The anime Frieren reminds me most of is Ousama Ranking — Frieren plays with the convention and narrative arcs of JRPGs (or high fantasy in general) in much the same way that Ousama does, with the helpful (and bittersweet, and clever) guiding structure of "fifty years ago, a JRPG party defeated the Big Bad. Now three of the four members of the party are dead, because they're human, and the elf continues wandering around."

To put it bluntly, I think Frieren is a better anime, and I enjoyed it more (which is a high bar — I really liked Ousama Ranking.)

It's so deeply consistent — even in worldbuilding, even in hackneyed tournament arcs [1], even in bouncing from slice-of-life work to more serious narrative/lore-building episodes. There are common threads of softness and nostalgia (reminiscient of Haibane Renmei and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō) that run through every episode, and what is so masterful about it is how the creators can deploy gag humor or more conventional tropes in a way that re-inforces those themes rather than undermines them (in contrast to, say, Ousama Ranking).

Frieren presents an interesting, beautiful world with characters who you quickly grow to love: I can't wait to spend more time with them soon.

  1. Lest this sounds backhanded: Frieren's tournament arc was delightful ↩︎


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