Welcome, one and all, to my continued weekly review series for Fire Force, aka Enen No Shouboutai. The fourth episode, The Hero and the Princess, saw us broach a little of the stuff that we’ve touched on before. Let’s look at the key points.
After last week’s revelation from Captain Obi, this is absolutely the first thing that springs to mind. We got to see Special Fire Force Company 5 for the first time, with the focus placed on their leader Princess Hibana. She obviously has a very different leadership style to Obi. While her soldiers appear to be just as loyal as those in Company 8, there is a clear division in terms of their apparent value to the Captain. I mean, the first time we see her, she’s using three of them as a chair and a mass of others as a pseudo carpet. Later on, we also see that, unlike Obi, she is actually a powered Fire Soldier, in this case a Third Generation Pyrokinetic. In terms of power, she seemed able to quell Shinra’s flames with just a look, so she must be pretty powerful.
In terms of the corruption angle, Company 5 is linked with Haijima Industries. That doesn’t appear to mean much to Hibana though as, when a message comes through from the offices, she isn’t interested in taking it at all. So, not only is her Company linked with the tech giant, but she seems to have her own agenda too. In this case, that’s capturing Infernals.
Although this week’s Infernal appearance falls under Company 8 jurisdiction, Company 5 move in due to the type of Infernal it is (more on that in a moment). Even with Shinra ultimately bringing the thing down, Company 5 still end up taking it. Why? Because they have a science team and Company 8 doesn’t, so they’re in a good position to research the ‘specimen’ rather than have it immediately destroyed. The resulting promise of sharing the results with Obi felt disingenuous.
I liked that, after touching on the subject last week, we’re immediately jumping into an example of the corruption, even if only in minor detail. Hibana and her crew are an interesting lot, and I look forward to seeing them clash with Company 8 again down the line.
Different Types Of Infernal
In the first episode, we saw an Infernal that was out of control. In the second, we saw one that retained enough sense to stay calm and wait to be put to rest. While episode three was more about the fight between Shinra and Joker, the fact that both of the prior episodes hinted at a hierarchy of Infernal types. This week, we saw more of that.
The Infernal was a man named Miyamoto, who was a fire fighter that committed murder, multiple times over. As an Infernal, he has retained the ability to speak, as well as free thought. Hinawa mentioned that when someone has a strong will and attachment to life, some of their traits can remain, but he’s never seen it go this far.
As a concept, I loved this. It means that the team never really know what they’re going to be facing. It’s always an extreme end though; the father in episode two was docile to save his daughter, and Miyamoto was as murderous as he was in life. It feels like being turned into an Infernal ramps up certain aspects of your personality.
We also got treated to a little bit of philosophy as a result, with Shinra having a bit of an internal struggle over whether he could view Miyamoto as just an Infernal, or if he was still alive. That sort of things has the potential to make things very difficult when the truth about Infernals comes out as, depending on what the secret to their creation is, life and death may not be entirely clear.
Lieutenant Hinawa almost always looks intense. Even when he’s shocked, it’s overblown. He definitely has an extreme personality with regards to how he presents himself. He clearly has an important role in the team though. When Shinra was struggling, it was Hinawa that stepped in and told him to ignore the Infernals words and simply put it to rest. Obi actually apologized to him for not saying it himself, but Hinawa pointed out that it needed to be said, but not by their shining light. It was such a throwaway line, but it was important. It shows that Obi remaining a pure, human face is important. It’s like they’re pre-empting a public backlash over the similarities between Special Fire Soldier abilities and Infernal abilities. Good, subtle stuff, that also kinda hinted at Hinawa being an enforcer rather than a true leader.
The public perception of the Fire Force was also brought up, with the mascots pointing out that they sometimes get hassled. Why? Because Miyamoto killed people and so people judge the entire fire department. It makes you wonder how many other incidents of individual bad people pop up, resulting in the public redirecting their anger and fear at the department as a whole.
Maki is fast becoming a favourite character too. We’ve already seen her being tough, and we’ve seen her being feminine to a caricature level. This week, she was just plain funny. After showing some compassion in getting Shinra and Arthur to take on a job that should have been more appropriate for the regular fire department, she was too scared to tell Hinawa. Which left the boys taking the brunt of his rage. Her over the top reaction was silly but great. In the same way, her pretending to break up the fight between Shinra and Arthur and Company 5’s Toru Kishiri, then just punching the upstart with her metal glove was a great moment. Not only was it effective, but she looked dead pleased with herself. That was awesome.
This was another fun episode from what has been a very consistent series so far. The action continued to be great, the characters are likable, and the story is building some real intrigue on multiple plot points. Great stuff.
Those were my thoughts, anyway. 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.
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