Hero or Devil: A Review of Fire Force Episodes 1-3

Fire Force is an anime based off the Shōnen manga by the same name written and illustrated by Atsushi Ōkubo. The show starts off with a quiet train traveling through Tokyo when smoke begins to leak out of a passenger’s mouth. Afterwards we see expectant civilians at the station in shock as the train rolls into the station engulfed in a raging fire. They quickly back up. But, one doesn’t seem to be phased. He stands with a sharp toothed grin as the train approaches the station. However, he’s quickly pushed out of the way by a group of people dressed in fireman-esque uniforms with glowing blue stripes. This is the titular Fire Force. It’s then that we’re greeted by what exactly has terrorized that train. A black humanoid beast engulfed in a fiery blaze lumbers out of the train and the Fire Force immediately jump on it. Using specialized weaponry to neutralize the beast they call an “Inferno”. 

Towards the end of the battle with the Inferno, one of the Fire Force members is thrown into the air and the sharp toothed character seen earlier springs into action to save her. With flames bursting from his feet he flies into the air and catches the falling woman before she can be harmed. This sharp toothed character is quickly found to be the newest member of the Fire Force, Shinra Kusakabe. It’s now that we get to learn more about the Fire Force and what exactly is happening in the world. 

Fire Force is set in an unknown year. In this year the Earth has been heavily flooded and the continents have seen massive shifts to where they’re barely recognizable. Tokyo is one of the only safe places in this chaotic world. The post apocalyptic nature of the setting is reminiscent of the world of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the horror and chaos that befell Earth after the Second Impact. Much like Neon Genesis the people of Tokyo are in fear of imminent death. But, this isn’t death from Angels, but fire. An epidemic has spread around the world, Spontaneous Human Combustion. People all around are, seemingly without reason, bursting into flames and becoming the horrifying Infernos that are seen in the first scene of the show. It is the job of the Fire Force to extinguish these fiery beasts when they pop up. 

The main characters are numerous. But, the one that really stands out is Shinra. His checkered past and experience with Infernos give him a special grudge and motivation to fight and to find out the, for now, hidden realities about tragedies in his past. He desperately wants to be known as a hero instead of a devil like he has been most of his life. Other notable characters include Akitaru Ōbi, the Captain of Fire Force Company Eight. A strong leader who can be somewhat goofy but always comes in when needed. He’s often seen lifting weights and training to be the best he can be. Another notable character is Arthur Boyle, a delusional new recruit who refers to himself as a “King Knight”. Him and Shinra were rivals in the academy and are often in competition with each other. There’s also Takehisa Hinawa, the no nonsense Lieutenant of Company Eight. He doesn’t take fools lightly and uses firearms as his main weapons while fighting. Then there is Iris and Maki. Iris is a nun. She assists by being active medic and praying for the souls of those who turn into Infernos. Don’t let Maki’s normally calm demeanor fool you. She’ll go nuts if you make her angry. A former army soldier she has the power to create living fireballs and control flames from a long distance.

After this first scene the viewer is greeted with the opening theme, appropriately named “Inferno” by the Japanese band  Mrs. Green Apple. The song is incredibly catchy and as it plays there are views of blazing fires and the Fire Force battling Inferno monsters. It’s a song guaranteed to get into your head. The fast paced opening is paired very well with the softer, but still dangerously catchy, ending song, “Veil” by Keina Suda.

Overall, Fire Force is off to a fiery start. The characters are enjoyable, the setting is interesting, and the lore is just getting started. With the appearance of a character named Joker in the third episode alluding to dark secrets about Shinra’s past and the other Fire Force Companies, it’ll be interesting to see how things go and what secrets are just waiting in the future to be discovered and rock the world of Fire Force Company Eight.

Overall I give the first three episodes of Fire Force a solid 7/10, a must watch for fans of Soul Eater!