Fire Force (Episode 17) – Black and White and Gray

Fire Force Title

Hibana arrives and frees Shinra who races back to Vulcan’s workshop, but will he make it in time or will Dr. Giovanni find the key to Amaterasu and then kill Vulcan, and what else could be waiting for Shinra?

What did you watch?

This is episode 17 of Fire Force and after the cliffhanger, we were left with in the last episode, this promises to be a good one. Will it live up to the build-up? Let’s just get straight into it and hope we get some answers. As always with Fire Force, I will be joined by Yomu from Umai Yomu Anime Blog who initially thought it was a BL series. I feel like it’s best we bring that up every now and then. Now, to the review and don’t forget there will be spoilers.

Fire Force Episode 17 Shinra Arrives

What happened?

Princess Hibana found Shinra tied up in the woods. She revealed that she had bugged Iris and it was a good job that she did. Shinra demanded to be released, and although Hibana considered just taking him home like that, she did untie him. Free from his binds, Shinra shot towards the workshop, bypassing Arthur’s fight with Flail and Mirage. Dr. Giovanni had just discovered the key to Amaterasu and was about to kill Vulcan, when Shinra burst through the door and then kicked Giovanni in the face.

Lisa stepped in and used her pyrokinesis to bind Shinra in flames that are drawn to the magnetic fields of living things. Vulcan told Iris to push all the buttons on the wall, releasing all of Vulcan’s crazy toys and making it hard for the flames to distinguish Shinra from anything else. Hibana arrived outside and subdued Flail and Mirage and Arthur because gravel is gravel. Unfortunately, one of Vulcan’s toys flew across the yard and knocked Hibana out.

Shinra kicked Giovanni through a wall and then noticed another Ashen Knight. A boy that could be Sho. He was excited and tried to talk to him, but Sho moved with unmatched speed and knocked Shinra to the ground. Arthur tried to help, but Sho slashed at him, cutting into his belly. Then out of nowhere, Victor arrived with a truck and raced to get them all out of there. Sho wasn’t about to let him go and moved in front of the truck. Then, Joker appeared and intervened, fighting Sho, their abilities matching one another.

Fire Force Episode 17 Hibana Unleashes Hell

I get to go first this week and I feel like there’s a lot to talk about. I’ve just got to decide where to begin. Yomu will be second and in bold as normal.

What did you think?

I love shounen anime but I’m really starting to realise that it’s best watched in a block. This series has had a lot happen, but it has been dragged out which gets a little frustrating. That said, we do appear to have got to the end of the Vulcan arc and it was a lot of fun, especially as we’re starting to see where Joker aligns and just how dangerous the Evangelist and the Ashen Knights are. I loved the action in this episode and always enjoy it when Shinra burst in and hits the bad guys hard. He completely flattened Giovanni’s nose, although I get the feeling that Giovanni is going to be a very small person, in reality, hidden somewhere within the robotic suit.

Hey, Yomu. Thanks for coming back for more Fire Force. Did you know the series would be this long when you decided to do these reviews with me?

I mean, I originally thought Fire Force was some sort of BL / yaoi anime about firefighters… so I didn’t entirely know what it was about, I’ll admit. But I think that it’s great to have more than the standard 12 episodes because the shounen formula just doesn’t work as well when it’s compacted into such a short timespan. Although I guess it depends on the type of shounen there.

Anyways, I think that all the breaks and whatnot are still having a lingering impact here where the story feels slower than it normally would have. I thought this episode was pretty good and it clearly sets up for a future confrontation between Shinra and his brother. As per the formula, Shinra is much weaker right now, but that will change over time as he gets stronger in the buildup towards their showdown.

Fire Force Episode 17 Shinra Kicks Giovanni

What was your favourite moment?

It has to be when Joker showed up and blocked Sho’s sword with a playing card. Sho instantly just showed us how much stronger he is than anything we’ve seen yet, although it would be interesting to see him against Benimaru or Leonard Burns (Captain of Fire Force 1). Either way, Joker is a badass and I love how he appears to be completely independent, although he obviously has a tie with Victor. His motivations are still a mystery and he is a really intriguing character. I can’ wait to see how he shapes the series now. I just hope they don’t put him back in the shadows again.

I’m with you on that one. Joker has been my favourite character from the series, with his perfect edgy antagonistic personality. His ties with Victor were also hinted at this episode with Victor knowing to show up as well. And it’s always fun watching two antagonists fight it out, knowing that they are both powerful. That said, it’s clear that Joker is shifting towards a less antagonistic role, which I think was to be expected as he is currently a third party and has now played his cards in working against the Evangelist.

Fire Force Episode 17 Joker versus Sho

What was your least favourite moment?

What has happened to Hibana? She used to be awesome and I think she still is, but to get taken down by a toy fired from Vulcan’s workshop was a bit of a lame way to take her out, especially as it was an accident.

I also found it kind of laughable that the key to Amaterasu was inside the one object that Giovanni decided to take his frustrations on. That was too easy and just made a mockery of the whole infiltration plan to find the key.

For me, it has to be the way Lisa is treated. She betrays Vulcan, resulting in that kid being shot and Vulcan’s life as he knows it being destroyed, and then after all that Vulcan is refusing to accept reality and talking about how he is going to bring her back around. It’s all just too transparent and too “Mr Nice Guy” for me. Why can’t Lisa just legitimately be a bad person, someone that Vulcan needs to re-evaluate his feelings towards?

Fire Force Episode 17 Hibana Taken Out

Who was your favourite character?

It would be Joker if he was in it for more than a minute, but as he only briefly graced us with his presence, I’m going to go for Shinra. He managed to fit in one of his bizarro super-hero names and then gave Giovanni a good kicking. It is hard to see how Giovanni went from being such a tough opponent to becoming a punching bag in an episode, but maybe we’ll get some explanation of that at a later point.

Well, mine is definitely Joker. Always a breath of fresh air to see someone who isn’t so two-dimensional when it comes to good and bad. Often I find that characters are either good, or bad, and there aren’t very many in-between or self-serving characters. So I gotta root for them when I get the chance. Plus watching Joker fight with Shinra’s brother was pretty cool.

Fire Force Episode 17 Joker

Who was your least favourite character?

I’m not loving Sho if I’m honest and I’m not really looking forward to him being turned to the side of good by Shinra. He just seems so completely devoid of emotion and his reaction to Shinra was odd. I’d like to see him actually stay as a villain and be something that Shinra will need to overcome rather than doing the inevitable switch to help Shinra fight the Evangelist in the end. That’s right, I’m predicting the ending right now!

I’m with you on that one, Sho seems too railroaded as an arrogant villain right now.

I’m going with Vulcan, for very similar reasons to your pick of Sho. I just don’t like how everyone has to be turned to the side of good, and his naivety towards Lisa is disappointing to me. She had years to change her mind and she still went through with betraying him after all that. Realistically speaking, just like with Sho, she’s not going to just up and change her stance on everything.

Fire Force Episode 17 Sho

Would you like some more?

I do want more. I want to find out what’s going on with the bigger picture and how this one area of the world is still manufacturing materials and not running like a post-apocalyptic society. It throws the events of the last arc into question like how they can continue to rebuild their houses when I dare say wood is at a premium. As much as I have enjoyed Fire Force, it’s also had some fairly large holes when it comes to the story and the world-building. It’s also at the point where I’m counting down the episodes, which is never a good sign.

Agreed. I have to wonder what role Benimaru will play in future events considering so much time was spent developing him and his story, just to leave him behind in his district. Hopefully, they don’t rush the end, but they do have to pull everything together at some point. I’m thinking there are two possibilities here: either things are straightforward and everyone bands together to defeat the Evangelist, winning over Sho and Lisa along the way…

Or we get an exposition dump from Joker who then introduces a new angle to everything and directs suspicion at the church itself as the real perpetrators behind the Evangelist and creation of infernals. Naturally, they still defeat the Evangelist and all that good stuff with this angle too, but it also wraps up the overarching story and leaves no further enemies to tackle.

I guess this is the point where we ask if there’s going to be a second season! It’s an odd one for because I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m just not loving this series as much as I did. There are lots of fun moments and the animation is spectacular but it’s just not clicking.

Like you, I’m hoping for something more than just a straight forward Evangelist is evil, kill them and save the world ending.

I think that Fire Force can still bounce back if there IS a second season. Not every arc of shounen anime is a total winner, and despite the formula usually being the same, it’s pretty amazing how much variance there can be.

Perhaps a direction change that moves back towards actually doing their jobs as the Fire Force and fighting more powerful infernals could make things more interesting? We’ve seen human vs. human played out a million times already, seems like they could leverage the world they have built to more success.

Fire Force Episode 17 Vulcan

Definitely and I think we’ve said that before too. Maybe we got too far into the Evangelist reveal too soon and it would have been nice to have them taking on some regular work and developing the team and the characters.

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Well, they definitely pushed the Evangelist angle very fast once it was revealed. The question is just whether he is THE overarching villain to be defeated or just another step along the way towards rooting evil out of the church. If he’s the final boss, so to speak, then it definitely feels like they could have taken more time to build it all up, perhaps with some minor villains along the way (or even some intelligent infernals).

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Well, we have got another seven episodes so the possibilities are endless, especially now that the Vulcan arc is over and the Evangelist has the key to Amaterasu.

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Yeah, we’ll just have to keep on going and see where they go next.

Fire Force Episode 17 Shinra

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