AnimeAsterisk here to provide anime fans with the latest and greatest anime of 2020. If you love Soul Eater and Nobunagun, then prepare yourself to get fired up for Fire Force, one of the latest shonen anime from David Productions.
Okay, so Fire Force is based in a post-apocalyptic world where mankind is slowly recovering from an event called, "The Great Disaster," which caused most of the world to be consumed by flames over 250 years ago. Following this event, the remnants of humanity gather together to create the Tokyo Empire and its central power plant, Amaterasu.
In this new era, certain individuals are born with pyrokinectic abilities and the most common form of death is "Spontaneous Human Combustion." Yes, that's right. Human Combustion in the Fire Force world is where people are randomly turned into flame demon-like beings called "Infernals." These demons then have to be eliminated by the Special Fire Force which is run by the Holy Sol Temple.
Our main hero, Shinra Kusakabe (CV: Gakuto Kajiwara; Eng: Derick Snow) is a survivor of such an event. During the incident, his mother was killed by a demon and his little brother, Sho Kusakabe (CV: Maaya Sakamoto; Eng: Justin Briner), was kidnapped by a secret organization run by a being called, The Evangelist. Feeling frustrated, Shinra studies how to use pyrokinesis ability, "The Devil's Footprints," in combat and trains to become a fire fighter. He later enlists in the Special Fire Force and is assigned to the Special Fire Force Company 8, which is where our story begins.
Plot / Themes
Okay, so, plot-wise, Fire Force is really similar to Seraph of the End in terms of plot and religious themes. The main story is about Shinra trying to find and reconnect with his brother, after finding out that Sho is still alive. Along the way, we get to see glimpses of the other characters' pasts and how they relate to the overarching main battle between Fire Force and the Evangelist's forces.
With Fire Force's writing, it does have its hits and misses. In some cases, certain episodes will feel dry and boring to some fans due to its slow pacing. While in other cases, other episodes (especially the more action-packed ones) will be so enjoyable and exciting that they will just fly by. The comedy in this show is hilarious especially with Tamaki's lucky lecher moments and some of the characters (mostly the villains) come off as down right insane.
But what really makes this show enjoyable is the way its writers handle the incredible themes. One of the aspects that makes Fire Force endearing is the theme of brotherhood and family. There is a strong sense of brotherhood in this show which is embodied by the bonds between Shinra and Sho. Despite initially being enemies, Shinra's deep devotion to his brother is touching especially by the lengths Shinra will go to get his brother back. His efforts do eventually reach Sho at the climax of the first season, as Sho regains his memories of his brother before being captured again.
Shinra's deep devotion in finding his brother also touches his comrades' hearts and leads them to help him out. As the show continues, Company 8 becomes more like a family to each other especially as they get new members like Tamaki Kotatsu (CV: Aoi Yūki, Eng: Jad Saxton), Victor Licht (CV: Daisuke Sakaguchi, Eng: Ian Sinclair) and Vulcan Joseph (CV: Taku Yashiro, Eng: Jason Liebrecht). Shinra also gains allies in Princess Hibana (CV: Lynn, Eng: Colleen Clinkenbeard), the captain of Company 5 and Shinmon (Waka) Benimaru (CV: Mamoru Miyano, Eng: Aaron Roberts), the captain of Company 7.
With regards to the religious aspect this show, it can get kind of heavy and hard to deal to with at times. But it is not too over-bearing, that it gets grueling to watch.
Fire Force has a wide-diversity of both fun and adorable characters to the more creepy eccentric villains like Haumea. But for the sake of this review, we shall be focusing on Company 8 starting with Shinra.
Now, Shinra is in all aspects is your basic shonen hero. He is brave heroic, has a quick temper and is very noble at his core. He does tend to get pushy and impulsive, but he is a good guy at heart who desires to be a hero. Initially, Shinra does not have a lot of friends especially in the beginning because of his nervous laughter where his smile tenses up in almost evil manner whenever he gets nervous. Though he does get better at controlling it. His childhood is very relatable, especially with his social anxiety. Shinra also has a habit of making titles for himself, which can get a bit irritating.
Then there is the captain of the Company 8, Akitaru Ōbi (CV: Kazuya Nakai, Eng:Jeremy Inman) who is one of the few non-pyrokinetic characters. Yes, he is basically human, but he has excellent leadership skills and an (almost) superhuman physical prowess that makes up for this weakness. Akitaru also has a deep sense of honour and usually keeps a calm, cool head. He has strong value for human life and will lose his temper if he sees someone mocking or toying with someone.
Next is Takehisa Hinawa (CV: Kenichi Suzumura , Eng: ), who is a second generation pyrokinetic and the lieutenant of Company 8. Stoic to a blunt degree, Takehisa possesses the ability to manipulate the power, speed and trajectory output of his bullets with his flames. He cares deeply for his allies and is a great cook.
Then there is Maki Oze (CV: Saeko Kamijō, Eng: Sarah Roach) who is the second badass on the team. Super-strong, she can create fireball familars out of her flames to help power her projectile weapons. Despite coming off as gentle, she does have a habit of losing her temper whenever someone calls her gorilla due to her physique. She also tends to misread other people's statements and exaggerate them like Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist).
Finally there is Iris (CV: M.A.O , Eng: Alexis Tipton ). Iris is the faith healer of the group. She works as a nun for the Holy Sol Temple and knows first aid. Kind and gentle, Iris says prayers for the fallen combustion victims. She is very self-sacrificing and though she has no powers, she lends great moral support for her team. Iris also shares a sisterly relationship with Princess Hibana of company 5; having grown up in the same orphanage as her that is until an Infernal attack drove them apart.
There are also fun characters like Shinmon who is very anti-social, but is also well-loved by his district. The scenes of him decimating Infernals while leveling his town is very exhilarating.
Animation-wise, Fire Force has incredible animation. The locations and the character designs are all immacuately detailed and well done. The Infernal designs and some of the show's villains's are also truly unnerving. But, the bright colors mitigate that, bringing a cheery vibe to the show (though it can be a bit irritating on the eyes). It is remarkably similar to Soul Eater in terms of design. So if you do enjoy Soul Eater, then this anime is definitely the one for you!
However, the animation for the second ending is truly creepy with the human skeleton. Though I do like the 1920's styled clothing that Shinra wears in it. The detailed human skeleton could be seen as a symbol for bonds, but it reminds me more of Attack on Titan.
Music-wise, the theme songs in Fire Force are absolutely awesome!The opening theme, "Inferno" (インフェルノ) by Mrs. Green Apple has a good beat and is very telling about the nature of the show. While the ending theme, "veil" by Keina Suda is upbeat despite being slightly depressing.
The second opening theme, "MAYDAY" by Coldrain feat. Ryo from Crystal Lake is a serious heavy metal song. So if you liked Nobunagun's opening, "Respect for the Dead Man" by Pay Money to My Pain then you will definitely love this song!
The second ending, "Nо̄nai" by Lenny code fiction, it carries a good rock beat and definitely deserves a repeat listen.
All in all, Fire Force is a terrific show that shonen fans will love. I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments box below. So if you loved Season 1, then please check Season 2 when it airs later this year.