How would you rate episode 10 of
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End ?
Community score: 4.9
This episode is something special. Following the usual pattern, it should be the big action climax of the arc. Our hero faces down one of the strongest demons alive—one that she wasn’t able to defeat even with the entire hero party at her side. And yet, this time she wins. She wins without using a single attack or even casting a single spell. She wins because of a con a thousand years in the making.
When it comes down to it, this episode is our second delving into the nature of demons. The first of these explored the origins of demons—that they are monsters that have evolved to use language to trick their prey: the humanoid races. This one, however, looks into the origin of their society.
As we’ve established previously, demons are solitary creatures. They have no family units or anything similar. And while they are almost always stronger individually than humans, they needed to form some kind of society to stand up against humanity’s numbers and cooperation. What they came up with is a society that calls back to their base instincts: survival of the fittest. Thus, the strongest (i.e., those with the most mana) rule.
This makes mana capacity ludicrously important to demons as it dictates their place in society—whether they are a leader or a follower. Therefore, demons will not hide their power for any sizable amount of time—they would not even consider doing it. It would be the same as denying who they are on a fundamental level. And it’s not just a matter of ego (although that certainly plays a large part). In the dog-eat-dog world of the demons, hiding your power permanently would be volunteering to be preyed on by other demons for no real gain. Hiding your power for a stealth mission is one thing—especially if no other mages are present. But if mages are around—be they human or demon—demons have the built-in need to show off how great they are and reaffirm their place in the hierarchy.
While this system makes the demon society possible, it also creates a weakness. Just as the monsters deceive humans using a central tenant of our society—i.e., verbal communication—Frieren, Fern, and Flamme do the same to demons. By hiding their power at all times they are constantly underestimated—right up until the moment they kill their enemies.
However, it’s important to note that there is a price to this. They will forever be treated as less than they are by anyone able to sense magic—be that human or demon. It is a mask they can never let slip—for once it has, all their effort will be for naught. And in the case of an immortal elf like Frieren, this means she will live as a tenth of the mage she truly is forever—or until she is killed.
This is one of the instances where Frieren’s warped sense of time is a boon. To her, a thousand years ago isn’t that far in the past. Considering she still remembers Flamme with vivid clarity it’s safe to assume the same could be said for all of the events that day the demons killed her entire village. The pain of that loss is still fresh within her. For the sake of her revenge, she lived a thousand years in obscurity—doing nothing but fighting backwater monsters and training to increase her magic capacity.
Yet, this was all according to plan—a plan that only she as an immortal could accomplish: to trick the Demon King himself. As mana capacity increases with training and time, only an elf has a chance to overpower the strongest demons magically. This is likely why the Demon King attempted to wipe out the elves in the first place. Their lifespans made them a threat to his power.
And a millennium later, those fears were proven true. Frieren, along with Himmel and friends, did what was thought to be impossible and defeated the Demon King. Now Frieren is finally starting to live her life. To dabble in her hobby of collecting obscure magic and making connections with the mortals she encounters. But that doesn’t mean her hatred of demonkind has cooled.
This is why she tortures Aura in her final moments. There was never a need to say anything—Frieren won the moment Aura cast her spell and put their souls on the scales. But Frieren still methodically explains to Aura what is happening—what she has done to not only Aura but all the demons she has killed. She has made a mockery of them and their life’s work—used their pride and very way of viewing the world as a weapon against them. And then, once Aura truly understands, Frieren simply orders her to kill herself. It is not a command filled with rage or even smug satisfaction—but rather apathy. With this small part of Frieren’s revenge complete, Aura becomes just another demon she has killed. She’s not the first and will most certainly not be the last.
• Frieren joins Himmel because he sees right through her just as she did through Flamme. To her, it is a sign that the time is right to take her revenge.
• Aura states that Frieren’s mana has barely increased in the last 80 years. But when you remember that Frieren’s normal mana output is at 1/10 of what it truly is, it makes sense that it would barely go up.
• The visual storytelling in Frieren’s past is excellent. Flamme dresses in clothes reminiscent of ancient Greek or Roman garb. Also, they use scrolls, not books—which explains why Frieren says that almost all grimoires of Flamme’s are fake. You can also see over time that Frieren’s suppressed mana smooths out—becomes less jagged and unnatural.
• Flower bed-making magic: Frieren’s first “worthless” spell but not her last.
• I don’t normally talk about the music but this episode’s was amazing. It’s not often we get a full orchestra—strings, and horn blaring—with a choral accompaniment just for a simple conversation.
is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.