Episode 24 – | Review Score – 4/5
On the surface, you’d be forgiven for writing off Fire Force as just another typical anime. There’s an archetypal main protagonist with a tragic backstory, and his desire to try and become the best in his chosen field feels very familiar to numerous other animes we’ve seen with this character arc over the years. Thankfully, Fire Force is not that kind of anime.
Admittedly it does take a while for this show to settle into a consistent rhythm but when it does, Fire Force turns those flickering embers into fully raging fires. At the heart of this heat is our main protagonist Shinra. As a third generational, he has the ability to control fire and that gains him a place on the Fire Force, a group of soldiers that fight against the growing horde of Infernal plaguing the streets.
This is where Fire Force really gets interesting. In this apocalyptic vision of the future, human beings suffer from a horrible case of self-combustion but instead of dying, they turn into flaming demons from Hell known as Infernals. However, what begins as simpl, episode-long skirmishes against these fiends soon becomes a lot more interesting when big questions are asked around whether these Infernals are a natural or man-made occurrence.
The first six episodes or so set up this angle and essentially establish the characters and world around our main ensemble of players. Interestingly, it’s around this time where a shadowy cigarette-smoking man named Joker appears and claims to hold secrets to Shinra’s past, including connections to the shadowy Hajima Industries that seems to be involved in some way.
Without giving too much away, the series essentially evolves into something wholly different in the second half as action is brought to the forefront and the battle lines are drawn surrounding the main conflict and just what’s really going on. With Shinra driven by his desire to gain vengeance in the name of his dead family members, what he uncovers shocks him to his core.
Aesthetically this anime predominantly uses hand-drawn animation with an interesting technique of obscuring character faces the further toward the back of the room they are. This isn’t a deterrent though and oftentimes works its way into the charm of the show as a certain stylistic tick. The colours on the whole are vibrant and toward the end of the show there’s a really creative use of visuals during some of those late-game skirmishes. It’s around this point where some CGI sneaks in but it’s minimal and easily blends into the hand-drawn elements without feeling too out of place.
With 24 episodes to chew through there’s certainly a lot going on and those expecting things to be resolved at the end with a neat anime-shaped bow will almost certainly be left disappointed. While we do get some definitive answers surrounding Shinra’s past, the main conflict is left far from resolved to pave way for the second season.
It’s not perfect, and the style of humour does gear heavily toward the crude side of things. Poor Tamaki is the butt of most of the jokes here and expect plenty of inadvertent groping, awkward wardrobe malfunctions and everything in between. It’s not enough to destroy your enjoyment but it is something worth bearing in mind before jumping in.
Despite that though, Fire Force certainly does enough to warrant a second season. There’s a lot to like with this one and the characters are interesting and colourful enough that you want to root for them. The antagonists of the series are nicely fleshed out too and there’s some lovely twists toward the end that’ll almost certainly catch you off-guard.
It’s not perfect but if you’re in the mood for an action-packed anime with plenty of meat to chew through, Fire Force is worth checking out.