Welcome, one and all, to my continued weekly review series for Fire Force, This week, I’m looking at episode 2, which is titled The Heart Of a Fire Soldier. Much as the first episode was designed as a quick fire introduction to the core themes, this felt like a natural continuation of that process.
In the early going, we got to get a better look at Maki as a character. She was practicing controlling her flames when Shinra bust in with another new recruit third-generation pyrokinetic Arthur Boyle. When Lieutenant Hinawa turned up, he got them all to practice by having the two recruits fight Maki. Maki knocked Shinra off the roof of the building and smashed Arthur I the face before summoning a giant flame to scare them into submission.
I liked this section of the episode for a number of reasons. Seeing that Maki is genuinely tough was nice, and it also showed that her being a lower generation pyrokinetic didn’t stop her beating the upstart rookies. We also learned that the difference between the generations is that she can’t just summon flames like Shinra, but needs a Firestarter to do so. Meanwhile, Hinawa gave sus some background information during the battle, letting us know that Maki is an ex-soldier. He also acknowledged that contrary to his outward appearance, Shinra is capable of being rational, he’s just overconfident. We also got to see that, when referred to as an ogre, Maki hears gorilla cyclops and gets mad. I guess she has some issues with not being seen as feminine.
Newcomer Arthur Boyle refers to himself as the Knight King and has some pre-existing beef with Shinra. Shinra hates him because he views him as stupid but somehow is still popular. Meanwhile, Arthur is clearly very set on the idea of being a cool guy with a knight-esque code of honour. He’s an interesting addition to the cast, and to me, feels like he has a similar role to Black Star in Soul Eater. We’ll see if it plays out that way. He also has Excalibur as a weapon, which is a plasma cutter. It’s basically a lightsaber. As a bonus though, it negates the need for him to carry a Type 7 (a fire axe that shoots a sacred spike). At the end of the episode, we did get to see the two boys getting along a little better too, so they can obviously be professional when it’s needed.
The Infernal encounter was very different this week. Rather than a high-octane fight, the team turned up at a detached house and found that the man who had become an Infernal was sitting quietly at the dinner table. They were able to put him to rest with ease, bringing the whole thing to a close rather quickly.
This worked rather well though as it gave the series an opportunity to show us several different snippets of new information. For one, that the man was able to control himself means that the flames are fatal, but don’t have to mean full-blown destruction for everything around them. We also got to learn a little about how Obi views the job; he admonished Arthur and Shinra for brandishing their weapons in public and said that the ones they lay to rest are the survivors left behind. Obi also got angry when someone tried to bring the house down around them as the fire scenes are full of memories for the survivors and he will not allow them to be tampered with. He swears he’ll catch whoever is responsible. That was interesting, and it makes me think that he likely lost someone himself and was left without anything (or very little) to remember them by. Finally, we also saw that the crying child left behind had seen her mother become an Inferal two years ago, and now her Dad became one too. She was scared that she will become too, hinting at either a susceptibility running down a bloodline or particular families being targeted.
In another character debut, we got to see an eyepatch-wearing guy who was clearly tampering with the fire scene. He dropped some powder form a jar that made the flames act differently, and did the same again just before the house started to fall. To him, this was all just a little joke. His worldview is obviously very different from those held by the Special Fire Force members. I look forward to seeing if he has a major role going forward – not to mention more power – or if he’ll just be a minor hindrance for the team.
From a technical standpoint, I’m loving the show so far. It’s a small thing, but the detail on hands at times is wonderful. The new characters are no less unique looking than the others already introduced too. Of course, the animation is at its best during the action scenes, but nothing looks bad as yet, so long may that continue.
Overall, I enjoyed this again. The episode went by really quickly, and it did a good job with the worldbuilding, as well as giving us a little more to hold onto with the supporting cast. I liked the half-episode focus on one trait/backstory element for a character, as it allowed some quick-fire progression. I do think we’ll need to see some more from Shinra going forward, but the more the series fleshes out the entire cast the better really.
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Did you enjoy these episodes? Do you agree or disagree with any of my observations? Let me know in the comments below.