Wooderon’s Favourite Anime of 2020 – #7

I’m still all riled up from talking about the Mandalorian season 2 finalise, so much so that I simply couldn’t wait four more days to post it. It’s fine though, because I’m pretty on top of my top ten entries now. All I have to do is write these intros, as you might be able to tell from this very specifically dated one. Today’s anime is one of those ones that never seems to be on my mind all the time, so much so that I end up watching it in chunks rather than week to week.

Which is weird really, because when I am watching it, it’s a great show. One that I’m glad I get this opportunity to talk about it considering I’ve hardly said a word about it the whole time it was airing.

(Click this link to see the archive of entries so far)

#7: Fire Force (Season 2)

Originally aired 4th July to 14th December | 24 Episodes | Based on the manga by Atsushi Okubo | Fantasy, Adventure, Science-Fiction

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #7

I think this is the first time I’ve spoken about Fire force outside of Twitter since the second season started. It’s been an anime I’ve just quietly been watching in 3-5 episode chunks since it started in July. And for a while, I just let it wash over me. It wasn’t a series I was feeling especially strongly about, which is a really strange signal for me as to how increased consuming of anime this year has changed how I react to the shows I watch.

In the process of compiling this list though, I looked back through each episode synopsis for season 2 and realised that while nothing in Fire Force totally knocked my socks off in the same way moments from, let’s say, Demon Slayer did last year, it was consistently giving us impressive action sequences, great fights and a ton of weird and wonderful characters to enjoy throughout.

Fire Force is a very consistent shonen that constantly ticks over at a 7/10, while occasionally bumping up a point or two during the conclusions to its arcs. I feel like, the reason that the second season of Fire Force didn’t make as strong an impression on me as the first one did is because it has settled into a groove. What I mean by that is that the first season was all about the mystery. The mystery behind the infernals, the mystery behind the white-clad, the mystery behind what happened to Shinra’s family.

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #7

By the time the first season was over, all of those mysterious had been blown wide open. And so this second season became more of one about these two opposing sides of the Fire Force and the White-Clad coming to blows over and over as they recruit or further their goals towards destroying/saving the world. It felt much more serialized than the previous season, coupled with just how many different story arcs this second season cycled through, it felt more like a Saturday morning cartoon in that regard.

With short, sharp story arcs coming at you one after another rather than one prolonged story being told over the course of weeks and weeks. Which isn’t a criticism at all, it’s just a different style of storytelling. And looking back over it, Fire Force did still have those hype action moments you want from your shonen battle anime. Maybe it’s because they were happening so often that they weren’t given the time to accumulate that dramatic weight that really makes a final battle pull you to the edge of your seat.

Which, again seems like I’m criticising the series, when I’m really not.

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #7

Fire Force has a great cast of characters, all of which get a lot of focus throughout. We don’t really spend that much time focusing on Shinra at the expense of the supporting characters. Each and everyone is their own unique brand of badass while also being out of their minds. Between this show and Golden Kamuy, I’ve spend a good chunk of the second half of this year thinking about mental stability of anime characters and how much of it is intentional or not.

Because the Fire Soldiers all have some emotional baggage that contributes to some different form of mental instability between them all, Arthur being a prime example of this. And it makes me wonder if this is supposed to have some deeper meaning, or if it’s just anime playing crazy characters up for goofs.

Maybe I’ll try to think about this heady subject a little more deeply in the new year, but for now I’ll end by saying that Fire Force still has a great visual aesthetic, the religious overtones combined with the warped animation that happens character’s interaction with the show’s interpretation of Hell is a great basis for what ends up being a fantastic series of great fights.

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #7

I like Fire Force. It is a consistent show, one that has a great supporting cast and exciting action sequences. Which the very least my monkey brain wants. Not only that, it does feel like every arc is progressing the story to some kind of conclusion, there are no spinning wheels or filler style arcs going on here.

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