Somewhere along the way, Fire Force seemed to drastically veer away from one of the aspects of the show that most drew me to it when I first started watching it. During my initial “3 Episode Rule” post, I spoke about Fire force’s more macabre tone and how it dealt with the horrors of people turning into monsters at random and the pain and respect the main characters paid to those they were dispatching, as well as those who were left behind.
Pretty early on, that tone got lost in the mix, replaced with a blend of goofs, titillation and conspiracy theory. After finishing up two investigations into two fellow forces we take an episode to finally get back to the thing that got me interested in the show in the first place; telling the human story. Preferably, one that doesn’t involve Shinra.
Episode 11 splits its narrative into two halves, The first deals in flashback, showing Hinawa during his time in the military, and what inspired him to join the Fire Force. It’s a good little self contained story to be honest. It shows up how Hinawa lost a friend and felt personally responsible for not dealing with it better.
Then how he and him and Obi met up. Despite neither of them being Fore Force yet, they deal with an infernal and pledge to start their own force in the future.
The weirdest thing to come from this for me is the fact that the 8th’s eventual approach of showing care and compassion for the infernals and their relatives left behind seems to be a trait unique to them. It was part of the reason I was drawn to the characters and the show in the first place, and yet we see another Force in the past gamifying their jobs, and generally being pretty callous in front of the people suffering the tragedy.
It just further leads me to believe that being a pyromancer in this show just also makes you some insane sociopath to some degree, because nobody else in the force outside of the 8th seems to care about the human cost and instead just want to live on some power trip.
It just reminds me of how much this show has change since my initial impression of it. Starting out as a somewhat serious human story and quickly becoming a silly shonen instead.
Speaking of which, we get a second title card and the next part of the episode, introducing Benimaru and the Company 7 of the Fire Force. The 8th heads over to ask for permission to investigate, which Benimaru rejects. Lining up with his personality seen during the meeting with the Fire Pope previously.
Shinra seems to think this guy is the most powerful fighter in the force, thus his logic leads him to wanting to kick the guy’s ass. Yeah buddy, that went real well for you when you tried it against Captain Burns.
Shinra getting beaten down needs to postponed through as an infernal shows up. The 7th district has a much more old-world, traditional look to it, as opposed to the more industrial looking cityscape we’ve been familiar with so far. Which is a god thing too, because Benimaru’s combat style in dealing with infernals involves destroying the entire town each time he fights. Which nobody seems to care about when he does it.
His power, apparently, comes from the fact that he’s able to use both second generation manipulation powers as well as third generation ignition powers simultaneously. A difference I don’t think the show has really fully explained yet, but it’s also a trait unique to him.
While a standoffish jerk-bag, Benimaru is shown to care for the people of his district, lamenting the infernalisation of a man he had spoken to earlier that same day. Both stories told within this episode felt like they returned to the aspects of the series that intrigued me the most when I started watching it.
There are so many battle shonen out there already, one that focuses on the tragedy and loss, the human stories of living in this world where anyone could turn into a monster at a moment’s notice seems so much more interesting from a storytelling perspective. Plus, we get some actual character development too. I’m sure we’re going to delve back into Shonen nonsense before long, but this episode was a reminder of what made me want to watch this show in the first place.