Frieren’s immortality in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a topic that is central to the plot. After all, what is the passage of time to someone who has never aged, never once felt change within themselves, yet see it happening to everyone around them? It’s a concept that has been explored before in other manga and anime, most notably in To Your Eternity, but what does immortality mean for Frieren here?
So, yes, Frieren is basically immortal. She has been alive for a thousand years before the anime started, and likely will still be alive a thousand years after. She is an Elf, and in the anime lore, that race has extended lifespans that will go on for time immemorial. They are known for being solitary creatures that learn and experience, but never really settle down. There is no end in sight for Frieren’s lifetime, but what kind of life does that make for in the first place?
There’s a lot of Fantasy anime coming out right now, and yet Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End stands out amongst all of them. And I think that is because of how Frieren herself is such a peculiar protagonist, one that has remained practically static throughout her lifetime, and yet we get to see her evolve for the very first time. So today, let’s discuss Frieren’s immortality and what that means in another round of Character Analysis!
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Frieren: The Solitude Of Living Forever
From the very first scene of the anime, you can see the kind of person that Frieren is. She is considerate to the plight of the people around her and goes out of her way to help them. But at the same time, she is aloof. Cold in a way that makes her seem like she never really connected to anyone.
And perhaps that’s because she hasn’t. Frieren being immortal means she has seen humans be born, live their entire lives and then die in the blink of an eye. Time doesn’t mean the same thing to her as it does for those around her. For her, it’s a concept that doesn’t affect her existence in the slightest. People will come and go, entire kingdoms will rise and fall while she keeps moving forward, without a thought to what it’s like to experience change.
So, it isn’t surprising when you realize she never really made a bond with another person. Sure, she was part of a group of Heroes, and they had banter and conversations. But after they parted ways, what was left for her? After all, these people will die and she will remain a constant until the end of time. But that is exactly why Himmel was concerned in the first place. Because in the end, Frieren isn’t some Goddess that is incapable of experiencing emotions.
Frieren is just another person, a soul that has felt happiness, regret, and various other emotions. It’s just that nobody stayed long enough to help her process through said emotions. Nobody extended a hand out to the lonely immortal and promised them company. Himmel and Heiter both understood that, hence them making the decisions they did that led to the events of the anime.
Immortality: A Weathered Stone VS An Untouched Statue?
I really liked what To Your Eternity did with the concept of an immortal being observing humanity at both its highest and lowest points. It was interesting, albeit a bit jarring with some of the more violent storylines. In a way. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End does the same thing, but much softer. Instead of celebrating the indomitable human spirit, it explores the melancholy of human connection.
Rieren’s immortality is viewed as something remarkable, sure. Heiter even says that it’d be a waste for Frieren to die, considering how she’s contributed to the world around her. But at the same time, it’s such a strange existence to be immortal, you know? Sure, Frieren uses it well by learning every spell that she can find, traveling far and wide to do so. But that doesn’t mean she can’t have regrets.
What Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End shows us is that her immortality isn’t just her being in an idle state, where she will always remain. Instead, it’s about how she has felt things before, about how much people like Himmel impacted her in the short time they spent together. And we see her go on and realize that she regrets not spending more time with the Hero Party, that she isn’t some unfeeling creature that never felt love or affection.
Her life is like that of a cliff. It is imposing and grand beyond compare. But as the cliff erodes, you see the wear marks. You see the layers of the person that she is, and how the people she has met, the life she has lived, have all left their mark on her. Frieren is an Elf, but she’s also very, very human. She is bad with money, often clueless about caring for herself and single minded when it comes to her goals. She tries so hard to connect with Fern and Stark, and remembers Himmel as a ‘ray of light’.
Immortality is a complicated wish. Living forever is a blessing and a curse. However, it also means it isn’t too late to learn new things, to meet new people and experience new bonds. It can be beautiful, and it’s what makes Frieren’s journey all the more special.