Type: This girl is on fiiiire!
Synopsis: But seriously, how great is Alicia Keys? One of our best all around singers. Anyway, this is an anime about magic firefighters.
Pros: Fire Force, or BLAZING FIREFIGHTING CORPS, is a shonen anime from Atsushi Okubo (the creator of Soul Eater) and David Productions. So right off the bat you’ll notice the unique character designs and stellar animation effects. Since this story’s power system involves creating and manipulating fire, a lot of the actions scenes are very flashy. In fact, I would say that the show’s animation effects team are the real MVP’s of this season. Each of the characters fighting styles were pulled off well in animation, and were always fun to watch. This is definitely a youtube clip worthy show. Story wise, this is a basic shonen, but it manages to have the most important aspect of a shonen story: an interesting a likable cast. The main group is Special Fire Force Company 8, who are the Fire Force’s internal affairs department. I liked all of Company 8, but my favorites were Captain Obi and Maki Oze. Captain Obi because he plays the “normal guy” character in a world full of super powered weirdos while also being a role model and leader to Company 8 (he’s also best boy and I love him). Maki because she’s strong and competent and feminine and feels like a legit sempai for the main characters (she’s also best girl and I love her). I like most of the scenes between Company 8, and the show does a good job making them feel like a tight knit team who would trust each other during an emergency. Ya know, like an actual company of firefighters.
Cons: Let’s talk about Tamaki. Tamaki is the youngest member of Company 8 (technically a temporary trasfer) after being rescued in the second arc of the series. Tamaki is often used for fan service jokes, a lot. Like in every scene she’s in. It’s kind of her main characteristic. Her “Lucky Lewd Syndrome” is incredibly sexist and creepy given her age. It a big glaring negative on an otherwise fun shonen story. And, it’s like, it wouldn’t be so bad if this just happened once or twice. But the writers keep using the same joke in almost every scene she’s in. Even her big emotional rescue has the main character Shinra motorboat her breasts. It was also weird because based on Soul Eater, Atsushi Okubo seems to know how to portray female characters, at least more or less. I don’t know if this is editor mandated, or if the anime writers took some liberty, or if Okubo is just getting old and pervy, but this was amateur hour fan service. All it did was detract from Tamaki’s character. A great example of this is in Episode 19, where the female members of Company 8 have to face off against White-Clad members, the main antagonists of the series. This episode kinda showcases how Maki and Tamaki are treated as characters. Against a group of White-Clad, Maki admonishes them for attacking Shinra and Arthur in an earlier episode, and takes them out single-handily. She struggles a little against the main boss, but manages to use her powers tactically to get a win. In this scene, Maki was underestimated for being alone and a woman, but uses the element of surprise and her experience to win. Contrast that with Tamaki in the same episode, who is also underestimated for being along and a woman. She even has a flashback where Shinra makes fun of her for having to be rescued. Normally, this would be the scene where Tamaki proves to herself that she deserves to be a fire soldier by beating up the bad guy. However, she instead lunges at her opponent and land her breasts on his hand. And while the bad guy cops a feel, another person bashes his head in with a pipe. So Tamaki’s big moment of self-realization ends with a grope and a joke. The entire series has a weird spectrum of how it handles female characters, from Lisa’s sexualized torture to Hibanan’s iron grip over Company 5. It all felt very dated, which I think is my feelings overall for Fire Force. Overall, the entire story had stereotypical troupes. A main character who’s secretly the strongest character, a rival who’s also his brother, as secret organization of villains, friendly/antagonistic clicks, a central mystery, etc. The only unique thing about it, besides the flashy fights, it that a lot of story beats happen a lot earlier than expected. We meet the strongest fire force fighter in the second arc, Shinra’s missing brother is revealed in the third arc, the White-Clad’s main hideout is invaded at the end of the season, and Shinra fights his brother and unlocks a crazy power-up in the last fight (Episode 22). It feels a little rushed, and kind sacrifices world building. Also, for a show about fire fighters, there is very little actual fire fighting. The show gives up on the premise right away to focus on the White-Clad conspiracy. Which again, a lot of shonen stories do that. In the main story, Naruto doesn’t actually go on Ninja missions and Ichigo doesn’t actually patrol for Hollows. Personally, I do wish that we got to see more Fire Force stuff, as I really liked the premise of super powered fire fighters. Though I suppose the premise is a little limited…which I guess is why Fire Fighters don’t get a lot of TV shows centered around them. I mean, Rescue Me sure, but even that got lost and mostly rambled at the end, just like this thought….
Watch it?: It’s hit or miss at times, but it’s a good looking shonen (3/5)
MVP: Obi and Maki
I love them, but also want to be them.
Best Episode: Ep. 2 “The Heart of a Fire Soldier” (I could have chosen the brother’s fight, but this is the only episodes where the fire fighters do actual fire fighting).