Fire, smoke, adrenaline, and fear—when everyone is running to escape from a fire, a few courageous people are running to jump right into the thick of it. Firefighters put their own lives on the line to protect others and Daigo Asahina has always dreamed of becoming one. He's fresh out of the training academy and has been newly assigned to Medaka-Ga-Hama fire station. Cocky and overconfident, Daigo responds to a few calls and is quickly humbled and put in his place—he's still got a lot to learn before he can call himself a true firefighter.
Me-gumi no Daigo was published in English as Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M by VIZ Media from November 5, 2002 to November 13, 2007. VIZ Media rereleased the manga digitally from December 3, 2013 to April 15, 2014.
Yeah, I thought this would be boring too. Boy was I wrong and I have never been happier to be wrong!
Firefighter Daigo follows (surprise) a firefighter named Daigo. He's fresh out of high school, and due to being rescued by a firefighter as a child, wants to become one. The series opens with him passing his test and joining the Medaka-Ga-Hama fire station, known for having absolutely nothing happen in the vicinity. Obviously, because this is a shonen, that won't do, and thus the most crazy yet somehow plausible scenarios are going to immediately crop up in this fire station's area. Now this place can't
even get through a basic training exercise or demonstration without something blowing up. Hospitals will blow up, tigers will get loose, and entire mountain sides will catch fire. It's like watching a katamari grow in terms of badassery, it ups the scenario each time.
FFD almost certainly follows a pattern: something highly unlikely happens, Daigo's badassery and sixth sense for firefighting/rescue saves the day, and he winds up in the hospital for a few chapters because he will do his job at great personal injury to himself. Rinse and repeat. To some degree, there's still a love interest and it takes a break from the formula when Daigo wants to take his career further. Yet it still somehow feels fresh for the entire 20 volumes and is always exciting. Part of this has got to be the art, clean, easy to follow, and addictive as all hell. It's honestly hard to stop reading as one arc just leads right into the next. Every scenario is unique and exciting so it never feels like you're reading the same material over again. The other thing is that Daigo, being a shonen lead, never seems to follow the rules, and yet he rarely gets punished for it. This is because he's damn successful and he saves lives, and it's hard to get sick of seeing people thank Daigo from the bottom of their hearts for saving their lives/their kids lives/etc. It's absolutely the most heart warming experience I've had with any shonen manga ever and it makes the manga feel truly rewarding to read. Not only that, but I learned a little bit about fire safety too! Which isn't to say FFD makes firefighting look glamorous, it looks like damn hard work and some of the characters are horribly scarred and burned. And Daigo ends up in the hospital with several broken somethings after almost every arc (I've just assumed he has some Wolverine blood in him at this point, though the world is nice enough to not have anything crazy happen while he's recovering). But damn if it didn't give me a new found respect for first responders!
This is a good manga. Not because it clearly came out due to 9/11's "Firefighters are cool" rush, which was temporary at best, but because it's got great action, heartwarming conclusions, it's fun and exciting to read, and it just does what it does so well. Any fan of action shonen needs to read this oft overlooked, and frankly lame looking based on description, epic epic shonen. It's got all the shonen tropes you'd expect (including a rival, naturally), but it does them so well you might as well be reading them for the first time.
Yes, the main character Daigo is no Kamina, BUT metaphorically Daigo is simply like the eye of a storm. And a big one at that! No only does Daigo face some of the most extreme scenarios that can be plausible in the real world, but how he barely manages to "save the day" through his kan/intuition makes him one hell of a cool character!
There is plenty of drama when necessary, and with 20 volumes it is amazing how much can come out of a single fire station.