Fire Force

Fire Force

Fire Force anime series cover art
Fire Force

Overview

Fire Force (Enen no Shouboutai / 炎炎ノ消防隊) is an anime series created by David Production which doesn’t start with the words “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.” It was also directed by Yuki Yase, who formerly worked with the animation studio Shaft.

So with those things in mind, it was pretty expected from the start that Fire Force would be a good anime — and in fact it is. However, that doesn’t mean this series isn’t without it’s problems. And the issues it has are shared among most shounen “battle” series.

You know, things like the protagonist having a really overpowered ability from the start, but he just doesn’t know how to use it right away. Or the fact that generally speaking the female characters are little more than pieces of fan service — looking at you, Tamaki.

But it’s not like I have an issue with those things in general. It’s just that there’s a time and place for those tropes, and with so many similar series using them, they get pretty worn out. Honestly, does Tamaki add anything to this series other than random fan service which I guess might be funny to teenagers?

You can have fan service characters who actually have depth and meaningful roles. They don’t need to be afterthoughts.

And Fire Force actually had a pretty interesting and unique premise. Or, at least it would have been unique if Trigger’s movie Promare didn’t release right around the same time. I’m pretty sure Promare released first in Japan, but Fire Force released first internationally.

Both are centered around the concept of spontaneous human combustion killing off a large percentage of the world’s population. And both include survivors of that calamity who develop pyrokinetic abilities to fight against and solve the mystery behind such combustion.

Also, they somehow seem to be completely unrelated. Promare allegedly began production in 2013, while the Fire Force manga didn’t release until 2015 — and the author wouldn’t have known about Promare because it wasn’t teased until 2017.

Characters

Shinra Kusakabe is the protagonist of the series. He lost his family as a child when an infernal (someone who spontaneously combusts and turns into a pseudo-demon) appeared. And ever since then he’s had a special pyrokinetic ability known as an Adolla Burst — this is explained later on in the series.

Shinra’s rival is Arthur Boyle, who like Shinra is a new recruit at the 8th Fire Brigade. He always refers to himself as “the knight king,” most likely in reference to Arthur Pendragon. And to fit this image, he fights with a sword made of plasma.

There’s also Iris, the sister (nun) who is with the 8th as well. Don’t question why the fire brigades are intertwined with the church, it’s just an anime thing. Japan thinks the Christian church is cool, so just go along with it and pretend that it is.

Hibana and Iris from the anime series Fire Force
Hibana and Iris

Maki Oze is the only real female member of the 8th — because Tamaki is basically on load, Hibana just hangs out there sometimes, and Iris I think technically isn’t an official member. She’s also a pyrokinetic like Shinra and Arthur, but at a lower level. She has the ability to control two little, sentient flames.

The final pyrokinetic member of the 8th is the second in command, Takehisa Hinawa. He doesn’t have the same level of pyrokinetic abilities as Shinra and Arthur though. Instead, he can simply alter the explosive force in his ammunition. By doing so, he can make his bullets less or more lethal.

And then we have the captain of the 8th, Akitaru Oubi. That’s right, the captain isn’t even a pyrokinetic. Instead he wears a heavy suit of armor and uses a large shield to protect himself from the flames.

Pyrokinetic Abilities

So from what we know in the anime right now, there are basically four different levels of pyrokinetics: infernals, second generations, third generations, and Adolla Burst users. However, exactly how these different levels are related isn’t quite clear yet.

The infernals are pretty basic. Even though we don’t exactly know why they exist, we know that they’re humans who have combusted. And aside from having superhuman strength and are on fire, I don’t believe we’ve ever seen one actually control flames.

The second generation pyrokinetics are those who can control flames. Maki and Hinawa fall into this category. However, although they’re called second generation pyrokinetics, that doesn’t mean they’re the children of infernals. We don’t actually know why they’re called this.

Arthur Boyle from the anime series Fire Force
Arthur Boyle

Arthur (and technically Shinra, I guess) is a third generation pyrokinetic. This means that he can not only control flames, but can create them on command as well. This is how he’s able to ignite his plasma sword. Shinra can enable the jet-like flames in his feet at will as well.

Oh, and just because they’re called third generation pyrokinetics doesn’t mean they have anything to do with the second generation.

Then there’s the Adolla Burst users. We don’t yet know much about the Adolla Burst, and I won’t spoil what we do know about it, but it’s basically another level up from third generation pyrokinetics. It’s not said to be that way, but considering the Adolla Burst is even more powerful, I’ll say it is.

Conclusion

Overall, I’d say Fire Force is a 7/10. It’s definitely a good anime, but it’s not anything special. It looks really good at times, but the story is pretty lacking, and the characters are even more so. But if you’re into shounen battle anime, then you’ll probably enjoy it.

Also, while I don’t actually remember the second ED, the rest of the OPs and EDs are great. The first OP is good, but the second one was my favorite OP (song) of the entire year. And the first ED was probably the best visually of all the OPs and EDs for this series.

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Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN, CaptainRainbowPizza, and Rob Wright for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika, Sensei, and Kouhai tiers respectively this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of season 2 episode 1 is available here.

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