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
- Fire Force 2 Episode 1 – A Great Start
- Fire Force 2 Episode 2 – The Return of the Knight King
- Fire Force 2 Episode 3 – Bombshell Gorilla
- Fire Force 2 Episode 4 – Day of The Living Ash
- Fire Force 2 Episode 5 – Firestorm
- Fire Force 2 Episode 6 – Backdraft
- Fire Force 2 Episode 7 – Tabernacle
- Fire Force 2 Episode 8 – Mixed Messages
- Fire Force 2 Episode 9 – titless
- Fire Force 2 Episode 10 – Orthodoxy
- Fire Force 2 Episode 11 – Wild Card
- Fire Force 2 Episode 12 – Beni-J
- Fire Force 2 Episode 13 – Scriptures
- Fire Force 2 Episode 14 – The Devil You Know
- Fire Force 2 Episode 15 – Free For All
- Fire Force 2 Episode 16 – The Enemy of my Enemy
- Fire Force 2 Episode 17 – Protectors
- Fire Force 2 Episode 18 – Crisis of Faith
- Fire Force 2 Episode 19 – Daddy’s Girl
- Fire Force 2 Episode 20 – Into The Nether
- Fire Force 2 Episode 21 – Alien Insect
- Fire Force 2 Episode 22 – The Real Deal