Fire Force – Review – Episode 1

This is another one from my wish list of anime for the Summer Season of 2019, so I guess I need to do the review too.  The show is called Fire Force (or Enen no Shouboutai) and it has possibly the highest production values of the shows I’ve seen this season.  Animation is terrific and the audio and voice acting are really cool too.  Character design is interesting but it looks like it is closely following the manga series.  Overall I really enjoyed this episode and will be watching it for the next couple of weeks for sure.

The story is set in a peculiar period in Tokyo and of course, in an alternate universe, year 198 of the Solar Era in Tokyo.  Recently a phenomena has developed that requires the use of a special fire brigade.  The phenomena is called, “spontaneous human combustion” and it involves random humans turning into fire demons and causing a great deal of fire damage and loss of life.  These phenomena are known as Infernals and they  are ‘put to rest’ by the special Fire Force unit.

Tokyo in the Fire Force Solar Era

However, not all of these infernals are destroyed. Second generation infernals have the ability to manipulate fire and, at the same time, retain their humanity.  One such person is called Shinra Kusakabe, a young man who was given the nickname ‘Devil’s Footprints’ for his ability to fire up his feet for extra agility and ‘fire power’.

Shinra is the newest member of the elite Special Fire Force Company 8.  This tightly knit group of fire fighter chums are the usual assortment of fire fighting personalities but also have two ladies (one is a sort of paladin priest type girl that prays during combat and others also have special powers.  The team are always on standby ready to battle an infernal and release the soul of the damned person that spontaneously combusted. It’s a great premise but alas, the first episode concentrated on the Story of Shinra too much.

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The episode (called Shinra Kusakabe Enlists) opened with a startled Shinra.  He is witnessing the damage caused by a spontaneously combusting person on a train as it pulls into the station he is at while on his way to start a new job.

He is just about to deal with it when he is politely pushed aside by the Special Fire Force Company 8.  They do battle and win out (almost effortlessly), but a part of the roof begins to fall over the paladin/priest girly that likes to pray at fire and Shinra fires up his feet and whisks the girl away from danger. He looks very cool and heroic as he does so.

Shinra sweeps the Sister off her feet with his fiery feet

Ah, I wish I could do that!  (Maybe not that smile though  ๐Ÿ™‚ )

We learn that the girl is a ‘Sister’ and Shinra introduces himself as a third generation fire fighter and is their latest recruit.   The leader of the group looks at the Shinra’s devil shaped burn footprints and remarks, “so these are the Devils Footprints that I’ve heard about.”

Back at the station Shinra is introduced to the crew after a chat with the crew captain.  We learn that he has a habit of smiling (more of a grimace) when he is nervous and since his is likely to get into many sensitive and awkward situations, we see that this might be a little bit disadvantageous.

Interviewed by the Fire Force Captain and Lieutenant

Soon after, the bell sounds and the team head out.

The team are:

Captain – Akiharu Obi – No special powers

Captain Akiharu Obi

Lieutenant – Takehisa Hinawa – Second Generation pyrokinetic 

Lieutenant - Second Generation pyrokinetic Takehisa Hinawa

Sister Iris – No special skills

Sister - Unpowered Iris

First Class Fire Soldier Maki Oze – Second Generation pyrokinetic

First Class Fire Soldier - Second Generation pyrokinetic Maki Oze

Second Class Soldier Shinra Kusakabe – Third Generation pyrokinetic

Second Class Soldier - Shinra Kusakabe - Third Generation pyrokinetic

They go to a factory where the factory owners wife has turned into an infernal and the factory owner pleads for the Fire Force to put her to rest.  The demon however has other ideas and turns out to be a formidable foe.  The team gradually get the situation under control and Shinra puts her to rest by firing a fire bolt from his feet through her chest.

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Demon lady gets a hole in the chest

Unfortunately the whole action scene was marred by a convoluted, whiny dialogue and series of flashbacks to Shinras childhood, how he wanted to save his mother and brother from a fire, how his grandparents blamed him and how his shock and misery cased him to have the unfortunate grimace whenever he is nervous or upset.  If they had done this is 20 seconds rather than the agonising 10 minutes or so, it would have been great but I ended up going to make a cup of tea and muttering to myself, ‘get oooooooon with it!’

The show ends when the Factory owner thanks Shinra who smiles nervously (he isn’t used to being appreciated).

Shinra Grimaces at the Factory Owner

The closing sequence is fun and a little bit fan-service and the music is good too.  The show was great, it it hadn’t been for the stoopid whiny, overly dramatic bit from the middle to the end, the show would have been much better and appealed to older fans and not just teens.

Giving the show the benefit of the doubt, I’d still rate this 8.5 out of 10.  It would have been in the 9’s if Shinra hadn’t turned out to be such a whinger.

Discuss this in the Fire Force thread in the Anime Forum.

This review is copyright Tony Fawl and not for reproduction without permission.

The characters, pictures, story and everything else associated with the show is copyright   David Production and Crunchyroll.  All rights reserved.

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