Anime First Reaction: Sousou no Frieren

It’s time to take a look at Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End). It’s what is becoming more and more common for me these days, I am looking at an anime adaptation of a manga that I am currently reading. I often swore I wouldn’t do this because I haven’t been enjoying shows as much as I used to mainly because watching something that I’m reading feels like I’m watching a repeat. Despite that, I checked out this TWO-HOUR premiere because I was curious to see how it treated the source material. Is it worth checking out?

Let’s go!

First FOUR Episodes Synopsis

Frieren is part of the party of heroes which also includes Himmel the Hero, Eisen, and Heiter. Our story begins after they have defeated the Demon Lord and are returning as heroes. They are praised by the king and now they have to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. Frieren is an elf mage and has no concept of time because elves live for a very long time. A meteor shower adorns the sky and she says they’ll watch it together at a great spot fifty years from now.

When Frieren returns from traveling the world in search of new magic, Himmel and Heiter are old men. One by one, they pass away and Frieren wonders why she never chose to learn more about the people she spent so much time with. In the process, she picks up an apprentice named Fern who will accompany her on her travels. They do odd jobs occasionally but eventually seek out the den of Flamme, Frieren’s teacher.

There, they learn about a place in the Northern Lands where you can communicate with the dead. Frieren, in her new quest to understand the heroes she traveled with, vows to reach this place no matter what. Thus ends our 4-episode opener and starts the true beginning to this series.

Worth Watching?

YES – Here’s the thing. I’m only giving this a YES because I have read beyond the first four episodes in the manga and can say that things get pretty good; however, if I were an anime-only watcher and judged this on the first four episodes, this would be a MAYBE and here’s why…

Just like the manga, the pacing in these first four episodes is incredibly slow. Side stories like getting Blue Moon Weed for one of Himmel’s statues, rummaging through the town of Warm just to seek out sweets, etc. really caused the story to move at a snail’s pace, and for a fantasy series, I can see this turning off a lot of viewers who are expecting action.

I will say, without spoiling anything, that you will get action in this series but there is a slow ramp-up to it. Because I know that it’s coming, the new characters to come, the lore of the world yet to be told, etc. makes me tell you to stick with this show. I just wish that the first four episodes didn’t drag so much BUT… to the show’s credit… it did adapt the manga faithfully.

Yes, there are also some emotional moments in those first four episodes but it also gives you a glimpse at what this series is truly about… an elf who took other people for granted suddenly realizing that she should have took the time to learn more about them and trying to rectify the wrongs going forward. Again, things do pick up later for those who want a more action-packed series but I wouldn’t count on it being the main focus. This is a calmer, more somber-style fantasy show and if you just want a good, heartfelt story with some action to come, then this should be a winner for you.

If the first four episodes bored you, then sorry to say that even with the action to come, there will be more of this which is why as an anime-only watcher I would give this show a MAYBE.