Illustrated by Tsukasa Abe
Four adventurers return home after a ten-year journey to fight the Demon King. They take their rewards, enjoy a powerful meteor storm that happens once every fifty years, then go their separate ways. Frieren is an elven mage, and she plans on traveling the world to gather as much magic as she can. Himmel, the human hero, settles down in the capital city and grows old. Fifty years go by and Frieren returns to take her friends to a secluded place to enjoy the meteor shower. Afterwards, Frieren visits Heiter, a priest with an unnatural love of alcohol, who tricks Frieren into taking a young girl as her mage apprentice. Fern becomes exceptional at magic, and the two travel around, continuing to gather odd magical spells and helping people in villages. Frieren and Fern take odd jobs like beautifying statues and cleaning once pristine beaches. Frieren chases some of the memories of her adventure party while desperately trying to understand the meaning behind many of the words and actions of humans.
There are so many stories being published right now that focus on the journey to "kill the Demon King" that it was refreshing to have a story that takes place once all of that is over and done with. Frieren’s longer life span allows us to peak into the hard-fought peace that so many adventure stories never delve into. This story has a very slow-burn introduction, and doesn't land on a main plot line until about halfway through, so this might lose some readers who are eager for some action. This would be good to hand to slice-of-life fans who want to break into a fantasy story and need something of a stepping-stone.
Abe's illustrations are fairly soft and very inviting, and they successfully augment the calm theme of the entire story thus far. Characters are more or less in typical fantasy garb, but their outfits and environments are still pretty and as detailed as they need to be.
VIZ rates this for teen, and there's nothing in volume one that would make this an inappropriate title for middle school or high school audiences.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
ISBN: 9781974725762 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, Friendship
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