Year 198 of the Solar Era in Tokyo, special fire brigades are fighting against a phenomenon called spontaneous human combustion where humans beings are turned into living infernos called "Infernals." While the Infernals are first generation cases of spontaneous human combustion, later generations possess the ability to manipulate flames while retaining human form. Shinra Kusakabe, a youth who gained the nickname Devil's Footprints for his ability to ignite his feet at will, joins the Special Fire Force Company 8 which composes of other flames users as they work to extinguish any Infernals they encounter. As a faction that is creating Infernals appears, Shira begins to uncover the truth behind a mysterious fire that caused the death of his family twelve years ago.
I really thought this was going to be different from your typical small deal shonen series. The first two episodes were fun as heck. Supernatural firefighters fought against flames with axes and machine guns while nuns tried to tame them with "holy water". Exactly the type of nonsense I am into, easy to enjoy, I thought.
But then the show showed its true colors. Incredibly unfitting and unnecessary ecchi fanservice and boob fondling. Soulless comedic reliefs. Dialogue is constantly masked as story-telling/backstory narrative in a manner so pathetic that it seems like a parody, whilst lessening the genuity of the characters. Illogical story events are there
pushing the narrative in preferred direction. Teleporting villains. Asspulled mystery elements that seem to exist just so that the series won't entirely fall under monster of the week formula, and to give the audience at least one reason to watch the next episode -- yet entirely failing to stop the series from feeling repetitive. Build up and world building are greatly missing, making the series very flat and its content insignificant.
Then we have the directing which deserves its own paragraph, or two (more specifically three), because it's seriously goddamn weird.
Scenes are missing entire animation sequences, and scenes play out so randomly, so quickly and so illogically that it almost seems like there is no continuity. This because the directing is all over the place. We're jumping from scene to another either at ludicrous tempo or alternatively waiting for one unnecessary long to reach its end, because it can go on forever. So incredibly many events occur in every episode, they are filled with content, but afterwards, it feels like you didn't really watch anything. It's entirely mixed back and lacking vision to an extent that it makes the entire story board seem way worse than it's on script.
The creativity and overall style is a bonus, but when obviously half-assedly created scenes (such as the entire mid section of episode 3) exist in the meantime, things become super inconsistent, and, more than anything, the high points appear as try-hard attempts to create style-over-substance content. This is how the style stops being a bonus and becomes the only good thing to look forward to, but, unfortunately, very often it's not even worth the wait. In case you have no idea what I am referring to, let me explain what I've spotted:
There are even scenes which come with insanely detailed and fluid animation that are followed by a mid scene still wallpaper (with absolutely no artistic relevance to the scene itself) and then continued with legit animation one second later, but with production values that seem to be from totally different anime. They skip up to 30-second-long scenes by implementing in-between stills in this manner. It's lame and so painfully obvious. You could take 50 screenshots from episode 4, and have people guessing which anime they are from and no one would guess they all lead back to one single series. The artistic approach changes between One Punch Man Season 01 and 02 from scene to another. I can't recall seeing anything this extreme before and I surely don't see this as a good thing. In fact, it made me feel dizzy. I don't think I could marathon this show without legit needing to vomit. It's simply too much to take. And needless to say, with all of these, things like tension and atmosphere are returning 404. Show me the man who planned this disaster and I will kindly, yet firmly, ask them to stop. This is not how you do anime, Jesus Christ.
I could list down more issues and I could forgive some of these to certain extent, after all, it's not like modern anime doesn't come with their own problems, but the point is; there are no strong pros here. Only wide variety of beginner-level mistakes, some experimental directing which is totally gross and very little anything to counter these problems with. What we have at hand is yet another serial production shonen that shows no heart or passion. Perhaps Bones should have been in charge of this because they currently produce the most consistent art work in the industry and Fire Force would really need some. To be more accurate, there are no problems with the audio. SFX, BGM and seiyuu work are all decent (tho, I wouldn't have picked this voice for the nun), and especially the sound mixing stands out for positive reasons, because in action series, the balance of music and SFX is highly important, and it's nailed here. But that's a mild solace.
The characters never had potential personalities, but in the beginning they seemed to be quite a fun bunch of folks due to their insane firefighting techniques. I was hyped for the entertainment value of this partially mindless action and thought it could carry the series. Now we have neko-eared fanservice girl, religious waifubait (with everlasting, ever-so-subtle blush on her face), and firefighter teenager with jedi-sword. Boooo-ring. Personally, I care very little about any of them. Solid reasons to care have not been offered, and I haven't found alternatives myself. The dialogue is really not helping either. Most of the potentially interesting side characters are becoming invisible and their potentially entertaining sides being pushed away.
Then we have the real mc who doesn't have much going on. Devil but actually a good guy who wants to be "a hero". Basically copy-paste of Ao no Exorcist. The lack of factors that make you care about him, make him relatable or worth of caring about further makes the series feel more distant and less significant. MC is the type of character whose persona is cut down to naivete due to his moral compass, but even that side of him can only be found deep under his skin, because this dude's presence is almost nonexistent. Even if the massive room for character development gets realized, you just won't see anything new. After these few episodes, I can say this with utmost certainty, because when so many basic things are wrong, seeing improvement that leads all the way to the other end of the scale is lottery. The cast is not impressive, and the delivery even less. The "villains" have also reached a point where they can be completely dull and unconvincing. At worst, they feel filler-ish. "I came here to be beaten by one of the main characters, so you folks can do his character introduction."
I expected much more from the man who created Soul Eater, because I enjoyed that show enough to watch it twice. And I really hoped this would be the first David Production show -that is not Jojo- which I could approve of. It momentarily fooled me into thinking that this was going to be the case, but it changed my mind fast and looks like it will not be doing that again. Not even slowly. I conclude that everything that was worth of my time in this series has already been shown because it just keeps getting worse. It's a real shame because the backdrops, original design, and color pallet really had some fantastic things to offer at times. + the ED is my personal favorite from this season, but what can you do.
I was looking forward to watching Fire Force with all the PV teasers and with David Productions listed under. I made it something I shouldn't miss.
Boy, was I wrong.
I'm going to keep this review short and sweet. Not much to go much into detail to get the message through why this adaptation is shit.
Pacing, pacing, pacing. I'm pretty sure the director doesn't know the meaning of pacing. It's like I'm watching a generic Hollywood action movie that wanted to get on the hype train just because. Either the show is cutting shots literally every fucking second or it holds a still way too long
making everything feel awkward. There is no direction in the scenes, it could go from the character sexually assaulting another character to a full blown fire fight with a main villain without a moment passing.
The story barely fucking exists cause, well the pacing so weird I can't tell what's happening half the time. So much happens in the episode but nothing happens at all. Can't tell it's suppose to be plot, fanservice or a fight scene.
While the animation itself looks good especially in the fights, it just makes it that much worst imaging how good the adaptation if better care was given.
There is nothing really much more I can say before this review turns into a full on rant. I even gave it 6 episodes just for this review since my early review was removed and it is still one of slowest experiences I've had watching any type of shows. Coming from viewer who's spent significant time on Slice of Lifes, I don't see how anyone could watch this show for a "fast paced action Shonen".
Ive posted this review for the last 2 weeks updating it as each episode came out. Now that this can officially stay up here this will be my finalized review of Fire Force with the 6th episode. The next time I will update this will be when the anime finishes (If I don't drop it by then).
New era anime really took a dive in almost everything except animation. Can't recall any anime from 2016-Present that would be a front runner in a Top 25 anime list. The only anime from 2016 to current day that has the ability to be on that list is Mob
Psycho, My Hero Academia and Your Name (Maybe Erased). The best anime from these past years have been sequels (or prequels) to pre 2016 anime and that is embarrassing. Fire Force has added to this train of bad anime that couldn't live up to the hype. All action and no backbone. Fire Force is an anime I recall as "meat head action anime". The two front runners of this season of anime are Fire Force and Dr. Stone. Both so far are disappointing but Fire Force has only gotten worse. Dr. Stone has already laid down the hardware of what the anime's end goal is. Fire Force is still confused on what direction they want to take. I understand there has only been 6 episodes so I'll give it time but as for the current 6, this is a major flop.
From what they have given us so far the story is cool but has a lot of generic elements. Fire fighters fighting humans that burst into flames. There are multiple squadrons and of course some of them are more sinister than the others. It seems the 8th squadron is the most kept out in terms of knowledge of the Infernals (What are the odds) and want to discover the secrets the other squadrons are keeping such from them. Cool concept, awful delivery so far. (Episode 6 update) Now they are using such cliche ways to keep people motivated and watching. They pull out the psychological card which just makes me cringe on how hard they are trying to pull together the story. Spoiler, it doesn't work. It's misplaced and just fails. The story is losing its originality and becoming more of a cliche shounen.
Best part about Fire Force is the animation and art. I will admit it is impressive but that is to be expected because of technology advancements. The more years go by the better animation should get and this is an example of good animation. the art is colorful at times and the setting is unique. I will be expected just as good animation in the following episodes.
Sound and Art go hand in hand when it comes to making an anime and the sound doesn't disappoint either. Nothing to complain about.
Cliche fan service girl that probably had a dark past and pretends to be all nice and friendly to hide their grief? Check. Cliche always serious badass (Can't forget the tinted glasses)? Check. Cliche meat head jock? Check. Cliche happy go lucky mc that runs into a fight without a plan? Check. Cliche childhood rival only used to make the mc irritated? Check. Cliche cutesy priestess? Check. Don't even get me started on the cliche, "My mom died and i'm here to avenge her death" back story of the mc. The anime jumped straight into the first mission without giving hardly any information on the team. All they gave was names and in the first 5 minutes of the first god damn episode their already on a mission... Slow down and let us settle in on the setting and get some character development. Many of you would argue of course that the lack of episodes explains this. And to that I say... Isn't that what the first few episodes are suppose to be about? The first few episodes introduce the characters and give background info and lets the watcher settle in on the surroundings and characters THEN you can jump into the missions. They just now introduced the evil 5th squadron and if I didn't think the characters were bad, I f*%^ing hate these guys. Cliche villains with a smart mouth but no back bone. Typical ally/enemy type deal. By this point I could care less if the entire squad got wiped out. I wouldn't even bat and eyelash. Sorry about going on a tangent but this was my biggest gripe of this anime.
Theres no drive to what they do. They just throw in characters and just force us to accept their there and move on with it. Shinra and the captain are the only characters that have a motive to fight. And they JUST now implement the reason for the priestess becoming a fire fighter? The others are just there cause why not. Can't enjoy a fight or emotional talk if there is no emotion at all. Like I said, "meat head action". And if any of the characters do have a motive they should have explained so earlier in the anime. Should not be explaining why the character is there 6+ episodes into the anime. That is bad delivery. Another annoying concept they do is the quick jump between scenes. They want to create the illusion that the anime is fast paced and action packed but just leaves the audience confused on why and what the characters are doing. They jump from scene to scene and that does A) take away emotion from each respected scene and B) Makes everyone forget or confused on whats going on and for some reason people think this is a way to get people on the edge the whole time. Confusing and rushed, bleh. I can't believe people are actually saying this anime will take over and be the best new gen anime. That is mind boggling people actually say that with a straight face.
Nothing needs to be said that hasn't already been. Very mediocre anime that failed to the hype. Lets hope they make a miracle of a comeback cause i'm ready to drop it.
There are a lot of things that can be said about Fire Force, most of which will be said over and over during its run. We're only 4 episodes in, but with every discussion thread comes a new wave of comments praising the animation quality or questioning the inclusion of a character who's primary role is to provide fan service. Rather than restate everything that's been said about this show, I would like to pose a simple statement:
Fire Force is entertaining as hell.
I came late to the Soul Eater train by about 8 years, but I blazed through the anime and finished the manga twice
as fast. I loved every second of it, despite its flaws. I only started reading Fire Force when the anime was announced, and I was pretty much immediately hooked from the first chapter. When I learned that David Productions (plus a lot of Shaft talent) would be doing this show instead of a studio like Bones, I can't say I wasn't disappointed.
However, DavidPro straight up punched me in the mouth with both the previews and the gorgeous first episode, and I found myself once again sucked into the world I had grown to love over the past few months. There's something about Atsushi Ohkubo that allows him to create a world and a power system for that world that evokes pure, intense hype. The way the action flows, the silly nature of each character contrasted with hard-hitting serious moments; I think his works have such strong cores that anything he builds around that can shine, and Fire Force is no exception.
Despite the relatively static non-action shots, the world feels alive, and in a completely different way from Soul Eater. Whether it's the settings or the situations, the first 4 episodes have managed to create an interesting and frankly unsettling world that needs serious intervention from our heroes. Adding the Shaft influence onto that base (mostly in the shot direction) only makes it feel that much more mysterious and begging to be explored. Every minute both satisfies my hunger and leaves me wanting more. I can only hope that the rest of the episodes are as impressive as these 4.
That being said, Fire Force definitely has its share of problems. If you're more a fan of Soul Eater's "bouncy" nature, especially in the non-action segments, you'll probably be disappointed with the lack of movement in Fire Force outside of the fights. The story tends to feel like a means to an end rather than a coherent, well-paced plot. Along with that, many of the characters are either fairly generic or not particularly interesting at this point. There's a ton of room for growth, of course, but the base matters a ton. Although I don't think the characters are anything special, I do find them entertaining, and I think the overall group chemistry is fun.
Right now, there is no seasonal show on my watch list that entertains me as much as Fire Force, and I have a feeling that will continue throughout its run.