Welcome, one and all, to my continued weekly review series for Fire Force, aka Enn Enn No Shouboutai. Episode 10, The Promise, gave us some of the best and worst of what the series has to offer. Let’s look at the key points.
I want to get this bit out of the way first because it’s a recurring thing at this point. Since her introduction, Tamaki has had plenty of potential. While clearly designed with fan service in mind, her power is interesting. On top of that, she has little glimmers of potential character traits that open her up to some nice progression.
Then the lucky lecher lure happens. This week, Tamaki is barely present in the episode, but when she is on screen, the focus shifts to her getting accidentally undressed. This starts with her running in, excited at the prospect of ramen, and her skirt falling off. Yes, it just unclipped and fell, sending her flying into the air and knee first into Shinra.
The second incident happened at the end of the episode, when the girls decided to cook dinner. Tamaki put on a shiny pink apron. But for some reason, she thought that she needed to get naked to do so rather than put it on over the top of her clothes. And then she got upset that Shinra saw her in such a state, leaving Maki flummoxed by her decision to not wear anything else.
I mean, was there a point to any of that? As jokes go, Tamaki’s lucky lecher lure is terrible. It would be cringeworthy if it happened once in a while, but with it happening so frequently, it’s far, far worse than that. On top of that, there’s no sense of balance to when it happens. Even in episodes that are relatively serious, it crops up in the middle of it all, marking a tonal shift that’s so severe, it takes you out of the moment. Here, being used as a bookend to serious moments is an improvement, but isn’t much better.
The real shame is, I’ve normally been able to find something to balance it all out and say. ‘at least she also did this…’. This week, I can’t even do that.
Captains, Captains, Everywhere
We finally got to see all 8 Company Captains together. Obviously, we’ve seen Leonard Burns (Company 1), Princess Hibana (Company 5), and Akitaru Obi (Company 8) multiple times before. This was our first time seeing Gustav Honda (Company 2), Dr. Giovanni (Company 3), Soichiro Hague (Company 4), Kayoko Huang (Company 6), and Benimaru Shinmon (Company 7) though.
So, what did we learn? The first point made was that Obi had never seen a meeting called in all his time running Company 8. That means that the Tokyo Empire Emperor, Raffles III, was taking it all very seriously. And sure enough, his message is simple: deal with The Evangelist and his blasphemy. He also seemed fairly sympathetic towards Shinra. It was nice seeing a person in power portrayed as good, as it gives some hope that the good guys will be able to get help when they need it.
Allegiances, old and new, were also brought up. Karim Flam spoke directly to Obi early on and declared that he wants to help Company 8. That was to be expected. More interesting though was the relationship between Company 5 and 3. Dr. Giovanni, the plague doctor mask-wearing Captain of Company 3 confronted Hibana outside the building. Both their companies were loyal to Haijima Industries, but she has been spending a lot of time with Company 8.
While Hibana said his questioning was ridiculous, she indirectly confronted him again during the meeting. Giovanni had suggested that Shinra was a target, so he should be put under lockdown. Hibana said that they didn’t need to interfere with Company 8 and explained to Obi that 3 likely wanted to use Shinra as a specimen. That led to Obi guaranteeing Shinra’s safety.
Now, both 3 and 5 obviously have a scientific approach to their work. Hibana’s direct defiance of Giovanni’s wishes is interesting because I could see it lead to the doctor informing Haijima Industries that she’s defecting. That would have repercussions for Company 5’s funding, I would think. Will it go down that way? Who knows? I hope they do something with it though.
Also worthy of note was Benimaru Shinmon of Company 7. Shinra points out that he’s the strongest soldier in the SFF. He also defies Raffles III, declaring that his Company are simply vigilantes and walking out of the meeting. His insistence of wanting his surname used first also apparently marks him as a proto-nationalist. He has no love of the Sun God either. All of that adds up to trouble in my mind. If he’s not onside with the general thinking of the SFF, he’s potentially buyable by the bad guys. We also now know he’s super strong, which sets him up as a likely obstacle for Company 8. Throw in the fascist edge to the term proto-nationalist, and we’ve got a recipe for temporary big bad.
Shinra had a little bit of progression here too. We learned that his Adolla Burst is essentially an unsullied flame of absolute purity. One alone is powerful enough to run Amaterasu, the power plant that runs the entire empire. Another as used to create the world and is also the cause of the world’s downfall. Joker also told him outright that his little brother Sho is a commander in the Evangelist Knights of the Ashen Flame. This is later confirmed when we see a shot of Sho with his knights, sporting the same smile as Shinra.
This was all confirmed at a decent pace, and it pushes the story along nicely. I was also happy to see the scenes of unity within Company 8. After the incident with Tamaki, Hinawa took over the cooking again and asked Shinra to help him. He asked Shinra if he was okay and said that if something’s bothering him that he can’t tell Hinawa, he should tell the Captain. He outright stated that it’s difficult, but he wants the rookies to be able to trust them. This all gave Shinra enough resolution to tell them what Joker had told him about his brother. The Company supported Shinra and said they’ll plan based on the concept that Sho is with the Evangelist. It was a heart-warming section and one that sets the closeness of the heroes at the forefront.
A subtle moment happened in the early part of the episode that I think may have been easily missed. While everyone is doing their thing, Hinawa quietly tells Obi that things are getting lively. He has a subtle smile when he says it too. I really liked that as it showed that, beneath the cold workhorse routine, he has a desire to see people happy.
Also, next week’s episode appears to be about the formation of Company 8. I assume that’ll be a flashback episode. I’m looking forward to that as it should give some background to the original members.
Most of the episode went by in flash for me, which was a surprise given the complete lack of action this week. Giving us sight of the 8 Captains but only really giving us a proper look at tow new ones was a wise decision as it avoided flooding us with new information. The Shinra progression was good too and sets up a potential familial clash for down the line. The only real negative for the episode was Tamaki’s unfortunate stripping routine, in my opinion. No matter how many times they bash me over the head with that routine, it doesn’t get any better. Otherwise though, that was fun.
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.
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