Tag: 2023

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 2 Review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 2 Review

The Sailor Quartet Returns!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 2 (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Cosmos Movie / 劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンCosmos) is the end of Sailor Moon. This is it. There’s nothing left. And I don’t just mean that there’s no more Sailor Moon anime for me to watch. I mean, this concludes the series.

So, is it a good ending? Yes.

I liked this movie way more than Cosmos Part 1. That’s kind of to be expected, though, because Part 1 was setting up everything for Part 2. Of course, Part 2 is going to be better since it’s the part in which all the stuff happens.

Now, instead of going through everything that happened in this movie, I want to focus on some of the highlights. And, the first highlight was the return of the Sailor Quartet from Eternal Part 2.

The Sailor Quartet from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos The Movie Part 2
The Sailor Quartet

If you read my review of that movie, you may recall that I said I hoped these characters wouldn’t return. The Sailor Quartet are Chibi Moon’s guardians, and this is the climax of Sailor Moon’s story. I wanted the movie to focus on Sailor Moon and her guardians. But, when the Sailor Quartet showed up, I changed my mind.

Obviously, I said I didn’t want these characters returning before I knew what this arc was about. Once I knew it was about the deaths of the sailor guardians, things changed. Chibi Moon and the Sailor Quartet are the next generation, so this was actually the perfect time for them to shine.

In fact, the Sailor Quartet showing up might have been my favorite part of the movie. Seeing them and (now) Eternal Sailor Chibi Moon was awesome. It makes me wish there was more to the series. But, I recognize this is a good ending point.

Sailor Galaxia Is a Good Villain

I liked Sailor Galaxia in Cosmos Part 1. She’s a cool villain for two main reasons. She literally destroys entire planets, and she’s technically a Sailor Guardian. But, she gets even better in Part 2; she’s here to kill Chaos.

From what I remember, Chaos only showed up briefly in Part 1. Or, she may not have shown up at all and was instead only mentioned. Either way, Chaos is Sailor Galaxia’s master and a fitting final boss for the Sailor Moon series. After all, what’s a greater threat than chaos itself?

But, Sailor Galaxia isn’t really a follower of Chaos. Her ultimate plan is to overthrow Chaos and become the ruler of the universe. Who does she think she is, Darth Vader, when he asks Luke to join him in overthrowing the Emperor so that “together [they] can rule this galaxy!”

Sorry, I watched The Empire Strikes Back yesterday.

Sailor Galaxia from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos The Movie Part 2
Sailor Galaxia

Really, though, I think Sailor Galaxia’s ambitions make her a better villain and character. It’s not because she wants to rule the universe in itself. It’s because we know why she wants to rule the universe. She’s looking for a place to call her own and hasn’t been able to find it.

Do we want her to find that, though? After all, she’s the greatest threat to the universe other than Chaos. Well, sort of. Yes, Sailor Galaxia killed billions of people by destroying countless planets. But, if you think of her like Sailor Saturn, don’t you kind of feel bad for her?

Sailor Galaxia refers to herself as the Guardian of Destruction. Isn’t that the same thing Saturn called herself? And, in case you forgot, Saturn also tried to destroy everything — not because she wanted to, but because it was her destiny.

A Great Ending to Sailor Moon

Let’s talk about the ending ending of Sailor Moon. It turns out Chibi-Chibi is actually Sailor Cosmos. Who’s Sailor Cosmos? She’s the final, ultimate form of Sailor Moon from the far-far future. Chibiusa’s from the 30th century. Sailor Cosmos is from far beyond that.

That reveal told us something important — that Sailor Moon wasn’t going to die here. Though, technically, she did die. Sailor Moon sacrifices herself to defeat Chaos. However, she and the other Sailor Guardians all get revived in a Deus ex machina.

Alright, so I know that Deus ex machina are typically frowned upon. They’re not exactly the best way to wrap up a series. But, in this instance, it worked for two big reasons.

The first reason is that Sailor Moon had to sacrifice everything to defeat Chaos. If she beat Chaos without doing that, Chaos wouldn’t have felt like a final boss. Also, I’ve heard Naoko Takeuchi wanted to kill everyone off at the end of the original season of Sailor Moon. So, she finally got to do it.

Mamoru and Usagi getting married from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos The Movie Part 2
Mamoru and Usagi getting married

The second reason is that it meant despite Sailor Moon’s sacrifice, we got to see the epilogue. And, I’m not sure I can explain to you how much I enjoyed this epilogue. It was kind of the perfect ending to Sailor Moon.

We got to see Usagi and Mamoru get married. I didn’t think we were going to get to see that. After all, we didn’t need to see it. We already knew it was going to happen — they’re married in the 30th century and have a daughter: Chibiusa.

But, actually seeing the wedding scene at the very end brought everything together. Forget all this saving the universe nonsense. Usagi’s true wish finally came true.

Final Thoughts

This may sound high, but I gave Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 2 an 8/10 and Cosmos as a whole a 7/10. Yes, Part 1 was much worse. But when you add Part 2 to it, the whole is significantly better. This is a good movie.

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 the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

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Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1 Review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1 Review

The Shadow Galactica Arc

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Cosmos Movie / 劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンCosmos) covers the final arc of the series. As with Eternal, the Cosmos movie is split into two parts. So, this review will cover Part 1 and the review of Part 2 will likely come next week.

Alright, so now that we’re onto the fifth and final arc, let’s look at all the arcs. The five main story arcs of Sailor Moon are:

  1. The Dark Kingdom Arc
  2. The Black Moon Arc
  3. The Death Busters Arc
  4. The Dead Moon Arc
  5. The Shadow Galactica Arc

In the Shadow Galactica Arc, we meet a new villain, Sailor Galaxia. She’s more powerful than any other villain in the series up to this point. And, to illustrate that, I believe she’s the only villain with a kill count in the literal billions.

Sailor Galaxia from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1
Sailor Galaxia

So, who is Sailor Galaxia? Her name implies that she’s a sailor guardian, like our heroes. But, that’s not quite right. It’s more accurate to say that she’s an aspiring sailor guardian. However, she doesn’t want to be just any sailor guardian. She wants to be the most powerful of them all.

In her quest to be the most powerful, Sailor Galaxia went from star system to star system across the galaxy in search of a star (planet) worthy of her. Every time she found one that wasn’t worthy, she destroyed it. Like, she literally blows up planets inhabited by sentient beings.

Now, she appears to have some mysterious, new master in the center of the galaxy. And, this master told her to gather the Sailor Crystals to take their power for herself. To help in this mission, Sailor Galactica also recruited other aspiring sailor guardians from planets she’s destroyed. This group is Shadow Galactica.

Three Lights and Princess Kakyuu

For the first time in the series, the “universe” of Sailor Moon has extended beyond the Solar System. What does this mean, though? Didn’t previous villains come from beyond the Solar System? Not that I can remember.

Some of the villains used interdimensional travel. But, as far as I know, they all originated in the Solar System. And, the same is true for every sailor guardian we knew of. However, that’s no longer the case in the Shadow Galactica Arc. Now, the entire Milky Way Galaxy is fair game.

This arc introduces three new (real) sailor guardians alongside all the (fake) sailor guardians. These real ones are Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Maker, and Sailor Star Healer — also called the Starlights. They’re three brothers who also form the idol group Three Lights. And, as you may have guessed from my leadup to this, they’re not from the Solar System.

Taiki, Seiya, and Yaten Kou of Three Lights from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1
Taiki, Seiya, and Yaten Kou of Three Lights

We actually don’t know what star system these three are from and probably never will. It’s not important. What is important is that they’re proof that there are more sailor guardians spread throughout the galaxy. But, does this make Sailor Moon and her friends less special?

Yes and no — or, rather, no and yes. Sailor Moon is still special. She’s considered the most important sailor guardian in the entire galaxy. And, we know this because every sailor guardian in the galaxy felt when her Silver Crystal and Mamoru’s Gold Crystal resonated.

Sailor Moon’s friends appear to be on par with the rest of the sailor guardians, though. Princess Kakyuu, the princess of the Starlights, didn’t mention anything about them. All she said was that Sailor Moon is the one who needs to fight against Sailor Galaxia to save the galaxy.

Even More Sailor Guardians

Okay, so, the Starlights and Sailor Galaxia aren’t the only new sailor guardians in Cosmos. In addition to those four, Part 1 also features four other villain sailor guardians and one good sailor guardian. And, we also get the names of a few other good sailor guardians.

Let’s start with the villains. These are the Sailor Animamates, who all have something to do with a metal and an animal. They’re “false” sailor guardians created by Sailor Galaxia. I believe she did this by giving them the Sailor Crystals of the sailor guardians she defeated.

These four are Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Aluminum Siren, Sailor Lead Crow, and Sailor Tin Nyanko. Interestingly, these sailor guardians reveal that other characters are aliens, too. Phobos and Deimos come from the same planet as Lead Crow. And, Luna, Artemis, and Diana come from the same planet as Tin Nyanko.

Chibi Chibi's sailor guardian transformation from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1
Chibi Chibi’s sailor guardian transformation

The new good sailor guardian is Sailor Chibi Chibi — I don’t know if that’s her official name. Chibiusa is called that because she’s a smaller “version” of Usagi. Chibi Chibi is a smaller “version” of Chibiusa.

At this point, we barely know anything about Chibi Chibi. The working theory for the characters is that she’s Chibiusa’s younger sister. That would make her the second child of Usagi and Mamoru. But, I’m not sure I agree with that. My prediction is that she’s actually Chibiusa’s and Helios’s daughter.

Finally, there are some other, former sailor guardians mentioned. These include Sailor Mau and Sailor Coronis. Sailor Mau was the guardian of the planet Mau before she was killed and the planet was destroyed. Mau is where Luna, Artemis, and Diana are from. The same is the case for Sailor Coronis. Coronis is where Phobos and Deimos are from.

Final Thoughts

The big issue with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1 is that it’s really fast. A lot of stuff happens in this movie with little to no setup. Things are just happening without any real explanation. When you’re watching the movie, it feels like it’s skipping a lot of content.

With that in mind, I had to give the movie a 5/10. I like that it expands upon the sailor guardians. And, I think Sailor Galaxia seems like a good villain. But, this movie might have needed to be a trilogy instead of only being split into two parts.

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. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Sailor Moon Cosmos Part 2 is available now.

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Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn Review

Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn Review

The Start of a Fake Holy Grail War

Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn is the prologue to the upcoming Fate/strange Fake anime. When is the full series coming out? I don’t know. I thought it was supposed to be later this year. But, when I checked it still has no release date.

What’s Fate/strange Fake about, though? What’s the twist of this series? If you’re familiar with Fate, you’ll probably know that every series has its own twist. There’s literally never just a normal Holy Grail War. There’s always something unique about it or the rules get broken in some way.

The unique thing about Fate/strange Fake is right there in the title. This is a fake Holy Grail War. What that means is that it’s manmade. It’s a manufactured Holy Grail War. But, how does that work? And, why would anyone want to do that?

An unnamed woman from the anime special Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn
An unnamed woman

To answer the first question: Magic. To answer the second question: The United States. This fake Holy Grail War is taking place somewhere in the Western US in a city called Snowfield. While there are cities called Snowfield in the US. This appears to be a generic city, not based on any one real-life location.

Now, the US is a pretty young nation. And, as such, the mages of the world tend not to view it as highly as other nations. The US doesn’t have the same history of magic that other parts of the world do — according to the British mages.

So, a group of mages in the US decided they’d prove their worth by manufacturing a Holy Grail War. They wanted to make a real one. But, that turned out to be too difficult. They could only manage to generate six servants, not seven. There’s no Saber in this Holy Grail War.

Meet the Servants

Gilgamesh is the first servant we see get summoned. I love Gilgamesh. Most Fate fans love Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is great and makes anything he’s in better. He’s the Archer class servant of this Holy Grail War and his master is Tine Chelc.

The last servant we see get summoned is Enkidu, the Lancer class servant. Enkidu’s master is a dog, which kind of makes sense if you know what Enkidu is all about (nature). I’ll get into this more in the next section, but Enkidu and Gilgamesh are best friends.

Jack the Ripper is the Berserker class servant summoned to Flatt Escardos. If you know about other Fate series, you’ll notice this isn’t the Jack the Ripper we’re used to. Usually, Jack is a young girl in the Assassin class. This servant is the representation of the mystery and chaos of Jack.

Gilgamesh and Tine from the anime special Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn
Gilgamesh and Tine

The Caster class servant is one that we don’t have a name for. He was summoned to Orlando Reeve and we know he’s a writer. The only other thing we know about him is that he refers to himself as a hero-maker. I don’t know who he is.

Assassin class servants are kind of weird. Technically, they’re always supposed to be one of the Hassans (the True Assassins). But, that often doesn’t end up being the case. This time, however, it seems like it is the case. This female assassin doesn’t wear a skull mask like the Hassans. But, she uses the Zabaniya Noble Phantasm, which implies she is one of them.

Finally, we have the Rider class servant who also wasn’t named and doesn’t seem to have a physical form. Enkidu also mentions that this servant is their natural enemy and represents plague. So, I’m pretty confident in saying it’s the Pale Horseman.

Gilgamesh and Enkidu

Let’s talk about the boys — everyone’s favorite best friend duo, Gilgamesh and Enkidu. If you’ve played Fate/Grand Order or if you’ve watched the FGO: Babylonia anime, you should know about these two. They both come from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written over 4,000 years ago.

Many Fate fans know Gilgamesh as the “King of Heroes,” which alludes to him being the first hero we know of. The Epic of Gilgamesh is literally the first story we have evidence of about a hero. And, I would recommend everyone read it. It’s pretty short.

As you probably know, Gilgamesh is the protagonist of the Epic of Gilgamesh. He was the King of Uruk. But, what about Enkidu? Enkidu was a wild man created by the gods to be Gilgamesh’s equal. He was supposed to prevent Gilgamesh from terrorizing the citizens. However, he ended up becoming Gilgamesh’s best friend and adopted brother.

Enkidu fighting Gilgamesh from the anime special Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn
Enkidu fighting Gilgamesh

Now, I’m going to have to spoil part of this 4,000+ year story. Remember how Enkidu said that the Rider servant was his natural enemy? That doesn’t mean Rider is from the Epic of Gilgamesh. The only two other Fate servants in the Epic are Ishtar and Ereshkigal.

So, what did Enkidu mean here? Well, because Gilgamesh and Enkidu kept killing the pets of the gods, the gods decided to kill one of them. That one was Enkidu, whom the gods punished by inflicting him with disease.

This is why Enkidu says that the Rider who represents disease and plague is his “natural enemy.” And, what rider can you think of that represents disease and plague? The Pale (or sometimes White) Horseman of the Apocalypse. I think this is the Pale Horseman, though, because of its lack of a physical form.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I rated Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn an 8/10. I thought it was very good and I can’t wait for the full series to come out. It has some great characters in Gilgamesh and Enkidu. And, it had good animation. I’m looking forward to how this fake Holy Grail War plays out.

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. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

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Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc Review

Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc Review

Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc anime movie cover art
Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc

Transitioning From Second to Third Year

Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc (Hibike! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest-hen / 『響け!ユーフォニアム』アンサンブルコンテスト編) is the fourth Sound! Euphonium movie. But, it’s a bit different from the previous three movies. The first three movies are a trilogy, with the first two being recap and the third being a sequel to Season 2.

So, how is the Ensemble Contest Arc different? Well, for starters, it came out four years after the other movies. It’s also not numbered like the first three; this isn’t “Movie 4.” And, it’s shorter than the first three, only being an hour long.

Alright, but, is the Ensemble Contest Arc worth watching? This is the same question I asked in my review of Movie 3. And, my answer is still the same. Yes, you should (probably) watch the Ensemble Contest arc before watching Season 3. Why? For the same reason as why you should watch Movie 3.

Kumiko hugging Reina from the anime movie Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
Kumiko hugging Reina

The first two seasons of the series covered Kumiko’s first year at Kitauji High School. Movie 3 covers the majority of her second year. And, the Ensemble Contest Arc covers the end of her second year. That’s important because Season 3 takes place during Kumiko’s third year.

Now, before watching this movie, I thought the Ensemble Contest Arc took place during the third year. Kumiko’s the club president, so she must be a third-year student, right? Not quite. Yes, she’s the president, but the grade above her hasn’t graduated yet. This movie takes place in a transitional period.

The Ensemble Contest Arc takes place at the end of the year as the older students are stepping back from the band. The students in Kumiko’s grade are taking on bigger roles within the band. And, we’re getting to know more of the first — soon-to-be second — year students.

The Ensemble Contest

Okay, but what is the Ensemble Contest, anyway? It’s not the same as the other competitions we’ve seen the band compete in. In the Ensemble Contest, the full band doesn’t play. Instead, groups of 2-8 compete, with only one group from each school allowed.

But, how do you decide who gets to play in the contest? You have another, mini-contest. The band members are going to split themselves up into small groups and perform. Then, there’s going to be a public vote involving both current and outgoing students to determine which group gets to compete.

This system is supposed to be a bit more transparent. However, it has its own set of problems. This didn’t end up happening, but the public vote could have turned into a popularity contest. What did end up happening, though, is that some students were left out.

Sari Takahashi and Juri Sawada fighting over a first-year student from the anime movie Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
Sari Takahashi and Juri Sawada fighting over a first-year student

Since the students weren’t assigned groups, they had to form their own. And, if a student isn’t particularly close to other students in the band, they’re not going to be a first choice. We saw this happen with quite a few students who ended up forming a hodgepodge group.

What I liked about this movie is that it didn’t have the same drama as the previous two seasons and movie. It had its own drama — like seeing Kumiko struggle with how to get every member of the band involved as the club president.

I was actually far more interested in seeing that side of things than seeing the petty drama. Hopefully, Season 3 continues with more of this kind of content. I know the first episode of Season 3 is already out. But, I haven’t watched it yet because I wanted to wait until after this review.

Prequel to Season 3

Let’s make some predictions about Season 3 based on this movie (and Movie 3). Then, after Season 3 finishes, I’ll revisit my predictions in that review and see how well I did. Or, what’s also possible is that I forget I made these predictions and never bring them up again.

It seems very clear that a few of the first-year students were positioned to be important in their second year. In particular, there are Kanade, Mirei, and Satsuki from Movie 3, who were also in this movie. And, there’s Tsubame Kamaya, the featured first-year student of the Ensemble Contest Arc.

These four are going to be taking the place of the upperclassmen who are now gone. Mirei and Satsuki have a similar relationship to Yuuko and Natsuki. Kanade is like Asuka. And, Tsubame reminds me a lot of Mizore. I see these four characters continuing the roles of their predecessors.

Tsubame Kamaya from the anime movie Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
Tsubame Kamaya

Characters aside, I’m also expecting the Ensemble Contest to be a sort of B-plot in Season 3. We didn’t actually get to see the competition happen in this movie. The Ensemble Contest Arc was all about forming groups and deciding who was going to compete.

Since the competition didn’t happen in the movie, I’m guessing it’ll happen in Season 3. And, that could be a source of drama in the season. Did splitting into these smaller groups fracture the unity of the band? Will the incoming first-years feel left out because they didn’t get a chance at the Ensemble Contest?

I know the key visuals for Season 3 highlight one first-year girl, in particular. So, I’m interested in seeing where she fits in. How is she going to disrupt things? I’m guessing Kanade, the resident pot-stirrer, is going to cause problems for this new girl.

Final Thoughts

I gave Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc a 6/10. As with the previous movie, It’s pretty good. If you like Sound! Euphonium, you’ll like it. But, it is only an hour long, so there’s not that much time to explore the new drama. And, it also features a literal slide show, which was an interesting choice.

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. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Season 3 is available now.

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Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Review

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Review

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End anime series cover art
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

The Legendary Hero’s Party

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Sousou no Frieren / 葬送のフリーレン) is currently the highest-rated anime of all time. It has a whopping 9.39 on MAL. That’s 0.3 higher than the next highest-rated anime, which is insane. But, is this series really that good? I don’t know about that.

I’m not going to argue that Frieren isn’t an amazing anime. It is. However, this overall rating seems pretty inflated. In a year, I’m predicting it won’t be rated as high as it is now. It’ll probably settle somewhere in the top 10, though.

So, what’s Frieren about? I’m sure most of you know, but I’ll still go over it for those who don’t. Frieren is a fantasy anime (not isekai) about an elf mage named Frieren. She was a member of the legendary Hero’s party that defeated the demon lord. And, this series follows her journey after that journey.

Frieren from the anime series Frieren: Beyond Journey's End
Frieren

The Hero’s party had two humans, a dwarf, and an elf. So, as the decades pass, members of the party die off. Frieren, however, is still the same as she’s always been. If you’ve seen the movie Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, you’ll have some idea of what this series is like.

Frieren isn’t as sad as Maquia is. But, it still covers many of the same themes. There’s a lot of content about cherishing the time you have with people, looking back at what they taught you, etc. It has a lot of deep themes.

That’s not to say that the whole series is serious, though. There are many lighthearted moments. There’s also a lot of action and world-building, which I love. Basically, this series does it all and does it all well. I haven’t seen a single person who dislikes this series have a good reason for thinking that.

Beyond Journey’s End

On her new journey, Frieren gains a few new companions. Specifically, Fern and Stark. But, before I get to those two, what exactly is this new journey Frieren’s embarking on? She’s headed to Ende, also known as Heaven, so she can meet Himmel the Hero once again.

Himmel was in love with Frieren. However, Frieren didn’t understand how Himmel felt until after he was gone. So, now she wants to be able to see him one more time so she can tell him how important he is to her.

Alright, now onto Fern. Fern is a young mage who became Frieren’s apprentice. She was previously raised by Heiter, the priest of the Hero’s party. And, on his deathbed, Heiter told Fern to go with Frieren on her journey. Until this point, Frieren had never wanted an apprentice. Fern changed that, though.

Fern and Stark from the anime series Frieren: Beyond Journey's End
Fern and Stark

Something interesting about Fern is that she wasn’t even born yet when Himmel died. She’s from a generation for which the Hero’s party really is like a legend. They know of the Hero’s party from stories and statues. Even though Fern was raised by a member of the party, she’s still very disconnected from it.

Stark is in a similar situation. He’s a warrior who was trained by Eisen, the dwarf warrior of the Hero’s party. But, that doesn’t mean Stark is a dwarf. He’s a human, as is Fern. But, what makes Stark special is how strong he is — he’s immensely strong.

In fact, Stark is so strong that even Eisen became afraid of him. However, Stark doesn’t recognize his own power. He doesn’t believe in himself and doesn’t understand how special he is. That makes him a very endearing, yet flawed, character. He has a lot of character growth to go through.

First-Class Mage Exam

In case you weren’t aware, this first season of Frieren is 28 episodes long. And, the second cour of the series is dedicated to the First-Class Mage Exam. This is an exam mages can take in order to prove their skills. If they pass, they get a lot of perks.

In particular, First-Class Mages can travel into the northern lands. The northern lands are dangerous, which is why most people can’t go there. But, that’s precisely the direction Frieren, Fern, and Stark are headed in. Additionally, all First-Class Mages can ask Serie, the most powerful mage, for a single spell of their choosing.

Now, none of this matters all that much to Frieren. Frieren’s not interested in having Serie simply hand over a spell. She loves collecting spells. However, it’s the journey that matters most. Someone giving her whatever spell she desires doesn’t interest her.

Übel from the anime series Frieren: Beyond Journey's End
Übel

What this arc of the story does, though, is introduce a lot of new characters. We meet a bunch of Second and Third-Class mages who are trying to earn their First-Class status. There’s Denken, Laufen, Richter, Übel, Land, Wirbel, Ehre, Methode, and many more. The fan favorite is, of course, Übel (pictured above).

If you like tournament arcs, which many of us do, the First-Class Mage Exam arc is great. It’s not quite a tournament. But, it’s close enough. The exam consists of three tests, the first of which reminded me of the second test of the Chūnin Exams from Naruto.

I’m hoping that the characters introduced in this arc come back later. I don’t want them to have only been used for this arc. It’ll be way more fun if Frieren & co. run into some of them again on their travels. Denken, Wirbel, and Übel are three I want to see more.

Final Thoughts

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a 9/10 from me. It’s great and I think everyone who’s interested in fantasy series should watch it. Or, you know, if you’re just into good anime in general. That’s a good reason to watch this series, too.

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