Even though I thought last week’s episode of Fire Force was much more visually interesting, and now that I think of it the week before that as well. Fire Force is putting out some pretty episodes lately. Wait the desert scenes were gorgeous as well. O.k., nevermind, Fire Force is just a pretty show.
What I wanted to say is, even though this week’s episode was more conventional as far as visuals go, I ended up with a whole lot of screencaps. In my defence, a lot happened involving a lot of different characters and settings. With all that variety, it’s though to cut too many images, you know? Screencaper problems, am I right?
We actually got a lot of answers this week. Unambiguous straight forward answers. I just realized this as I am typing, but that may be why the visuals were a lot calmer in episode 13. No psychedelic dream scenes, not too many crazy angles, no exaggerated colour schemes or lighting effects. Everything was nice and clear, just like the narrative. That’s kinda cool.
We did see a flashback that explained the relationship between Joker and Burns. Surprisingly, it’s fairly amicable, without being any sort of life long devoted friendship or anything. Just two people that get along o.k. and got to know each other through their job. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a mundane and simple relationship in an anime. Especially one between two powerful and ambiguous characters such as these. I really sympathized with it. Personally, I also like most of my coworkers well enough.
While watching the episde, I was and remain sort of stunned by how different Burns looks simply by slimming down the model a bit and getting rid of the eyepatch. I hardly recognized him yet when I look at the images side by side, it’s clearly the same design. It’s great how they manage those subtle tweaks to make a huge difference.
So what we got in the first act is that Burns is also suspicious of the church and wants to uncover what’s going on. Despite both Joker and him receiving their burst from the Evangelist, they don’t seem to have taken as a particularly positive experience. Moreover, we know, but the characters don’t yet, that the Church of Sol and the Evangelist are not only in cahoots, but they also are one and the same.
I gotta say, I love all of this. I love Burns not being a simple antagonist. They had foreshadowed it for so long that it took me by surprise and I believe he could be a pretty great character foil to a lot of the cast. I love the church revealed. I immediately thought to myself. Well, why isn’t the Evangelist more powerful then? Why haven’t the just wiped out pr disbanded the 8th? But then I reaized, the Evangelist may be running things behind the scenes but it’s not like every member of the church is part of it. And most people probably wouldn’t want to be.
So instead of being this mystical cult of fanatics, we couldn’t possibly dream of understanding. The Evangelist is actually a group of very powerful people that operate completely within the bunds of the Tokyo Empire society. But there really aren’t that many of them and they need to keep public opinion from turning on them. So the Evangelist is limited in that way. This is a great reframing of the “enemy”.
I an already tell this post is going to e way too long. I’m not even done with half the episode yet. I also like that the Evangelist setting is always in that weird blue light to make their scenes extra cool. It’s a continuation from their colour theme in the first season and I appreciate it. I hate to say it, but Inca looks way better as a disciple of the Evangelist. The uniform just suits her perfectly.
After all the revelations about the church. The next lead we get is Haijima industries. We have known that they were linked to the church since the beginning but considering that Joker has learned all he can from “scriptures”, the corporate giant would seem to be the next best place to scrounge up some clues.
I faintly remembered that Rekka had succeeded in creating one pyrokinetic, but I have to admit, forgot all about it. I never spared a thought for the poor child. I’m a jerk. I have to say, those were some of my least favourite episodes so that may have had something to do with it.
However, the show didn’t forget. They aren’t just ignoring the foundations they’ve set down. We found out that the kid still alive and apparently manifesting some powers, but he’s also being used as a test subject by Haijima! And they let us know with a single line of dialogue and one image.
In many ways, I’m more interested n seeing how a corporate giant stacks up as an antagonist. Fire Force was already rather outmatched trying to go after the church, but going after a company on which they themselves are reliant. And not just because they could get in trouble. Each of them individually uses product services provided by Haijima on a daily basis. Disturbing the company would mean not only directly and immediately disturbing the lives of every single citizen but also impacting their own way of life.
The second they mentioned Haiijima my mind went directly to Viktor. I can’t believe it took the rest of the cast so long to catch up!
But before we go there, let’s talk Lisa for a minute. And her adorable new bob haircut. It’s pretty amazing how willing everyone is to forgive her. But it was also kind of refreshing. She’s still brainwashed and no one is trying to deny or minimize what happened. But they are all over it.
Her conversation with Shinra as well as her renewed relationship with Vulcan were both really heartwarming to watch. And even the little joke with Sister that not only gave a tiny bit of sexy implication but also recalled season 1’s gag of Sister not being able to resist pushing buttons, was just sweet fun. I have to say, I love how Fire Force is calling back to tiny elements of the first season. A lot of shows seem to forget all the details of past episodes once they are done with them. It just makes it feel more like a complete world this way.
As the members of the 8th company were discussing what Joker and Benimaru had discovered, we got an out of nowhere couple of shots of Tamaki and Sister doing that wet white dress ritual. I called it a fanservice break. And then it dawned on me that they are both sisters. More directly related to the Church of Sol than any of the other members of the force. The rest of the unit might be keeping them out of the more incriminating conversations regarding the church on purpose. Good job making your fanservice narratively relevant there!
And so everyone is now looking to Haijima but no one has any idea how to go about invading such a huge and influential company. Then again, the 8th does have an actual high ranking Haijima employee. Not that high ranking. Not part of the administration or anything. But still high enough to have decent clearance.
Those of you who have read me past episode reviews may have picked up on a couple of things. I think Fire Force looks great and, I really like Viktor. Not quite as much as Arthur. He only had two lines for instance and one of them was just pure Arthur gold. When finding out that Fire Force was in a way associated with Haijima, Arthur’s first thought is The am I a suspect as well? Brilliant. But Viktor is a close second
And it seems, we are setting up some Viktor heavy episodes in the weeks to come. Haijima is responsible for the upkeep of Amaterasu and if it is powered by pyrokinetic, then they would have a large interest in keeping a few of those handy. But Viktor isn’t a mere company shill. He has been pretty consistently characterized as an independent thinker driven first and foremost by curiosity. You know what they say about curiosity and cats…