Title:Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 9 Author: Kanehito Yamada (Story), Tsukasa Abe (Art) Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Fantasy Publication Date: October 17, 2023\
Frieren and company are making their way through the Northern Lands. They come to a lake during the middle of a storm and have to wait until the end of winter to cross it. Next, it’s a rather large chasm; however, they run into an old friend of Frieren’s who had spent the last two centuries building a bridge. They have to take care of some monsters first but once they cross, they find themselves in the snow fields. There, they take a request to kill a monster and put up an anti-human barrier around some valuable crystals.
Once all this is said and done, they arrive at Weise, the city of gold. There, we meet up with Denken who has finally returned to his wife’s grave some 50 years after saying he would. Now, he’s being charged with maintaining the barrier due to the one who resides inside of Weise: Macht, one of the seven sages of destruction.
Denken has been thinking of a way to defeat Macht but there is only one problem, he is the strongest of the seven sages and can instantly turn anything into gold. Since it’s a curse and not magic and because Macht is a demon, normal defensive magic is useless. There is no way to truly defeat him; however, thanks to Lehren and Edel, they were to obtain some useful information that might provide Denken a way to defeat Macht and save the land but it’s going to be tricky. Frieren, Fern, and Stark will lend their aid; however, Macht has an interesting side to him… he’s actually a pacifist.
Despite that, Frieren poses an interesting question to Macht during a meeting with him… and it makes Macht want to fight Frieren!
The side stories didn’t really lend much to our main characters in terms of development; however, we did get a new character in Macht and we did get to spend some time with Edel, Lehren, and Denken.
Lehren and Edel were simply on a mission to retrieve some information. Edel, even though she is a second-class mage, has hypnosis powers greater than a first-class. She was easily able to read over 100 years of memories from Macht just from a simple touch. Lehren was on this mission as a favor to Denken because he was indebted to him for so long.
Speaking of Denken, he admits that he’s not as noble as we perceived him to be. He deliberately procrastinated coming back to his homeland for over fifty years simply because he didn’t have the heart to do so. Then, the goldening happened when things with Macht went awry some sixty years ago. Denken finally got to the point where he felt too guilty sitting back and doing nothing… so here he is. Turns out that Denken and Macht have quite the past together, though.
Macht is the newest addition to the story and he has quite a rich history. He truly wishes for peace and only wants to co-exist with humans. Even though he served the demon king, he regretted his actions despite demons not being able to feel a wide range of emotions as humans can. He ended up becoming a servant of the Glock family who ruled Weise. Despite Macht never having any nefarious intentions, certain political issues arose because he was a demon so action needed to be taken.
This led to Macht using the curse and turning the entire land into gold. When the magic association erected the barrier, Macht finally got his wish… to live in peace and quit. Still, he contradicts himself by killing anyone who trespasses into the barrier and disturbs his peace. For someone who wants to co-exist with humans, he sure likes to cause trouble. He’s an interesting character and quite the mixed bag. It’s like he’s trying to be human but still a slave to his natural demonic nature. He is, by far, one of the most interesting villains in the series to this point!
I loved this volume! As I said above, Macht is one of the most interesting villains I’ve seen. His past, his connections to Denken, and his wish for peace but he openly contradicts that by murdering trespassers. You can understand his actions but can also be perplexed by them as well. There is a lot of depth to this character and makes you wonder just how Frieren and Denken are going to accomplish defeating him. Besides, there is also an issue with the curse, too. It’s not the kind that dispels itself once the user dies so it also makes killing Macht and non-option and there’s no way he’s going to just dispel the curse willingly.
This seems like a hell of a chess match and not a single bit of fighting has even taken place yet. You really get a sense that you are up against an awe-inspiring all-powerful villain and that’s something this series has really lacked. This is not a normal battle by any means so I’m highly interested in seeing how it’s handled in the next volume. I can only predict that since they are talking about hypnosis, there will be a way to manipulate Macht’s mind into dispelling the barrier, leaving him open for a kill but that’s going to take some serious creativity with the way he’s been built up.
Needless to say, I can’t wait to check out Volume 10. I love some mental chess battles and it seems we have a good one on our hands!
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