Title:Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 8 Author: Kanehito Yamada (Story), Tsukasa Abe (Art) Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Shojo, Romance Publication Date: June 20, 2023
Frieren and company are making their way through the Northern Lands. There are a couple of stops where they engage in a bit of side adventures and while one is a bit minor, it does lend itself some interesting lore to the story. They come across the Company of Norm. They run themselves almost as if they were a country but they simply are just a company that is responsible for trading goods throughout the Northern Lands. With as dangerous as the lands are, they have their own personal military of elite fighters to help protect the goods as they are delivered.
Frieren amassed a large debt with them some time ago when she passed through with the Party of Heroes. With interest compounding, they owe around 500 gold coins! She’s sentenced to 300 years in the mines but that was just a ruse. She is only being asked to use her magic to find silver veins which would help refund the Company and get their business back to where it needs to be.
After, we learn that Norm’s guards are everywhere. They stumble upon a village where one of their high-ranking officers was slaughtered at the hands of a demon. There, they are rekindled with Methode and Genau from the First Class Mage Exam. They accepted the letter of subjugation to protect the village as did Frieren but when they arrived, it was already too late. They decide to find the demons that caused this and put an end to them.
This brings us to the back half of the volume where the battle against the demons takes place. It’s split into two fights with Frieren, Fern, and Methode on one side, and Stark and Genau on the other. Of the two fights, Stark’s and Genau’s were the most interesting as the demon they are fighting has quite the past with Genau!
Building on Stark’s development in the previous volume, he did a great job here assisting Genau in their battle with Revolte. He truly has grown as a warrior but he’s still about as green as grass. While he does employ some pretty high-level strategies here, they are often very risky and foolish… but he’s getting better and his actions have even earned Genau’s admiration!
Speaking of Genau, his development takes the center spotlight in this volume. We learn a bit about his personality which is kind of a mixed bag. He always claims that he’s not a good person for some of the choices he’s made in the past when it comes to protecting people, but at the same time, he still seems rather noble and loyal… especially when it comes to protecting the village he and Methode were summoned to. When we also learn of his past with Revolte, it made more sense as to why he chose to stay behind while the others went out and searched. Genau said it himself that he would sacrifice anything and anyone for the greater peace… in this case, it would be the corpses of those who were already slain. In a way, Genau is both a good and bad person. He doesn’t hide it and is not ashamed to wear that as a badge of honor. As long as peace is maintained, he will do anything, regardless of the morality of it.
While we don’t learn much about Methode, we do know that she has tried to get close to Seirei as her apprentice but her efforts were futile… mainly because Seirei hates things such as hugs and head pats… so she turned to Frieren for those instead. I guess she has a thing for cute little elves… or people… or just stuff in general. Sounds like she’d fit in at some restaurant named Wagnaria.
This volume had a nice balance between world-building, character development, and action. Although, there were some parts that I thought could have used a bit more attention. In the beginning, they were tasked with clearing out a terrible monster. They built it up to be some kind of threat, and yet, they killed it after a half-page worth of fighting. It reminded me of almost every fight in the Soul Society War arc in Bleach. Why build it up its ferocity and then take it out like it’s nothing?
At least they didn’t miss when it came to building up Revolte; however, the other two demons that came along for the ride just seemed like plot devices more than threats. It was still a pretty good battle that really helped build Stark’s character up even more! Sad to see that Genau both received and was denied his wish. Once you read it, you’ll understand what I mean by that.
All-in-all, another great volume! The journey through the Northern Lands continues and not even a thunder of dragons will stop them!
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