I tried! I really tried!! I did everything I could to keep the screencaps of this week’s episode of Fire Force down to a reasonable number but I ended up with more than 60. I actually ended up with more than 70 and shaved 10 off. That’s how much effort I put into this! I’ll do better next time.

But I couldn’t help it. It was a beautiful episode. In a lot of ways! This post may end up having more pictures than actual words. And frankly, I’m all for it!

I mean just look at this gallery. We start off in the usual palette, great. And Hibana’s there. She has one of my favourite character designs so immediately that’s a plus for the visuals. But then we move on to a bleak yellow palette. It’s a lot colder than the usual Fire Force yellow palette. Ominous and a little sad almost. And it’s too light for action which is why Konro took his enemy out with a single blow. Still, those colours really make you feel like something is off. Like Konro could really be a traitor or something. Ridiculous!

Then the flashback goes into a bright red palette. There’s a sense of urgency and danger. Asakusa is burning and even though we know all of this happened a long time ago, it still energizes the sequence. Konro really does have an Adolla link.

But it’s the last part. Hibana, Konro and Shinra walking back to town at dusk. The sky is bright royal blue and magenta. Fire Force has never used this palette before. It’s serene and quite welcoming but something is about to change!

I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know if there was some viewer backlash to the treatment of Tamaki in season 1 or whether the author just got more comfortable with writing the character and the same shift is present in the manga. I’m actually curious to find out. In any case, there was a huge difference between the Tamaki I saw this week and the one I use to know.

Wait, that’s not completely fair. I don’t think Tamaki has changed all that much. She’s a bit more determined and she’s trying harder but this is still the same girl I knew, I think. She’s just been through some stuff. But both the narrative and the production is treating her like a whole new person.

I mean she got an actual backstory and some personality. There was even a repeated motif in her flashbacks that she sort of always did things because everyone else was doing them or everyone expected her to. Like a gentle acknowledgement of the characters lack of agency up until now. That’s some meta stuff and f it’s there on purpose, I’m impressed. And really happy!

But even without the narrative giving Tamaki so many more chances to shine this season, the production is no longer treating her like a set-piece and that’s really awesome. For me, that had the biggest impact. For instance, this episode contained a flashback to one of the most controversial moments in season 1. You know those Rekka episodes where Tamaki was just basically standing around half-naked getting beaten up or helplessly waiting to be rescued the whole time. But despite that, they didn’t show a single fanservice shot of her from those episodes.

During the flashbacks and at the end f the episode there were 4 different instances of Tamaki’s “lecher lure” and yet I hardly got any salacious screencaps. The camera didn’t linger on her or objectify her to an extreme. This was much more like a quirky naughty bit of random fanserve and I liked it. It was mostly implied and Tamaki had an opinion about it even though still not much control over the situation. She ad a voice and thoughts of her own.

There were also a few unfortunate implications. For one it is explicitly stated that Tamaki really dislikes being sexualized which makes most of her appearances in season 1 unfortunate. The second is that she knows it’s on her end and now she seems really unreasonable for having been so harsh with the boys knowing it wasn’t their fault. But I get it. She was embarrassed. Point is, I would have liked Tamaki to have been treated this way all along.

With one episode to go, I think we can safely say nothing will get resolved this season. I think I read that season 3 is pretty much guaranteed but we don’t have a date yet! Can’t wait.

In case you’re interested, here are my reviews for the great season of Fire Force

3 thoughts

  1. Wait, there’s only one more episode? I missed that. The end totally snuck up on me.

    This definitely was my favourite Tamaki episode ever. And, yeah, I wish they’d treated her like that from the get go, but better late than never. She’s always been such a frustrating character to watch: I liked her, but I didn’t want to see her because it’s just so depressing how the series framed her. Season 2 was already much better than season 1, but it stil couldn’t quite deliver the full package – until this epesiode. I hope this goes on like that.

    Competely unrelated, I’m beginning to wonder if the Evangelist actually has an adversary from back home. It would make sense for the 7th to be in touch (knowingly or unkowingly) with someone like that. For example, ever since I first saw the twin’s fire fox personae, I wondered if they were human to begin with. I mean it’s always been a long shot, and how they’ve now compared them to the fire cat, it’s even more unlikely, but they do have some business with the church, and they’re not fans, so…

    1. I also wonder if the twins are human. I wonder what exactly the Evangelist is to begin with. Alien? Demon? Just a very ancient infernal?
      The end snuck up on me as well. I had to check to make sure it wasn’t 26 eps

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