On the surface, Sousou no Frieren doesn’t seem to be any different from the fantasy anime that came before it.
For one, we have a Hero party consisting of humans, an elf, and a dwarf.
And they’re all on a journey to defeat the Demon King who has been terrorizing humanity for as long as they can remember.
If you think that the whole premise will be about their journey to defeat the Demon King, you’ll be hard-pressed to find out that’s not even what Sousou no Frieren anime is all about.
It’s actually a different kind of fantasy anime altogether.
The story that takes place after they defeat the Demon King
When we think of a story like Sousou no Frieren, we tend to associate a story like this to be all about their journey and the hardship they have to go through to defeat the Demon King.
But what greets us instead is a story that takes place after they defeat the Demon King.
What does everyone else in the Hero Party do after they defeat the Demon King, save for Frieren who goes out to collect magic spells as a hobby?
That seems to be a relaxing pace for a fantasy anime, don’t you think?
Of course, it’s not the only thing that makes Sousou no Frieren stand out among the fantasy anime.
It also gives us an insight into something that we never think about in the fantasy genre.
Here are some of them.
The harsh reality of having a longer lifespan than the average
We all know that elves tend to have a longer lifespan than humans in general.
So, we don’t see it as something of a big deal if someone like Frieren has been around for hundreds of years.
In fact, it’ll be good if we get to live such a long life, right?
But Sousou no Frieren somehow has a different take when it comes to longevity.
Sure, it’s great to live a long life. But having a long life causes you not to appreciate your time, particularly the time you spend with people dear to you.
That seems to be the case with Frieren where she finds traveling with Himmel and the others for ten years is nothing more than a drop in the bucket to her.
It was only during Himmel’s passing that she realized she didn’t know much about Himmel and the others as much as she thought despite traveling together with them for 10 years.
Because of that, she regrets it big time for not trying to get to know them better.
And that leads me to my next point.
The portrayal of memento mori in the story
While it’s not unusual to see a funeral scene in the anime, it sure does feel refreshing when you see a funeral of someone who used to be a hero who saves the world.
When it comes to a story that revolves around a hero, it’s usually about his trial and tribulation or perhaps the legacy that he left behind.
So, it’s refreshing to see Himmel getting old and breathing his last after spending the time together watching the meteor shower with his friends.
The realistic portrayal of how long it takes them to defeat the Demon King
When you think of a Hero party who embarks on their journey to defeat the Demon King, you may have this notion it may not take that long, right?
If anything, it should take them a year or so to send the Demon King to the grave.
But nope, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all in Sousou no Frieren.
Rather than taking a year or two to defeat the Demon King, it takes them ten years to free humanity from his shackles.
What causes them to take this long to defeat the Demon King, you wonder?
One of the obvious reasons is that it takes some time for them to reach the Demon King’s stronghold considering that it’s on the Northern continent.
And let’s not forget they also have to stay in the village or town for months as they eliminate the demons that are attacking the place.
It was only when the place was safe from the threats that they could continue with their journey.
On top of that, they also don’t have that much money to begin with when they start their journey.
That causes them to make many pit stops in between to do some work in exchange for money.
You can think of it like side quests in games where you’ll do them in between the main story to earn some money.
If we have another story with a similar premise, I can bet it probably takes years for them to put everything to an end, realistically speaking.
It’s not as quick as we thought even if the story doesn’t have a clear timeline on when the events take place.
Elves are actually a rare species
When we think of magical creatures like elves and dwarves, we tend to assume that they exist in abundance, right?
Well, it can be in your typical fantasy story.
But not so much in Sousou no Frieren, though.
For some reason, elves seem to be like a rare commodity.
Even Kraft said that the last time he encountered a fellow elf was 300 years ago.
If Frieren and Kraft disappear, then there won’t be elves anymore. And the only way to know about them is through history books.
So, what caused the elves’ population to dwindle over the last hundreds of years?
One of the reasons can be due to the Demon King actively eliminating the elves’ villages knowing that they’re a threat to the demons themselves.
Another reason can also be because the elves themselves don’t have much interest in reproducing themselves to maintain their population.
As a result, elves ended up on the brink of extinction. It doesn’t seem surprising at all when most human will never encounter an elf in their lifetime.
Who would have imagined that a common creature like elves in a fantasy story could be this rare in Sousou no Frieren, right?
Sousou no Frieren anime sure is a refreshing anime to watch
I’ll be the first to admit that the anime can be a little tad too slow for some since it doesn’t have any flashy and action-packed scenes like the ones in Jujutsu Kaisen.
And it can be a tad too boring for some too if you don’t like anything that touches upon philosophical life in general.
But if you want something light but also entertaining, you can’t go wrong with this anime.
Even I find myself drawn to the anime despite not being a fan of fantasy anime.
You can bet that I’ll be getting the manga for sure.
Just you wait.
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