For those of you who don’t know, Quebec has a pretty deep and slightly sorted history with the catholic church. As such, a lot of the regional swear words are directly related to it. Well, the French ones. Our religious and political history is divided along language lines which is pretty interesting. So tabernacle is a very common swear word here, it’s used as an expletive like most people would say sh*t in English.

Because I’m about 4 years old mentally, I just got a small thrill out of naming a post with a swear word…

I just end up saying the same thing every episode but man Fire Force is pretty. More accurately it’s my aesthetic, but there are elements that are in my opinion objectively attractive. Like the skies. Fire Force has some of the best skies in anime. and the colours. Palettes are judiciously chosen for narrative effect and great to look at. Right from the opening scenes, I couldn’t get my eyes off those deep blue skies colliding with the contrasting mass of ochres, reds and purples blended into the desert scenery. Little did I realize, those where the boring backgrounds…

Storywise, the team has just landed on the Chinese peninsula and is making their way to the rendez-vous point deeper inland too get much-needed info on Adolla and potentially, the Evangelist. I have to admit that I quickly figured this was going to be a rather weak episode. Nothing to get me mad or anything. Just a slightly annoying filler I would have to appreciate strictly on a production level.

There’s nothing wrong with occasional filler mind you. And the way the season has been going, it’s a good spot to add in some. But just like any other episode of anime, there is a right and a wrong way make a filler episode and the bratty kids on a road trip, although fun, in theory, was already starting to wear on me. I also didn’t care much for that talking mole character and thought it was a gimmick.

I did note that the world outside Tokyo seemed o.k. At least a lot less in disarray than I had assumed. The port town they landed in had farms and looked to be clean and comfortable if a little rustic. The desert they were driving across was a wasteland, sure, but it looked like a natural desert rather than the horrific results of some devastating cataclysm. Maybe because I found it so beautiful… Victor did seem worried about poison gas but he was the only one. So, I thought to myself, maybe they don’t actually need Amaterasu. Or rather it’s simply a power plant. They need it just like I desperately need Hydro Quebec. But it’s not a god-like entity keeping destruction at bay. It just generates electricity.

You know, since quarantine started my greatest fear has become losing electricity. It’s sort of an essential element to almost every part of my life now. So as I write, it’s not magic, it’s just a power generator, a huge part of my says that IS magic! We need that so much. It would be chaos without it… Oh well, I do hope you know what I mean. After season 1, I thought Amaterasu was spiritual, and this episode made me think it might be a lot more mundane.

As dusk set in and night approached, the episode started getting calmer and much more interesting. The talking animals being treated as a curiosity and they themselves acting like… animals. Unbothered by their sudden communication skills and interested in it. They just go on with their lives, as animals would. I really liked that characterization. Obviously, something more was going on.

Also, we have had a few stunning sunsets this season already but this week takes the cake. That was just beautiful. The sand rust colour and the purples of distant dunes bled into the skies divided by abed of binding light. Then slowly a deep night ablaze with stars. Honestly, even if the narrative hadn’t picked up I was pretty happy just with the pretty pictures.

If I understood correctly, the dessert they had been crossing was a point of impact of the cataclysm. I say a point because I’m not sure whether there’s just one or many. A bit like Chernobyl or something, it seems to have had long term effects on the local fauna and flora. Well fauna, not much flora in a desert. (I’m getting to it, I know those are very green screencaps…)

We also find out that this same desert is literally littered with infernals. So much so that they shine like stars at night. Left to their own devices, infernals simply burn forever, unable to do much for themselves. Standing around and waiting for nothing in particular. Suddenly the Fire Force really does sound merciful in its approach. Latom. It was a powerful scene delivered in a casual manner. I  sort of felt it right along with Shinra. And of course, it was awesome to look at. I still can’t get over how brilliant a design element those reflective bleu bands on the fire force uniforms are! Just look at this composition:

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They really change everything!

The Crow and the Mole had been going on about some Oasis. Some magical verdant pocket of lush vegetation that had been home to the local wildlife until they had been driven away by some invaders. As it was more or less on the way, the crew does decide to see for themselves and surprisingly, it’s exactly as described. But the description did leave out some important details.

Unlike the surrounding desert, there are traces of long-gone civilization here. OOld streetlights and abandoned cars reclaimed by nature. These traces are only seen in the oasis, as if this place was in fact already an oasis before the cataclysm but something drove the humans away long before the animals set in. It turned out that the invaders were simply infernal dogs which Arthur dealt with pretty easy as the rest of the force panicked for some reason. However, the mole does warn of a leader that is in a completely different league. I guess we’ll have a boss fight next week!

I’m dancing around it. I’m burying the lead! In all of this, the most mysterious thing was a huge unmistakable structure which the animals credit for the very existence of their oasis. A tabernacle that has protected the land and sprouted life where there was none. An unmistakable thermal reactor that belongs to Amaterasu. And back to mystical, we go.

So maybe Amaterasu really does have protective powers. and Shinra is hearing a voice in his head. A voice that sounds like the crazy force driving him to burst and attack but this time it’s meek and pleading with him to protect the forest. Why would Amaterasu (that’s who Shinra thinks is talking to him) or the Adolla (that’s who I think was talking to him and could be the same thing) want the forest protected? I always had a mild uneasy feeling from Amaterasu. Like you couldn’t completely trust it. But this desperate call for help sounded more like the innocent sister than some devious force.

The episode started out with me thinking it was a bit of a dud and ended with me realizing that I just really like Fire Force. They even gave Tamakii a chance to do something and sound like she knew what she was talking about!  I would probably love Fire Force if I had binged it. It seems like that sort of show. I’m just too impatient. I hope those of you watching are also having a good time with it!

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3 thoughts

  1. I’m still not sure what to think of talking animals, but there does seem to be some sort of sliding scale here with Shinra hearing “the voice of nature(?)” at the end of the episode. How far does the adolla link go?

    I thought the infernals as a light show was a nice touch. Pretty from afar, but don’t get too close.

    1. I liked it too. There was something chilling about them just standing around doing nothing forever.

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