I don’t know how it’s been were you guys are but in my neck of the woods we’ve been having thunderstorms all week. Calm discreet little thunderstorms, nothing to get to worked up about. It’s actually been rather pleasant and everything us all lush and green now. I wasn’t actually planning to show off, it just kind of worked out that way.
I hope wherever you are, at least the weather is nice!
Another week of pretty much pure action for Fire Force and I’m o.k. with it. I would be nice if we got some plot development next week though. You know, just a tiny bit of exposition. But since I know all these guys already, I’m pretty happy to just watch them zip around the screen. And some of those scenes were honestly impressive. I might have let out and audible whoa at that huge pillar of frozen flames. Just typing that sentence was a bit impressive and also nonsensical…
We sort of forgot about Inca for the moment, as well as Arthur who just seems to be doing his thing. Let’s face it, that’s pretty much how it always is for Arthur. And instead, the episode was roughly split into two acts or more specifically two fights.
Shinra’s ongoing struggle with Charon, the almost unbelievably strong Evangelist foot soldier sent to capture Inca. And the bulk of 8th company against that fire demon tron looking fellow. It started off with Shinra.
For those of you who may not know, I am a big fan of the framing and blocking in Fire Force. It’s simply some of the best I’ve seen and I can easily watch these episodes without sound just to marvel at the compositions. However, I’m not crazy about this fight. The open but ill defined street with the grey buildings sort of fading into the grey road and grey sky don’t really give a proper sense of setting. It’s a bit too vague a background to properly cordon off the action which makes the blows feel lighter. Like fighting in outer space. Also Inca and the henchmen are very well established in the space and I often forgot about where they were supposed to be standing.
It was still fun to watch but not that great by Fire Force standards.
Oh and Shinra managed to figure out that Charon is in fact a second generation and has been using Shinra’s own flames against him. I would say it’s impressive but Shinra is actually pretty smart so this is in character. I did like that the realization didn’t change much. Info is great but you need to figure out how to use it. And that takes some time.
In the latter half of the episode, the 8th are trying to put down a particularly powerful inferno. It’s classed as a demon in fact and they went out of our way to confirm that only two of these have been successfully defeated in the history of the fire force.
Now this second half I really liked. Everyone played a part, an important and useful one at that. Well except Tamaki but what are you gonna do. For me the most exciting part is that Viktor actually got to do something. He joined the team pretty late in season 1, and although his character was shrouded in mystery and full of potential, he just never got the chance to do much. I’m glad they seem to be bringing him back to the forefront.
And he’s still fun! He’s a tall lanky nerd who has never done a day of physical labor in his life so they animated him to walk super awkwardly whenever he’s wearing the whole fire fighter gear and it was hilarious.
Even though these scene took place in the same grey setting, there was a much better sense of boundary due to the bystanders on one side, the various members of the fire force, all of which were often focused on and the vehicle that creates a physical division. Also the buildings themselves were instead on more and given a fun fish sense effect to distort the plane. See:
What I’m saying is that both visually and story wise, I found the second half of the episode just more fun. Not to say I hated the first half or anything. Shinra is fun to watch and the animation is always great. It hearkens back to the classic thrill of shonen series.
I really liked the design of this demon. He looked like a robot or maybe a bit like an old school iron man design. And he also looked kinda friendly. It’s a big departure from the either frightening or actually demon like infernos we have been seeing on the show. It’s almost cute. I could see a plushie of that.
The flames in the buildings during the second half were CG once again. I mentioned last time that I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the somewhat obvious CG this season and I think I don’t like it after all. My notes say “Fire Force is still struggling with the CG”. I wonder what the goal is with this. It’s one of the few visual effects that I don’t care for in this show.
The episode left off with the 8th triumphant and the town safe from the demon while a beaten but not defeated Shinra is pondering his net move to save Inca, still in the same place. That was a really long sentence. Oh and Arthur is on a rooftop somewhere fighting Haumea… or maybe he already won…or lost. Basically they showed us like 3 seconds of Arthur at the beginning then never went back to him. I hope they make up for it next week.
This second season of Fire Force continues to be really entertaining for me. So far it’s not as deeply mysterious or full of intriguing symbolism as last season but it’s just plain fun and a nice way to round off my week!