With Aura slain the town can finally breathe easy knowing her threat has passed. As Frieren (Atsumi Tanezaki), Fern (Kana Ichinose), and Stark (Chiaki Kobayashi) say goodbye, they prepare for the long hard journey north that now lies before them. But when the trio is caught in a blizzard, they are forced to take shelter where they encounter another Elf, Kraft the Monk (Takehito Koyasu, Blade Runner: Black Lotus) in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Sōsō no Furīren) Episode 11, “Winter in the Northern Lands.”
The first half of this week’s entry wraps up the party’s time in the town they saved from Aura. Graf Granat (Shunsuke Sakuya) gives the party his thanks and encourages them to linger in the town as long as they wish, as all the citizens wish to thank them as well. These moments weave in warmth and kindness as we witness celebrations, rebuilding, and funeral for those taken by Aura in one of the series’ trademark montages. Accompanied by a lovely piece of music, these moments are allowed to take their time in passing, serving as a refreshing reward for the battle fought.
Frieren Episode 11 also sprinkles a little bit of humor throughout the episode, largely at Stark’s expense. These moments are well-placed and not overdone, allowing them to co-exist with the far quieter tone of the rest of the story. That the story manages to continue to have fun at the character’s expense while not reducing him to a walking joke speaks to the deftness of handling the show does for its characters.
When the trio sets out for the next leg of their journey, their goal is to reach the city of ÄuBerst, on the other side of the Schwer Mountains. They don’t make it far before a blizzard causes them to lose their way and Stark begins to struggle with what appears to be hypothermia. With Fern carrying the unconscious warrior, they are able to find their way to an emergency cabin that Frieren remembers from her previous journey. When they arrive, they find the cabin occupied by Kraft who gladly helps them tend to Stark, and the group prepares to weather the season in the small cabin.
Meeting another elf for the first time in Frieren Episode 11 is the highlight of the story. Kraft has the same laid-back energy as Frieren does, though the pair are far from carbon copies of each other. Their most striking difference comes in their outlook on religion.
Through a long exchange between the two, we learn that Kraft worships the Goddess, as much of the world seems to, while Frieren does not. The exploration of religion and why some people believe is an interesting one. How Kraft acknowledges that, whether true or not, he needs the Goddess to be real feels like a profound admission. Him having to know that there is someone who remembers all his deeds and who will praise him in the hereafter is a strong foundation for his long life.
Seeing that Frieren does not share his beliefs, he offers to listen to her story so that he might praise her in the Goddess’ sted. While Frieren is tempted, she ultimately declines as she remembers a similar offer that was once made to her by Heiter (Hiroki Tôchi). The memory of her and the priest talking about virtue and the afterlife is another warm moment that once again highlights the impact traveling with the rest of the Hero’s Party had on Frieren.
As the winter thaws out and the journey can resume, Frieren and company say goodbye to Kraft. He tells Frieren that he is sure they will meet again, maybe in a few centuries. After all, according to Kraft, Frieren is still young.
Frieren Episode 11 is a great epilogue for the recent arc. It allows the story to reset itself to the tranquil, reflective tone that the series first introduced itself with. A lovely score and wonderfully executed montages allow it to cover a lot of ground as time continues to flow through the series, whether Frieren notices it or not.
Frieren Episode 11 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Frieren Episode 11
Frieren Episode 11 is a great epilogue for the recent arc. It allows the story to reset itself to the tranquil, reflective tone that the series first introduced itself with.