I’m extremely critical of anime no matter the genre, but this one needs a bit more critiquing than some others. I haven’t caught up to all the episodes, but I’m planning on watching the entire anime to solidify my review.
My first impression was that this was gonna be an amazing anime. It started off strong with Shinra being introduced, but almost immediately lost my interest at the damsel-in-distress with the sister. I continued with it, and I like the character dynamics so far, but they aren’t being introduced well if at all. The plot jumps from one thing to the next, explaining Shinra’s background, to the Infernals, to the Rookie Games. The concept is amazing; I genuinely like the idea of Infernals, and Shinra’s devil’s foot. However, the pacing is too quick and all over the place. Not to mention the excessive fan service and degradation of women (though that’s to be expected in anime). This anime could be SO much better if the pacing were slower and the characters actually had more personality.
Overall, Fire Force is not an anime I hate or heavily dislike but doesn’t suit my taste. I was hoping for more action and well thought out fight scenes, but instead I got two second fights and no explanation or too much explanation. This is definitely a “beginner” type anime. The animation is amazing, and I love the art style, but the story line could use some work.
The fire force seems to have a good idea of what it wants to be in hindsight, yet skews towards unnecessary fanservice wherever possible for no particular reason. It's quite tough to distinguish whether we are dealing with horny teenagers or brave firefighters, and if it continues to sway, the viewers just won't be able to take it seriously. We might just be watching it for the opening.
Reviewed with 6 episodes watched.
It may sound a bit cliche, or not very interesting, but it is definitely worth your time! Don’t let the fact that it’s about some sort of firefighters bore you away from watching this!
Most people when they search up a new action/shounen anime to watch, they just want to see some amazing fights with powerful characters, but Fire Force is not like most anime, in fact, it’s actually more unique than you’d think! Although the animation and fight scenes do look incredible, you learn alongside the characters that these fights have a very important meaning, and only maniacs would want to see others suffering. Which is why I felt so bad after the first few episodes, because I honestly just wanted to see a fight.
In the world of Fire Force, a supernatural phenomenon occurs every now and then, where a human being gets engulfed in flames and goes berserk, also known as an Infernal. And the only way to save them from the agony and horror of those flames is by killing them, which is where the Special Fire Force comes in! The Fire Force is a group of people in charge of putting these Infernals to rest, before they cause any heavy damage and put the lives of others at risk as well as to free them from the agonising pain of the flames.
The show’s protagonist, Shinra, wants to join the Fire Force and become a hero, and it’s not for fame, money or fun, he does it because he cherishes human life above all else, ever since he lost people that were very important to him. He gets branded as a “demon” for smiling when his family died as a child, but all the muscles in his face tense up when he gets nervous, making him smile. Later on in the show you meet many likeable and dislikable characters, from cute and adorable characters, to idiotic yet hilarious and finally to psychopaths that do not care about other people’s lives, including children. However, these characters don’t suddenly pop-up infront of you and then you’re expected to remembered all their names. It gives you time to get used to their faces, voices and personalities! Which may I add, are pretty lovable!
The animation is absolute gorgeous, and the music is just magnificent! The first opening and ending will forever be in my favourites playlist, I never once skipped either of them and I advice you to not skip them either.
But the thing that hit me the hardest, was the meaning behind all of it. People become easily manipulated and influenced by others around them, and they forget about themselves. Life is something precious that should be cherished at all costs, and it doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, why should we confront each other for our different views and believes? Why are the strong exploiting the weak just for their own gains? Did humans really forget how to be human? Did humanity lose all their sense of love, respect and family? It tackles down these points, and I believe it does it very well, specially the religious part. Just because someone believes in a God, that doesn’t mean they are greater than everyone who doesn’t believe in the same God. Just because someone doesn’t believe in a God, that doesn’t mean that those who do believe in a God are out of their minds and lost all their senses. It’s very rare to see themes about religion, since the world is filled with many religions and atheism believes, but that doesn’t mean we can just ignore the differences between us, but we shouldn’t point them out and cause conflict because of it either.
I’m really sorry if this was too long for a review, but I just wanted to say exactly how I felt about this show, since many reviews I’ve seen are rather negative, and it’s not everyday you see likeminded positive people... But yeah! That’s my first ever review, I hope I did well!
I apologise if this sounded like a biased or too positive review, but I like to speak what I feel is right and what deserves to be said, besides I love to stay positive!
Thank you so much for taking your time to read this review!
Minor spoilers ahead, and this is based on the first 9 episodes.
Fire Force is David Productions' newest work, and a rather impressively difficult shounen series to explain. It's based on the manga by Okubo Atsushi, renowned for his series Soul Eater Not!, but also to a lesser extent the related work Soul Eater. Fire Force is about a squad of firefighters that fight flaming monsters called Infernos, the result of people spontaneously combusting. How do they do this though, quite literally "fighting fire with fire", as the Fire Force uses pyrokinetics to dispatch of these Infernos. Yet there is clearly more afoot when our protagonist Shinra walks onto the scene with his devil's footprints, the expression of his pyrokinetics. While it has some issues, and does already seem to be a bit divisive whether you will or won't like it, I think overall the majority of people will enjoy it pretty well, 7.5/10 seems fitting.
Now, because there are things that must be addressed, to give you an idea whether this anime is for you, we'll touch on them as well as tags first. To start, this is very much a shounen series, for all the "good" and the "bad" that comes with that. For example, while this is undeserving of an ecchi tag, a "fan service" or more accurately something to denote the risque comedy (you know what I mean) of this series would be appropriate. Other than that, the tags listed are all fairly accurate, the drama is light, the action is heavy, and there is a very supernatural premise going on. Obviously if shounen or specifically fan service is outside your interest, or something you're completely turned off by, this might not be for you.
Now, the story of Fire Force is the particularly difficult part to explain, to start it quickly veers off from it's basic premise in the way you'd probably expect. Beyond that though, it does seem to be a bit of a slow burn (ha..) plot wise, and really only seems to just be picking up. Seemingly the early parts of this series has been to allow world building as well as introducing the main cast. While this does make it an annoyingly slow start, there is a decent attempt to keep you intrigued with a few mysteries as well as the world building itself. Notably the Infernos and the religion present in this world, where people worship the goddess Sol. I'm torn on how to judge this, but I'm giving it a more positive score of 7/10 as it does seem somewhat promising.
The strangest part of this anime is the characters, who I don't find terribly likable so far. They're not bad, but they're not all that great, there is too little there that grabs me about them. Shinra is the protagonist and he's decent enough, he has a cute quirk in his nervous smiling, a perfectly tragic backstory for this setting, and personality wise is a little bland and straightforward but not offensively so. Aside from him, there are a lot of secondary characters here who mostly seem promising, but there are too many characters to build up really well in nine episodes alongside what it has been doing. On that front, I think my opinion will change as we get to know these characters a bit more, but as of now, the characters are an okay 6/10 nothing more.
Now by far the strongest point to Fire Force at the moment is it's animation which is fantastic. Don't take my word for it, watch the OP or ED, go look up Fire Force sakuga. The animation here is amazing, and if you have a passing interest in good animation, even if you hate the characters, hate the story, hate everything about this show, it's worth watching for the animation alone. That or I'm sure there will be compilations of this anime after it ends, hell watch AMVs of it if you have to. It's not just that the animation is good either, there is just so much good animation. It only loses out a bit due to the CG that is used in places, while not nearly as bad as it could be, still standing out a little. 9/10
Sound is great here, plenty of well made SFX, especially important with fire being so prevalent. The voice acting all fits so well, legitimately can't imagine a more perfect fit for all these characters. The OST is yet another one that is there, but not particularly standout or memorable to me. Most importantly though, the OP and ED are outstandingly lit (haa..), I actually can't stop listening to them. Worth an 8/10, great in this aspect if you ask me.
Overall a great shounen time is to be had with Fire Force, not a whole lot more, but certainly nothing less. The show gets way more negativity than it actually deserves, I guess that's just the way things are going to be now. In any case, I'd personally recommend Fire Force, especially if you're a real fan of shounen anime, this might be up your alley. Oh and people who make fire based puns about this show deserve to spontaneously combust. That includes me, so if you'd pardon me, I'm going to go set myself ablaze.
For people worried about the fanservice aspect:
Since this is the big topic in other reviews: I've been rewatching the first season with my friend and I can definitely agree that it begins with excessive fanservice within the first 8-10 episodes (probably ~12 fanservice instances) but this definitely dies down after they handle their first culprit. It becomes more fight oriented afterwards. Yeah, there will still be aspects of fanservice every now and then but if you like the story enough it's easy to look past it. And honestly? It's anime -- It does a stupid fanservice thing for maybe 5-10 seconds and then moves on with the story, it's not the end of the world. The story will continue to get more plot heavy soon with Season 2 this out summer and it gets much more interesting imo.
For people curious about the plot:
Yes, it does throw you in to the world from the get go, but what show take 5 minutes at the beginning to explain the plot to you? Only a few. Almost all shows throw the viewer in. You just have to be willing to actually keep up and figure stuff out with hints and/or answers the show provides. It's really not hard at all to follow, so I don't know why people were complaining about this in other reviews.
For me, the show has entertaining arcs and builds on characters as the story goes on. Granted, some of the building won't begin until season two where things are heating up but if you're interested in the show from the first season, then the wait is worth it. It's action oriented, and sticks to its plot goals, whatever they may be at the moment.
Overall, Fire Force is currently my favourite show because it feels unique and new among the other shows I've browsed through in the past. Each character has their own personality and design. There is no same face syndrome. The fighting scenes are complex, and the creators show how and why the characters are becoming stronger. They don't just magically get stronger which is nice. Additionally, each character has their own weakness which adds to the story. For example, Arthur's stupidity. Not everyone is OP which is nice to see.
Additionally, the voice actors in the sub fit their characters. The only one that throws me off a little is Licht. Because of this and the dramatic music that plays, I gave a 8.5/10. Almost all shows anymore rely on music to further the mood so I can't be too critical about it.