Director: Yuki Yase
Created By: Atsushi Ókubo
Studio: David Production
Audio: Japanese, English
Classification: 15 (BBFC)
Format: DVD, Blu-Ray + Digital Copy, Streaming
Licensed By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: Season 1 Part 1 on May 4th , Part 2 unknown at this time.
Having lost both his mother and infant brother in a horrible blaze when he was a child, Shinra Kusakabe dedicates his life to becoming a member of the Special Fire Force. Living in a World where people can only pray for old age to take them away quietly, they otherwise fear of being consumed by the flames and unwillingly becoming devils – known as Infernals. There are those that are born with abilities to control, create and manipulate the flames, known as pyrokinetics. Shinra is a third generation and can fly by using his ability to ignite his feet at will. He vows to become a hero and save everyone from Infernal attacks, whilst also using his position in the Fire Force to find out more about what happened the night he lost his family.
From the mind of Atsushi Ókubo, the creator of Soul Eater, comes his new work Fire Force! This story revolves around a new recruit to Fire Force Company 8, by the name of Shinra Kusakabe. With his impressive pyrokinetic ability, he joins the crew of the newly formed Company 8. Where each fire force member has their own special ability and place on the team, Shinra’s power appears to be the most advanced. Standing by his promise to become a hero, Shinra acts towards this with every mission they go on. Although his menacing grin makes him appear more villainous, his actions speak louder than words. It’s not just Shinra’s progress in the force we follow, but also the larger picture of finding out what causes Infernals and most importantly, how to stop this from happening. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to these creatures, their origins may be more manmade than what people are led to believe. Perhaps its not just only demons that Shinra and Company 8 must fight against.
I know I have mentioned his name a few times already, but Shinra, if you haven’t guessed by now, is the main character. His back story is tragic, with the loss of both his mother and infant brother in a house fire when he was just a young boy. There seems to be no mention of his father, so I don’t know if they will bring this up in a future season or not, perhaps they will just never mention him. (Just like in Pokémon.) Aside from Shinra, the family he has created in Company 8 is an interesting sort. We have what you could describe as his brother/bunkmate in fellow recruit Arthur Boyle, who acts just like a Knight of the Round Table. Although a bit dim witted, he has some unique skills when it comes to his third generation powers. The heads of the household so to speak are Akitaru Óbi and Takehisa Hinawa, who are the Captain and the Lieutenant of Company 8. They are the brains behind the operation, ensuring that each call out is safely managed and they also investigate the origins of the Infernals. In order to help balance out this fire station, we also have Maki Oze, with second generation powers she can create living fireballs and tends to train/play with them in the fire station (much to Hinawa’s annoyance). Second to Shinra, the other most intriguing character is Company 8’s nun – Sister Iris. At the end of each episode during the ending song, you will see Iris’s past when she used to live in a convent. Those scenes alone held my interest in the show for so long, just waiting to find out more about her. Her role in the Fire Force is both as a medic and as a Nun of the Holy Sol, where when possible she will say the final prayers to an Infernal before it’s “put to rest”.
Religion tends to play a big part in this show, with the Holy Sol Temple at it’s centre. The Church is also over the entire Fire Force companies, so you can only imagine what secrets this show is yet to unearth regarding the Holy Sol Temple. Then add the mystery behind the deaths of Shinra’s family that he is desperately trying to uncover for himself. As well as the truth behind the tragedy that struck Sister Iris’ convent. There are also plenty of action scenes ahead and numerous battles, against both Infernals and those experimenting with their creation. For me episodes 12 to 14 were especially good, where Company 8 goes down to Asakusa to meet with Company 4. The difference in architecture, scenery and just the town alone, looked like they had travelled back to the Edo period of Japan. The battles were still just as fierce even here.
After finishing the Soul Eater Not manga, Japanese mangaka Atsushi Ókubo began serializing the Fire Force manga in Weekly Shónen Magazine back in 2015. It is still on-going today, with 22 volumes out at present and is being published in English by Kodansha USA. Then just last year, in 2019, the series was picked up and released as a 24 episode anime by David Production. A studio that was first established back in 2007, they have since created many well known anime series. Including Ben-To, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Captain Tsubasa and Cells at Work! At present you can stream the entire Season One of Fire Force right now over on the FunimationNow app, with Manga Entertainment UK bringing out the physical release this year.
Fire Force is certainly a show worth checking out, although it has almost no story similarities to Soul Eater, you can see a crossover of some memorable character traits & personalities. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t remember ever seeing an anime before that surrounded Fire Fighters, so this very well could be a first.