I’ve raised an eyebrow towards Fire Force as two episodes have opened a forum regarding the ethics of what the titular organization does, either towards the Infernals or how they conduct themselves. I’m naturally intrigued to see how far this show will go in that direction. This episode however does make me ponder if I’m setting my expectations a little too high.
There’s some good ideas here, the smartest of them being a validation of what Captain Obi informed Shinra about. If the newly introduced Company 5 are anything to go by, there’s clearly a lot of independent agendas going on in the Fire Force and some of them, including Company 5’s, look shady to boot. I also kind of like the concept behind the Infernal of the week; a rogue firefighter who combusts shortly after his trial and retains his “humanity” after his transformation. That’s pretty symbolic; this man killed people he supposed to protect and him becoming an Infernal reflects what he really is, a monster.
I just wish that the episode didn’t making its elements so darn goofy. The monster of the week is pretty much a mustache twirler. He laughs maniacally, sticks his tongue out, cracks jokes. It’s cartoonish to the point that it feels counterproductive, robbing the idea behind the character of its cleverness. Then there’s Company 5. Captain Hibana (Lynn) wearing a pencil dress is silly but what really got me saying “What” was seeing some of her masochistic men form a human chair for her to sit on and her Charlie’s Angels-esque trio. Seriously, what is the deal with these people? They’re so ridiculous that you have to wonder if Company 8 are investigating the right things. Forget the potentially unethical act of capturing sentient infernals for research purposes, maybe investigate what kind of people are getting hired.
Ultimately, the best part of the episode is the simpler, more slice of life driven moments. It’s initially a slow day at work. Maki tasks Shinra and Arthur to go save a cat from a tree because they have nothing better to do. Shinra and Arthur finds out that the cat is actually one of the Special Company’s mascots. They decide to just chill out and help the mascots pass free balloons to kids before Lt. Takehisa gives them an earful. Iris reminisces on her past and for goodness’s sake, can this show stop teasing and please get to her backstory already! It all looks and feels mundane but that’s the point. These people are tasked with hitting flaming humanoid really hard but they’re not going to deal with flaming humanoids every day. They’re bound to have off days and get stuck with doing normal firefighter duties. Seeing that they do here in this episode is pretty worthwhile; it makes the world and the lives the characters have feel more believable.
To be fair, I went into Fire Force expecting it to be pretty silly so I really shouldn’t be surprised that its filling its cast with some goofy characters. Still, I really hope that this of creative decision won’t detract from what I think is the biggest potential for the series. I honestly do think this anime can offer some solid prose; I’d hate to see it get lost in some noise.
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