I’ve noticed that a lot of the shows this week were arc conclusions. Although it might be a bit exaggerated to call Fire Force episode 6 the end of an arc, it did at least conclude the story we started last week and potentially bring a conclusion to company 5’s involvement in the greater plot. Or maybe not… Actually, we may have seen the introduction arc of future allies.
I do hope you guys are enjoying Fire Force or just this season of anime in general. You know what, let’s cast that net even wider, I hope you guys have a show that you look forward to watching, no matter when it aired. Because fiction that stimulates you is a gift and it can really change your outlook.
I feel like I may have set up some false expectations for Fire Force with that paragraph. It’s a good show but it has ups and downs. One thing it’s pretty consistent about though is the production! You can go see my gallery for visual proof!
Well considering the last shot of episode 5 was of Shinra standing in front of a large building, I figured he would go inside, kick everyone and get Iris out of there. Maybe the rest of the team would join him after a while. Something along those lines. You know, fighting shonen stuff, and I mean that affectionately.
What Did Happen
More or less that but in a more melancholy and meaningful way. The episode concentrated entirely on Shinra, Iris and Hibana, we didn’t see any other characters. At least not any others that are still alive. The episode was essentially two intertwined threads. The current fight between Hibana and Shinra as they each vie to get Iris on their side and the past story of Hibana’s happy childhood in an orphanage with Iris and how a horrific fire robbed her of her home, family and all her friends, but one… How in the end, her disillusionment and despair made her bitter and cruel. That’s it really. One fight and one flashback. And that’s all this episode needed.
I promise these won’t all be Hibana pics…maybe…
I could put this entire section under the “things I liked heading” but just to spread the words around more evenly, let’s talk about Hibana here! This episode was an engine for Hibana and Iris. They (mostly Hibana) are given the spotlight this week and it stays firmly tethered to the two of them. No one else is given much consideration. This week is their story. And it was good. It would have been easy to simply make Hibana a crazy character or a cold b*tch type with ample fanservice assets. Instead, Fire Force tried to make a real person. I admire that. Hibana was an ordinary little girl with powerful 3rd gen abilities. She grew up surrounded by ordinary little girls and kindly adults that treated her, as an ordinary little girl. But because she was charismatic and a born leader, the kids also flocked to her. Her childhood was happy and uneventful. At most, she would get scolded for using her powers without permission as fire is dangerous. But she also grew up in the church, and spend her childhood learning about and being disciplined into the service of a god. The church being also heavily associated with the Fire Department, Hibana was also introduced to those politics at an early age. So when a fire broke out killing everyone bu her and Iris, what Hibana saw was innocent children and gentle adults, having spent a lifetime devoted to a god that ignored them in their ultimate hour of need and suffering, she saw an organization like Fire Force who was happy to use her abilities to suit their needs but nowhere to be found when they could have saved someone. She saw her own power, that had lived within her since she was born, turn into evil and destruction and she saw herself in it as well. Hibana isn’t evil, she isn’t crazy. She’s not even particularly smart. She just an ordinary little girl who got very badly hurt and grew up to be an angry adult. It’s all quite common really. and I loved it.
What I Liked
Aside from what I’ve just said, I am seeing a pattern of isolation in the narrative structure. Fire Force tends to really focus tightly on whichever part of the narrative it happens to be exploring at the time and push everything else out. I am enjoying this structure and I think it makes it easier for me to connect with the action. I liked the opening scene with the slightly unsynched angels and how quickly Shinra disposed of the. It’s the type of slapstick humour I’m here for. I also was surprised that they attempted to seriously explain Hibana’s power. The idea that she can control heat to contract blood vessels, essentially controlling blood flow to the brain and organs is very interesting. It’s a pretty big stretch but I guess you could essentially master the power into mind-controlling someone.
What I Liked Less
Let me start by saying I really do like Iris. I did not like that she was used as a damsel in distress in both the present and flashback sections. I would have liked a bit more growth for her.
I loved Shinra’s dopey speech, cause it was dopey but I would have preferred if the girls laughed at him for it. It would have diffused the tension a bit and I think ending on a lighter note would have evened out the episode.
I’m afraid that they won’t use Hibana enough in the future to justify a full episode dedicated to building her character. If that happens, I would have preferred they told us more about Maki or Arthur instead. Even Iris for that matter.
I honestly started this review sort of neutral. I saw the episode Friday evening, quite tired and since then a couple of hectic convention filled days have passed. When I sat down to write the review I remembered the episode as sort of an “it was fun” thing. But the more I wrote and remembered it, the more I realized that this was a good episode. I hope we have more!
Mood: Happy, and I hope you are too
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Fire Force. Dir. Y Yase. David Production. 2019.