Warning: Contains spoilers for Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode #7. As of the latest episode, Freeze: Beyond Journey’s End there’s a genius solution to the problem of anime having overly complicated villains. A growing problem with anime villains is the tendency for them to be viewed as sympathetic at all costs, even as they commit one heinous act after another. without any regrets. Of course, there are some notable exceptions, but it still happens enough to be considered an annoying cliché.
In general, anime and novels have a clear problem with trying to impose gray morality, but Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End tackles that problem brilliantly through its villains.
Episode #7 is a proper introduction to the anime villains, the demon race and they are seen as physically bloodthirsty monsters incapable of empathy or understanding any human emotions. people, which means the story never bothers trying to make them sympathize while also letting them sympathize. doing one terrible thing after another. That, in turn, also has the effect of making them perfect villains for anime, and overall, it’s a miracle they fix what has become a persistent problem in all genres of fiction. .
Frieren doesn’t try to make his villains sympathetic, and it works
Part of the reason why the villains in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End are so great is because they are designed to be incapable of being sympathetic. The episode makes it quite clear that demons are merely monsters that have learned to imitate human language as a way to deceive their prey by appealing to human compassion. That seems to imply anime’s tendency to make villains sympathetic at any cost. Many anime will have villains, or at least antiheroes, constantly doing terrible things while showing little remorse for their actions, only to redeem themselves and then help the others. hero in a critical moment. That makes the idea of any kind of redemption hard to buy, and it’s why so many stories don’t treat villains as sympathetic: they’re trying too hard.
Another problem stems from the cliché of trying to make every villain redeemable. While there’s nothing wrong with a story that makes its villains sympathetic, trying to do it too many times across different mediums destroys its novelty, especially when the results are often lack. Naruto is famous for trying to redeem all of his villains, but since then, this story has become even more hateful. At this point, seeing a story that doesn’t try to make its villains sympathetic and simply relies on their lack of humanity would be a much more refreshing idea, whatever that kind of writing might be. to be “classic,” and Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End does just that, adding even more charm to its story.
Frieren’s demons are perfect villains, even though they lack depth
Frieren’s demons are incapable of sympathy because of their lack of human emotions, and that makes them the perfect villains for the series. Frieren’s overarching theme is the importance of embracing emotions and connecting with others, especially as Frieren’s character’s storyline is about his journey to become more in touch with his own and others’ emotions. Thus, demons’ biological inability to feel human emotions puts them at odds with the overarching theme of the story, making them some of the best villains in history. Freeze: Beyond Journey’s Endand it’s also a strong criticism of anime’s tendency to impose gray morality in its stories.
Freeze: Beyond Journey’s End releases new episodes every Friday on Crunchyroll.