Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Episode 16 Review

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Episode 16 Review

Old Man Voll

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Episode 16, as expected, was good. The theme of this episode is memory and how it fades over time, both on an individual and societal scale. And, as usual, the theme of this episode is split across the two halves.

In the first half of the episode, we meet old man Voll, an old friend of Frieren’s. She first met him when the Hero’s Party was heading north to fight the Demon King. And, even back then, Voll was very old for a dwarf.

The Hero’s Party defeated the Demon Lord about 80 years ago. At present, Voll is about 400 years old. So, he would have been around 320 when Frieren first met him. And, something we learned in this episode is that the average life expectancy for a dwarf is about 300 years.

Frieren walking with old man Voll from the anime series Frieren: Beyond Journey's End Episode 16
Frieren walking with old man Voll

Let’s use the US’s average life expectancy (2023) to put Voll’s age into perspective. In the US, the average life expectancy is 79. So, a dwarf who’s 300 years old is equivalent to an American who’s 79. That means a 320-year-old dwarf is the same as an 84-year-old American. And, a 400-year-old dwarf is the same as a 105-year-old American.

Regardless of where in the world you live, 105 is very old. At that age, any day could be your last. And, that’s where Voll is in his life. If Frieren ever passes through this village again, it’s unlikely Voll will still be around.

Now, Voll’s age kind of puts Eisen’s age into perspective. Eisen’s age is unknown. But, he claims to be old. However, we can see he doesn’t look nearly as old as Voll did even 80 years ago. So, my theory that Eisen would die before Stark’s return may be wrong.

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Finally Time to Defeat the Demon King

Alright, so where does the fragility of memories come in with the first half of the episode? Naturally, as you get older, your memory begins to fade. Voll is so old that his memory has faded considerably.

When we first meet him, he doesn’t remember who Frieren is. Though, she chalks this up to him pretending to be senile. Later, one of the other villagers also refers to Voll as being senile. And, after that, Voll asks Frieren if she still remembers what Himmel looked and sounded like.

All of this is pointing toward an unfortunate reality. Voll isn’t pretending to be senile. He’s actually becoming senile. And he finally confirms this when he reveals that he doesn’t remember his wife. He doesn’t know what she looked or sounded like. But, he continues to protect the village because he knows it was special to her.

Frieren looking at the night sky from the anime series Frieren: Beyond Journey's End Episode 16
Frieren looking at the night sky

The fact that Voll doesn’t remember his wife is important. It illustrates to Frieren the fragility of her memories. Right now, she remembers Himmel. And, it seems that she always will. But, if Voll can forget even his wife, who’s to say Frieren won’t eventually forget Himmel, too?

Things are actually even worse for Voll than that, though. He hasn’t only forgotten his wife because it’s been so long since she died. He’s at an age where he doesn’t even know what year it is. When Frieren said she was going north, he thought she was going to defeat the Demon King.

The Hero’s Party defeating the Demon King isn’t something that slips your mind. This is a major event that happened 80 years ago, that Voll lived through. So, for him to forget that this happened shows how fragile memory is once you get old.

The Forgotten Heroes

The second half of the episode deals with how quickly people and events fall out of collective memory. On the outskirts of another village, there’s a statue of unknown heroes. At first, I thought these heroes were going to be the Hero’s Party. However, that turned out not to be the case.

Instead, the statue was of two men, an elf and a human. And the elf looked very familiar to Frieren, Fern, and Stark. It’s Kraft the Monk, whom they spent a winter with in a cabin at the base of a mountain range in the north.

Back in Episode 11, Kraft asked Frieren if she had heard of him or his exploits before. She had not. But, from this interaction, it was pretty clear that Kraft was someone important. And, at the time, I theorized that he was a hero from before Frieren’s time.

A statue of the forgotten heroes from the anime series Frieren: Beyond Journey's End Episode 16
A statue of the forgotten heroes

Well, now we have our answer. Kraft really was a hero a long time ago. Though, it doesn’t seem like he was a hero over a thousand years ago, as I predicted. I believe the stubborn old woman said that the statue is only hundreds of years old.

But, that’s fine. It doesn’t matter whether Kraft’s heroic deeds happened during Frieren’s lifetime or not. The fact is that she didn’t know of him. And, that matters because it shows how time destroys memory. Hundreds of years from now, even Himmel will be an unknown hero.

Does this mean keeping Himmel’s memory alive is all in vain? No. There are statues of him and the Hero’s Party all over. And as long as Frieren is still alive, there’s someone around who can tell his story. Considering Kraft called Frieren “young,” she still has a long time left to live.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Episode 16? Were you surprised by Voll’s age? Do you think his forgetfulness is foreshadowing that the Demon King has resurrected? And, what do you think Kraft originally became famous for? Did he also defeat the Demon King? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. And, I’d like to thank Key Mochi for supporting at the Senpai tier. To learn more about supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Episode 17 is available now.

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