「若者の特権」 (Wakamono no tokken)
“Privilege of Youth”
Though there haven’t been any truly terrible episodes, I haven’t liked every single one of Sousou no Frieren. However, the last two have been really great. This one might be my best so far. Like I said last week, series should do what they do best most of the time. I think Frieren is one of those shows that does that best. As it moves through the “wistful” emotional range, it does so with ease and a light touch. The actors have become more interesting as the show has gone on.
I thought that Sein would have a positive effect on the chemistry, and it did. There really needed to be an adult character in this story because Frieren is a very old woman, but her personality is very young. In all honesty, Stark and Fern are still kids because their relationship isn’t always smooth. There’s no doubt that Frieren doesn’t feel very confident in this area as a parent, but Sein is happy to tell it like it is. He’s probably not going to be right all the time, but he’s been around for a while, which makes your “bullshit meter” more sensitive.
This scene is dramatic right now because Fern and Stark are having another fight. At this point, they just need to get a room. Stark hasn’t bought Fern a gift for her birthday yet. It turns out that he’s too embarrassed to say he doesn’t know what to get her, and as usual, she goes crazy over it. I’m still not crazy about Fern, plain and simple. Her tsundere act was worn out long before it is now, and she’s usually a pretty mean person. Sein points out that she is a child, and children act like children. There’s also no doubt that her dislike of Stark is just a childish way for her to hide how she really feels, even from herself.
Then there is Frieren, who is still a bit of a mystery but is becoming more well-known as the sadness at the heart of her life becomes obvious. She loved the people she fought with against the demon king, but she didn’t know how much she loved them at the time. She doesn’t really get it now. But it keeps coming back to her in ways that make her feel uneasy. You can tell that Stark has a lot of Himmel in him because of how she reacts to him. This is a hard pill to swallow since she was in love with Himmel without realizing it. And Sein clearly thinks of Heiter in a lot of ways. Heiter and Frieren loved each other, but Frieren wasn’t in love with her. He was the only one who really understood her.
One thing I’ve noticed over time is that Heiter always says the most interesting things in the show. This is usually because he says what other people think and feel but won’t or can’t say. It hit home for me that you have to act like an adult even though the calendar says you’re not. I think that’s how many of us feel a lot of the time. Heiter knew about these things, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t troubled by them, just like when he looked at human views about the afterlife. And the time Frieren slapped him on the head was so sweet and lovely. It was a deeper moment than Frieren seems to understand, but that doesn’t really matter.
All of this is connected by the lotus pattern on Stark’s bracelet, which is the same design Himmel gave Frieren as a “reward” after their battles were over. They shopped together for three hours before Stark finally decided to buy Fern the bracelet. Even if you weren’t from Freiburg, most people would have understood what the ring meant, but Himmel knew exactly what that meant in the local language of flowers. This is the more intriguing question: Did Frieren know that when she quickly picked out that ring? I usually believe her claims, but there’s just enough doubt to keep things interesting.
When the ring gets lost in a flying monster attack while the Frierengumi are taking a carriage ride with a local merchant, Frieren’s response makes it clear that the ring is very important to her now, for whatever reason you choose to give it. The sad part of Sousou no Frieren is that she didn’t know what she had until it was gone. This new trio is giving Frieren a new life, but they will also die long before she does. She may never feel the way she did about Himmel and Himmel for her again. Because of this, seeing Stark and Fern’s relationship grow will at the very least be bittersweet for her.