We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

The Beautiful Writing of ‘Frieren Beyond Journey’s End’ (‘Sousou No Frieren’), a Unique Take On a Fantasy Story

The story of an Elven mage named Frieren and her experiences in her 1,000 year-long life.
Here is a photo of Tokyo, Japan, where the studio MADHOUSE is located in as well as many other companies that helped produce the work. (Photo Credit: Takashi Miyazaki, Unsplash)

Now everything is over. The Villain has been vanquished and the remnants of his army are fleeing across the lands. The Heroes stand victorious. Finally after ten years, their journey has come to an end. The Heroes can now go back to the royal capital and be rewarded for their bravery and accomplishments. They have finished what they started and the story would come to a close. Except this isn’t the case. What if the story begins where other stories would end? What if the story covers the decades that have passed after the heroic journey of the protagonists? 

This is the case for Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, a fantasy series that covers the story that happens after the end of the protagonist’s journey. In this fantasy series, the reader follows Frieren, the elven mage of the Hero’s Party, that defeated the demon king. To her, the ten year journey was nothing but a short journey, while for the other members in her party ten years was a significant portion of their lives. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End explores the difference in the perception of time as Frieren tries to learn to appreciate the short lives of her fellow companions.

What Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End?

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End or Sōsō no Furīren (葬送のフリーレン), is a Japanese fantasy manga series written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe. The series has been published by Shogakugan’s Shōnen manga (boys comic) magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday since April 2020, with its chapters collected in eleven Tankōbon (Japanese word for books) volumes as of September 2023. The series is officially licensed and published by Viz Media (here is a link to the work on their official site), a publishing company owned by both Shogakugan and Shueisha. By September 2023, the series had over 10 million copies in circulation, as well as winning the 14th Manga Taishō and the New Creator Prize of the 25th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.

The art for Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is something to behold. It may not be the most complex or detailed as some work you may find in the industry (like One Punch Man written by ONE and illustrated by Yusuke Murata). However, the art is able to convey so many messages. The simple art style is able to represent what the characters feel in a certain scene perfectly. Frieren, for example, occasionally has very simple facial expressions (some resembling kaomojis) depending on her mood. The backgrounds are beautifully done, as some scenes encapsulate the scale of the world with the large aerial shots of the ground, as well as the small details in the streets in the city and paths in the forests.

How is Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Different From Other Works of the Same Genre?

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is very unique compared to other series with the same fantasy genre. The Protagonist group (the Heroes and the other members) recruits members to fight the Antagonist group (usually described as very evil and demonic, resembling a tyrant) is a concept as old as fantasy as a genre. Some of the most famous fantasy novels are The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, both written by J. R. R. Tolkien, and they have similar structures. In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is asked by the mage Gandalf to join him on his journey and to fight Smaug, a fire drake. In The Lord of The Rings, the nephew of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins is sent on a journey with Gandalf and other members to destroy the One Ring and defeat Sauron.

Most fantasy series (like the two mentioned previously) begin with the recruitment of the members or perhaps the journey to defeat evil. However, none of the famous stories really begin after the whole voyage has ended, so this may seem as an odd choice for most. Beginning with the end, for the most part, wouldn’t allow the author to effectively build the development of bonds between the characters and their respective strengths in combat or stressful situations. By skipping the parts of the story where the characters talk casually and when they have to overcome certain obstacles, you lose a lot of character dynamics. However, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is able to do so with grandeur. By using well-timed flashbacks and small interactions between the characters, the series helps the readers perfectly visualize the type of relationship the party members have with each other as well as flaws in their character.

Continuing the story after the main antagonist as previously mentioned is not a very common trope. However, the series covers the vast amount of time that has passed after the success of the Hero’s Party. The series breezes through seventy years in the first two chapters and only starts eighty years after the party first left to defeat the Demon King. Having so much time pass in the beginning chapters reflects Frieren’s perception of time as an elf, a being who lives for thousands of years. Possibly due to how old she is, Frieren is lazy, sleeping until noon and spending months doing mundane activities. The story covers the growth of Frieren who, seemingly cold and unaware of the short lives of her companions, begins to show more emotions and appreciate the short lives of her close friends.

The Anime Adaptation of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

The anime adaptation of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, which aired September 29th, 2023, was one of the most anticipated shows of the fall season. The adaptation was first announced on September 2022 on the cover of the 9th volume and it was later revealed that the adaptation would be under the trustworthy hands of studio Madhouse (which is known for animes such as Hajime no Ippo, Death Note, Hunter X Hunter, Cardcaptor Sakura, YuYu Hakusho, Takt Op. Destiny, One Punch Man, Overlord I, II, III, IV, Death Parade, Parasyte the Maxim, and No Game No Life). The series aired with a two hour long special, which consisted of four episodes each lasting around twenty minutes.

The staff responsible for the anime are some of the best. The soundtrack for the anime are composed by Evan Call, an American composer who was responsible for well known soundtracks from series such as Violet Evergarden. The scriptwriter Tomohiro Suzuki is famous for the script of the first season of One Punch Man. Working with Suzuki is producer Yuichiro Fukushi, the coordinator of One Punch Man and Takt Op, Destiny. The key designer is Reiko Nagasawa, who is a designer known for the monster designs of Overlord III, as well as the designs and animation direction for Tact Op. Destiny. Finally, the person responsible for directing the show is director Keiichiro Saitou. His first and only work was Bocchi the Rock! which was a massive success, making his involvement with the series very appealing. Here is a ink to the official Japanese website for the series

Here is the logo for studio MADHOUSE that produced and animated the anime adaptation of Freiren: Beyond Journey’s End. (Image Credit: ™/®MADHOUSE, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Opinions About the Series

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a beautifully written and illustrated piece of work that has a unique story. It effectively teaches the readers about the rules and limitations of magic throughout fights, without it feeling out of place or causing the scene to lose all the thrill and impact. Both the manga and anime are beautifully written and composed. The manga has a simple yet unique style that fits the lighthearted and fun interactions between the characters, as well as the fragile and intense moments. The occasional colored panels resembling watercolor paintings add to the themes of the story: discovering, realizing, and understanding the lives of others and the bonds you share with them.

The animated version of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is nothing to scoff at, either. Although it has lost the simple and unique art style as well as the watercolor feel after the adaptation, we are instead rewarded with smooth and vibrant scenes that truly encapsulates the scale of the world seen from the sky, as well as the small and vibrant details of average life for others. The details in the background haven’t been lost, as the backgrounds are still masterfully detailed and now are in full color, which helps them pop out even more in comparison to the manga. The background music with the smooth animations brings out the best in the series, as it helps with the mood and tone of the scene, as well as making calm and relaxed scenes both interesting and captivating. Overall, the series is absolutely fantastic and gorgeously produced.

You have reached the end. Perhaps this may be the start of a new story: the opening of a new journey to a new perspective, in which you understand and appreciate the lives of others, as well as appreciate your own. Those are the themes represented in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, the story about the end.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a beautifully written and illustrated piece of work that has a unique story.

About the Contributor
Marley Lee-Kang, Staff Reporter
Marley Lee-Kang is an Arts & Entertainment Editor for ‘The Science Survey.' Marley believes that a good journalistic piece should be able to captivate readers from beginning to end. He also believes that the use of visual representations is equally important as images can help the readers imagine the setting and can carry so much information with so little. With a newfound passion for writing, Marley wishes to produce interesting journalistic pieces that will be read by many. Born with a creative mind, Marley wishes to use writing as one of his catalysts to capture his imagination and produce works of art.