Fire Force – Episode 9: The Spreading Malice – My issue with Fan Service

I am having a number of mixed feelings when it comes to this show. Feelings that are mostly centred on a single thing I can’t help but get hung up on when watching a show like this. I run the risk of having a pretty unpopular opinion here, but I’m just going to come out and say it: I just don’t like fan service in anime.

A lot happened in this episode; we saw the continued and the conclusion to the battle between Shinra and Rekka. We learned that Rekka is working for someone he calls the Evangelist. Adding to the religious, cult-like overtones of the series. Their goal to burn everyone in the world.

The hope being they can turn Earth into a “second Sun”, in order to become closer to their god Sol. Honestly though, Rekka seems like enough of a fanatic that this is most likely some tale they spun just to get him on board. Because he seems very into it all when fighting Shinra.

Fire Force - Episode 9: The Spreading Malice - My issue with Fan Service

It’s just a shame what goes on with Tamaki throughout.

This episode begins by, once again, showing Tamaki’s excessively animated crying sequence upon being rescued by Shirna. It’s supposed to show her immense relief and admiration for him upon her life being rescued. It feels like it’s supposed to be a highly emotional moment that adds stakes to the, already pretty high stakes, situation.

So, what bugs me so much is how I get completely taken out of the moment by having her clothes burned off, so she spends the episode half naked, and Shinra getting involved in some goofs where the two keep getting pressed against one another. I honestly, do not see the point of adding these scenes in the moments they’ve chosen to do so.

I feel like there’s a time and place for fan service. In certain romantic comedy genre’s it’s kind of the sole driving force, mostly because a lot of these shows are left wanting of anything of any depth or value. Titillation is their sole driving force.

Fire Force - Episode 9: The Spreading Malice - My issue with Fan Service
Of course she’s also a cat in this scene.

Fire Force doesn’t feel like a show that needs it to me. It’s an action driven mystery show with moments of character driven situational comedy, sure there’s always going to be fan service in these shows. But to shove it into the middle of what felt like it was supposed to be a dramatic, high emotion fight makes me think less of the show. I feel like I’m being pandered to in the most obvious kind of way.

It annoys me in the same way that incredibly obvious advertisements annoy me. It makes me feel like the writer/creator has a pretty opinion of me and needs to keep my primal brain in check or something… Rekka is experimenting and executing children, Tamaki was almost killed by him to take the fall. This is the really not the moment I need to be seeing Tamaki’s cleavage with Shinra buried in it. I was already invested.

It’s a shame, because otherwise I enjoyed the episode. The fight between Shinra and Rekka was thrilling. The conclusion and aftermath were also intriguing, pulling us even further into the mystery of the Infernals. With the Knights Templar looking enemies that present themselves to mop up Rekka’s mess.

Fire Force - Episode 9: The Spreading Malice - My issue with Fan Service
Karim adds his (Not Todoriki) powers to the 8th investigation.

Thus we come to the end of the investigation of the 1st, which is over a lot faster than I was expecting. Burns involvement is brushed over, as Karim states he’s willing to assist the 8th in their investigation into the source of the man made infernals. And also Tamaki joins the 8th after getting suspended from the 1st.

Tamaki. She’s a weaponized character. A collection of traits and tropes designed to make her a “best girl”. But aside from these tropes and her design, she really lacks any character of her own so far in the series. At least based on what we’ve seen of her so far. And personally, my heart still belongs to Maki anyway.

Oh, and Arthur’s also missing. Everyone just kind of brushes over that fact that. A post credits scene seems to imply he might have some involvement with the Knights Templar looking villains, but given his Arthurian delusions. That implication feels a little too on the nose for me to think it’s genuine.

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