Winter 2020 Anime: Official Info, Airdates & Trailers
Keep warm this winter season with the latest anime info at MANGA.TOKYO!
Fire Force has been one of those series that is slowly worming its way into my heart, despite my usual reservations about shounen anime. This week’s episode, ‘Heart of a Fire Soldier’ was a bit of a surprise, delving into some serious aspects of the series. But, don’t worry. There are plenty of light-hearted moments to keep casual viewers entertained.
Captain Obi tells Shinra about the upcoming Rookie Fire Soldier Games, an annual competition for newbie Fire Force recruits. However, Shinra won’t be representing Company 8 all on his own. The team’s newest recruit, Arthur Boyle will be joining the competition. Maki steps up to test the guys on their pyrokinetic abilities and promptly takes them both down a peg when she wipes the floor with them. But the training session is cut short when the team receives an emergency call about an Infernal nearby. Armed with their new weapons, Shinra and Arthur make their way to the scene with the rest of the team.
However, the two newbies make the mistake of revealing their weapons, earning them a stern talking from the ever upbeat and easygoing Captain Obi. With a new reverence for their job and the family members afflicted by the Infernals, Arthur steps up to take down the Infernal, but it’s a trap set by an unknown foe. The house bursts into flames and the team barely make it out unscathed.
A New Rival: Arthur Boyle – So what’s a shounen anime without a rival? This week’s episode introduces Shinra’s ‘frienemy’ Arthur Boyle, the King Knight. The two of them attended the academy together and struck up a bit of a rivalry thanks to their status as 3rd generation pyrokinetics, though Arthur manipulates his flames with the aid of a sword-like weapon, Excalibur.
4th Wall Breaking – There was a bit of fourth wall breaking in this episode, courtesy of Shinra. The most noteworthy occurrence comes at the start of the episode when Shinra remarks that Arthur’s ‘hero name’ King Knight is stupid. He turns and addresses the viewer, with something like ‘that’s a stupid name amiright?’.
Maki Schools the Rookies – This scene more than made up for the silly fanservice-y shower scene in Episode 1! Hinawa convinces Maki to test Arthur and Shinra’s abilities and she wipes the floor with those scrubs! Unlike the rookie duo, Maki is a 2nd generation fire user, which comes with some restrictions on her abilities, but even with the handicap, she easily takes down both 3rd gen users without breaking a sweat! And don’t get me started on the amazing animation! One of the few things this series does right is the fight sequences, and this one is a thing of beauty!
They’re People – It’s easy to forget that the Infernals were once people, given the destruction and chaos they cause throughout Japan. This week’s episode really drives home that point with this week’s Infernal ‘enemy’. Unlike the others we’ve seen so far this one doesn’t attack the team or cause any real destruction. Ηe’s just calmly sitting at the kitchen table waiting for the Special Fire Force to take him out. It begs the question of whether or not Infernals have lost all their humanity… maybe there’s a consciousness in there deep down. Which also brings up a moral dilemma for the Fire Force…
A Villain Arises? – This week’s episode introduces a big bad villain character, and while we don’t have a name just yet, he seems to be a much more sinister force than the rogue Infernals. He sets a trap for Company 8 that could have cost them their lives…
Excalibur – Arthur’s sword is called Excalibur, which is a reference to the legendary sword from Arthurian myth, said to have magical powers and that can only be wielded by the true king of Britain. In the legend Arthur pulls the sword from an anvil sitting at the top of a stone that appeared in a churchyard on Christmas Eve, and in doing so fulfilled a prophecy by the wizard Merlin.
King Arthur – Arthur Boyle is named after the legendary King Arthur. There are many myths surrounding the figure; however, most accounts agree that Arthur was integral in the British defense against the Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries. He was known for completing many amazing feats, alongside his famed Knights of the Round Table.
Bobobo Bobo Bobo – Maki’s ultimate sentient fire attack is called Bobobo Bobo Bobo, which could be a reference to the adventure comedy manga/anime series Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo by Yoshio Sawai. The series was known for a number of things, most prominently its comedy, fourth wall breaking, visual gags, and satirical storytelling.
2nd Generation Pyrokinetics vs 3rd Generation – In this week’s episode they explain the difference between 2nd generation fire users and 3rd generation fire users and it’s really quite simple: 3rd gens can manifest fire without the need of a starter, while 2nd gens have to use some sort of catalyst.
I wasn’t completely sold on Fire Force after watching Episode 1 and I’m not gonna say that Episode 2 completely changed my mind either. I’m still very much on the fence about this series. Yeah, there were some really fun moments in this episode and I like that they’re setting up a larger conflict. HOWEVER, there are some aspects of the series that are just kinda meh for me. I’m not a huge fan of Shinra as a protagonist, in fact I’m more invested in the other members of the team… especially Hinawa 💗
Arthur’s introduction to the team was a lot of fun, and I like that he’s a walking reference to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He’s just as much of a hothead as Shinra despite his holier than thou mentality, and I will admit that it is kind of funny to see him and Shinra going at it. Also, is it me or does he look cuter when he wears his hair up? I really like that he uses a weapon proxy for his fire powers like Hinawa, rather than manipulating the flames directly like Maki and Shinra. This series really does a great job on its worldbuilding and I am genuinely excited to learn more about the fire users and their abilities.
Speaking of, can we get a round of applause for Maki? From fanservice fodder in Episode 1 to kicking 12-year-olds’ asses in Episode 2! The training fight scene between Maki, Shinra, and Arthur was absolutely stunning! If Fire Force does anything right, it’s the animation of the fight scenes!
But the real highlight of the episode comes towards the second half of the episode. The team gets a call about an Infernal sighting and up until this point the series has painted the Infernals to be the standard ‘antagonists’. They cause mayhem and destruction and the Fire Force swoops in to take them down. But in this week’s episode the team finally acknowledges that the Infernals were once people, just like everyone else. They didn’t ask to turn into fire demons, it just happened. So, even though everyone puts the Fire Force up on this pedestal for taking down the Infernals, the truth of the matter is that the Fire Force are murdering innocent people… kind of puts a downer on all the earlier Infernal slayings. And what makes this more impactful is the fact that it’s the ever optimistic Captain Obi who explains this to the new recruits…
Episode 2, ‘The Heart of a Fire Soldier’, goes a long way in selling the series, balancing the more lighthearted antics of Company 8 with the harsh realities of the world they live in. There is definitely a lot of great potential for this series moving forward and I can’t wait to see what else Fire Force has in store for us in the future!
I’ll be back next week with another Fire Force review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Summer 2019 reviews!!
NEXT TIME: The Rookie Fire Soldier Games (消防官新人大会)
Keep warm this winter season with the latest anime info at MANGA.TOKYO!