「強い魔法使い」 (Tsuyoi mahoutsukai)
This was a throwback to the slice-of-life, melancholy tone of the first few episodes of Sousou no Frieren in certain ways. This show tends to use flashbacks, and this episode included a lot of them. Ultimately, though, it was a quite gloomy work of fiction that offered a rather depressing analysis of the protagonist. To me, this represented the darker aspect of Frieren’s inherent coldness, though I understand that many readers and viewers may not share my perspective.
These Flamme recollections revealed a few important facts. The main reason Frieren is so resentful of demons is that, as Fern would naturally point out, they destroyed her entire town. I can understand why demons wouldn’t want elves around if mana does, in fact, develop with age and training—after all, they live into the four figures, and that’s all we know of. Since they may be immortal, as we all know, they still constitute a serious threat to the demon race even at a thousand years old.
It is also now known that Flamme taught Frieren a brilliant trick: hiding her mana. Flamme had practiced this skill for so long that it came naturally to her. Fern is implied to be doing it as well, indicating that Lügner miscalculated her mana level. This is essentially equivalent to a cheat code for demons, for whom proudly displaying mana is the only way to be seen as a high achiever in society. They are unable to conceal their mana; in fact, they cannot even imagine trying. It’s the answer to the demons’ cunning ability to trick humans and a trump card that can be used anytime a wizard sees fit.
Fern does not try to refute Lügner’s assertion that this is a disgrace to wizards, as he is about to expire. Neither Flamme nor Frieeren did, either (do all mage names begin with “F”?). Is that “unfair” then? I suppose you could call it self-defense because I don’t think that humans or elves have ever behaved aggressively toward demons in unison. One would think that by now the demons would have figured out Sousou no Frieren’s covert weapon, but in this case, their lack of widespread social cohesion undermines them.
With all of that, it’s almost hard not to feel bad for Aura at the conclusion. We all know how this will end—she’s being duped by Frieren, after all—but the exact method by which the “battle” is resolved depicts Frieren at her most vicious and horrifying. Even though she went through the motions of giving them an opportunity to avoid a fruitless confrontation, Frieren from the Flammebacks seemed to still have the same goal of exterminating all demons. She is aware of the devils’ vulnerabilities, their conceit, and their tunnel vision; her little conversation with them prior to her destruction appears like a cat playing with its meal before killing it.
There’s no denying that this can be a dismal trip at times. It appears that Flamme treated Fern similarly to Frieiren, whom she also taught to be a cold-blooded killer. Even while Frieren obviously has emotional connections with non-human animals, she is by no means human and is, in fact, extremely alien. She mostly chose to be on the side of the human race in this story, which is a good thing.
Full-length images: 36.