An Explosive Beginning
Enen no Shouboutai Episode 1
Of the handful of premiere episodes I watched over the weekend, Fire Force was certainly the one that grabbed me visually. Of course, fire is inherently a flashy element and when you base your story around people who catch fire and become fire spewing infernos you kind of have a head start in making your visuals stand out. Still, in less deft hands this could have been a mess of smoke and flame that fell flat however here the dynamic visuals and smooth action work together to propel the story along even during exposition sequences.
The opening theme is also one of the more immediately catchy ones I’ve listened to so far. I don’t know that it is going to remain a favourite for the season as openings have a tendency to grow on me or wear out their welcome as we go through a season, but this one at least got my attention straight away.
Now, if you read a lot of my reviews you might already have a sinking feeling about where this one is going given I’ve spent the first two paragraphs discussing visuals and music which are usually after thoughts for me. And you’d kind of be right. As much as I really like the concept here and found this episode to be great fun, not one character has left any kind of impression so far.
Sure I could describe each of them and their ‘trait’ as presented this episode but I don’t feel anything for these characters yet or even feel all that interested in them. Perhaps they just need more time given the focus of this episode was definitely setting up the overall situation that this story takes place in and how the world works, and they did a great job of that, but without connecting with any of the characters there’s only so long this will fly.
About the only thing I did feel about Shinra, who I guess is going to be our main character, is a sinking ‘oh no’ as I realised we’re in for another kid who wants to be a hero to fulfil a childhood promise to a dead parent because he’s been misunderstood, and there’s also some potential demon responsible for killing his mother, and it all just seemed like we’d seen this a million times before only a little bit better because they didn’t throw the main character’s whole backstory at me in the first episode and gave me time to actually care about them before unloading all of that.
Now, admittedly, they can certainly flesh him out beyond this trope from here and maybe he’ll be great, but so far no such luck. We’ve got a Full-Metal, Blue Exorcist, with a small Supernatural twist going on here and I’m not sure they are going to make this character stand on his own two burning feet.
Still, despite the characterisation on display this episode, or lack of it, this episode passed in the blink of an eye and was just fun. I’m keeping it on my watch list and I’ll enjoy the action for what it is and hope that as we go these characters find their own identity along the way.
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Images from: Fire Force. Dir. Y Yase. David Production. 2019.