After a ten-years-long journey, a group of adventurers has managed to defeat the Demon King and has brought peace to the world. The group, consisting of the human hero Himmel, dwarven warrior Eisen, human priest Heiter, and elven mage Frieren, then return to the capital, where they are hailed as heroes.
Before they part ways, they watch the Era Meteors together, a meteor shower which only appears every fifty years, and Frieren promises to meet them again and show them a better view when the next shower appears. Frieren then departs and wanders the world to study magic.
Fifty years later, Frieren comes to the capital again, but unlike her, the world has changed and her former comrades have visibly aged. After one final adventure to see the meteor shower, Himmel passes away.
Regretting that she didn't spend more time with her friends, Frieren visits Heiter twenty years later. Heiter, who can feel his approaching death, has taken in a human girl, Fern. Before he dies, he leaves Fern in Frieren's care. Fern then becomes Frieren's apprentice, and together they wander the world to study magic and humanity.
Frieren: Beyond Journey's End (葬送のフリーレン, Sousou no Frieren or Frieren at the Funeral) is a manga written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe, published in Shogakukan's Weekly Shounen Sunday since April 2020.
In February 2021, VIZ Media announced that they have licensed the manga and will start publishing it in the same year.
Frieren: Beyond Journey's End provides examples of:
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Heiter had a habit of showing Frieren affection by patting her head, a gesture she claimed to dislike. In Chapter 29, a flashback shows Frieren patting an elderly Heiter on the head after they talk about who will praise him for acting like a proper adult in this world. In the present, she does the same gesture to Sein to praise him for the same thing after he helps reconcile Stark and Fern.
- All for Nothing: Wirbel's ambush attack and defeat at the hands of Fern's party becomes this when, returning from that, they find a stille on a tree that he captures with his binding magic.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Sein's brother is offended by the idea that he and Sein are similar in their sacrifices for each other and slaps Sein when he says so. This finally gets through to Sein that he can't just wallow in regret forever, and should take the chance to become an adventurer.
- Attack Its Weak Point: In Chapter 31, Frieren only needs one direct hit on the confusion flower's core to destroy it.
- Attack Reflector: The confusion flower subspecies Sein fights in Chapter 31 has leaves that shine like mirrors. Magic attacks are reflected back in all directions.
- Avenging the Villain: In Chapter 5, after Frieren removes Qual's seal, Qual asks Frieren how the Demon King is doing. She tells him that the Demon King is dead, causing Qual to begin his battle with Frieren and Fern to avenge his liege.
- Backup Bluff: Inverted. In Chapter 42, Fern comes to Übel's help and tells Wirbel to back away. When Wirbel asks what happened to Ehre, Fern tells him that she killed Ehre. Wirbel then retreats, since his party already failed the exam and fighting them any further is pointless. He later finds out that Fern was bluffing. She defeated Ehre, but Ehre was left alive.
- Bilingual Bonus: Most names in the series are based on German words. Some give a hint about the chapter's content or the character's personality.
- Blunt "No": In Chapter 57, when offered to be Serie's apprentice, Fern immediately refuses.
- Boring, but Practical: Fern only ever uses basic offensive and defensive magic, mostly because those spells are incredibly potent for how simple they are.
- Bullying a Dragon:
- This is what Frieren does in Chapter 10. Unlike Fern, Frieren knows the solar dragon has strong magic resistances, but she nonetheless lets Fern attack it.
- The solar dragon notably does not attack the nearby village exactly to avert this. Stark is stronger than the dragon and could easily kill it.
- Denken challenging Frieren despite being aware who she is could be seen as this. He doesn't just want to stall for time to let Laufen escape, he wants to crush Frieren and utterly fails. Frieren blocks every attack of his with ease until he runs out of mana, at which point she counterattacks and easily defeats him.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Being already quite stoic, both Fern and Frieren are capable of talking casually, even politely, to the people that are trying to kill them.
- Central Theme: The ephemerality of things and people in the world, and how they still matter regardless or even because of it.Stark: I've been in this village for three years now.
Frieren: ... That's ephemeral.
Stark: That's eternity.
- Combat Pragmatist: Hiding your actual level of mana is considered a disgraced, cowardly technique among mages, but it's a technique that Flamme, and by extension Frieren and Fern, are all too willing to use to deceive their opponents about their strength.
- Continuity Nod:
- In Chapter 4, Fern mentions that Frieren frequently buys weird things that no one needs, like the skull of a monster or a clothes-melting drug. The drug appears again in Chapter 26. Frieren intends to gift it to Stark as a birthday present, to the horror of Fern.
- In Chapter 11, Stark calls Frieren a "stinking hag". When Stark tries to make Fern feel bad for calling Frieren "elderly", Frieren calls Stark out for being a hypocrite, because unlike him she hasn't forgotten that he called her "stinking hag" once.
- Dawn of an Era: This is how the story begins. With the Demon King dead, the other races are living in peace, and an Era Meteor Shower happens right after. In a peaceful era, most of the tasks that are given to Frieren and Fern are of mundane nature like helping harvesting vegetables or de-rust statues.
- Double-Meaning Title: "Sousou no Frieren" can be read as both "Frieren at the Funeral", fitting for the story of a girl who has lost two friends recently, and "Frieren, the Undertaker", the title Frieren has received from the demons for her power and history of defeating demons.
- Dragon Their Feet: Frieren and Fern defeat Qual and Aura, two of the Demon King's seven generals, around 80 years after the Demon King has been defeated by the Hero's party. Qual had to be defeated later because at the time the Hero's party fought him, he was too strong for them, so they sealed him. While Aura was also defeated by the Hero's party, she fled and hid herself with her forces, and only returned after Himmel's death.
- Escape Rope: During the mage exam, each mage is given a jar with a miniature golem inside. Breaking it will make the golem grow and carry its owner to safety out of the dungeon, being strong and fast enough to survive traps and attackers.
- Excalibur in the Stone: Chapter 25 concerns the "hero's sword," which is stuck in a rock in a village in the North and can only be extracted by a great hero like Himmel. However, it turns out Himmel was unable to remove the sword from the stone and decided to kill the Demon King anyway.
- Gratuitous German: Almost all names have a German meaning and sound a bit silly for a native.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- In Chapter 5, Frieren kills the demon Qual with his own magic.
- In Chapter 22, Aura meets her end by trying to use her Scales of Obedience against Frieren. As Frieren trumps Aura's mana, Aura loses control of her body and Frieren orders her to kill herself.
- Holding Back the Phlebotinum: There's a limit to the modern magic human can pursue, and most mages can only specialize in a single type of magic. Due to the fact that Frieren and Fern stick to a very basic type of magic, they are both more versatile and effective than other mages.
- Holding Hands: In Chapter 36, a flashback reveals that Himmel used to hold sick people's hands to support them emotionally, like his late mother used to do for him. Frieren does the same for Fern whenever she falls sick.
- Hot Springs Episode: Subverted. In Chapter 65, Frieren's party passes the Etwas mountain range, where a hot springs is supposed to be, but the village Frieren intended to visit has been deserted and the hot springs have been dried for three decades already. There also is a secret hot spring that Stark wants to find after hearing stories about it from Eisen, but the hot spring is at most deep enough for a footbath, so there is no fanservice whatsoever.
- Humans Are Special: Frieren notes in Chapter 5 how quickly humanity can advance despite, or maybe because, their lifespan is so short.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: In Chapter 22, when Aura uses her scales on Frieren (which causes whoever has less mana to be controlled by whoever has more), Frieren reveals that she's been hiding her mana capacity for hundreds of years and that her actual Battle Aura is by far the largest of anyone in the series.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: In a flashback, the mayor of a town asks Frieren to spare a demon girl after she cries for her mother, since if they kill a defenseless demon, they will be just as bad as them. Despite Frieren's initial protests, Himmel decides to do as the mayor says. Himmel regrets this after the demon kills the mayor, sets his house on fire and takes his daughter hostage.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Frieren can cry without stopping for days and will threaten a tantrum if she feels her friends aren't showing her enough respect.
- Instant Runes: Runes appear around Frieren and Fern's staffs when they cast magic with them.
- Intimate Healing: In Chapter 24, the elf Kraft huddles with Stark for warmth, since Frieren and Fern need to warm him up, but don't seem willing to do so. Stark surprises himself seeing a strange older man sharing a blanket with him when he wakes up.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Frieren is generally described as a cold and a bit heartless woman, but she cares deeply about her comrades and has a sense of responsibility that people like Himmel could count on. He thus knew for instance, that Frieren would one day return to face off the demon they sealed, once his seal was about to break.
- Karmic Death:
- Qual dies to Soul Track, the spell he created that killed innumerous people.
- Aura was infamous for mind controlling people and then beheading them to make them absolutely obedient. In Chapter 22, she plans to do the same with Frieren. Aura dies by beheading herself, after she failed to control Frieren with her magic because Frieren turned out to have far more mana than Aura.
- Long-Lived: Elves and demons don't seem to age much. Over eighty years pass after a few Time Skips and Frieren hasn't physically changed at all. This also seems to apply to dwarves, though elves' lifespans blow theirs out of the water.Qual: It's been a long time, Frieren. How many years have passed?
Qual: Just eighty, huh?
Frieren: Just in our eyes.
- Lost Wedding Ring: In Chapter 30, after a fall from height, Frieren loses a ring Himmel once gave her. The ring's design signifies eternal love, and the way Himmel put it on Frieren's finger is very reminiscent of a wedding, but Frieren was not aware of the meaning.
- Meaningful Name: Most of the names are of German origin and have a certain meaning. For examples, see the character page.
- Merlin and Nimue: Fern was Heiter's disciple, who quickly learned that she has a talent in magic, though as a priest he wasn't the appropriate teacher for her. She then becomes Frieren's apprentice, who is probably a few hundred years older than Fern.
- Moment of Weakness: Eisen once hit Stark and injured him so deeply that it left a nasty scar on his face. Stark believes he was hit because Eisen was fed up with Stark's cowardice, but he actually hit Stark because he was scared of Stark's power.
- Mono no Aware: Frieren starts her journey by thinking of the transient nature of human life, how short it is, and how her longevity has changed her perception of time and of humans. She starts becoming more respectful of how much humans get done in a short time partly because they live such short lives.
- Our Demons Are Different: Demons in this series are a horned humanoid race characterized by their extreme sociopathy, only feigning human emotions like regret and friendship just to more effectively kill later. They're explicitly compared to convergent evolution, a separate species that evolved to resemble humans to better prey on them.
- Parental Substitute: Since many of the characters lost their parents prematurely, they were raised by other people. Frieren was raised by Flamme, Fern was raised by Heiter and Frieren, and Stark was raised by Eisen.
- Really 700 Years Old: Elves age very slowly and look like they don't age at all. Frieren still looks like a teenage girl, even after over 80 years have passed since the Demon King was defeated. She's been around for at least 1000 years judging by her flashback. Other elves like Kraft or Serie also don't seem to have aged at all, even after hundreds or thousands of years have passed.
- Real Men Eat Meat: Chapter 26 features Frieren gifting Stark a giant hamburger patty, which is a tradition amongst warriors.
- Running Gag:
- In most chapters, Frieren's butt is sticking out while her upper half is hidden by a mimic, a bush or a mountain of books.
- Sein often mentions how much he wants to spend time with an old lady, and the members of the party mention how Frieren is, probably, the oldest lady in the world so he should be happy, missing the point he likes mature women, while Frieren looks too young.
- Shame If Something Happened: Frieren tells Stark that if he keeps bugging her about being "old" that she'd "Make him regret it". When pressed, Frieren says she will get very upset and cry. Fern says this is a serious threat, because Frieren can cry nonstop for three days.
- Sick Episode: Fern catches a cold in Chapter 36, and Stark and Frieren gather ingredients to make some cold medicine for Fern.
- The Sociopath: Demons in this world fit this definition pretty much perfectly. They don't share human emotions and attachments but are perfectly willing to pretend they do in order to trick people into letting them in close where they can wreak more havoc. A popular trick is for demons to cry for their mothers to avoid being killed on the spot.
- So What Do We Do Now?: This is how the story begins. After the Hero's Party defeated the Demon King and successfully returned, Himmel immediately thinks about what his job would soon be, now that he no longer needed to fight demons. The heroes then split ways. Heiter goes back to the Holy City to work as a priest again, Frieren wanders the world to study magic, Eisen returns home and Himmel stays in the capital.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Magic used to be a lot weaker. But after Qual was sealed, their magic was analyzed and integrated into every major facet of sorcery. This led to the formerly absurdly dangerous Soul Track to become something even a mundane mage could defend against. Qual considers it remarkably complex.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Not for Frieren. The moment the demon who tries to execute her gets the tables turned on him he tries to buy time by speaking, but she immediately blows out his throat. As a veteran of fighting demons she knows that demons only ask for mercy so they can make you drop your guard.
- Tempting Fate: In Chapter 44, First-Mage Proctor Genau declares the barrier that was erected by Great Mage Serie is unbreakable. Guess what Frieren does.
- Time Dissonance: A general problem with elves. An elf's lifespan is far greater than a human's. Thus Frieren doesn't mind doing nothing but studying magic or searching an object for a few years, to the dismay of her human friends. Her ten-years-long adventure with Himmel was nothing to her, and she only shows up 50 years later as promised without ever visiting Himmel in that time. She sadly realizes too late how fleeting a human's life is after Himmel passes away and decides to do better. She gets a different sense of time after she starts raising Fern.
- Time Skip: Frequently. For instance, after Frieren's party parts ways, 50 years pass, and after Himmel dies another 20 years pass. Fern has grown into a young woman after only a few chapters. This shows that Frieren understands even these big passages of time as brief moments, since the manga is mostly told from her perspective. The party frequently spends several months in a single location, doing research or waiting for the seasons to change.
- Title Drop: In Chapter 17, the demon Lügner mentions Frieren's Red Baron title amongst demonkind: Sousou no Frieren, as in, "Frieren, the Undertaker".
- Tournament Arc: The First Class Examination Test. Frieren and Fern join an examination to become mages of the highest, leading them into a series of tests and competing with other mages.
- Towering Flower: The confusion flower Frieren's party encounters in Chapter 31 is at least twice as tall as Sein.
- We Are as Mayflies: The overarching theme of the series is Frieren outliving all of her loved ones from other races. The story begins with the two human members of her party dying from old age.
- When Trees Attack: Chapter 31 features a gigantic flowering plant that curses the living and puts them to sleep to slowly drain them of their mana.