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.
Why You Shouldn’t Compare Fire Force to Soul Eater
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. Both were created by Atsushi Ōkubo, and while the two have a similar feel, they are two completely different anime and they should be treated as such.
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. 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.
If you push Soul Eater out of your mind completely, you will enjoy Fire Force, but if you go in thinking it’s going to be another 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.
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.
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.
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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 my favorite opening and closing themes of all time, 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.
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.
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 that 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: Funimation, Crunchyroll, Hulu
Tags: Fire Force