Time is running out to capture a Stille and pass the test. With groups turning to steal from them, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Sōsō no Furīren) Episode 20, “Necessary Killing,” sees battles break out as mages test their power against each other. But magic is fickle, and many surprises await the battlefield.
This episode focuses on Fern’s (Kana Ichinose) team as they fend off their attackers. Split into a trio of one-on-one fights, the story delivers a great variety of elements for the viewer to process. The styles of magic implemented by each character are as varied as the personalities and motives of the wielders. This variety gives Frieren Episode 20 ample ground to explore as it introduces viewers to the mages in its tale.
The most notable of these new faces is Wirbel (Kishô Taniyama, Bastard!! Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy). A soldier by trade, the first impression Wirbel gives is one of a cold killer, willing to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. His battle with Übel (Ikumi Hasegawa, Bocchi The Rock!) is a perfectly paced exploration of his character. We learn about the combat veteran and his outlook on life and death as the duel progresses. Killing meaninglessly isn’t in his nature. He will if he has to, but he has to brace himself to do it. Frieren Episode 20 highlights this when he walks away from a defeated Übel rather than finish her off when he learns his team is out of the test.
Through Wirbel, the episode also gives us our first look at how monstrous the humans of this world can be. During a flashback from the character, we learn it is common practice in the north to send armies of children to battle, hoping the enemy won’t have the stomach to kill them. This horrifying glimpse into human war in Frieren Episode 20 shows us that Demons aren’t the only monsters in this world.
While the character exploration is excellently done, the fighting continues to deliver the series’ signature flair. The skillful utilization of magic is implemented through gorgeous visuals. Each mage has its tricks, and Madhouse does a fantastic job of making each look striking. Even Fern’s basic offensive magic can grab the viewer’s attention, thanks to the scope of its impact and how cleverly the episode chooses what to show.
This selective presentation is implemented wonderfully in Fern’s battle. Rather than spend a significant time reaffirming how powerful Fern is, Frieren Episode 20 delivers a few key moments to wow the viewer. Seeing Fern unleash a rapid-fire assault on her opponent, followed by a long shot of the massive explosion, leaves no doubt about the outcome. To put a final note on this moment, the show shows the viewer the devastation wrought by Fern’s handiwork. When Wirbel comes across his teammate in the aftermath, he finds him lying in the center of a mile-long trench Fern’s attack created.
Despite mostly focusing on the events surrounding Fern’s party, Frieren Episode 20 doesn’t completely neglect its title character. With the episode’s closing minutes dedicated to her group, we get to learn about their opponents and what prize the mages are truly fighting for.
As it turns out, being named First Class Mage comes with a privilege. The founder of the Mage’s Association, a mysterious Elf named Serie, promises any single spell a mage requests if they attain the rank. Touted as being second in magical might only behind the Goddess herself, this revelation explains why many participants are willing to kill to progress in the test. The eerie aura the episode weaves around Serie heavily suggests a sinister motive from the mage. This is further reinforced by the subtle reaction we get from Frieren (Atsumi Tanezaki) when she hears the name. There is clearly history between the two, and the odds seem likely it is not good.
We also learn about the intriguing character Denken (Jirô Saitô, Bucchigiri) in this sequence. Previously, we got a sense of the clever mage as he quietly observed Freien’s team. While we learn a few hard details concerning the mage, we obtain a much clearer understanding of his motives here. His unique outlook crafts a promising character for the series to explore. The fact that he confidently sets himself against Frieren in battle, despite being fully aware of who she is, makes him all the more interesting.
With Frieren Episode 20 closing just as the battle between Frieren and Denkin is about to begin, the series promises more displays of great magic and character moments as the first leg of the mage’s exam reaches its conclusion.
Frieren Episode 20 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Frieren: Beyond Journey's End Episode 20
With Frieren Episode 20 closing just as the battle between Frieren and Denkin is about to begin, the series promises more displays of great magic and character moments.