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  • Writer's picturewiresdonttalktheba

Frieren Taught Me I'm a Bad Friend

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When a friend recommends an anime, it can be tough. You want to be a good friend and watch this random show they have been enjoying. So you watch it and you say to yourself, "What the hell is this!?"

This happened to me recently with the anime Frieren: Beyond Journey's End. The hype behind the show was impossible to deny and the premise looked like another fun medieval style fantasy following this cool looking elf.

But the anime was not at all what I expected. After the first episode I thought Frieren: Beyond Journey's End was just basic fantasy with not alot going on at all and why would I watch something like that when I have lord of the rings, dark souls, and berserk. And my friend and fellow content creator, Weeb Jail recommended this to me, and I was surprised, I’m not a fan of animes like this. I like to watch big beefcake men, pound each other….oh boy, I thought that would sound different when I wrote that. 

But Weeb Jail is a smart creative guy and understands anime well so I had to give it a chance and I slowly learned that Frieren talks about something very different than any of those fantastic stories and it taught me that I may be missing something in my own journey as a content creator and that I may be a jackass.

A few weeks ago, Weeb Jail and I were talking, and he told me to give Frieren a watch. The Weeb Jail channel is an amazing and hilarious dive into anime so I trusted him that I would like the anime. When I started watching the series I was just waiting for the big action sequence that would set the tone for the series…and it just didn’t come. What’s different from most stories like this is that Frieren takes place after the long adventure and grand battles. The first episode is literally her and her crew being celebrated for returning home and saving the day. We only get glimpses of this journey through small flashbacks. And so I thought. “Wow what a unique twist, now they will have to deal with their victory and have another battle!” And I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

The second episode jumps many years later and Frieren looks exactly the same but all of her companions are older and close to death. Turns out elves age much slower than humans and the ten year journey they all went on felt like merely a month to Frieren. 

At her best friend’s funeral she realizes that after spending ten years together, she barely knew him. She doesn’t cry as she stands by the casket and the townspeople judge her accusing her of not being a real friend. She is seen as a cold person and that is even referenced in her name. The word Frieren is a German verb that means to be or to feel cold. And the character isn’t this over the top, iced out blue ice mage that we would find totally cool in any other media. 

I’m really just picturing Frostine from CandyLand. Is that board game still holding it down?

Anyway, she starts on a new journey and tries to reconnect with old friends and end up taking along two of their apprentices, Fern and Stark. 

As her flashbacks of the journey she was never mentally present for it, now she makes a better effort of connecting with friends and takes them to places she visited to meet the people she met long ago, or their offspring. These people usually scold her for not visiting her when she agreed or their grandchild tells them that Freiren’s friend died many years ago. She keeps getting reminded that she glanced over the ten years that meant so much and that she needs to begin living in the present and taking her time to drink it all in.

And her process of taking it easy and being present makes the pacing of this story so unique. 

It’s very slow, not a lot happens, and you can argue it’s just boring. A day to her is not the same as a day to us. She take things so slow and study meaningless spells while the world around her moves so quickly. The pacing of the anime makes you understand that mundane passage of time and we feel like Fern and Stark just waiting for her to get up and do something. 

But that’s the beautiful irony of this show. 

Frieren lived fast and missed ten years of friendship right in front of her, now she takes every day moment by moment and the humans criticizing her should be doing the same thing especially because their life is much shorter. 

And Frieren does do some badass stuff showing off her magic skills and obliterating demons with some cold blooded moves, but she spends a lot more time focusing on friendships. As her and the team journeys to find the demon king, I kept forgetting that was the point of the journey because the journey takes her to meet various different people that all have a story…granted they are usually just humdrum slice of life stories.

She attends, for lack of a better word, a mage competition and is forced to team up with random people but she ends up learning about them and helping them while Fern, on her team, is focused on fighting and getting the task done.

As the show went on, I realized I was missing something important and it wasn’t just the interesting and unique anime I was watching…

I wasn’t appreciating the friends I have made in my own journey.

While I was watching this series, a memory popped up on facebook that I posted in February of 2022 that my youtube channel had 101 subscribers. I remember the sheer excitement of that day. The idea that over 100 people wanted to see something I made was exhilarating. That enthusiasm never went away. Every single, like, comment, discord member, subscriber, and just view is so exciting to see the numbers increase. 

But those numbers are human beings and it was at this time that I started to reflect about my own journey since that 101.

Wires Don’t Talk has had alot of updates and changes from when it was first formed in 2019. It was supposed to be a rock band with my friend Marc. We spent countless hours together because we did everything ourselves for our album like the writing, the recording, the mixing and the mastering. We made youtube videos hoping to promote our music. We tried everything to reach a following and it didn’t really work. 

Marc decided to move to a new state to follow his career and wires don't talk could have ended right there but this youtube stuff was just…fun. 

The thing that this origin story doesn’t tell you is that Marc never stopped being a part of my journey. We facetime every single week and this isn’t a check-in to see how we are doing…we just make loud nosies at each other. That's not a bit by the way, we do that all of the time for no reason other than we laugh like hyenas. People have overheard us and are concerned.

And since I started taking Youtube seriously I began connecting with more and more people and noticing people from my past rooting for me.

After my Tekken video, a lot of new people joined my Discord to play together, and I found myself spending late nights getting demolished in Tekken 8 but also making real connections as we fought the night away. The friends I grew up with, though don’t watch the anime I talk about or read manga, will text me about how much they enjoyed a video or congratulate me anytime a video does well. I have read comments that have cheered me on with kind words and comments that keep the anime conversation going offering different opinions and insight into my favorite shows. My fellow content creator friends like Q and Ryan, have been a constant ear to my creative slumps and have offered so much advice to help tackle this YouTube beast that can make it tough for new creators to get in front of the right audience.

My family always supported my creative ventures, and when Wires Don’t Talk stopped being a rock band, it was my father who told me that, and I quote “I could be good on one of those TikTok shows,” and though he probably doesn’t really understand what I’m doing, his continued support lead to a huge reason why I can make these videos because together we built this very studio that I work in every single day.

And the one that really comes to mind is Weeb Jail. Long before he recommended this anime, he has always been there to help with youtube thumbnails, scripts, video ideas, and just some good laughs. We only met because I commented on his WaniKani review video because I just started learning Japanese and I could just tell this guy was a creator that was going to do impressive things. Fast forward to now, we have become just guinea friends and always find time to talk even though he is all the way across the globe in Japan. He was actually the first friend that I told about my wife and I expecting our first child

His response though was a shocked “oh shit” and I had to remind him that most people say “congratulations” after hearing that, but if you have seen his channel, that reaction makes perfect sense.

It was his recommendation to watch this anime and though honestly Frieren wasn’t my favorite given my typical anime preferences, it created a new way to connect with a friend. Talking about the highs of the series and debating on what made a scene good or bad was fun and made for some funny memories and "friendly" debates.

And hopefully it still continues with many other people in the comments of this video and the Wires Don’t Talk Discord.

Freiren stays clear of the generic troupes of animes filled with action and violence, it doesn't fill its anime with quirky and raunchy jokes, it doesn’t over sexualize its characters to try and get you to watch. Instead the show offers a slice of life in a fantasy world that tells you to take a moment to cherish the people you have met. Because much like her friend the priest discusses, good friends over the years will remember you and they keep these journeys alive in our minds forever.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is the anime equivalent to the old saying “the friends we made along the way” and as I reflect on my YouTube journey, I would haven’t have accomplished anything without those friends both old and new and I am so thankful that this anime reminded me of the laughs, advice, and kindness so many people have shown me as I continue to follow my passion.

Frieren isn’t an anime for everybody, it doesn’t give what a lot of people want but it does give a powerful message that in this day and age, we all need to hear. We need to live in the moment with all those companions around us whether they are friends from childhood, family, new friends that become team members, or just internet penpals and realize how much they mean to us  before it’s too late. 

Because when we do that, much like Frieren, we can live on for a very long time.

Check out Weeb Jail's video on Frieren next:

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