Fire Force came out strong as one of the most anticipated releases of 2019, but does it live up to the hype? Before I get into the full review, I first want to talk about why you shouldn't compare it to Soul Eater. I'll then go over some background and let you guys know whether or not I think Fire Force is worth watching along with a spoiler-free review!
Also be sure to check out all of the anime you have to look forward to in 2022! David Production, who animated Fire Force, have two anime, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6: Stone Ocean and Spriggan, coming out that year. Due to its popularity, anime figures are also being made of characters from the series like Fire Force ARTFX J figures of Benimaru and Arthur. I have an unboxing and review of both coming to the site and our YouTube channel soon.
With that all said, let's get into the review!
I recently wrote a post in which I stated that you shouldn't compare Boruto to Naruto. Much in the same, I'm going to recommend you don't compare Fire Force to Soul Eater, who's manga was recently made into Soul Eater Perfect Editions.
From what I've seen online, people aren't happy with Fire Force for mainly one of two reasons (1) They don't think it's as good as Soul Eater or (2) They feel it lacks direction and character development. With that said, let's delve further into the first.
While it's true that Fire Force isn't as good as Soul Eater as of now, that doesn't discount the fact that it is still a great anime and that later reveals make it well-worth the wait. I get that it isn't as flushed out as Soul Eater and it takes more time for its story and characters to hook you, but Fire Force shouldn't be discounted just because it isn't as good as its creator's other work.
Plus, many have been backtracking what they've said about Fire Force after catching up in the manga, which is now complete in Japan. Trust me, you'll want to stick around to see how this one develops, because it's a major surprise and how the story unfolds is incredible.
If you go in with an open mind and a willingness to give the series a chance as well as time to surprise you, you will enjoy Fire Force, but if you go instantly comparing it to Soul Eater, you will miss out on all the positives Fire Force has to offer, which I'll talk more about below.
Is Fire Force worth watching?
To determine whether Fire Force is worth watching, I reviewed the series' story, character development, direction, animation, and sound production/music. First though I want to talk about Fire Force's background and give you a brief overview of the series.
Fire Force Background
Fire Force first released as a manga in 2015 and it was later adapted into an anime in 2019. The manga is actually entering its final arc in Japan, so the series will be wrapping up soon in the West as well. Since the time of writing this post, Fire Force, Season 2 aired in 2020.
Who made Fire Force? The manga was created by Atsushi Ohkubo, who you also may know as the creator of Soul Eater and B. Ichi. The anime was animated by David Production (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Cells at Work!) with Yuki Yase (Durarara!!, Fate/Extra: Last Encore) directing the series.
What is Fire Force about?
Fire Force's world is plagued by this mysterious phenomenon called Spontaneous Human Combustion, which transforms everyday humans into Infernals without warning. Special Fire Force companies were formed to combat these violent Infernals and protect humanity from their terror. These companies have members that are pyrokinetics, gifted individuals that can wield flames without the risk of becoming Infernal.
The story follows Shinra Kusakabe, who lost everything and his family to fire, and Company 8 on their mission to bring the burning souls of Infernals to peace and uncover the mystery of Spontaneous Human Combustion. On their journey, they'll find answers along the way that make them question who they can and cannot trust, and later will come into contact with a mysterious organization that's been hiding in the shadows.
Fire Force Anime Review (Spoiler Free)
The story and premise of Fire Force is one that had my attention from the start. A story, who's world is full of uncertainty and terror with a main character that's seen as a devil, but is actually a hero; You can't really go wrong with this formula.
The world-building itself is done really well. There's overarching conspiracies that keep you watching Fire Force; It creates this atmosphere of mystery. This makes you want to discover the truth as much as the characters in Fire Force.
There is a good balance between the serious and humorous moments featured in the anime. I personally found the humor in Fire Force to be funny. It's not meant to be taken seriously and is all in good fun, like the Fire Force calendar episode in Season 2. The fan service sometimes can come across as cheap, but you'll come across moments like these in a lot of anime. There are many other great moments in Fire Force that allowed me to look past this with ease.
All in all, there's just something highly addicting about the whole apocalyptic setting and feel of Fire Force, and this is one of the main reasons as to why I think it is worth watching.
Character Development and Direction
Secondly, I want to talk about character development and the direction within the series. In the first half of its debut season, Fire Force takes some time to heat up. You aren't given much as to why these characters have joined the Fire Force, which prevents you from fully investing in their stories in the beginning. But, the second half of the season offers more, and this is where I began to see Fire Force's appeal.
As a result, character development doesn't really kick in until that point, and for some characters it doesn't really kick in at all, like with Tamaki; Hopefully this is something we'll see later on. But, you will really grow to love certain characters. For me, Shinra, Arthur, Benimaru, and Vulcan were the characters that I was interested in most. My favorite episodes mainly center around these four characters, and I find them to be standouts in the seasons. Their fight scenes are some of the most exciting to watch, especially Benimaru who is a badass.
Once you learn more about why Company 8's members joined the Fire Force, you'll become more invested in these characters and their stories. The way they interact with one another is also fun and humorous to watch, especially Shinra and Arthur. Yes, the story takes some time to fully to grab your attention, but it makes up for it in the long-run.
David Production (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The Animation, Cells at Work!) is the studio behind Fire Force, and I have to say they did an incredible job. The motion is fluid and the fight scenes are dynamic, but it was the way they utilized highlights and shadows in the scenes that stole the show for me.
David Production really played with the aspect of light vs dark, and the characters fire powers made for some really interesting frames. For instance, you'll see characters illuminated in the dark by nothing but their flames. It's visually-striking images like these that make Fire Force a true joy to watch.
Sound Production and Music
The sound of bursting flames and explosions coming through your speakers always provides for a great viewing experience, but the way it's handled in Fire Force really resonates and provides a great example for how it should be done.
Music-wise, Fire Force also shines. It has some of the best opening and closing themes, such as "MAYDAY (feat. Ryo from Crystal Lake)" by Coldrain and "Inferno" by Mrs. GREEN APPLE. A great opening theme, in particular, can really set the tone for a season. It gets you excited for what's to come and these two themes, in particular, succeeded at doing so more so than most.
Final Thoughts: Is Fire Force Good?
Fire Force isn't perfect, but nothing is. And regardless of what its naysayers will tell you, it's definitely worth watching. If you give it a chance, make sure you keep watching until the second part of the first season. I, like many people, was questioning the direction of the series within the first half, but trust me, it does pick up and it is good.
Not only do you get some pretty awesome villains, but you are given more about the characters and their motivations. While the story centers around Company 8, more Fire Force companies and likable characters will be introduced along the way, so this is something you have to look forward to as well.
It deserves more credit than it has received and since Season 2 just recently kicked off on July 3rd there's bound to more to love about this series!
Where to Watch Fire Force
Fire Force is streaming now on Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.