Fire Force (Episode 1) – Shinra Kusakabe Enlists
The world has started to burn and only the Special Fire Force can stop the Infernals, people who have spontaneously combusted and become living infernos!
What did you watch?
Here’s another title from the Summer 2019 schedule – Fire Force. This was episode 1, but I can already tell you that this show is going to be something special. As such, I’ve roped in Yomu from Umai Yomu Anime Blog to join me in reviewing this series. All that means is that you’ll get twice as much of everything and who doesn’t want more? As usual, there will be spoilers beyond this point. Failure to listen could result in spontaneous human combustion!
It’s been one-hundred and ninety-eight years since the beginning of the Solar Era, a time marked by fires. Since it began, people have been mysteriously bursting into flames and becoming living infernos. They burn everything around them and can only be stopped by the Special Fire Force. In that time, there have been second and third-generation Infernals who maintain their human form but can manipulate fire at will.
Shinra Kusakabe has just completed his basic training and finds himself joining Special Fire Force Company 8. Before he’s even had a chance to introduce himself, an Infernal erupts on a train and thrusts him into action. Shinra, a third-generation Infernal has the ability to shoot flames out of the soles of his feet has come with a mission and a promise, a promise he was unable to keep. Can he get to the bottom of the mysterious Infernals or will the world be consumed by fire?
As the guest, it seems only right that I let Yomu go first. So, thanks for being here and no pressure… you get to start things off. (Also Yomu will be in bold.)
What did you think?
Thanks for having me, Lynn. As you know, I originally thought that Fire Force was just some BL anime about a bunch of macho firefighters (didn’t read the synopsis), so to find out that it was actually a very intriguing shounen anime from you was exciting enough!
And then I watched the first episode, and it truly was exciting. This anime has the exact same feel as so many other excellent shounen anime. It just gives off that whole “this is gonna be good” vibe. One episode in and we’ve already been treated with Fire Force’s interesting industrial world, a cool cast of 5 characters (with more to come I’m sure), some heated action, and even some backstory. I think the most impressive feat for the show was just that they managed to fit so much in a single episode!
Agreed. I thought it was an excellent episode and a great way to introduce us to the world. They did cram a lot in, but it didn’t feel rushed or forced. Sure, there was the exposition scene where the Chief explained everything but that didn’t bother me at all. I was also glad that there’s a reason for Shinra to be grinning all the time. That was handled really well.
All right, let’s get into the specifics.
What was your favourite moment?
Despite all of the great action this episode, my favourite moment was actually just when Shinra was being introduced to the other characters in the cathedral. So from the captain lifting weights to after the shower scene when that one girl… Maki? was getting flustered over Shinra mentioning being a hero. I can already tell that there are going to be some great character interactions in this series, and seeing the characters hit it off like that so early was nice to see.
Haha! That was going to be my answer almost exactly. I think the chemistry they have as a group is already very interesting. There was the point where Takehisa broke his pencil and both Iris and Maki freaked, but the best moment for me was when the Chief tried to make Shinra uncomfortable so that he would grin. I think they’ve got a good balance of characters and I like that the Chief isn’t the serious one.
What was your least favourite moment?
While I understand what they are going for, and why they did it, my least favourite moment was Shinra’s flashbacks when they were fighting that infernal in the factory. Flashbacks generally don’t do it for me when they are thrown in right before or during the action. I know they wanted to show us that Shinra has some trauma associated with infernals, but I still just have an issue with flashbacks when they are used that way.
That’s fair. They didn’t bother me so much, especially as they did it so that he blacked out and had them. For me, it was the flashback when he was in bed, but not because they were flashbacks. It kept focusing on his mother’s mouth and the whole time I was waiting for the smoke to appear at the corner of her lips. Talk about tense. It’s a shounen so naturally, the protagonist has got to have some tragic back story and I knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any less tragic.
Who was your favourite character?
Favourite character so far is the black-haired girl, who I’m pretty sure is Maki right? First off, she’s best girl material. Did you see that shot of her right after they got out of the shower? She’s got a seriously toned body…! But she also seems to have a cute side when it comes to wanting a man to sweep her off her feet. Seems like she’ll be a fun character to follow!
Maki is without a doubt the best girl at the moment, although my favourite character was Chief Obi. I loved his mix of humour and seriousness. He doesn’t have any powers unlike Shinra, Maki, and Takehisa, but he charges in utterly fearless, but will still joke around and mess with Shinra.
Who was your least favourite character?
Glasses guy. I don’t dislike him per se, but he just reminds me a bit too much of how Iida was from My Hero Academia in the earlier episodes. I do like his choice of weaponry though, even if his aim doesn’t seem to be very good…
Totally agree. Takehisa is obviously there to make us feel that way with how sceptical he is about Shinra’s intentions. I’m sure he’ll improve as a character too. Other than him, all the people blaming young Shinra in his flashbacks deserve a mention for their disgraceful behaviour. That nervous grin really doesn’t help Shinra at all.
Would you like some more?
Haha. Thanks for stopping by then…
I absolutely loved this episode and think it did a great job setting up the series. There are so many unanswered questions that I think we’re in for a real rollercoaster of a ride. We probably should leave with mentioning the animation. I’m loving the flames and the infernal designs. They feel raw and almost alive.
Oh, the animation is great. I think what’s appealed to me the most is just the setting itself, I love the industrial world and how it feels so far. The buildings and the colour palette used for the city feels really unique. Makes me want to see more, not just of the story and action, but of different buildings and sections of the city!
Yeah, it’s a really interesting world and it feels very real and gritty. I’m very excited about this series, it’s already done more than enough to get me hooked. Any guesses on what might be in store for us?
Hmm, no real guesses other than that I have a feeling that we’re going to encounter a very badass villain soon enough as Shinra learns more about what happened to his family.
Definitely. There’s going to be more to it than random spontaneous human combustion. I’m hoping for more stunning visuals and exciting battles. Hopefully, most will last a little longer than one hit, but the atmosphere and oppressiveness of the flames were outstanding. I think we’re in for a real treat going forward. I’m already looking forward to next week’s episode.
An excellent twist on a high-quality shounen. Thanks again for hosting this collab! It’ll be a very fun anime to follow.
No worries. Well, that’s it for episode 1 of Fire Force. We’ll be back next week with a look at episode 2. Thanks for reading.
Other reviews in the series
- Season One
- Episode 1 – Shinra Kusakabe Enlists
- Episode 2 – The Heart of a Fire Soldier
- Episode 3 – The Rookie Fire Soldier Games
- Episode 4 – The Hero and the Princess
- Episode 5 – The Battle Begins
- Episode 6 – The Spark of Promise
- Episode 7 – The Investigation of the 1st Commences
- Episode 8 – Infernal Insects
- Episode 9 – The Spreading Malice
- Episode 10 – The Promise
- Episode 11 – Formation of Special Fire Force Company 8 – The Mightiest Hikeshi
- Episode 12 – Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa
- Episode 13 – The Trap Is Set
- Episode 14 – For Whom the Flames Burn
- Episode 15 – The Blacksmith’s Dream
- Episode 16 – We Are Family
- Episode 17 – Black and White and Gray
- Episode 18 – The Secrets of Pyrokinesis
- Episode 19 – Into the Nether
- Episode 20 – Wearing His Pride
- Episode 21 – Those Connected
- Episode 22 – A Brother’s Determination
- Episode 23 – Smile
- Episode 24 – The Burning Past
- Season Two
- Episode 25 – A Fire Soldier’s Fight
- Episode 26 – Flames of Madness
- Episode 27 – A New Flashpoint
- Episode 28 – Groping Through the Fire
- Episode 29 – Corna (Sign of the Devil) / A Secret Plan
- Episode 30 – The Time to Choose
- Episode 31 – Road to the Oasis
- Episode 32 – Smoldering Malevolence
- Episode 33 – The Core
- Episode 34 – The Woman in Black
- Episode 35 – Dark Hero
- Episode 36 – Shadows Cast by Divine Light
- Episode 37 – A Pair of One-Eyes
- Episode 38 – The Ashen Reaper
- Episode 39 – A Three-Way Melee
- Episode 40 – Mind Blown
- Episode 41 – Boys, Be Weak
- Episode 42 – The Holy Woman’s Anguish / The Man, Assault
- Episode 43 – The Oze Family
- Episode 44 – Weapon of Destruction
- Episode 45 – Enemy Contact
- Episode 46 – Plot for Extinction
- Episode 47 – Firecat
- Episode 48 – Signs of Upheaval
- Bonus Posts
Shinra Kusakabe (Re-run) Fire Force ARTFX J Figure – $129.99
from: Right Stuf, Inc.
Tamaki Kotatsu (Re-run) Fire Force ARTFX J Figure – $129.99
from: Right Stuf, Inc.
Fire Force Manga Volume 1 – $7.69
from: Right Stuf, Inc.
Maki’s so hot! And nice review.
Thanks, and she totally is. I can’t wait to see her get into some real action. Also loving her witch hat.
I’m going to be honest, while I had fun watching this first episode and visually I really liked the anime, so far none of these characters have really clicked for me. I think they need a little longer to be fleshed out because at the moment they are all just kind of stand ins for different character types. Still, it was a fun enough first episode.
I felt like there was enough variety with the characters that there’s enough to get me going. Their interactions were fun and ultimately I just enjoyed the Chief messing with Shinra. There’s going to be 24 episodes so we’ve got plenty of time to get to know them all. It was a good start.
They do all feel pretty standard in one way or another. Hopefully you’re right and we do get some more intriguing developments.. Shinra in particular feels a very cliche “revenge fantasy” sort of protagonist. It all feels par for the course for a major shounen title, that’s for sure.
Still, it looks pretty and there’s a lot they can do with their premise so I guess we’ll see what the do.
That’s true. We knew that his mother and brother didn’t stand a chance as soon as we saw them.
It’s been awhile since an episode made me forget to breath.
This one did just that — twice.
Glad you’re reviewing it!
Yeah, I really enjoyed the first episode and am quite optimistic for the rest of the season.
It’s looking like I’m going to have a very good season. I have Demon Slayer and Fruits Basket from last season and Dr Stone, Fire Force, DanMachi2. Gutted that Vinland Saga is on Prime though.
Don’t forget YUNO!
Of course not, plus Are You Lost? and How Heavy Are the Dumbbells you Lift? And Isekai Milf soon, too.
I’m going to agree with Karandi and say I haven’t quite gotten a read on the characters yet, but the sakuga (especially that one moment where there appear to be stars – that moment’s stuck in my memory as being really cool from a sakuga-lover’s point of view) is pretty.
I believe the firefighting thing you were thinking of, Yomu, was the /other/ firefighter anime (but also an adult romance in the same vein as the one with the monk) that’s airing right now – it took me quite a bit of searching to remember what its name was since I’d only read the series name once on Anime News Network, but it’s called “Yubisaki kara no Honki no Netsujou: Osananajimi wa Shouboushi-“.
Looks like Yomu’s got his next challenge…
[…] Dr. Stone take over when I relaunched my blog. Since then, I’ve been reviving my Fire Force, My Hero Academia, and Cautious Hero reviews. I chose to bring these back next as they’re the […]