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Man stops knife attack on Taiwan train, inspired by anime hero

Heroes come in all sizes, colors, and inspirations.


“The world could always use more heroes.” At a time when the world needs people to stand up and stop the madness that surrounds us, it is impressive what the world of manga and anime can do. This is reflected in the actions of young Taiwanese Ruixian Xu, who on May 21 was one of 17 civilians who stopped a man with a knife from attacking on a train in Taichung, Taiwan, injuring three people.

During a ceremony at Taichung City Hall to recognize the bravery of these civilians, Ruixian Xu, who identified himself as an otaku at the ceremony, explained what motivated him to risk his life to stop this attack. “If Himmel was there, he would’ve done the same thing,” he said (via China Times, translated by Siliconera), referring to one of the characters in the manga and anime, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (‘Sōsō no Frieren’).  The young man also stated that he hoped his action and pride as an otaku would help improve the public perception of this social group, which has a bad image after an event known as the 2014 Taipei Metro Attack.

Who is Himmel of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End?

Himmel is the leader of the group of four heroes who were able to bring peace to the world after defeating the terrible Demon King. His jovial appearance and speed made him an incredible warrior and swordsman, although he had his flaws, such as being a womanizer and a bit self-centered. In the series, his death from old age is the catalyst for Frieren’s new adventure to learn more about humans, especially those with whom he was able to save the world.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End first season is available on services like Crunchyroll. Meanwhile, for those who want to read the manga, Viz Media has licensed the manga for English readers.