Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 5 Review – Mage Teams Showdown

    Title: Frieren: Beyond Journey's End Vol. 5
    Author: Kanehito Yamada, Tsukasa Abe
    Release Date: July 19, 2022
    Publisher: VIZ Media

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 5 continues the journey of the long-living elf and her pupil through the first-class mage exam. As Frieren and Fern are separated and join different groups for this competition, we see another side of the world of magic.

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Having the honor of receiving the first-class title is desired by many mages, and it’s not just a simple name. People are willing to go to great lengths to be granted this symbol of status and power. They may even attack others during the competition; killing people is actually fair game.

The organizers behind the exam want results no matter what happens, as they evaluate people for their ambitions and power to be elite. Even the area chosen is quite dangerous, filled with powerful creatures, and participants are trapped inside a strong barrier that wouldn’t even allow raindrops to pass through.

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The first trial of the exam divides the mages into groups of three people. They aim to hunt for a bird called Stille and put it in a cage. The species lives in the area, so there are enough that multiple teams may win. However, at the end of their time limit, the groups must have the bird in a cage with all members present, so if even one of them dies or disappears, the whole team loses.

During a good portion of the volume, we follow Frieren’s point of view as she tries to deal with her new teammates. Due to their relationship being tempestuous, Frieren has to assume a leadership position despite how she’d rather be on the sidelines. It’s not that the two girls, Lawine and Kanne, don’t get along, but rather the opposite. When push comes to shove, they have excellent teamwork.

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By working with them, Frieren notices that different people have their own dynamics, and sometimes human relationship is more than meets the eye. What serves as motivation and a morale boost to someone may not work the same for another person. To those two, being constantly at each other’s throat is how it goes.

However, hunting for the bird proves tricky, and Frieren will need to think up a good plan. The creature they’re looking for is unreasonably fast and sensitive to mana. Even tracking magic is ineffective, making it a rare find that may depend on luck. As such, it’s necessary to evaluate the circumstances to figure out a way.

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Funnily enough, Fern fares much better, taking less time to catch one of the targets. Maybe it would be otherwise if Frieren didn’t oversleep so often. However, her team also has some obstacles to face, as getting a bird means nothing if they can’t keep it until the time limit.

Besides the action as the teams compete, the volume also provides a few flashbacks of note, as usual for the series. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 5 hints that we’re close to learning fundamental aspects of the magic world, as Flamme’s master has a deep connection with the exam.

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While this book may be a little closer to an orthodox tournament arc you could find in other shounen works, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Vol. 5 doesn’t misconstrue its thoughtful essence. The competition between mages is the opportunity to dive deeper into the social aspects of the mages’ association while also discussing human nature, ambitions, and the journey we know as life. Hopefully, the next volume will bring more insights into the lore elements.

4/5

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.