After much anticipation, Frieren, Fern, and Stark finally reach Äuberst in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode 18. This captivating episode saw the group train for two months in order to prepare for the First-Class Mage Exam, and many new characters were introduced.
This episode begins with Frieren’s group finally seeing Äuberst on the horizon after many months of adventuring and problem solving in the northern lands. Sein isn’t around for this trip, but the group is just as witty as ever. Although Frieren is a powerful mage already, the episode saw a different side of the titular character as she helps two teammates in the beginning stages of the exam.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Episode 18 – The Stakes of the First-Class Mage Exam
While Frieren’s group were entering the city, another entirely separate scene played out on the path toward Äuberst. A young mage is about to be attacked by bandits, but Kraft appears to seemingly save the day. It turns out that this young mage didn’t need any saving, as she’s a cold-blooded killer that already defeated three other bandits en route to the magic city. This doesn’t necessarily set the tone for the rest of the episode, but it’s something worth remembering for later on.
After finally reaching the city, Frieren was still reluctant to actually register and take the exam. However, she was quickly persuaded when an old mage recognized her pendant during the registration process. This pendant predates even Himmel’s group, since they weren’t able to recognize it either during that journey. However, they still acknowledged Frieren as a powerful mage and a good friend, just like Fern and Stark do now. With some pestering from Fern, Frieren finally caves in and registers for the First-Class Mage Exam.
After two whole months of training, the sun rises on exam day. Frieren and Fern enter the briefing room, which is full of experienced mages from across the land. A first-class mage gives a short briefing about the exam, while some of the other first-class mages on standby discuss some of the candidates. Fern gets her flowers for being the youngest third-class mage, but it’s clear that this scene focuses on some of the standout talents in the room like Wirbel and Übel. It’s this scene where Übel is introduced to the audience as a second-class mage that killed a first-class mage in the previous exam three years ago. At this point, it’s clear that mages will potentially lose their lives in the upcoming episodes.
Frieren Encounters An Intriguing, Dynamic Duo
As Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode 18 approaches its half-way point, the main proctor finally assigns the mages to their respective groups. Frieren joins a group with Lawine and Kanne, while Fern joins up with Land and the deadly Übel. I’m already excited to see how both Frieren and Fern will fare with strangers in a situation like this, and this episode kept getting better as it went on from here.
The proctors introduce the play field for the First-Class Mage Exam— a large forest situated outside of the city. A magic dome gives the outline for the area of the exam, and all students must stay within this area for as long as the exam goes on. In humorous fashion, Frieren has to somehow deal with Lawine and Kanne going at each other’s throats for the remainder of the episode.
During the first phase of the exam, all of the mages must closely observe Stiles, a strangely powerful bird that defines logic to a certain extent. Lawine and Kanne are fighting each other the whole time, but they’ve listened to the proctors and understood the assignment. In fact, Frieren discovers that these two characters are actually a great team when they coordinate magic spells and attempt to catch a Stile. The “hate” that seemed apparent during the episode is more of a byproduct from their friendship, with tough love being a key component.
Frieren’s role is hilarious in this episode, since she’s just watching these two argue and fight every day. She does use her expertise to help Lawine and Kanne out, with Kanne acknowledging Frieren’s teaching skills. The episode is nearing its end at this point, but there’s still some early character development to see.
Episode 18 is a Great Start to the Exam Arc
While Lawine is sleeping, Kanne wakes up and notices that rainfall may be approaching soon. Curiosity turns into fear, when a large monster slashes Kanne’s shoulder and pins her down. Fortunately, Frieren is around for the save and stops the monster. Frieren reminds Kanne to “look for the skies” next time, since monsters will be looking for some mages. From here, Kanne finally explains what her relationship with Lawine is really like, and it’s probably my favorite part of the episode.
Kanne is a girl that wants praise from her closest friend. Lawine is really harsh, but she actually cares and admires Kanne for working hard, despite her weaknesses. While Kanne was learning to fly as a budding mage in the past, Lawine entertained her demands for praise and friendly affection. This was followed up by some of that aforementioned tough love, which involved Lawine kicking her off a cliff. Fortunately, this was the spark that Kanne was looking for to help her fly.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End episode 18 ends with Kanne and Frieren getting closer as teammates, which will surely help during the exam. I’m curious about what how Lawine will react to Kanne and Frieren’s friendship, and I really want to see what breakthroughs the team will make during the Stile hunt. Plans will need to be in motion in the next episode, since the mages will eventually come to blows. Overall, this episode was a great start to the First-Class Mage Exam arc.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is streaming right now on Crunchyroll, with new episodes releasing every Friday this winter.