While incarcerated for threatening the demon peace envoy, Frieren (Atsumi Tanezaki) was approached by the demonic executioner Draht (Kôki Ôsuzo), who planned to kill her so she wouldn’t be able to interfere in the demons’ plans. Meanwhile, Fern (Kana Ichinose) and Stark (Chiaki Kobayashi) prepare to confront Graf Granat (Shunsuke Sakuya, Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story) about releasing Frieren. But they don’t realize their time is running out as the demons prepare to overthrow the town in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Sōsō no Furīren) Episode 8, “Frieren the Slayer.”
This episode opens with a replay of last week’s ending as we see Draht confront Frieren before attempting to kill her. As Draht confidently approaches his prey, the show captures the moment perfectly, presenting to the viewer the true nature of the situation between the two mages. Frieren remains nearly unmoving at Draht’s approach, barely raising her head to meet his gaze. We know enough about our protagonist to know that if her assailant posed any threat, she would be far more prepared.
As the exchange continues, Frieren Episode 8’s opening scene is further elevated, thanks to Tanezaki’s superb delivery of Frieren’s lines throughout this confrontation. The vocal qualities that the actor infuses into Frieren’s dialogue feel perfect for the character. The voice never raises; there is no change in her energy as Draht attempts to kill her, but a dropping in tone is subtly present. Like she would be disgusted by this gnat if she could be bothered to waste enough effort to feel anything towards him at all. The setting and lighting of the moment amplify this coldness that emanates from Frieren. It paints Frieren in a stark light compared to the warmth the show has generally existed in.
Once her foe is bested, Frieren discovers he has slain the guard, forcing the mage to flee. Since the demon disintegrated upon death, there is no evidence to show Frieren wasn’t behind the murder, and she has no desire to find out if any of the town’s authorities would believe the truth.
From here, Frieren Episode 8 jumps to Fern and Stark as they discuss what to do next. With both characters agreeing that the demons are up to no good, they urge Granat to release Frieren so she can resolve the situation and save the town. While Fern is easily set upon this path, Stark isn’t without reservations. Their brief run-in with Lügner (Jun’ichi Suwabe, My Hero Academia) left an impression on him that finds the young man shaken to his core.
While there are moments where the series uses Stark’s hesitancy towards danger for comedic effect, this scene is not one of them. Rather than making light of his concerns about provoking an incident with Lügner, it uses his concern in more productive ways, allowing it to inform the situation, highlighting the power of their would-be foe. After all, it’s important to remember that Stark did recently solo kill a full-grown dragon, so he’s not a slouch.
From here, Frieren Episode 8 cuts to the demon envoys as they realize something has happened to Draht. No longer being able to sense his energy, they conclude that he went to confront Frieren and failed in achieving his goal. The demons don’t have long to ponder the situation before Graf Granat appears, flanked by armed guards. They discovered that Frieren had escaped and that a guard was killed. Upon scanning the room and realizing Draht isn’t present, Granat demands to know where the final envoy is. When he is at first lied to by Lügner to stall, he calls out all the reasons why it is difficult to believe that Frieren was responsible for the dead guard and insists on knowing Draht’s actual whereabouts as his men move to encircle the demons.
The way this scene unfolds is brilliant. How Granat appears initially gives the viewer the impression that his added security is due to Frieren’s escape. He worries that she may be headed for the envoys and has come to protect them. But once he explains why Frieren wouldn’t have slain the guard, it becomes clear that he has deduced the true nature of the events unfolding. This gives Granat an impressive balance to both his character and his goals. Rather than refusing to believe the peace he wants so badly is not coming, he can look at the facts of the situation and make an incredibly astute deduction, no matter how painful the conclusion is for him.
What Granat doesn’t correctly deduce, however, is the power of his opponents. As the hand-chosen servants of one of the seven sages of destruction, the envoys prove too much for the assembled force, quickly dispatching Granat’s men and rendering the man helpless. They then begin demanding he reveal how to lower the barrier that guards the city.
Frieren Episode 8 returns to Stark and Fern as they head towards the castle to petition for Frieren’s release. However, on their way there, Fern spots a hooded passerby and instantly realizes it is her master. After a brief discussion in a dark alley away from preying eyes, it is determined that Stark and Fern will confront the demons in town while Frieren departs.
Much like Granat’s arrival earlier, this moment lays out an excellent bait-and-switch narrative trap for the viewer. During the conversation, the show allows the viewer to understand that Frieren is leaving out of either disinterest or spite towards the town. Once the others head off to confront their foes, the episode lingers with Frieren as she internally analyzes the situation. This analysis reveals that Frieren can sense much mana outside the town. Concluding that the demons are waiting for the town’s protective barrier to fall, Frieren decides to head out and meet the group herself. Through this moment, her true motivations are revealed, reassuring the viewer that Frieren is who they thought she was.
After a brief interrogation scene where Lügner tries to convince Granat to hand over the secrets of the barrier, Stark arrives on the scene, forcing a confrontation with the demons. While the young man does all he can to close the distance and land a shot with his axe, he cannot manage the feat. Lügner’s blood-based magic is too potent a weapon for the young adventurer, eventually trapping him against the floor, with his arm littered with puncture wounds. Luckily, he has created an opening for Fern to get a shot in on their opponent, nearly felling him with a single image.
How Fern enters the fight sends chills down the viewer’s spine. Suspended lightly in mid-air, she is seen bearing the same look of indifference towards her foes that Frieren would wear. How like her teacher she appears in this moment is a glaring reminder that, despite it feeling like little time has passed in the series due to Frieren’s unchanging appearance, Fern has been with her for over a decade. Some of her master’s personality, and just as notably her power, is rubbing off on her.
With Fern’s help, Stark might be able to overcome their foes, but seeing Granat gravely injured, he decides they should beat a hasty retreat to get medical aid for the town leader. After the duo departs with their charge, Frieren Episode 8 takes a moment to further flesh out why Fern was able to inflict so much damage on such a powerful foe, revealing that Frieren has been teaching Fern far more than her student realizes, as well as giving us a peek at how Frieren is viewed from the perspective of the demons.
As the episode wraps up, we see Frieren prepare to face off with the assembled host of demons and their sage leader. The final moments see our protagonist suspended in mid-air, moon to her back, draping her in a chilling shadow that seems to whisper to the viewer that when next they see her, she will not be the character they have come to know, but rather, she will be revealed as an angel of death upon a battlefield.
This final impression delivers one last gorgeous moment of cinematography that highlights the beautiful visual presentation throughout the episode. With a crafty narrative structure and rich character moments, Frieren Episode 8 may be the best the series has delivered thus far.
Frieren Episode 8 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Frieren: Beyond Journey's End Episode 8
With a crafty narrative structure and rich character moments, Frieren Episode 8 may be the best the series has delivered thus far.