Fire Force Season 2 Episode 21

Fire Force Season 2 Episode 21

Enemy Contact

Fire Force Season 2 episode 21 was all over the place with its constant switching back and forth between fights. I’m not really sure why shounen battle series like to do this so much, but it’s pretty annoying. I’d much rather just watch a single fight all the way through before swapping over to the next one.

Let’s start this review by focusing on the fight between Shinra and Dr. Giovanni, which didn’t even get wrapped up in this episode. There wasn’t much of an actual fight here (yet), but there were some interesting things said by Dr. Giovanni.

I thought it was very strange for Dr. Giovanni to bring up some clearly false conspiracy theory about insects originating from outer space as an allusion to the origin of the Adolla insects. There were probably better ways to explain his point than that.

Dr. Giovanni as a space bug from the anime series Fire Force Season 2
Dr. Giovanni as a space bug

But ignoring that, we also saw that Dr. Giovanni turned himself into a mutant bug-man. He alleges that this was done so that he could resonate with the Adolla insects on a deeper level. Something tells me that it shouldn’t work like that, though.

Is he implying that insects in general are closer to Adolla than other life forms? I don’t see any other reason for why turning himself into a mutant bug-man would matter. It’s not like the bugs he combined with his body have anything to do with the Adolla bugs.

Am I missing some mythological connection between insects and fire that’s being referenced here? I would understand if he was a salamander-man, but the whole bug thing is lost on me.

The Martensite Man

While I may have not understood the whole bug-man thing, one thing I did understand was the martensite man. Martensite isn’t something that I would expect many people to know about, so I was surprised to see it referenced by Iron when referring to his pyrokinetic ability.

Iron did a pretty good job of explaining what martensite is in a basic sense. But just to make it a bit more clear, martensite is a microstructure of atoms that forms when certain metals are heated to specific temperature ranges and then cooled. He mentioned it in terms of tempering a blade, but it can also be achieved through a variety of other metal heat treatments.

I didn’t really like Iron’s character design all that much, but that mainly has to do with the White Clad having stumps rather than real feet. His beefed-up body looked extra odd standing on those stumps.

Iron of the Knights of the Purple Haze from the anime series Fire Force Season 2
Iron of the Knights of the Purple Haze

However, I did like Iron’s whole ability and theme. There’s actually a character who’s currently relevant in Boruto, Deepa, who has a very similar ability. The difference is that Deepa alters the carbon structure in his body to make it as hard as a diamond. Of the two, I think Iron is much cooler in how his ability works.

Altering your internal carbon structure arbitrarily as an ability is one thing. But using actual metallurgic principles to harden the iron in your body as an ability is way more creative. I love when there’s actually an explanation behind how powers work beyond just “magic.”

That’s something I feel Fire Force has been fairly good with. Obviously, most of the pyrokinetic abilities are just magic, but there are some that are grounded in reality to an extent. Aspects of Arthur’s, Haumea’s, and Ogun’s abilities come to mind.

Tamaki was Almost Redeemed

Last week, I expressed that while I was surprised that Hajiki died, it didn’t really matter all that much. What I really didn’t expect was for Juggernaut to die in this episode. It’s possible that he’s not really dead, but that would really take away from the emotional impact of his death scene, which I found to be quite good.

In fact, for a moment there I thought that Tamaki was going to redeem herself as a character. I previously called for Tamaki to be written out of Fire Force, and I thought I was going to have to retract that statement. But as it turns out, I still stand by it today.

Juggernaut’s death and the appearance of the final two Knights of the Purple Haze was the perfect opportunity for Tamaki to redeem her character. She had the chance to show us that she’s more than just a damsel in distress or an object to be lewded for fan service.

But, of course, that didn’t happen.

Tamaki being objectified as usual from the anime series Fire Force Season 2
Tamaki being objectified as usual

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming Tamaki for her failures as a character. I’m blaming the author for repeatedly writing her character in this way. When you think of mangaka who are extremely bad at writing female characters, you may think of Reki Kawahara or Masashi Kishimoto. But, I think Atsushi Ōkubo is showing them both up.

Every time I think he’s starting to do something right with his female character writing, he immediately goes in the opposite direction. How difficult is it to write a strong female character? He can do it for male characters. Just do the same thing, but this time it’s a woman.

To be fair, I have said that I think his female antagonists are good. And I do stand by that. I really like Haumea, and I thought Captain Hibana was good when she was in a more antagonistic role as well. But none of the Company 8 girls get the same treatment.

Conclusion

What do you think of Fire Force Season 2 episode 21? Do you like that Dr. Giovanni is now a bug-man? Could Iron survive a hit from Charon? And did you think Tamaki was about to be redeemed in this episode as I did? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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