Fire Force has been on my mind a lot this week. There were all the grumblings about censorship which got me a-thinking and a-bothering Karandi about it as well. I nagged her into doing a post with me so I hope you look forward to it!
I also saw Promare which was amazing – I hope to get a review out soonish – and shared more than a few elements with Fire Force. And then the ongoing divided views on the use of fanservice in the show has kept it topical.
But even without the constant reminders, I was looking forward to this week’s Fire Force. Despite my own misgivings about certain elements, for me, the good outweighs the bad by far and I am always happy for a new episode. Well, I was, am I still happy this week??? Suspense! Find out by reading this post…
What I am still doing is taking a ton of screencaps. It’s no secret that I am a complete fangirl of these visuals and could probably find a way to praise the plain white text eye-catch – so classic! You should come to see my gallery here. It’s so pretty!
What I Thought Would Happen
What Did Happen
Well, that but also not that at all. Yes, company 8 is investigating the powder but not Shinra. He’s a rookie and more or less on neighbourhood watch duty. The action revs up when we learn of a Fireman gone insane who ended up snapping and killing 4 people. However, he gets acquitted for political reasons but ends up turning into an infernal anyways. When company 8 goes to stop him, Shinra has to take the lead.
And we do get introduced to a new company (company 5), but there is no effort to make them ambiguous. They are not to be trusted and it’s clear from the get-go.
The episode is essentially world-building exposition sprinkled through a series of high action fight scenes. And it was really fun!
What About the CharactersWe don’t learn much about company 5 beyond shock value first impressions but that’s clearly on purpose. We continue to mostly focus on Shinra, who is growing slowly in complexity. He is in many ways a standard shonen protagonist but the show frames him constantly as a threatening and demonic figure. He is also much less naive then one could think. He works surprisingly well with Arthur when he needs to but can be still be goaded into mistakes like a kid. In some ways, he reminds me of Gon. That’s a frightening thought.
What I Liked
The show continues to be eye crack. I couldn’t stop staring at Hibana and honestly, the entire episode was mesmerizing. The sudden downpour and abrupt stop thereof to accompany Shinra’s character turn and her intervention was such a great touch. It washed out the colours, added some subtle sound design which changed the way we took in the action. Really good production!I’m going to talk about it more in the gallery.
The little clues we are getting about a wide-ranging political conspiracy are starting to hint at something big and exciting. The idea that Fire Fighters are protected from the law because of their significance to society is interesting. We have gotten many clues that seem to indicate that Fire Force is, in fact, taking place in a dystopia and it seems the narrative isn’t just using it for flavour. They are slowly building up to something big and I for one can’t wait to see where it goes.
Arthur is strong! It’s a weird thing to like about the show, right? But he really is. And so is Maki. What I mean is that the series could have starred any of them and still been great. Shinra is not the best or only hero and I think that makes for a more interesting cast.
The advent of a different infernal raises a lot of fascinating if very difficult questions. The firefighters already knew that they were essentially killing people but it’s one thing when the “person” is an aimless ball of fire with no apparent consciousness. It’s a very different proposition when that infernal can still think, communicate and obviously feel. When they can control their fire. At that point, the only real difference between them and Firefighters is their appearance. Well, don’t we have a nice deep moral quandary here. And the implications for the past… Now, what happens if they find a way to “cure” infernals?
What I Liked Less
I said I couldn’t stop staring at Hibana and that was true. I really liked her design. But it’s also very stupid considering she’s supposed to be as acting front line fire chief. And the entire S&M shtick fell flat for me. The thing is, I might have actually liked her character and the entire gimmick. It can be funny and I’ve seen the same trope used successfully before. It»’s not out of place in a show like Fire Force. But because the series has already managed to objectify every single female character in a mere 4 episodes, I’m a bit on the defensive. I have trouble seeing this as some cheeky little fun when the camera lingered so long on involuntary groping just a week ago. Had this been the first fanservice we had seen, I would have enjoyed it, I think.
I worry that we are getting too many potential antagonists and we won’t get the chance to set them up properly. I know we have 24 episodes so a bigger cast can be developed but we now have 2 entire rival companies and two related but potentially independent villains. Plus all the heroes and supporting cast. It’s a lot. Mind you, if they pull it off, it will be amazing!
Fire Force is an extremely well-made show on every level and that makes a huge difference. It’s a little early to tell if the plot will manage to bring all the elements together properly, but there’s no real reason to think it won’t.
Mood: Can’t wait for next Friday
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Fire Force. Dir. Y Yase. David Production. 2019.