Cover Image: Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, Vol. 1

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, Vol. 1

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Member Reviews

Yamada has created a masterfully written and beautifully drawn tale about loss and life.  Frieren reminds us that no one is immortal and everything is fleeting.
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Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End focuses on an elf named Frieren, who was a member of a party that defeated the Demon King.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Volume One
Written by: Kanehito Yamada
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 9, 2021

The volume opens with Frieren (the mage), along with Himmel (the hero), Eisen (the warrior), and Heiter (the priest) returning after defeating the Demon King. Now that their mission is over and peace has been established in the land, the members of the group need to figure out what they’re going to do now that their ten-year journey has come to an end. Frieren, who is an elf, is going to be living much longer than her companions, so she doesn’t think about this as much as the others. Instead, her focus is on traveling around the central lands for the next hundred years or so and continue gathering magic. At this point, the story shifts its focus onto Frieren, as she becomes the main character of the series.

There’s a timeskip to 50 years in the future, when Frieren reunites with the other members of the party. While she looks the same as she did, all of the others are very much older. Himmel changes the most, though. Not only does he look older, he’s also shrunk considerably over the past 50 years. We get to see from Frieren’s perspective how much the town has changed, as well as the people that she knew.

The next time we see Frieren, she is attending Himmel’s funeral. It’s during this time that Frieren realizes that even though she traveled with Himmel for ten years, she hardly knew anything about him. While his death doesn’t make her cry, it’s the knowledge that she never really got the chance to know her traveling companion that causes her to shed tears. She regrets not trying to get to know him better, especially since she knew that human lives are short. After the funeral, Frieren decides that she wants to learn more about humans during her travels, in addition to gathering magic.

This is followed by a 20-year timeskip, when Frieren is looking for Heiter. The priest is obviously even older than he was the last time Frieren had seen him. Heiter asks Frieren to take on Fern, a young woman he has been caring for, as her apprentice. She refuses at first, so Heiter asks her to decipher a grimoire that supposedly contains long-lost spells of resurrection and immortality. After she agrees to this task, Heiter asks Frieren to teach Fern some magic on the side, and she agrees to at least do that much. During this section, I appreciated getting the backstory for how Heiter came to take in Fern, and how memories of Himmel convinced Heiter that this was something that he needed to do. After Heiter passes away, Fern becomes Frieren’s traveling companion.

Then there’s a six-year timeskip, where we see Frieren and Fern traveling together and doing low-profile jobs to acquire spells. During this story, they go to a village that has erected a statue for Himmel because he risked his life to save it from a monster. Unfortunately, most people in the village are no longer interested in maintaining the statue, and the older woman who is interested isn’t capable of doing it anymore. Frieren uses her magic to clean up the statue, and after the elderly woman says she’ll plant some flowers later, Frieren decides to come up with a way to add flowers from Himmel’s hometown to the location of the statue. This story focuses on Frieren and Fern as they try to find some of those flowers so Frieren can know what they should be like in order to realistically create them. During this section, Frieren has a flashback to traveling with the party on their mission to defeat the Demon King. I thought it was really sweet that Frieren wanted to find a way from flowers from Himmel’s hometown to be near his statue, and it was one of the ways that Frieren is starting to show some emotional growth as a character.

The next chapter in the volume focuses on the relationship between Frieren and Fern. It turns out it’s Fern’s birthday, and Frieren is trying to find a gift to give to her. This is something that the Frieren the reader meets at the beginning of the volume wouldn’t have done. While we see brief hints throughout the volume that Frieren is starting to learn about humans and interacting with them (such as the previous story with the statue of Himmel and the flowers), this chapter really shows the reader just how much her study of humans over nearly 30 years is manifesting itself in the elf’s actions.

After this, Frieren and Fern go to a town where Himmel made an impact on the people. Frieren takes on a job that Himmel knew she would eventually come there to do, and she uses this as an opportunity to train Fern. This is followed by a chapter that has to do with a New Year’s Festival, and Frieren and Fern are hired to clean up the coastline before the festival. Frieren remembers back in the past when Himmel wanted her to see the sunrise during the New Year’s Festival, but she didn’t do it then. So it was sweet to see her going with Fern to see this sight. It really amazes me that even though Himmel is dead for a lot of the volume, he’s still such a presence in the story between flashbacks and connections that Himmel has to people and locations that Frieren travels to.

Another two years pass by, and Frieren and Fern go to visit Eisen. He asks Frieren to find the Great Mage Flamme’s notes, with information that was provided to Eisen by Heiter before he passed away. Apparently, in the notes, there’s information on conversing with the dead. Eisen remembers Frieren’s regrets 30 years earlier about not getting to know Himmel while he was alive, and thought this was a way he could help her. It’s revealed that Frieren was Flamme’s best apprentice, so this would be another incentive for Frieren to find these notes. The volume ends with Frieren deciding to go on a journey to the location where Flamme’s notes say she talked with the dead. I thought this was a perfect spot to end the volume.

I really liked the concept behind this manga, which is seeing what happens to the heroes after their quest and there’s nothing more to do. And I think it was a great idea to make the elf, Frieren, the main character, since she has the ability to live longer than her traveling companions, as well as the ability to travel around the world since she doesn’t have any job or family commitments. And from seeing this story from Frieren’s point of view, the reader gets to see the other characters age and die. We know a lot about what happened to Heiter in the intervening years, we only get brief glimpses of what Himmel accomplished after the party split, but we don’t really know how Eisen spent the intervening years. While there were a lot of timeskips in this volume, I think they were needed in order to establish Frieren, the world this story inhabits, and introducing Fern into the story. To be honest, I would be surprised to see much more in the way of timeskips after this in future volumes.

When it comes to the art, this volume really evokes a sense of medieval times. I also thought that each character has a distinctive look (even the characters who aged over the course of the volume), and the character designs help to draw the reader into the situations that the characters find themselves in.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End should appeal to readers who enjoy reading fantasy manga or fantasy stories. I hope to have the opportunity to read the second volume, because I want to find out what happens to Frieren, Fern, and the others.
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The story begins at the end, which makes Frieren stand apart from the other fantasy manga I’ve read. The big adventure quest is done and the adventurers part ways. Unlike most of her fellow adventurous the Elf Mage is (nearly) immortal. The first volume spans many years and in that time two of her previous companions die. She travels around the land as it changes, and people forget about them and her.

Despite the big progression in time this story feels calm, slow almost. I liked the pacing and the overall feel of this manga. It’s a bittersweet read and I am looking forward to the next volume.
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This is a powerful series about what happens once the hero's journey ends. While this story picks up where most series ends, there is still much to explore and learn from the characters. I highly recommend this for any graphic novel collection, and is perfect for teen and adult audiences!
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Four adventurers return home after a ten-year journey to fight the Demon King. They take their rewards, enjoy a powerful meteor storm that happens once every fifty years, then go their separate ways. Frieren is an elven mage, and she plans on traveling the world to gather as much magic as she can. Himmel, the human hero, settles down in the capital city and grows old. Fifty years go by and Frieren returns to take her friends to a secluded place to enjoy the meteor shower. Afterwards, Frieren visits Heiter, a priest with an unnatural love of alcohol, who tricks Frieren into taking a young girl as her mage apprentice. Fern becomes exceptional at magic, and the two travel around, continuing to gather odd magical spells and helping people in villages. Frieren and Fern take odd jobs like beautifying statues and cleaning once pristine beaches. Frieren chases some of the memories of her adventure party while desperately trying to understand the meaning behind many of the words and actions of humans.
There are so many stories being published right now that focus on the journey to "kill the Demon King" that it was refreshing to have a story that takes place once all of that is over and done with. Frieren’s longer life span allows us to peak into the hard-fought peace that so many adventure stories never delve into. This story has a very slow-burn introduction, and doesn't land on a main plot line until about halfway through, so this might lose some readers who are eager for some action. This would be good to hand to slice-of-life fans who want to break into a fantasy story and need something of a stepping-stone. 

​Abe's illustrations are fairly soft and very inviting, and they successfully augment the calm theme of the entire story thus far. Characters are more or less in typical fantasy garb, but their outfits and environments are still pretty and as detailed as they need to be.

VIZ rates this for teen, and there's nothing in volume one that would make this an inappropriate title for middle school or high school audiences.

Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12

This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
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A beautifully drawn melancholy story about an elf who realizes she will outlive all of her companions. Frieren has completed a ten year adventure with her traveling companions and they all head their separate ways. Frieren doesn' realize until the lose of one of her friends, just how short the lifespan of her human friends are. Sort of a slice of life story, Frieren takes on an apprentice as a last wish from one of her companions. She finally realizes that while she may have all the time in the world, others' life is limited, which makes it all the more precious. A somewhat bittersweet and contemplative manga. I am looking forward to more.
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This book is a really interesting concept. Frieren is an elf, who has a long life expectancy. She joined forces with a adventure group, mostly humans and one dwarf (I think), to ultimately defeat the demon king. They travelled together for ten years. Successful, they return to their normal lives and Frieren continues her travels to find rare forms of magic, promising to returned in fifty years to watch the amazing meteor shower that happens once ever fifty years. And she does, only she find her companions have aged greatly, the humans now considered very old men and the dwarf retired from his strong fighter ways.

Frieren comes to the realization that she barely knew any of them and human lives are short. Too short. She resolves to put more effort into getting to know and understand other people, particularly humans. One by one her human companions slowly fall to old age and with the death of Himmel she decides to retrace some of the steps her group took in their travels. She is tricked by the old priest Heiter into training a human apprentice, whom she takes with her on her travels after his death.

Together they stop in various places to do various tasks which take, usually, an exorbitant amount of time. Frieren is genuinely trying to make up for her previous lacking towards her old traveling companions in this way. Though the apprentice doesn't know it, a lot of what they are doing are things Frieren regrets not doing with her previous companions. She doesn't understand it all, but is trying to see things through their eyes almost 60 years later.

What did I think?

Well it's not often you get to read a manga that takes place AFTER a major event in the fantasy world's history. Usually stories start and stop around the major event and usually you follow the hero. But Frieren was not the hero. Frieren was a support character. Himmel was the hero. But Himmel grew old and eventually passes, Frieren mostly remains the same. Another interesting concept.

It's not often covered what happens to travelling companions who naturally have longer life spans than everyone they travelled with previously. It's a fascinating concept and actually lends it self well to the DND concept of elves verses humans and their different outlook on life. Fascinating.

The art is pretty solid. Was it mind blowing? No. Was it blah? Also no. It is a solid piece of manga artistry that does the stony justice and adds depth and ambience to the journey.

I am DEFINITELY looking forward to the next volume when it becomes available to English markets
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This is a title to keep an eye on, especially if you like fantasy stories! The basic setup is your typical D&D party who have just defeated the demon king, (huzzah!)  Everything that happens after those opening pages is a completely different story from what you're probably expecting. This first volume was a very refreshing and reflective read. Frieren is an interesting main character to follow because her perspective is so different from the rest of the cast. I'm very curious to see what other kind of adventures she'll have, and who else she might encounter along the way. Give this one a shot!
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
***
Frieren, an elf mage, has defeated a demon king with her companions of ten years, Himmel the Hero, Eisen the Warrior, and Heiter the Priest. Returning as welcomed heroes the companions split off to return to their old lives, Frieren going exploring to gather more magic promising to see her friends in at least another 50 years when a meteor shower will return again in their skies. When Frieren returns though it is to find that 50 years is not kind to humans, unlike her almost immortality, and faced with one of her friend’s deaths Frieren begins a journey to fulfill the last wishes of her other companions and to understand life from a human’s eyes. 
This is both a fun and kind of bittersweet tale, Frieren has lived a very long life, the passing of time does not mean the same thing to her that it does to shorter lived mortals. She is faced with the reality that she needs to enjoy the time she has with her human friends because she will always have more time afterwards so finding a balance between reasonable hunting for magic and doing quests along side making time for people is a new concept for her.
I enjoyed it, it’s a slower pace but Frieren was an interesting character and very kind. The series is intriguing enough that I’d definitely pick up the second volume to see where exactly this story is going to take me.
(My rating is more of a 3.5 but rounding up.)
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What happens when the heroes' journey ends? That's the question this series seeks to answer as it follows Frieren, an elf mage who was once part of a quest to defeat the demon lord. It's much more classic D & D fantasy than modern takes on the genre, and it frames its narrative around the idea that as an elf, Frieren will long outlive her companions. To say that that makes this volume very bittersweet might be to understate - I didn't cry, but I definitely felt tears threaten a few times. 

In part this is because of how the story counts time - after the first chapter, time is measured in how many years it has been since the death of the party's leader, the hero Himmel. At his funeral, Frieren realizes that she never truly got to know him because she didn't fully understand that humans lived so much less time than elves, and now that she's cognizant of the fact emotionally as well as intellectually, it's too late. Memories of their ten years questing together imply that Himmel may have been in love with Frieren, and for her, the realization once again comes when there's nothing more that she can do. 

It's an interesting take on the fantasy genre. It's a very sad take on the idea of a journey's end. But I think in the long run I'll be glad that I picked it up.
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I love the idea of this story, an elf who lives far longer than the companions around her, trying to figure out more about humans. The beginning of this volume made me tear up a bit, and if this volume is any indication of how the rest of the series is going to go, then I better emotionally prepare myself.
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I can see this being the next slice of life fantasy hit manga. it follows elf mage Frieren after she and her adventuring party finishing saving the day. While her friends live out their short mortal life, she wanders about trying to find magic but also find meaning and connections. 

This manga is a great start to a series about someone finding connections with others and making difference. After all of those popular fansites and isekai mangas, this explores something they never go into, the after. I think the artwork was very clean well done with great fantasy settings, though nothing too unique. The characters are ones you get to know on the journey and in these chapters, it is just the beginning so I am excited to learn more about them.

Overall this is a cute read that has a lot of promise in the genre.
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Frieren, as its subtitle suggests, begins with the end of a ten-year journey. Rather than following a rogue team of misfits on their journey to save their world, we are instead shown how these characters deal with the years that come after they are heralded as heroes.  There is Himmel the Hero, Eisen the Warrior, Heiter the Priest and finally, Frieren, the Mage, who is at the center of our story. While her comrades age and live out their lives after their fight with the Demon King, Frieren is left on her own. She is an immortal who must watch as her friends bid her goodbye all while she stays the same, but for the impact each friend she has made away has had on her. 

I found this an enjoyable introduction to the series. Beyond the unique premise, there is a contemplative ambiance to this story that really sets it apart. I found Frieren to be a compelling lead and I am very interested in seeing where this goes next.
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This is an interesting fantasy style slice of life story in which we are following a young elven woman named Fireren. She has spent the last 10 years on a journey of adventures with 3 companions. After the journey finishes is when our story begins.
She is such an interesting character, and she is beginning to study human behavior more.  She takes on an apprentice at some point, and it is their adventures as they both move forward, learning together.
The art style is stunning, and the story sweet and poignant.
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This was a really interesting first volume for this contemplative fantasy manga. The action occurs after the major quest, after the big bad of the moment has been defeated. But the really interesting thing is that the protagonist is a (very) long lived elf, so long lived that the lives of her human companions flash by like fireflies in the summer. It looks like we're in for a story of personal growth (will the main character learn to connect with and care for others?) and exploration into the nature of magic in this universe. The supporting characters are really well rounded (and don't all have plot armor!), the art is lush, and while the protagonist is a bit of a cipher at this point it will be interesting to see what directions they have her grow and changed
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Thank you NetGalley and Viz for allowing me preview this arc.

This a different fantasy manga than the normal ‘demon king needs destroying’ story. It tell the story of what happens after through the eyes of one of the members of the group.

I found the first volume very bittersweet. It was sad to see what happens to the group. It also had its sweet moments where the main character does things because of the group. 

This first volume is character driven and was a great read. If you want a less adventurous fantasy manga, then this is perfect. A few times I felt like I was in post script moments because we get to see the after effects of things that happened before the manga started. 

Thank you again Viz and NetGalley.
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Frieren is an elven mage that was part of a group who saved the world. She decides to travel, but upon her return, finds many years have passed and her friends are all close to death. She watches as one by one, age takes them to their graves, as she remains young and sprite looking. One of her clan, Heiter the priests, ask Frieren to take on an apprentice named Fern. Once she is trained, she joins Frieren on her journey. 

I am intrigued… it’s always hard to see where a manga is going in the first volume. I like how the author shows a great amount of time passing – through a barrage of images and scenes. I think the most challenging thing was that the characters you thought the manga would be almost all end up dying in the first few chapters – wonder if they will come back or if it will only be memories shared by Frieren? Or maybe the series will only be about Frieren – based on the title. 

Thank you Netgalley and VIZ Media for this ARC. Overall a great new fantasy manga. I think my students will like it!
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I’ve never read a book that’s so slowly contemplative and so fast paced at the same time. The premise is completely unique and fascinating. This story is quite beautiful, focusing on the preciousness of life and the sadness of death at the same time. Frieren is a fascinating character. Watching her grow and develop as she learns to treasure humanity is just so lovely.
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I really enjoyed this manga. Elven mage Frieren and her companions have completed a 10 year quest and returned as heroes. Frieren has a very long lifespan and perceives time differently than her companions. As one by one they grow old and die, Frieren comes to regret not knowing people better. I love the characters and the artwork is gorgeous! This story had me a bit teary eyed. I think fans of Dungeons and Dragons style quest stories will appreciate this manga. Highly recommended!
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This is a wonderful story filled with a deep set melancholic nostalgia, taking place in a world where the Demon Lord has been defeated by the Heroes party, in fact the story starts just after that point. The title character is a near-immortal Elf who appears to be unaffected by the passage of time and regularly seems not to notice the effect time has on others around her. It’s not until the deaths of the human members of the heroes party (both due to old age rather than the usual Swords & Sorcery ends that many such characters usually receive). 

The story is very much a road trip style tale, but a very whimsical journey with no goal in mind, much like you’d expect how a near-immortal would live. The Hero and his words play quite heavily with Frieren and how they begin to affect her outlook on the world around her, with each chapter counting the passage of time since his passing, I can’t help but think that this will play into the story going forward in future volumes. 

The character development is nicely paced too, Frieren appears to develop at a glacial pace (as her life is that much longer than others) but she seems to be changing a bit quicker the more she interacts with others. This is helped by the introduction of an apprentice that she takes on at the request of the Priest of her former party, who at 5he start of the story is a child being trained by Frieren, and by the end of the volume is a staunch companion and something of a caregiver for the whimsical lead.

The story itself is a slow burner that moves at no particular speed, sometimes jumping years or decades between chapters with the characters spending months on tasks during their journey. 

I am looking forward to seeing how this series progresses in future volumes, it has in itself the makings of a future favourite.
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