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Here we are again.
For as hyped as I was about this series back when it was first announced in 2019, I never actually ended up watching it because, around that time, I was in one of those modes where watching anime felt like more work than it should. Thus, I ultimately ended up ignoring it. It came back into my mind every so often as my friends who were watching it insisted how hype it was. Still, I never really felt like I was missing all that much.
The many twitter “controversies” that popped up around the show’s fanservice passively made me more confident in my decision to ignore the series after the first episode. This is mainly do to just how many of them there were, as it felt like every other week there was some clip that made the rounds in which one of the female characters were half naked in a situation in which it made no sense.
Even as I started the series again just about a week ago now, I was not sure whether or not I was going to actually end up enjoying it at all. Luckily, the series was definitely not as bad as my admittedly hasty judgement led me to believe. In fact, I would say outside of the often horribly stupid fan service, the show is really cool.
I talked previously about how “Soul Eater” is genuinely one my favorite Shonen series and that seeing another series by Atsushi Ōkubo was an exciting prospect. It is clear after having finished both series that Okubo has a fairly large appetite for Shonen and Seinin fusions. Though, “Fire Force” definitely leans a lot more heavily into the Seinin side of things than its predecessor.
This is true in a number of aspects. Firstly, the series’ main character Shinra has an off-putting design that makes him look a demon in a lot of ways, which is reinforced by how he is referred to as a devil by many of the other characters in the show. This also comes through in his nervous smile, which makes him look even more so.
The art for “Fire Force” is also feels disturbing in a lot of places too. The depictions of Adolla as a kind of space hell filled with black flames and burning skeletons is honestly intimidating every time it comes on screen. Not to mention fog horn esc noise which both puts and pulls characters in and out of that space. On top of that, there is a lot more straight up gore when it comes to both the fights and character’s deaths.
“Fire Force” as a story is both intriguing from the get go and incredibly entertaining. From the first episode we are introduced to a world in which human beings randomly implode into beings known as infernals, all while being introduced to the group whose job it is to stop these beings. From there, the series rapidly increases the stakes, and each new mission company eight goes on unlocking another piece of an evermore elaborate puzzle.
Even now, with two season done and a potential third on the horizon, there are a ton of questions still left to be answered, about the evangelist, the nature of life after the great cataclysm and the structure of the Tokyo empire. Maybe it was because I binged the series more or less all at once, but seeing the scale increase so rapidly for the series was some of the most fun I have had with an anime in a while.
It is a shame that some of the characters who get the most screen time really are not that interesting. While I am largely referring to Tamaki when I say that, given how most her personality is just losing her clothes at the worst possible time, there are other culprits as well. One of the main ones is Arthur, who also seems to get played up as largely a joke character, so much so that even his backstory gets treated as a punchline. Now, do not misunderstand, I like dark humor as much as the next person, but given how serious the tone is most of the time, having a character who is that prominent in the story be only a punchline feels like a waste.
Outside of those two, however, it feels as though everyone else who has been at all important to the plot has gotten there due diligence, at least as much as they can get given how much story is likely left. I will also leave my usual warning of “depending on how the rest of the series goes, I could be proven wrong.”
Overall, “Fire Force” is a fantastic series. There are definitely still a lot of flaws that, at this point, feel pretty inherent to the experience, such as the fanservice and occasionally unfunny gags. However, looking past that, there is a lot of potential and I am excited to see the series come to a resolution, hopefully sometime soon.
How do you all feel about “Fire Force?” Let me know in the comments.
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