Fire Force is winding down as the season comes to an end but it seems no one has told the show that. Potentially the most intense and focused arc so far, company 8’s determined march through the Nether to strike at the heart of the Evangelist continues.
And it looks pretty awesome as you can see for yourself in my gallery post HERE.I did!
Well, this is in fact pretty much what I thought would happen, in broad strokes at least. We knew from last week that Obi and Vulcan had teamed up so I figured it would probably be their turn to defeat some white hood operative or it would be Hinawa’s.This is because I think they’re going g to keep the Shinra and Sho showdown (say that five times fast!) for the end and I thought they would pair Arthur with him, as they usually do.We also already knew the Evangelist forces that got dispatched and aside from Sho, there was the mirage guy, the weird sadistic transform guy and arrow. Yes I know I forgot a couple on that list but I had not realized last week that they were already in the nether…this guy I knew about
What Did Happen
It’s all in the details. Yes, it was another week of Fire Force vs Evangelist in the tunnels but the intricacies caught me by surprise.
It was, in fact, Hinawa’s turn against Arrow but a late turn in the episode actually paired him with Arthur which is not a pairing I saw coming. Those two have had minimal contact so far and this was an unexpected dynamic that worked well only because Arthur has experienced some real growth lately.The episode was essentially one long set piece giving us the opposed philosophies of the Fire Force and the Evangelist while developing both Hinawa and Arrow quite a bit. The tail end of the sequence served more as an affirmation of Arthur’s evolution than further character growth but was nice as well.And it looks like we will get the climax of Vulcan’s character arc next week as the episode left us with Obi and Vulcan confronting Giovanni and Lisa. Vulcan has infinitely more attachment to the situation yet he looked a lot more relaxed and confident. In a way, this is another odd pairing as Vulcan has no fire skill and is a non-combat character and Obi is physically strong but still a normal human.Obi seems unduly worried
What About the Characters
I sort of jumped the gun in my summary section didn’t I. Ok quick rehash, Arthur has had some great character evolution through his defeat at Vulcan’s shack and his training with Benimaru and this episode was an affirmation of that.However, the centrepiece and main take away was really Hinawa. We had already gotten a taste of the character in the tremendous flashback episode a few weeks ago. He’s a rigorous by the book guy who deals with tragedy and pain by taking on more responsibility and setting clear rules for himself. The cool (almost cold), efficient megane trope. The worst guy to go against Arrow who appears to be the same archetype brought to an even further extreme as she has shed empathy along the way. The recurring theme of the episode was feelings don’t matter.Of course, those collected types aren’t exactly devoid of feelings. It’s often a way to deal with very intense feelings in fact. That’s why they fall apart at loss of control. But not Hinawa. He isn’t a child. He’s a hardened soldier who’s watched friends die. He knows who he is. And dispassionate is not it. He has a lot of feelings, it’s been the driving force in his life. And this is what pulls him out on top in this week’s Fire Force.I wouldn’t say there was any growth or development for Hinawa this week. I think the guy that went into the Nether is the same guy that walked away from that battleground with Arthur, it’s just that we know him a little better now.
And you know who else we got to know? Vulcan! I thought the guy was a lovable oaf type. Turns out he’s smooth as silky butter! Sheesh…good point!
What I Liked
The visual, sound design and narrative integration throughout the Hinawa vs Arrow sequence was masterful. In my notes, I called it a desolate oasis in a sea of chaos. The way colours and sounds got stripped away to make every motion and slight noise count t so much more was a stroke of brilliance.Even though they didn’t beat us over the head with it, the central message is something that I really enjoyed. I translated it as: in a world that has stopped making sense cause people are bursting into flame for no reason, feelings are all that matter. There’s a tired trend in fiction to associate emotionality with lack of intelligence or judgment which is the opposite of what biology tells us, so I love when a show goes against that trend.
Arthur’s delusions being played for laughs is an arguable choice but I enjoyed seeing the return of his abominable spirit in the form of him resetting his internal reality to suit his whims. No longer a knight he is now a Knight Samurais or Samurai Knight which sounds simultaneously incredibly childish and just so cool!Licht remains an inscrutable wild card to me (a joker if you will) and that is awesome for tension and conflict. Apparently pairing him with Shinra is a great move!I always like Arthur
What I Liked Less
This was a really good episode in what I think will be a great closing arc. Any complaints I have are sort of nitpicking formalities.
I guess Giovanni is somewhat of a flat and difficult to believe antagonist. He is characterized as pretty much cartoonishly evil which isn’t particularly interesting, especially in a cast of over the top characters. It also doesn’t make him as threatening as other villains. I’m way more scared of Hibana getting annoyed and she’s one of the good guys…kinda…
The way Lisa’s character is personified (and the OP) sort of drains the tension from her arc. I already know she’s going to be redeemed so I’m not too nervous about it at all. I’m just waiting to see exactly how it’s going to happen. (Check back with me if the show decides to complete subvert my expectations and not redeem her at all, it will be a shock and I will take this back!)does eye colour have a significance?
Eventually, I’m going to have to go over my reviews and take stock but I’m pretty sure I’m at a net positive of episodes I’ve enjoyed vs those I haven’t for Fire Force. Honestly, if they simply took out one character (with very limited narrative impact at that) I think most people’s gripes with the series would be answered.
In any case, this was another great episode and I’m really looking forward to the next one.
Mood: Fired up
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
Want more Fire Force reviews from Irina?
Images from: Fire Force. Dir. Y Yase. David Production. 2019.