fear of how finite that time is. Instead, Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is a necessary and soothing reminder of the good that lives on in the world after death and the importance of savoring what it is to be alive.

Our Score: 5 out of 5

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is available to stream on Crunchyroll.