Title:Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 4 Author: Kanehito Yamada (Story), Tsukasa Abe (Art) Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Shojo, Romance Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Volume 4 takes an episodic approach as our party heads for Auberst; however, before that, they still have to convince Sein to join their party. Spoilers: he does (like we didn’t see this coming!). He joins under a condition, though… he’s not interested in their goals, but rather, he is interested in traveling them to find a friend of his that disappeared ten years ago.
From there, they simply travel from town to town only stopping to replenish their money, food, or other supplies. During this journey, though, Frieren remembers the time she spent with Himmel and the others. Their legend continues to live on in all of these towns from when they originally went to Ende to defeat the demon lord. Here, we see that Frieren’s original group wasn’t the only one who received hero statues. Sein did as well along with his missing friend! One of their tasks in exchange for some information is to clean said statues. Here, we learn of Sein’s friend’s true name. Before that, he is simply known as Gorilla Warrior.
When they receive the information of where Gorilla is headed, they realize that it’s in the opposite direction of Auberst. This means that Sein will be leaving the party. Hopefully, they learned to unequip all his items and save their file before he leaves. As they go their separate ways, it’s off to Auberst to take the First-Class mage exam. We are introduced to a new character named Ubel who is also a mage with a bit of a vicious side to her. She’s looking to take the exam, too. Our volume ends with everyone getting split into groups of three for the first round of the exam!
Sein was front and center for the majority of this volume. Despite being someone who loves to drink, gamble, and chase older women, he has a big brother/guardian side to him as well. He ends up becoming the voice of reason and/or mediator between Stark and Fern whenever they end up arguing… which happens quite a lot. He’s not one for goodbyes, either. When it was time for them to part he was simply like “Welp, this is where we split. See ya,” and then walked away, although his remarks of traveling alone being quiet showed just how much he enjoyed the company of others. I’m sure we’ll see Sein again and I hope we will because he really grew on me as a character.
Stark and Fern though… I agree with what Sein said during the volume. “Would they just get together already!?” It’s painfully obvious that they like each other but they are just too young and dumb to realize it… or are they? Well.. at least Stark is. When he picked out a gift for Fern’s birthday, he didn’t know that the flower on the bracelet was a symbol of eternal love. He was sure embarrassed when he discovered the true meaning behind the symbol! They’re a cute couple, though, and already bicker as if they’re married so… I’ll ship them!
Not much to say about Ubel yet but she does have a bloodthirst about her. Since Sein left, I have a feeling she might become Party Member D to replace him. We’ll see, though.
This was quite the somber volume of Frieren. With the bulk of the story simply telling the tale of their journey, you ended up getting lost in the lore of the world as well as the history Frieren shared with Himmel and the others. There were some cute bonding moments; however, all of it simply served as a transition into the first-class mage exam arc. Both Frieren and Fern are trying for the license along with Ubel and since she was introduced like a unique sprite alert in a Pokemon game, you know that she’s going to play a big role in the arc to come.
Even though I won’t spoil it, I wasn’t really surprised when I discovered what Sein’s friend’s name was. It was actually kind of obvious if you really think about it. We also got to meet Vord… a dwarf that’s even older than Eisen! Even for his decrepit age, he still has power and his story was a bit touching, too.
While Frieren isn’t meant to be an action-packed manga, I feel that this volume truly encapsulated when this series is about. It was a nice, comfortable read but it appears that comfort comes to an end in volume five as we prepare for some magic-slinging action!