The Fire Hunter Season 1 Review – A decent fantasy with a fascinating world

Season 1

Episode Guide

Departure -| Review Score – 4/5
The Three Brides -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Fractions of the World -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Flickering Flames -| Review Score – 3/5
The Spider Child -| Review Score – 3.5/5
The Capital -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Chaos Encounter -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Garden of the Gods -| Review Score – 3.5/5
The Lightning Cannon -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Malformed Children -| Review Score – 4/5


It’s safe to say that many would celebrate The Fire Hunter as this season’s unknown gem. In a season where it had to compete with Vinland Saga, Bungou Stray Dogs, Buddy Daddies, and others, it made sense for an anime like this to fall into obscurity. Despite having a distinct, early 2000’s approach with its art and animation style, The Fire Hunter couldn’t reach the big numbers like other anime series and ONA’s.

This anime’s first season consists of 10 episodes with a runtime of about 24 minutes each. Junji Nishimura directed the project while Signal.MD handled its animation. However, the director behind the critically-acclaimed works Angel’s Egg and Ghost In The Shell (1995), Mamoru Ishii, had a series composition and scriptwriter role for The Fire Hunter. Although it had some cherished names attached to it, The Fire Hunter wasn’t a solid anime throughout. However, it kept viewers’ attention by looking and feeling different.

The story takes place in a world where humanity can no longer get close to natural fire. Otherwise, they’ll combust. Society learns that specific monsters that reside in the forests hold a type of energy humans can use to produce light and steam. They task warriors with sickles and canine companions called fire hunters to retrieve this energy source from them. At the center of this tale is Touko, a girl saved by a fire hunter named Haijuu. Unfortunately, Haijuu perishes, leaving his sickle and canine companion, Kanata, in Touko’s care.

After Kanata helps Touko heal her wounds, her family sends her to the capital to return Haijuu’s tools and Kanata to his family. Meanwhile, we follow Haijuu’s son, Koushi, and Koushi’s sister, Hinako. They get adopted by the wealthy Okibi family, and Koushi must work on a secret project for Yuoshichi Okibe, the head of the family. In exchange, Yuoshichi will have doctors attend to Hinako’s illnesses. As he conducts more research about the fire hunters and works on his assigned task, he’ll try his hardest to save the world from impending doom.

The Fire Hunter is this season’s Housing Complex C. However, it inserts our cast in a world different from the romantic comedies and several fantasies currently airing. It’s based on a lengthy novel–written by Rieko Hinata, which is rare considering most anime are adapted from light novels, manga, and webtoons nowadays. The intricacies of its universe will interest many folks who adored thought-provoking works like Angel’s Egg, Serial Experiments Lain, Ergo Proxy, and others of its kind.

Each episode offers  something new to chew on. It will motivate you to continue watching the series since the lore it adds involving the world’s goddesses, Spiders, fire hunters, skyfire, and flame fiends, which are imaginative and exciting to discuss. Exposition aside, the story’s adventure elements can be equally enticing. We examine the mental and physical hurdles our cast must overcome in their separate locations, and each situation evokes strong caution and mystery.

Unfortunately, the narrative suffers from pacing issues and too many exposition dumps. In several episodes, the info dumps are overwhelming to sit through. Episode 3 is one example where the series forced too much information down viewers’ throats concerning its world’s goddesses and the history of the fire hunters. Many would’ve preferred if the story spread this information gradually throughout different episodes in well-executed, short bursts.

Story aside, The Fire Hunter offers a slew of intriguing characters to adore. Touko is an excellent protagonist many will cherish since she’s a child who must go on a life-threatening adventure. Thankfully, Kanata will protect her from numerous threats. He receives natural development to help him feel more rounded and less of a guard dog. These characters feel like an inseparable duo throughout the story to a certain point. They engage in many brutal battles, witness many close allies perish, and have a challenging time coping with death as a concept.

No one likes seeing children suffer, which is why Touko and Kanata’s journey felt the most gripping. They’re not the only cast members who’ll catch viewers’ eye. Koushi was a decent male protagonist to follow too. Many will relate to his attitude toward his father and his strong attachment to his sister. Seeing Koushi traverse numerous locations alone or with Roroku to gather more intel about the capital, gods, Spiders, and fire hunters shows how curious and determined he can be. Koushi has the potential to be a great protagonist.

With another season heading our way, the staff has enough time to explore his character more. Akari receives as much attention as Koushi and Touko in the narrative too. She feels like a great role model figure to Kun, Touko, and Kaho, and many can get behind her end-game goal. Other characters have fascinating personalities and backgrounds, but the story needs to flesh them out more to help them stand out. Putting them in more dire or significant situations could help them feel more indelible.

The Fire Hunter’s visuals and animation hamper its chances of being a dormant success. While some locations, structures, and character designs look gorgeous in most episodes, there are times when episodes contain jagged visuals, bizarre animation, and an overabundance of stills. The staff likes to include weird split-screen portraits to add more drama to a scene. Unfortunately, it makes the animation studio, Signal.MD, look lazy or uninspired as a result.

Furthermore, they seem to like using transitional title cards to inform viewers whose point of view we’ll be following in the narrative. In theory it’s a neat idea, but it interrupted my immersion in the story a few times. Overall, I wished the anime would be as immaculate as the dramatic stills inserted into the anime. Images of the white dragon attacking the collection truck and Hinako screaming in pain in Koushi’s arms looked mesmerizing compared to the art design we received throughout this anime.

Imagine seeing Touko or any fire hunter combat a flame fiend with the same art style used for its picturesque stills. It would’ve made folks’ jaws drop with how unique and fluid it could’ve been. Instead, we receive characters fighting flame fiends in animation akin to what you’d find on YouTube during its heyday. The Fire Hunter’s not a poorly animated show throughout, but it’s just a bummer that the anime couldn’t look as pristine as its opening and ending themes’ scenery.

In a season with many heavy hitters, The Fire Hunter attempted to offer viewers something refreshing and delightful. Unfortunately, it’s a story not everyone can sit through due to its slow-burn essence and strange animation. Fortunately, Touko’s journey isn’t over yet, so there’s always a chance for Nishimura, Signal.MD and the rest of the staff to make a comeback. While this season wasn’t as glorious as I hoped, The Fire Hunter delivers a fascinating world, a decent tale, and a charming protagonist that shouldn’t be abandoned.

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  • Verdict - - 7/10

1 thought on “The Fire Hunter Season 1 Review – A decent fantasy with a fascinating world”

  1. Crazy. I seriously like this series. But I’m a sucker for anything that appears experimental or off the beaten path. I could have swore this was from the same people that did Shin Sekai Yori . Do you see the similarities? From the new world is one of the creepiest enemies I ever watched LOL

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