I think it’s clear that we are about to move into another arc of Fire Force and it seems like this is going to be a big one. I guess there are 7 to 9 episodes left which would be a nice and cushy amount to really make an expansive arc out of the Evangelist confrontation.
This week, as Vulcan has to say goodbye to the only family he’s ever known and even cast aside his father and grandfather’s wishes, Shinra finally meets the little brother he had thought long dead. It was both exactly and nothing like I expected. You can see what it looked like in my usual unreasonable amount of screencaps, on display in my gallery post, HERE.
I certainly hoped someone would know Giovanni on his big jerky behind. I figured it was about time for this arc to wrap so someone had to save Vulcan, I thought maybe Lisa might step in at the last minute. She is in the opening credits after all.
They also insisted on the “key to Amaterasu” a lot. So I knew it was going to be important. I thought his father would have left it in some seemingly worthless but sentimental trinket that Vulcan would bring along unwittingly. Then in a critical moment, 4 to 5 episodes down the line, it would get broken and the key would pop out, saving the day!
I often have pretty involved storylines for Fire Force. They never pan out…
What Did Happen
After being freed Shinra joins the fight, bursting into the workshop where Vulcan and Iris are holding out, while Hibana joins Arthur to defeat the guys outside. Actually, Hibana just sort of goes in to wipe out everyone outside, Arthur included. She still needs to work on her people skills a bit.Having gotten the key, Giovanni doesn’t really see the point in fighting a tough opponent like Shinra and figures he might as well leave but everyone gets interrupted by the arrival of one of the Evangelists top-ranking officers, Sho Kusakabe.Shinra immediately recognizes his brother and after a few minutes, the other also figures out the situation. But both brothers aren’t seeing the reunion in the same light. Shinra may be delighted to find his brother alive but to Sho, he just happens to be a nuisance with an Adolla flame.And Sho is on a completely different level than the Evangelists they have fought so far. He makes quick work of everyone there and would have kidnapped Shinra and disposed of the rest if it were not for Victor’s extremely well-timed appearance driving a pickup truck as fast as possible. And even then, the team only manages to escape thanks to the appearance of Joker who manages to hold of Sho long enough for the truck to drive off.The seemingly gravely wounded Arthur and Yu. Thankfully, both recover and soon everyone is back at company 8’s firehouse enjoying another delicious meal. In the end, Vulcan finally accepts the offer to join the Fire Force on a provisional basis and vows to get Lisa back as well. She’s not his sister…sweet tinted windows!
What About the Characters
There was a lot riding on the moment when the two brothers finally met. It’s an instant that has been built up since the very beginning of the series and it really hinged on who Sho and Shinra are as characters. Sho was what I thought he would be. Faithful to what we’ve seen of him so far. Determined, powerful, efficient and ruthless. He is completely disinterested in forming any type of relationship with his brother and would have disposed of him right then and there if the Evangelist didn’t seem to need him for something.
On the other hand, Shinra is a much more complex character. Most of the time he seems to be the classic good guy, Mary Sue, heroic idealist type we’ve been seeing ever so much of lately (pretty much every single fighting shonen main character of the past few years), but from time to time he has this calm, cooled reason side that makes him seem much more cynical and composed then he lets on. He’s also really mean to Arthur for some reason which breaks the archetype a bit.
So how did Shinra react? With everything I knew about him, I thought he would have been overjoyed to meet his brother but dismayed that they were on opposite sides. Swearing to bring him back to the light even if he has to drag him kicking and screaming!
That wasn’t it though. Shinra melted into a puddle of gooey brotherly love, immediately beaming at how angelic his brother looked and how perfect he was. He sounded more like a proud momma than a big brother really. And he was so taken in by the moment, he didn’t really even process the fact that Sho was working for the Evangelist. Just sat there beaming the whole time. In fact, he still hadn’t completely gotten it by the end of the episode. I never saw that reaction coming at all, and it was perfect! Occasionally, Shinra can be a very interesting character.
Otherwise, it was great to see Hibana on the front lines again. Victor continues to be delightfully suspicious, to the point that even Hibana calls him out on it and points out just how convenient his presence was. For my part, I would like to note that Victor’s presence at the junkyard did coincide with Joker’s arrival further cementing my theory of some type of loose alliance between the two.
As for Joker, the more we see of him, the more mysterious he gets. He clearly helped them out there. To considerable risk for himself. Why would he do that? He was trying to hurt the Fire Force before. Is the Evangelist simply a greater threat? An enemy of my enemy is my friend sort of situation. But that doesn’t fit. He could have gotten killed and he’s not even trying to get something out of it. Curiouser and curiouser….
What I Liked
I quite liked the meeting between the two brothers, it was handled better than I expected and with little to no melodrama. Impressive
Black and White and Gray is a fantastic episode title in any case but it also was particularly fitting with this episode.
The changing intro tag at the beginning of each episode is just beautiful.
Iris helping to save the day by pressing every button she finds was a great break in the tension. It also adds a layer of goofiness to the character that makes her even more endearing.Fire Force is once again injecting a great deal of intrigue into the narrative with both Joker and Victor as total wild card characters with obscure motivations, the key and role of Amaterasu still not revealed, the seemingly deep-rooted infiltration of the Fire Force by the Evangelist (I think it’s safe to assume company 3 is completely taken over) and what exactly the mysterious Hajima corp has to do with any of this. There are so many questions left to answer and all of them interesting, but they are large looming questions so not knowing the answers doesn’t make the action difficult to follow.
I think Fire Force is great at action but I personally enjoy a mystery of this thriller aspect is very exciting for me.From what I can tell, we’ve collected our cast which means that future episodes will most likely be devoted to character development and plot progression. And this is the right time for it!oh good, he’s o.k.
What I Liked Less
Not enough Arthur. No really. I got myself over-hyped with my Don Quixote theory last week and I was desperate to see a resolution to Arthur’s character arc but it was just sort of left up in the air. Don’t get me wrong, this sort of makes sense. Arthur’s delusions don’t play into any other character’s development so it’s something he has do deal with on his own, and in the middle of a difficult fight is not the moment for self-reflection. Besides, Arthur’s a knight, he’s not going to leave his fellow fighters in a rough spot just because he gots the sads.
Still, this isn’t the first time Fire Force sets Arthur up and then abandons his arc so it’s possible that this is all we’re going to get and I feel like it needs just a little more.
Also not enough Maki, because there’s never enough Maki.
I swear, every week I tell myself I will make these posts shorter and every week they go out of control. Can you imagine if Karandi actually held me to that 100 word count premise. I wouldn’t even have the chance to tell you which series I was reviewing…. I,m not sure that’s a good thing at all…
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Fire Force. Dir. Y Yase. David Production. 2019.