Welcome, one and all, to my continuing episodic review series for Fire Force, aka Enn Enn No Shouboutai. Following on the Asakusa arc review, I’m taking a look at another three episodes today. Episode fifteen to seventeen essentially covers the Vulcan arc, introducing us to some new members for the Company 8 team. So, let’s look at the key points.
Vulcan: Family That Breaks
Given I’m calling this the Vulcan arc, it makes to start with him. You see, Company 8 needs an engineer to service their vehicles. And Obi has his eyes on the mysterious Vulcan, a man known to be a phenomenal engineer, but who has repeatedly turned down offers from both Haijima Industries and some Fire Companies. So, who better to send to convince him than Shinra, Arthur, and Iris?
This whole arc was designed to introduce Vulcan’s back story and motivations, and of course, see him inevitably join our heroes. Now, when we first meet him, he’s pretty standoffish. He makes it pretty clear that he has no interest in even talking to Shinra and co. His apprentice Yu is the one to let them in.
Now, the general set up here is simple: Vulcan comes from a line of genius engineers. His grandfather had two apprentices: Vulcan’s father and Special Fire Force Company 3 Captain, Dr. Giovanni. Vulcan’s father and grandfather actually created the Amaterasu power plant but held the key back. The result of this was that they died, an event that Vulcan himself believes was due to Dr. Giovanni.
This history with the Haijima influenced Company 3 has left Vulcan unwilling to work with the authorities. Dr. Giovanni pulled a few strings and made it so that no suppliers will actually work with Vulcan anymore. All in an attempt to get Vulcan on board. The engineer remains firm on this though, and though he warms to Shinra and his friends, he steadfastly refuses to join up with anyone.
We do get to learn that Vulcan is pretty kind-hearted. He will take in anyone that needs help. Hence his makeshift family with Yu and a lady named Lisa. He really misses his blood relatives and visits their grave daily. As such, his makeshift family is really important to him, and something that he views as unbreakable.
Family is not his only love though. Before our heroes leave, they do get to see something that Vulcan made with his father and grandfather: a holographic projector that shows immersive footage of various animals. That was really interesting, because the acknowledgment that there used to be 1.7 million animal species in the world is, to my memory, the first time mass extinction has been outright mentioned. Vulcan meanwhile used this as a way to introduce his main dream: to create a new power source that will not just provide power for the Empire’s people, but for everyone. He even wants to bring animals back from extinction, presumably via robotics.
Of course, by the time the arc ends, he’s a long way from that. Despite some warnings from Shinra, Arthur and Iris, he is outright attacked by Dr. Giovanni and his allies: The White Clad. Even worse, he is betrayed by a member of his family: Lisa.
In the end, he escapes with the others and agrees t stay with Company 8 as a guest. After experiencing what they’re like, he realizes that they’re similar to him in a way, and after apologizing to his deceased relatives, agrees to join up.
On the whole, I like Vulcan. He was needed to fill a clear role, but his character is decent so far. His goals are honourable, his trust in family is likable, and his insistence that he can get Lisa back on track gives him a long term goal.
Lisa: Breaking From The Family
Lisa, it turns out, was a double agent for Dr. Giovanni, tasked with Infiltrating Vulcan’s place and helping him get the key for Amaterasu. Her design is fine and has the quirk of jeans that are full length on one leg and daisy dukes on the other. Her power is also cool. She manifests flaming tentacles that latch onto the magnetic field around people. Tentacle sin an anime…that’s risky. Luckily, they’re battle tentacles. Not the famous, more problematic tentacles.
The key thing with her though is that she seems like a potential future ally. Yes, she manipulated and turned on Vulcan, but you could see some real happiness there when they were all hanging out. And when she was doing the sneaky stuff, her mood dropped. Okay, so she ended up more resolute when it came time to act, but that was counterbalanced by her final scene. Even after all she did, Vulcan reached out to her to escape with them. Lisa reached out too, and looked like she would go along, but pulled back at the last second.
While we saw far less of Lisa than Vulcan, I enjoyed the way their stories are tied together. She’s clearly conflicted, and that will give rise to plenty of opportunities for people to try to save her. I suspect they’ll drag it on for a bit before she joins the good guys again.
Shinra & Sho: Family To Heal
Shinra gets to meet Sho. It doesn’t go well. The thing is, Shinra is over the moon about seeing his brother again, but Sho views him as disgusting. While Shinra never even considered needing to fight his brother, Sho was far more prepared for the eventuality. He has some lightning-quick moves and makes easy work of his opponents.
What we learn here is that Shinra, like Vulcan, believes in healing his family. Sho shows no signs of wanting this though, unlike Lisa. He seems truly focused on being with the White Clad. Shinra’s internal messaging service also continues to build here, giving him a direct link to Sho at one point. Where this goes in the end, I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to find out though!
Sho’s battle with Joker was a lot of fun though. Joker seemed to keep up with Sho with relative ease, despite not having an Adolla Burst.
Dr. Giovanni: Destroying The Family
I honestly didn’t know what to make of Giovanni. On the one hand, his plague doctor gear is creepy, his manipulation plan was great, and him shooting Yu was really dark. At the same time though, some of his behaviours felt more like a spoof villain than a real one. And the electronic attacks? The first thing I thought when he launched his hand was ‘Go-Go-Gadget-Hand!’
Potentially, he’s an interesting villain, but it just feels like they don’t know whether to make him evil or slightly comedic right now.
We also got to meet the new science expert for Company 8: Viktor Licht. We don’t learn much about him, though he has already been seen talking with Joker. I doubt he’s a complete bad guy, but I’d like to see more.
More interesting was Arthur’s sense of self-perception. The more knight-like he feels, the more powerful he gets it seems. To the point that, when he thought he looked like a knight, he was virtually unstoppable. Gotta love the power of belief, eh?
While maybe not as good as the Asakusa arc, this was also decent. The first meeting between Shinra and Sho was an important one, and the supporting cast is growing again. With the White Clad making some very visible moves now, the action is sure to heat up too. Especially as Dr. Giovanni now has the key to Amaterasu. Oh, and no Lucky Lecher Lure for Tamaki again! Yay!
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.
Previous Episode Reviews:
- Fire Force Episode 1
- Fire Force Episode 2
- Fire Force Episode 3
- Fire Force Episode 4
- Fire Force Episode 5
- Fire Force Episode 6
- Fire Force Episode 7
- Fire Force Episode 8
- Fire Force Episode 9
- Fire Force Episode 10
- Fire Force Episode 11
- Fire Force Episode 12 – 14