I’m not going to play coy with you guys. This episode is one of my favourite Fire Force episodes to date. Both seasons included. And that’s saying something. Especially hen you consider that my favourite dork had no role to play in it at all.
This week we saw the return or rise of some of my other favourite characters and it seems the series is following the path I had suspected it would take. I’m I just giving it high praise because I turned out to be right and now I’m a bit flattered for no reason? Maybe, but I don’t think so!
I have made no secret about my love for Victor as a character. He’s sort of jelly. By that I mean he’s completely ill-defined and flexible. He could fit any mould the narrative needs him to. And I find narrative utility very attractive in a person! When you take a character like that, one who”s morals and objectives are obscure and could go either way and suddenly cast them as the point of view character, as was the case for the first act of this week’s Fire Force, it puts everything in a new light.
Ok so maybe I wrote that last line to talk about how great the light was throughout the entire episode. Fire Force in general has always had great light. I remember one of the early episodes of the first season that had just stunning light. This episode if you’re curious. Once again, we saw just about every possible lighting situation in a single episode. A sunny day gave way to bright fake interior lights followed by an early city sunset a long gone rainy neon-filled night and a bright moon in a cool dark sky. Each of these lights had it’s own tone and warmth. Each conveyed a very different mood.
When the last episode left off, I mentioned that the camerawork was unsettling and Fire Force didn’t waste any time throwing us in the thick of things. A rift is definitely forming between the Force and the Church. However, they are still an institution of the state and there is a proper order to things. a slow and steady order. The light is bright in these scenes. Familiar and steady but a little harsh. It casts a lot of shadows and is just a touch cooler than usual.
But the narrative ditches our usual heroes fairly quickly and decides to follow Victor instead. Victor that moves to a room bathed in the late afternoon sun. A much softer and warmer light. It’s gentle but also dim. You can’t see too well in this sort of light. There’s a lot of mysteries here.
I’m so glad they confirmed that Arthur was right and it is Pi! Not that I doubted him or anything but you can’t really overestimate Arthur’s dork factor. He could have been completely off. I don’t have any theories about why Pi is being added to the formula. However, Pi has a long history of being considered a magical number!
The flashback to when Victor and Joker first met on the other hand has some of the most daunting light in the episode. Or maybe it’s just me that finds neons aggressive. In any case, there was something upsetting to me about the mix of the dark rainy night and bright shiny colours. I just wanted to find a blanky to snuggle under. Maybe their meeting will turn out to be not so great for one of them.
I do think it was significant that Joker called himself a hero. And it wasn’t simply a passing jest. He reiterates the thought later on in the episode and it’s obvious that it has some significance to him. Now having a shady character believes that he’s a hero isn’t all that unusual but in Fire Force, it has to mean something. Because Fire Force already has a hero. It’s Shinra. That has been repeated over and over again, always using the exact word “hero”. The connections between these two keep multiplying yet we still have no clue what it’s all about.
Not that it bothered me that much. After all, Joker is also one of my favourite characters. I had forgotten just how awesome his voice actor is. I could listen to this guy narrate all night! And you pair him with fan favourite Benimaru (ok the fan, in this case, is me)… That’s a winning combo right there!
If you look at the pictures just above, there is a row with two pics only. The first picture on that row is a neon cross reflected in a puddle. Sadly this still image doesn’t do it justice. I believe most of it was CG and it was breathtaking. That shot was just before the eyecatch and I actually went “whoa” out loud! Maybe you had to be there…
As for the picture next to it, it’s just good ol capt’n Obi! But what I really like about that shot is the pictures behind him that are obviously images from the last few episodes. Someone actually had it together enough to take pictures for the report. I bet it was Victor! Maybe I should get hired on because I also have the screencap of the crooked old traffic light! I love little details like that.
We found out that the Church of Sol is supposed to be an amalgamation of all the old religions and doctrines. Now I’m no expert by any means, but to me, it looks very Christian. The iconography and aesthetics, stained glass and crosses and all that. They even have cathedrals. I’m pretty sure those are Christian. And Raffles mentioned a singular god in “Heaven”. Aside from the fact that this implies that the one religion sort of digested all the other ones (except for the name Amaterasu which remains), it also links the Church and the infernals in a way.
Maybe I’m just a cynical person, but when I think organized religion, I can’t help but think of hell. Or rather the notion of hell. And those demon infernals do look a lot like Christian depictions of devils.
So Victor told Joker about what they found at the Tabernacle and the possible involvement of the church with the Evangelist. This is what prompted Joker to go for a frontal attack which is out of character for him. II didn’t expect him to team up with Benimary though. I have to congratulate the writers for coming up with some very convincing reasons for both Benimary agreeing to this plan and Joker seeking him out, to begin with.
although two overpowered stoics together is a rather unusual combo, it sort of worked as they represent such clashing ideals that balance each other out. Unlike the night when Joker met Victor, his night meeting with Benimaru is in dark rooms with warm firelight or under clear starry skies. It’s much darker but warmer and more refreshing feeling. It made me think this one was a good meeting…
Am I the only one that associates stark white sets with a sense of bleak hopelessness. It could be a me thing. I find them suffocating. I won’t lie, I did immediately look up what happens t Benimaru. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you but I just couldn’t possibly spend an entire week not knowing. That was a downright mean cliffhanger. Even though Joker’s closing line was kinda painfully perfect.
I’m sure this isn’t the first time I mention it this season but once again sound design was awesome this episode. Particularly in the last half. At this point, as far as I’m concerned, regardless of what the actual story of Fire Force turns out to be, the cinematic language it uses is amazing! I haven’t been this excited about the non-text storytelling of an anime since Garden of Sinners. Look at how much I blattered on about a single episode that’s just a set up for next week…
Anyways, good episode!