Fire Force Episode 3 – Embers of Doubt

I wasn’t sure how they would handle Fire Force and I don’t know what the general audience thinks of it yet. I do know this episode was re-edited both in narration and visuals but If I hadn’t read it, I would not have noticed. It flows perfectly from the last episode.

I tried to write a little preamble about the tragedy and failed. I’ve shared my thoughts previously, for now, I think I’ll just review episode 3 of Fire Force. As always you can see a gallery of this episode over on my blog. I went a bit overboard with the commentary on the visuals, almost ended up with a second review.

What I Thought Would Happen

I thought Arthur and Shinra would bicker all episode. Episode 2 ended on a highly emotional and dour scene so I figured they would lighten the mood with some comedic hijinks. I figured it would also be a good opportunity to get some character development from the rest of the company.

We really don’t know much about them yet so a Firehouse episode would have served on a few levels.

What Did Happen

Shinra and Arthur take part in a friendly competition that pits the new rookies of each company against each other in a mock infernal intervention. However, things go wrong when a mysterious man with a snazzy hat and obvious pyrokinetic interrupts the event, injuring the organizers posing as internals and attacking Shinra.During their fight, he reveals that Shinra’s little brother Sho survived the fire that killed their mother but we have no way of knowing if he’s telling the truth. He offers Shinra the option to “join” him and find out more but Shinra flat out refuses him even before hearing the details. Arthur and cat girl arrive and they all manage to escape before the whole place blows up.Everyone is safe but Shinra, having had the feeling that the firefighter organization was keeping something secret for a while now, is even more uncertain after hearing the mysterious hated man. When he confides in his captain, he discovers wide-ranging political struggles and inner strife echoes throughout the organization and there are more secrets than one can count. However, company 8 is there to find the truth and the cure for the infernal epidemic.

OOOhhh and I almost forgot, in the before OP tag, we find out the rest of the world is in shambles and Japan is basically the only place with a semblance of working civilization. Just a little tidbit of info there….

Fire Force ep3 1 1
Tell Me

What About the Characters

Actually, if there was one thing that this episode didn’t do much for, it’s the characters. Status quo for most of them. We get introduced to cat girl but she’s just another fan service babe and so far doesn’t have much of a story. More interestingly, cat girl’s company captain is Leonard Burns (I know!) who happens to be the firefighter who saved Shinra as a child and who we see in flashbacks all the time. We find out nothing about him but the episode heavily framed him as a potential antagonist and untrustworthy. Nice twist on the never meet your heroes axiom.The only other character that made some headway is Captain Obi. And I’m starting to really worry about the man. Everything we found out about him this week was honourable and impressive. A compassionate hero that cares more about lives than glory and that will put his personal drive aside for what he considers the greater good. “A model firefighter”…He’s dead, right? They’re gonna kill him. Next thing we’ll find out he’s engaged to be married in a month and his fiancee is pregnant…. caput.

We were also introduced to two, so far mostly unknown villains. I think Fire Force works well with villains as a concept so I look forward to getting to know them.

What I Liked

The visuals. If you go over to my gallery post I went into it a lot there. It’s a very pretty show that pays attention to details!

I also liked that Shinra and Arthur didn’t bicker all episode. When they joined up in the fight, they were all business. I’m sure their rivalry will come up in the future again. Probably a lot in fact, but they are making their relationship a bit more complex and varied than just that one-note and I appreciate that.The entire fighting scene was once again well choreographed. Having Shinra be a “kicker” puts him in stances that are uncommon. However, it was the impossibly cool cigarette lighting moment that brought a smile to my lips.I continue to be very impressed by the exopositional abilities of this show. Before the opening tag we had some rather game-changing world-building happening (i.e., the world is in shambles and only Japan has managed to maintain civilization more or less intact after the infernal outbreak) plus not one but two villains introduced and clearly marked as baddies, in what was just a few minutes of a rather natural-sounding conversation. Impressive!

I love the potential political intrigue they are setting up. Sure we could have enjoyed the story merely as Shinra’s coming of age while kicking fiery behinds but having something greater than anyone character to tie it all together opens up more possibilities I think. I really want to know where it goes.I’m not sure if I said this last week, but I really like the OP.

Fire Force ep3 5 4
hmmm, they look a lot alike…

What I Liked Less

You know, I have decided that maybe Fire Force is just bad at Fanservice. Or rather that it has decided to opt for that particular style of fanservice that I tend to like less and find distracting. There was a double whammy of the unfortunate “accidental groping” trope and it was insisted upon. Cat girl really does seem like someone did a survey of what is your fantasy anime girl at a random net cafe and just created her out of the answers. In the Demon Slayer review, I did with Crow this week, I speculated whether Zenitsu’s character may be “lost in translation” on me and I have a feeling something similar may be happening with Fire Force’s fanservice.

This doesn’t mean that she can’t become interesting but she just wasn’t this week and I hope she isn’t being set up as the obligatory love interest or something.

Although I like the ideas of villains in this show it’s a double-edged sword. A badly written one could really bring the series down.

Closing Thoughts

I realized that I had missed Fire Force more than I thought in the week that it was off the air. It was a thrill to reconnect with the series and by the end of the episode, the good did outshine the bad. I still hope we get to know the rest of company 8 better soon.

Mood: Almost there

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.

11 thoughts on “Fire Force Episode 3 – Embers of Doubt

  1. Did I miss something? There’s a catgirl? I’m definitely not up to date with the latest episode on Fire Force.

    I think it’s natural to assume that there is more to the Characters than what meets the eyes. That what makes for an amazing story. Can’t wait to see all this unfold.


  2. Captain Obi ‘wan Kenobi’ – the mentor. Arthur even has a lightsaber. I’ve already made my peace with him. So sad, he will be missed!

  3. Well…there could also be another angle to Captain Obi. What he if he is set up to be this all around nice guy….but actually isn’t? From what I have seen this week, there is more to the story than we previously guessed. Which is why I am wondering if there are maybe characters that have hidden motives we don’t know about yet. But…I guess we have to wait and see😊
    The fan service moment I could have done without as well. Other than that it was another great episode! Can’t wait for the new one to arrive! 😊

  4. “Next thing we’ll find out he’s engaged to be married in a month and his fiancee is pregnant…. caput.”

    And about to retire. Don’t forget that! He’ll be about to retire.

    Death flags galore!

    “I realized that I had missed Fire Force more than I thought in the week that it was off the air.”

    I did, too.

    And I still want to know more about Iris. Between the ED and that odd abstract moment she experienced with Maki, there’s some stuff going on there!

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