Fire Force is back and until I watched the first episode, I didn’t hadn’t realized that it was just what I needed right now. Let’s get a few announcements out of the way first though.
This first review is going on up Saturday because I didn’t have anything else for today but starting next week I will most likely be moving it to either Sunday or Monday. If I have another season of not being able to do anything on Friday night cause I got a review to pump out, I’m gonna end up single again!
Second, a reader pointed out that my best episode reviews were my gallery reviews as they were at least a bit more unusual and sounded more personal. And I have to agree. My gallery posts were not always easy to write but they were often se of my favourites. Not that I didn’t have a great tim discussing my litterature tastes trough BSD or Woodpecker or going deeply introspective with Steins;Gate 0, mind you. So I’m going to attempt a hybrid. I’m assuming my readers have seen the episode and do not need me to recap the plot so I will stick to my views on the visuals and production as well as any big elements that stood out for me. It’s probably going t take me a couple f weeks to find my footing so I hope you’ll bear with me!
Season 1 of Fire Force was somewhat of a mixed bag. There were a t of elements I absolutely loved. The religious and political background plot, the quick paced action, the doofy characters (if there’s one thing I love more than a troll, it’s a dork!) and the occasionally earnestly emotional episodes that somehow managed to avoid melodrama all together. I think it’s fair to say that for me, when Fire Force was good, t was great! But then there was the outdated humor, the occasional uncomfortable fanservice an the complete objectification on certain characters that made it not only less enjoyable for me, but at times even bring.
As far as I was concerned, the good outweighed the bad and there was no doubt in my mind that I would be watching this second season. I was a bit anxious to see what episode 1 would bring.
I shouldn’t have been.
First let me say, Fire Force is a show that I have always found beautiful and it still is. those vibrant colors filling my screen was a shot of endorphins for me. Second… did the producers tweek something in response to viewer comments or is it a coincidence?
Th episode opens with Shinra and the three girls, Tamaki, Sister and Maki all shopping together. This is a prime set up for fanservice. Trying clothes on, laughing, tripping… In the firs episodes last season, no ladies could be on screen without a cleavage or derriere sho. And amaki was never allowed to stay clothed at all. Ys all hr girls were absolutely adorable and just lovely together without a hint of that type of fanservice. It was almost a little weird. But great.
The scene was fun and joyful. It was coloured in ultra saturated pastels to keep those happy grooves ging and it had me smiling from ear to ear. I like seeing Shinra get all flustered around sister.
And the the action picked up. An infernal appearance quickly reminded us what this show was all about and the episode used the opportunity to reestablish the cast and their relationships. And it did great.
My girl Maki got to be a big boss quickly taking hold of the emergency and dispatching everyone as needed. Each member of the 8th got a chance to be reintroduced and a chance to show their own skills. For once no one needed to be saved r ended up purely decorative. The episode was careful t make every single character useful an feel like the were an important part of the team. And YAY, Arthur!
It’s just the first episode so I don’t know if this is going t be true all season, but let me try to explain why I loved the shift in fanservice in this first half. Here is Tamaki’s reintroduction to the audience:
Tamaki was a pretty divisive character last season and I would say the mos common source of fanservice although all ladies were fair game. Sure, her uniform is still a bikini top under an open jacket but the framing and context is completely different. The Plot didn’t rip off her clothes for no reason, it’s her own choice to wear this and it could easily be argued that her ignition ability make cosing the jacket uncomfortable. I’l buy that. Heck I don’t even need to buy that. Girl can wear whatever she wants to, it’s just a convenient excuse for why her uniform is different. But for me, even better is how the camera frames her. Wait, here’s another shot:
The emphasis is mostly on hr face and eyes. Her expressions are set and determined. She’s in full action. She looks great and personally I really like this way more than this
I was happy to see that they kept the trend of making the sky a darker royal blue whenever the action kicks up, and clearing the clouds out. Fire Force has some of the most beautiful skies!
Another screencap I want to bring attention to is this one:
I have always loved the shot composition in Fire Force. It was one of its greatest strength in my opinion. And Look how wonderful the image is. The rough crescent shape with Victor as a lone central anchor. Those fantastic reflective strips on the uniforms creating a continuous line. Arthur’s golden hair tying together with the golden accents on the hats and sleeves, while Vulcan’s red hair and Sister’s white collar and sitting positon crae visual stops on either end. This is a great shot that highlights the spiritual undertones of the series! Am I getting carried away?
The fight with the inferno was really fun to watch and showed off some new tricks. The ation was more frantic than we we are use and the character models were prone to some deformation à la Trigger. This happens to be a technique I tend to appreciate so I was psyched. In general the designs and models seem pretty much unchanged from season 1 but the animation has had an upgrade. Very cool!
And as soon as the inferno is defeated, the white fluffy clouds come back to break up that sky and we get a beautiful baby blue horizon.
It’s really great that out of the entire hopping trip, th most inappropriate outfit ended up being worn by Hinawa. Is it a sign that I’ve been watching too much anime when I immediately assumed that his hat “Nudist B*tch” was a reference to Kill la Kill instead of cheeky wordplay? Doesn’t matter, I’m sticking with my head canon.
Although it might be a definite sign that I’m watching too much anime when I think that outfit sort of suits him. Maybe not for the office, although…
Ok…so maybe they didn’t so much tone down the fanservice, as move it to the guys. Still, in the context of a Firemen calendar it still leaves the control with the characters which makes me enjoy it more. Still, I wouldn’t have minded a mixed gender calendar.
Aside for the brief inferno interruption, which was really just an excuse to assure the audience that this is still the action shonen they all love and remember, the episode was mostly fluffy filler stuff. And you know what, I suddenly think that fluffy filler was really missing from season 1. I’m n saying it should have been a slice of life, but one or two episodes just like this one would have improved the pacing in my opinion.
When all is said and done, I had a great time with this first episode. I think it really highlighted the potential of the series and showed it in a great light. Did y watch the first episode? And did you enjoy it? Are you sticking with season 2?