‘I will kill the giant bird carrying us before it drops us. That will solve everything.’
©Kanehito Yamada, Tsukasa Abe/Shogakukan/’Frieren’Project
When you look at the series so far, despite her difficulties connecting with those around her, Frieren is still a beautiful girl. Good mentor to both Fern and Stark. She knows their abilities better than they do, and although she asks them to push their limits, she never forces them into situations they can’t handle. However, this doesn’t change the fact that she’s socially awkward—and neither are Fern and Stark. The blind leading the blind — and the first half of this episode covers why this is pretty okay.
In this episode, Fern wants to be seen as important by those around her—that is, Frieren and Stark. Stark not giving her a birthday present (especially after she tried her best to buy him one) hurt her deeply. Meanwhile, it’s not that Stark forgot her birthday, but more that he wanted to repeat his own experience—where they chose a gift for him together. However, when it came time to ask her, he felt embarrassed because he didn’t know her well enough to be able to choose the gift she liked himself – leading to a whole misunderstanding.
Luckily, with Sein, we finally have someone with life experience on the team. He remembers a time when he was Stark and Fern’s age — understanding what they were going through and helping them navigate their puberty emotions. This is something Frien cannot do. Despite his millennia of life, Frieren was no more mature than two teenagers—perhaps even less. After all, she’s never felt attraction or romantic feelings toward someone else—well, until we get to the second half of the episode.
The second story in the episode involves Frieren losing the ring Himmel gave her upon defeating the Demon King. To some extent, it’s a story about how you can save yourself from a lot of pain and suffering if you ask for help from those around you. On the other hand, it’s a story about Frieren once again learning that, even though nothing is truly permanent, that doesn’t mean these temporary things shouldn’t be fought for or properly appreciated.
More than that, this is the story of the episode that shows the moment Frieren first understood the truth that Himmel loved her. The knowledge she learned about the ring and its symbol made everything right. She could see the once inexplicable moment for what it was: the closest Himmel had ever come to telling her his true feelings. He wordlessly proposed to her and declared his undying love for her—all without her knowledge.
And that, in a nutshell, is the bittersweet tragedy of this series. The Frieren of that time would neither understand nor reciprocate his feelings for her even if he openly told her so—and he knew this. That’s why he let her out of his life for 50 years. Only through Himmel’s death and her subsequent journey with Fern and Stark can she begin to understand not only his feelings for her but hers for him as well. She needed time to grow and mature—to understand what was truly important in her never-ending life.
In the end, we are left with the tragic love story of an elf and a human—a mortal and an immortal—separated not only by time and space but also by life and death .
→ Does little Heiter understand the experiences of adults. No one can truly grow up. We’re just better at pretending.
→ Of course Himmel would know the meaning of the flower on the ring. After all, this wasn’t the first time he’d talked to Frieren about flowers.
→ Fun fact #1: The story of Frieren, Himmel, and the ring was voted the most popular chapter of the entire manga to date.
→ Fun fact #2: In a recent character poll, Himmel was voted the most popular character (with Frieren in second place) and it’s not hard to see why. (Sadly, my pick, Mimic’s chest-eating Frieren, only came in third.)
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is now streaming on Crunchyroll.