An Anime Where They Fight Fire With Even More Fire
“Causes of death are many and varied. Old age, suicide, illness… But the cause of death that scares the most people in this day and age…”
If you’ve been wondering what other Summer 2019 anime you should be watching other than Demon Slayer, may I kindly direct your attention to the Atsushi Ōkubo’s (Soul Eater) latest creation: Fire Force.
Fire Force, known as En’en no Shōbōtai in Japan, is set sometime in the future where the most horrific cause of death is
Spontaneous Human Combustion. But it’s just a matter of catching fire and exploding. Nah, in this world, a demon can possess you and ignite your body turning you into an Infernal and the only people capable of stopping this threat are an ensemble of military personnel, scientists, and church officials some of which are also pyrokinetics with various fire based abilities they used to fight fire… and also other fire fighters.
See, no one is quite sure of the cause behind this Human Combustion but there are a number of people who are convinced that this isn’t a natural occurring phenomena. It is thought that someone(s) must be creating these Infernals for their own nefarious purposes.
“My dream might be to make a stable living but I’ll moan over the lack of stimulation.”
You’d be forgiven if you thought Fire Force was just a series of fights between fire demons and pyrokinetics, given that is how the first episode is entirely set up. However, it quickly evolves into so much more.
Our protagonist is Shinra Kusakabe, a Third-Generation Fire User with the ability to generate flames from his feet. Years before the story proper began, he lost his mother and brother to a mysterious fire and is now dedicated to becoming a hero and figuring out the mystery of Human Combustion. Lucky for him, he is assigned to Fire Force Company 8, a squad led by Captain Akitaru Ōbi. Akitaru is a regular human being, but he is stalwart and leader and equally determined to finding the cause for all the death in his city. Rounding out Company 8 initially, we have
- Takehisa Hinawa, Second Generation Fire User who manipulates the flames of bullets to control the trajectory
- Maki Oze, Second Generation Fire use who manipulates fire into spire type creates
- Arthur Boyle, Fellow New Recruit and Third Generation Fire User who can create a Plasma Sword (*cough cough* lightsaber *cough cough*). Also perhaps the dumbest character in anime. He forgot he was right-handed.
- Sister Iris, a Sister from the Holy Sol Template in charge of praying for the souls of the Infernals
The first three episodes are your standard meet the party shenanigans, as the new recruit compete in the Rookie Games where we meet other members of other Fire Force Companies, most notably Captain Burns, the fire fighter who was there when Shinra’s family died, and Tamaki Kotatsu, a Third Generation Fire user who can generate an cat-like aura of fire around her and also a an innate inability to put herself in compromising positions in an all-to-anime way and is really one of the let downs of the series all in the name of “fanservice”, but we look past some things. Shinra, Arthur, and Tamaki eventually going toe to toe with a man named Joker who begins to wreck havoc.
After the literal and proverbial dust settles, Shinra learns that Company 8 was formed to investigate Companies 1-7 and thus the true narrative begins in earnest.
“Time can sometimes be irksome, but we’re enveloped in warmth.”
Wasting no time, the next arc has Company 8 go head to head with Company 5, led by Princes Hibana.
A serial killer firefighter gets turned into the first self-aware Infernal the cast has seen, and after Company 8 subdues it, Company 5 quickly calls jurisdiction and takes custody of the Infernal. This leads Akitaru to mobilize team to figure out what Hibana knows about Human Combustion.
This situation gets further complicated when it is revealed that Sister Iris used to be friends with Hibana, and when Iris visits her friend she gets turned into bait leading to an epic confrontation between Company 8 and Company 5, and more importantly Shinra and Hibana. And in true animation fashion, after being defeated Hibana makes amends with Iris and decides to help Company 8 with their investigation, which quickly pivots to Company 1.
“Flames rise to show us the way reminding us of a gentle melody.”
The latest arc featured Shinra and Arthur getting temporarily transferred to Company 1 as part of their “training” since most of the Infernals seem to be coming from their part of the city. Company 1 features some of the most power Fire Users in the series to date, but that doesn’t really phase Shinra too much who begin working under the supervision of Lieutanant Karim.
His over-exuberance leads him to believe that one of the Lieutenants is responsible thanks to their priestly robes, and sure enough a Lieutenant Rekka is creating Infernals using some sort of insect. Shinra quickly proves that he may lack the same firepower as his senior, but more than makes up for it with his mobility and quick thinking. However, neither Karim nor Company 8 gets a solid victory sine Rekka gets assassinated shortly after he is captured.
“We’ll keep on walking until the day the fire of our lives gets doused.”
So that should catch you up on everything going on Fire Force. For an anime that could have simple been fire versus more fire, there is a surprisingly amount of depth with the conspiracy of Human Combustion, the different companies with their different backers, and the quirky cast of characters with an impressive amount of creativity within their various based thermal prowess and powers. With 15 episodes left in the first season, it’s not too late to catch up on this beautifully animated and intriguing not quite sci-fi and not quite fantasy anime. The found family of Company 8 will definitely warm your heart.