Photo: The epitome of eroticism
©Kanehito Yamada, Tsukasa Abe/Shogakukan/’Frieren’Project
On a thematic level, this episode is about one thing: regret. This is the point of the series—after all, Frieren’s entire mission is based on her regret for not spending time with Himmel when she had the chance. However, her relationship (or lack thereof) with Himmel isn’t the only regret in her thousand-plus years of life—nor is it the first time she’s struggled with this feeling.
Back in the fight with Aura, we saw the first meeting of Frieren and those who would become her companions—when Himmel, upon meeting her, repeated the same words to her that she told Flamme all those centuries ago. At the time, all of this was framed as something of a triumph—a fateful moment that marked the end of her training and the beginning of her journey to destroy the Demon King. However, in this episode, we see that this is not all there is to the story.
By the time Himmel and the others searched for Frieren, she had defeated herself. She had kept up with her training—both building mana and limiting it—but she had never done anything with that power. Sure, the plan was to come from the unknown and control the Demon King and his forces before they could understand what was going on but that didn’t matter if she never started the attack. .
Over the years, Frieren believed she had missed her acting opportunities. This made her regret it. Then, years passed, and she regretted her inaction when she realized she had missed her chance—after all, perhaps there was still time. This caused an endless spiral of regret, each year adding to her sense of worthlessness.
It’s very possible that she would never have been able to carry out her mission if she was left alone in a small cabin in the woods. Luckily, Himmel and the others came to her rescue—and he was able to get her to do what she was having trouble doing; focus on the present.
With an unlimited lifespan, it’s hard to pay attention to what’s in front of you. We saw Frieren struggle with this in her journey with Fern. Months spent searching for a flower or cleaning the beach were just short-lived pastimes for her. However, it’s clear that she’s now actively trying to live in the moment with Fern and Stark—to cherish the short time she has with them even if it goes against nature hers. Thanks to Himmel, she was able to escape the endless spiral of regret and learn that it is never too late to change yourself, do better, and live in the present.
Of course, that’s not all. immortals struggle with ever-increasing regrets—which brings us to Sein. Sein is a man who missed his chance to realize his dream and regrets it every day. It’s no surprise that Freiren sees herself in him and is determined to do for him what Himmel did for her. However, this is not pure pity or goodwill. Rather, it’s a bit self-conscious. Frieren did not like his past self—the self before Himmel. Kicking Sein’s ass is a way to get back at her former self.
The stumbling block is that Sein’s situation is not the same as Frieren’s. What’s keeping Sein in place isn’t fear of the unknown—fear of not knowing whether the moment is right or not. What makes Sein stay in the village is his sense of guilt. Sein feels his brother sacrificed his dreams and future to be with him. So how can Sein repay that by pursuing his dream? That’s why, in addition to his regrets for not becoming an adventurer, he also feels ashamed for having those regrets in the first place.
What Sein doesn’t understand is that, for Sein’s brother, staying with Sein is not a sacrifice. What he wanted was not to become a famous priest in the city. That is so that his brother can grow up happily in the place he loves. He never agonized over what could have been because he followed his dream. He never wanted Sein to give up on his dream because of him-he wanted Sein to pursue his dream just like he did. Luckily, by the end of this episode, the misunderstanding is resolved and Sein is ready to seize the moment — with three new friends in tow.
→ I read the opening scene as Frieren bullying her past self by leaving Sein stuck in the mud after hearing his story. We’ve already seen Fern use magic to carry an unconscious Stark so it’s safe to assume that Freiren could do the same to rescue Sein at any time.
→ I don’t know what’s funnier, how completely ungainly Frieren’s “blowing the wind” gesture was or how it destroyed Fern and Stark. (This episode gets a lot of mileage out of mocking the saying “loli lady”.)
You have to love that Sein is such a morally terrible priest that it makes Heiter (even with his alcoholism) look like a role model—especially to Fern, who loves him like a father .
→ I wonder if Stark’s warrior nature would have saved him from snake venom if left alone. I mean, he ended up getting hit in the ribs with an ax without any trouble.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is now streaming on Crunchyroll.