As days of self-isolation go by, my watchlist continues to shrink; there are no shows that interest me anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because of sheer boredom but I found myself feeling unmotivated by everything. I decided to rewatch “Soul Eater” on Netflix for the umpteenth time, but once I finished, I stumbled to Hulu and came across “Fire Force.”
The art style attracted my attention; the protagonist reminded me of Soul from “Soul Eater.” I thought “Eh, might as well give it a try” before starting the first episode.
Before I knew it, I finished all 24 episodes in a day with dried tears on my cheeks. I always found myself either screaming, laughing or crying as I clicked next episode. By the time I got to the end, I frantically searched online for Season 2; there’s no way they’d end it with a cliff hanger like that! That was when I realized “Soul Eater” and “Fire Force” were created by the same people. It was interesting but not surprising. Both series captivate with their storylines, characters and twists that capture the hearts of its audience.
However, “Fire Force” does something a little different to draw viewers in.
From the very first episode, you’ll be left with piles of questions.
It begins with what looks like modern Tokyo. There are people on a train waiting for their next stop while the conductor makes an announcement. Unfortunately, no one can predict that a random stranger would transform into an “Infernal” and blow up the train.
Shinra Kusakabe, the protagonist, sees the crash and the subsequent train explosion. A tall, skeletal-like creature emerges, covered by flames, as he stares down Shrina. He looks unfazed by the Infernal, ready to take it on. That is until Special Fire Company 8 arrives on the scene to lay it to rest.
I asked myself, “Where is this kid going? What’s so special about him?”
Not too long afterward, Shinra saves Sister Iris from a falling light with fire that comes from his feet. Then he introduces himself to the rest of Company 8 as the new recruit, a third generation pyrokinetic.
Sounds complex, right? That’s the point.
Having questions is a way of creating interest to get the audience invested in the piece. Fewer questions cause a lack of interest. All the information serves as a basis for new questions that leave people wondering: What are Infernals? Why is there a Special Fire Force? Why can Shinra shoot fire from his feet?
You’ll be sucked in, waiting for the answers to arrive.
Every Question has an Answer
All anime societies raise eyebrows and questions. It may be compelling, but is it plausible?
I find myself questioning the society within any anime series. It must have a sense of truth to be believable and intriguing.
“Fire Force” brings audiences into the middle of things with no background knowledge. You are brought into the action, the heat of every battle, to help construct a sense of understanding about the dire situations involving Infernals. You’ll find yourself questioning everything as new information is uncovered; there is always more than meets the eye.
I think of it as giant, tangled ball of yarn. You can undo one knot and get another step closer, but there’s still much more ahead waiting to be untangled.
As your curiosity increases, you’ll find yourself binging episodes. You won’t be able to help yourself until it’s too late and Season 1 is over, gone without a second thought.
Every character that is introduced fulfills multiple roles in the overarching story, helping build up for what is to come.
I found myself, at times, hating certain characters before falling for their quirky personalities. Their transformations often happen after coming across Shinra and hearing his heroic words. Or watching him fight Infernals to save them or someone they care about.
Regardless of the situation, Shinra serves as a turning point for all the characters. He possesses the ability to instill hope and inspire others, triggering a change for the better. He’s the hero everyone needs and wants.
Shinra, however, isn’t the only character you should focus on.
Arthur, Shinra’s rival in Company 8, lightens up intense situations with comedic idiocy, oftentimes using the wrong words or forgetting what hand he uses to hold his sword. He’ll attract you with humorous dialogue and constant talk of being a knight. While Shinra and Arthur are rivals, their rivalry is really just a childish competition that adds more humor.
Captain Obi of Company 8 is like Shinra, with his own heroic words and actions. The main difference is that Obi doesn’t possess any special abilities like the rest; he must use weaponry and wear heavy armor when going into battle. But he does work out to carry a lot of weight with ease. Many characters look up to Captain Obi as a source of inspiration, especially Shinra.
Maki is a second generation pyrokinetic with incredible strength: Just don’t mention it to her face — she’s sensitive about it. Anyone that brings it up faces her wrath. She misinterprets their words and twists them to make herself angrier. It confuses both her opponent and the audience, yet adds humor to fight scenes. Behind the muscle, she is an innocent romantic that transforms flames into fire sprits to reduce impact.
There are plenty more characters I could list, but that would transform a simple article into an encyclopedia entry.
Every episode is unique. One episode can find the hero preparing to fight a strong foe. Another can indulge in background information about characters. Or one might witness an intense transformation.
“Fire Force,” however, encompasses multiple perspectives within every episode to unravel the mysteries that remain unsolved.
Trying to know a character is vitally important with any anime. Learning about characters help create a foundation of understanding that leads to attachment. Each episode fleshes out their past, without taking away from the present moment.
Fights are always happening. Whether it be training or taking out the White Clads, a character is fighting. Having constant action makes the show more riveting. You’ll eagerly be wondering who will fight who or what. Fist fights, however, aren’t the only type of battles that keep the show going. Internal conflict depicted via interior dialogue illustrates the doubts characters may have. Characters often face two obstacles: their opponent and themselves.
Still Not Convinced?
“Fire Force” is a superb anime series that can capture the attention of anyone watching. From the characters to a complex, layered plot, every episode will leave you wanting more. You’ll want your questions answered to better understand the Tokyo depicted in the series. You’ll want to know about Infernals, Shinra’s past, White Clads and adolla bursts.
Action, whether it be physical or mental, displays challenges a character must overcome to be stronger and get the information they seek. They fight to their fullest to win battles, stop evil and save the lives of all humans.
You’ll find yourself loving every character for their quirks. Each provide a sense of comic relief from serious action through their words or actions. Your emotions will change drastically from laughing to crying to screaming to laughing again.
And you’ll fall in love with the heroism of every character, especially Shinra. Every hero fight for those who can’t and helps anyone who needs it. They don’t question it. When someone screams for help, a hero is there. Heroes embody hope and inspire others to be like them. They don’t always have fancy costumes on either because that isn’t what makes them a hero — it’s ambition to save and protect others while putting their lives on the line, even if they do have a devilish grin.