Otaku USA Magazine
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Is a Must-Read for Fantasy Fans

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End

Recently, it was announced that the fantasy adventure manga Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End will be getting the anime treatment this fall. And it just so happens to be readable on the Viz manga app! Even if you’re not a big manga reader, it’s worth your time to catch up to this thoughtful, atmospheric series.

Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, stories about friendship, or certain tabletop games, this is an absolute must-read. And, we assume, it will soon be a must-watch.


What Happens After

The original part in manga form

The journey is over. The day is saved. The heroes receive their reward, and life goes on. But what really happens next? Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End—as suggested by the title—examines that. For most of the party members, a few decades remain to enjoy life and fill out that bucket list. But one quest can change so much for the entire world.

Half a century later, the heroes’ statues remain: sometimes cared for, sometimes forgotten. Promises made may or may not be kept. Entire ways of life may be upturned in ways the locals take for granted decades on. But our eponymous elf is in a position to see that trajectory play out.


Centuries to Spare

The original party in anime form

Frieren, as an elf, has a very different concept of time from humans. As she points out to her traveling companions, the ten years she spends with them constitutes 1/100 of her life so far. Once those companions begin to age and die, she realizes that her concept of a life has altered how she relates to others. With centuries still ahead of her, she decides to start getting to know people.

As the manga unfolds, we see this conflict in action. With her companions’ apprentices in tow, Frieren must take their lifespans into consideration. Spending a decade doing odd jobs in a village, or waiting out an unjust two-year prison sentence, is no longer an option. While we sometimes see months and years fly by in a page-long montage, we also get a sense of things slowing down to a more human, empathetic speed. And along the way, our heroine starts to understand why she does what she does, and for whom.


A Familiar Adventure

Frieren goes to school

Fans of high fantasy literature, and fans of tabletop fantasy games, will note a lot of familiar things in Frieren. There are the obvious, Lord of the Rings-inspired fantasy elements, of course. But there are also cheeky nods to relatable fantasy things—both gaming and literary. Tiny quests just seem to keep popping up on the party’s road to their Big Goal. Some party members are primarily invested in getting dates, while others are waiting to watch those dates happen. And, as mage-in-training Fern points out, the party seems to be made up entirely of awkward people.

The heartfelt story, human touch, dashes of humor, and beautiful art weave together to tell a cozy, slow-burn fantasy tale. As Frieren and her new party make their way to their goal, we’ll learn more about both parties. And there’s plenty of manga to read before the anime airs, so you can be ready this September!

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.